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Buying a computer is confusing unless you know a lot about computers.

At CCS we cut the jargon and offer simple straightforward explanations of what to look for in a computer.

Below is a basic guide to computer specifications and the terms used to describe computer features and capabilities.

The nerve centre of the computer : everything flows through it. Often just called "the processor". The best known PC processors are Intel's Pentium and AMD's Athlon . The speed of a processor is usually measured in megahertz (MHz), or gigahertz (GHz). The more the better. A dual core processor has two complete processors on the same chip, allowing computers to handle multiple tasks faster. Quad core has four and is ideal for people running lots of applications at once.

Operating System
Every computer has an operating system, which is a sort of master program that runs automatically when you switch the computer on, and continues running till you switch off. It is responsible for the many routine tasks required to keep a computer running : moving the pointer when you move the mouse, providing icons and menus, running other programs such as a word processor or a game which you may request, controlling the various disk drives, the screen and so on. The most widely used PC operating system is Microsoft Windows and the latest version is Windows Vista.

RAM is the computer's main memory , which it uses to hold whatever you are currently working on. The contents of RAM are lost when the computer is switched off. Adding more RAM is one of the best ways to improve computer performance.

Hard disk
A computer's main storage for programs and data. Originally named to distinguish it from floppy disks . All PCs are fitted with hard disks, sometimes more than one. The first (or only) hard disk is usually called C: by the computer. The amount of storage space is measured in gigabytes (GB) and the more the better. If you are going to store or download lots of pictures, music or video files you need at least 160gb of storage and preferably more.

Graphics card
An expansion card which the PC uses to control the monitor's graphics. A powerful graphics card is important if you are going to play advanced computer games.

There are many more terms out there to confuse you and if you want help CCS will take the time to explain and guide you to the right product.

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