Here are some basics about computers to help you buy one that meets your needs:
1. CPU (Central Processing Unit): The term CPU is sometimes used to refer to the case that houses the computer components, but technically the CPU is only one chip inside the computer’s case (see processor).
2. Processor: The processor is the brains of the computer. This is where all the data processing is handled – all the data manipulation, calculations and formatting data for output. The execution of the instructions within the computer system is extremely fast and is measured in cycles of time and referred to as megahertz. Think of CPUs (and aligned circuitry) pulsing like a heart. This pulsing is expressed as GHZ. A computer with a 1.2GHZ processor is slo
wer than the latest 3.6 GHZ processor.
The processor you choose depends on how you want to use your computer. The higher the specification, the faster the speed in executing tasks on the computer. The more powerful the processor, the better your computer performs whilst doing multiple tasks.
There is also the latest technology which is called core duo which is faster and more energy-efficient.
3. Software: This is the instruction manual for the computer; it decides the machine’s behavioural pattern. Some software comes with the computer; you need to buy the others. You need to have at least the basic word processing and email enabling software.
4. Operating System: The operating system is the first essential piece of software you will require to make your PC operate and to enable programs or applications to run. The vast majority of PCs in the world run a version of Microsoft Windows, either Windows Vista (the latest version of Windows) or an earlier version, such as Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Me, or Windows 98. Apple
computers run on an operating system called OSX.
5. ROM: ROM means "read only memory". Your computer's ROM is a chip on the motherboard that stores a permanent set of start-up instructions for your computer. The ROM is fixed at the time of manufacture. Instructions in ROM remain intact when the power is off.
6. RAM: RAM is the working memory a computer uses to run the operating system, applications and active data files. More RAM means the computer can run more complex programs and more programs simultaneously. When first powered up, a computer's RAM is empty. The empty space is filled with information read from a storage disk or created by work. RAM is sold in units called chips. RAM is also an important performance factor and serves as the real-time memory that makes your applications run faster and makes it possible to work with huge files.
RAM starts at about 512MB, but most models can be upgraded with extra memory. You can find some that can be upgraded all the way to 4.0GB, which comes in handy for demanding multimedia applications. You may also see RAM referred to as DDR (this means double data rate RAM).
7. Cache: A special type of computer memory that operates at very high speed. It is similar to RAM but is much faster. It is usually used by the CPU as a storage place for processing instructions. When the computer is shut down, any information held in the cache memory is lost.
8. Hard drive: Your computer’s hard disk is like an audio CD that you have at home – except that your computer can read and write to it. Your computer can take data off your hard drive (to process it in the CPU or place it in RAM to work with) or it can record the results of the work it does back to the disk. Hard drive sizes vary considerably, from about 60GB (more than enough for basic computing needs) all the way up to 120GB, ideal for multimedia, home entertainment and games.
9. Chipset: This term is used to describe the architecture of an integrated circuit. For example, the chipset of a modem card would be very different than one of a computer's CPU. Processors themselves also have different chipsets. For example, Pentium II and Pentium III have slightly different chipsets, and the PowerPC processors have other kinds.
10. Optical drives: An optical drive is a drive that works with an optical disk, such as CD or DVD, as opposed to a magnetic disk. Most PCs have a CD drive, a DVD drive (which can also read CDs), or both. Some optical drives can only read data, while others can write to CDs, DVDs, or both. CD and DVD writers are commonly called burners. Some burners can write data to a CD or DVD only once, but others (rewriters) can write data, erase it, and write again. To rewrite data, you must use rewritable optical disks.
11. Video Card: The video card is what the monitor plugs into. Some motherboards have built-in video chips, thus not requiring a separate video card (primarily intended for basic office computers). Games are one of the most demanding applications on a home computer, and the video card is one of the decisive factors in determining the speed and resolution of play. For adequate gaming needs, you should have at least a 512 MB card, but 1 GB is preferable.
12. Monitors: Monitors are the name for the screen that is used to display the computer image. You can either get a CRT monitor or an LCD monitor (see the section on choosing a monitor for more details)
13. Keyboard: The keyboard is an external device used to input data into the computer
14. Mouse: The mouse is an external device used to drive the pointer around the screen and be able to select various options
Broadband internet access is a way of connecting to the internet which lets you send and receive large amounts of information, data, music, video and software downloads at a greatly faster speed than using a dial up connection.
Broadband internet access allows you to do things that are not very practical or are extremely slow to do with a traditional dial up modem connection. For instance with broadband internet access you can watch streaming videos and movie trailers smoothly without them stuttering or running slowly, you can download MP3 music and other downloads very quickly, play online games against other people in real time, watch broadband TV channels and listen to broadband radio channels as well as view much richer complex broadband content than you can with a dial up connection.
Another great advantage of broadband internet access is that your connection to the internet is always on which means you have broadband internet access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and never need to switch the connection on or off as your connection is always there when you switch your computer on.
With broadband internet access you may find you actually save money compared to paying for dial up services if you are a heavy user as broadband service providers usually charge a flat monthly fee for usage.
Having broadband internet access also has the very handy advantage of you being able to use your telephone at the same time as using the internet, so you dont have to ask your girlfriend to get off the telephone so you can use your dial up internet connection!
