1. Processor speed
This is the speed at which a computer can run applications.
It is measured in hertz (abbreviation: Hz). As technology develops, recent computers’ processing speeds have come to be noted in either MHz (megahertz) or GHz (gigahertz) because they are so fast.
The higher its processing speed, the faster a computer will be able to run word processing applications (Word), music players, imaging software, etc.
For example, programs will respond faster on a computer with a 2 GHz processor than on one with a 1.66 GHz processor.
2. RAM (Random Access Memory)
A type of computer data storage; in common usage, RAM basically represents the memory available to the programs running on your computer (word processor, music player, internet browser, etc.).
More RAM allows you to run more applications at once.
For example, you could surf the web while listening to music, chatting with a friend on an instant messaging program, and working on a word processing document without your computer slowing down-but only if it has a sufficient amount of RAM.
If not, you could experience a delay in the different applications’ response, causing them to “freeze” temporarily.
Therefore, the more RAM there is on your computer, the better. Newer computers usually have a minimum of 4 GB of RAM.
3. Hard disc drive
More commonly referred to as the “hard drive”, this is where your computer stores data such as music files, photos, videos, and various documents.
The storage capacity of hard drives is measured in bytes. The bigger your hard drive, the more files you can store.
Nowadays, most computers usually come with a hard drive of over 500 GB.
There are also external hard drives, which are not built into a computer.
You can connect them to your computer through a USB port (see next), allowing you to store your files.
It is recommended to back up (i.e. copy) your files onto an external hard drive; in the event that your computer crashes, at least you won’t have lost all your data (music, photos, documents, etc.).
Some newer external hard drives have a capacity of over 5 TB (5,000 GB).