So in answer to the question what is broadband internet access, put simply it is a way for you to do everything on the internet more quickly, easily and conveniently and once you get broadband internet access you will never go back as your old dial up connection will seem like a dinosaur!
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), digital data transmission over the wires used in the local loop of a telephone network.
Wired Ethernet is the method of broadband connection to the Internet would indicate that the Internet access is very fast. However, just because Ethernet is offered doesn't mean that the full 10, 100, or 1000 Mbit/s connection is able to be utilized for direct Internet access.
Other wireless technologies, including IEEE standards (802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11a) and many proprietary wireless protocols. In 2008, with WiMAX still at the top of the learning curve in terms of price, these technologies dominate the market for fixed wireless broadband.
WiMAX, a standards-based wireless technology that provides high-throughput broadband connections over long distances
Satellite Internet access
Fiber to the premises, based on fiber-optic cables and associated optical electronics
High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA), a new mobile telephony protocol, sometimes referred to as a 3.5G (or "3˝G") technology
DSL or xDSL, is a family of technologies that provides digital data transmission over the wires of a local telephone network. DSL originally stood for digital subscriber loop, although in recent years, the term digital subscriber line has been widely adopted as a more marketing-friendly term for ADSL, which is the most popular version of consumer-ready DSL. DSL can be used at the same time and on the same telephone line with regular telephone, as it uses high frequency, while regular telephone uses low frequency.
Typically, the download speed of consumer DSL services ranges from 256 kilobits per second (kbit/s) to 24,000 kbit/s, depending on DSL technology, line conditions and service level implemented. Typically, upload speed is lower than download speed for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) and equal to download speed for the rarer Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL).
Where available, this method of broadband connection to the Internet would indicate that the Internet access is very fast. However, just because Ethernet is offered doesn't mean that the full 10, 100, or 1000 Mbit/s connection is able to be utilized for direct Internet access. In a college dormitory for example, the 100 Mbit/s Ethernet access might be fully available to on-campus networks, but Internet access bandwidths might be closer to 4xT-1 data rate (6 Mbit/s). If you are sharing a broadband connection with others in a building, the access bandwidth of the leased line into the building would of course govern the end-user's data rate.
However, in certain locations, true Ethernet broadband access might be available. This would most commonly be the case at a POP or a data center, and not at a typical residence or business. When Ethernet Internet access is offered, it could be fiber-optic or copper twisted pair, and the bandwidth will conform to standard Ethernet data rates of up to 10 Gbit/s. The primary advantage is that no special hardware is needed for Ethernet. Ethernet also has a very low latency.
This typically employs the current low-cost 802.11 Wi-Fi radio systems to link up remote locations over great distances, but can use other higher-power radio communications systems as well.
Traditional 802.11b was licensed for omni directional service spanning only 100-150 meters (300-500 ft). By focusing the signal down to a narrow beam with a Yagi antenna it can instead operate reliably over a distance of many miles.
Rural Wireless-ISP installations are typically not commercial in nature and are instead a patchwork of systems built up by hobbyists mounting antennas on radio masts and towers, agricultural storage silos, very tall trees, or whatever other tall objects are available.
WiMAX, meaning Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a telecommunications technology that provides wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes, from point-to-point links to portable internet access. The technology provides up to 75 Mb/s symmetric broadband speed without the need for cables. The technology is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard (also called Broadband Wireless Access). The name "WiMAX" was created by the WiMAX Forum, which was formed in June 2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard. The forum describes WiMAX as "a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL".
Satellite Internet services are used in locations where terrestrial Internet access is not available and in locations which move frequently. Internet access via satellite is available worldwide, including vessels at sea and mobile land vehicles.
Fiber to the premises (FTTP) is a form of fiber-optic communication delivery in which an optical fiber is run directly onto the customers' premises. This contrasts with other fiber-optic communication delivery strategies such as fiber to the node (FTTN), fiber to the curb (FTTC), or hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC), all of which depend upon more traditional methods such as copper wires or coaxial cable for "last mile" delivery.
Fiber to the premises can be further categorized according to where the optical fiber ends:
FTTH (fiber to the home) is a form of fiber optic communication delivery in which the optical signal reaches the end user's living or office space.
FTTB (fiber to the building) is a form of fiber optic communication delivery in which the optical signal reaches the private property enclosing the home or business of the subscriber or set of subscribers, but where the optical fiber terminates before reaching the home living space or business office space, with the path extended from that point up to the user's space over a physical medium other than optical fiber (for example copper loops).
3G is the third generation of tele standards and technology for mobile networking, superseding 2.5G. It is based on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) family of standards under the IMT-2000.
3G networks enable network operators to offer users a wider range of more advanced services while achieving greater network capacity through improved spectral efficiency. Services include wide-area wireless voice telephony, video calls, and broadband wireless data, all in a mobile environment. Additional features also include HSPA data transmission capabilities able to deliver speeds up to 14.4 Mbit/s on the downlink and 5.8 Mbit/s on the uplink.
Unlike IEEE 802.11 networks, which are commonly called Wi-Fi or WLAN networks, 3G networks are wide-area cellular telephone networks that evolved to incorporate high-speed Internet access and video telephony. IEEE 802.11 networks are short range, high-bandwidth networks primarily developed for data.