Know Your Numbers: Understanding Computer Terms
Get Computer Smart!
When shopping for a new PC, you’ll encounter many computer-related words and phrases that may be difficult to understand. Don’t worry! You can find the definitions for the commonly used computer terms below to help you make the smart PC shopping choice.
Intel® InTru™ 3D Technology
Part of the built-in visual features of 3rd gen Intel® Core™ processors, Intel® InTru™ 3D Technology enables viewing of Blu-ray movies in stereo 3D and full 1080p resolution on your home computer.
Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
An upgraded feature available on select 3rd gen Intel® Core™ processors, Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 automatically provides an even greater boost of speed to reduce lag time during heavy tasks such as extreme gaming and HD video editing.
A group of technology features designed to enhance the visual experience delivered by the 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ processors. Built-in visual features include Intel® Quick Sync Video, Intel® HD Graphics, Intel® Clear Video Technology and Intel® InTru™ 3D Technology.
Intel® Clear Video Technology
A built-in visual feature offered by 3rd gen Intel® Core™ processors, Intel® Clear Video Technology delivers higher visual performance for sharper images, richer colour and superior audio and video playback.
Just like a stopwatch, clock speed measures how fast your processor performs one activity cycle. A faster clock speed enables your computer to execute instructions more quickly, benefitting most applications from games to photo editing and more. Clock speed rates are shown in gigahertz (GHz). (See GHz)
Cores and Threads
Cores and threads go hand-in-hand. Multi-core processors are single chips that contain two or more distinct processors or execution cores in the same integrated circuit. Multi-threading allows each core to work on two tasks at once, letting you do more things at the same time for faster results.
This graphics component comes as an additional graphics card. While ideal for high-end 3D gamers, designers and video editors, it doesn’t add much performance for everyday users. It’s important to note that only more powerful processors can make full use of discrete graphics.
A unit to measurement commonly used to express processor speed, also referred to as clock speed. 1 Gigahertz (GHz) = 1 billion cycles per second. A higher number used to mean a faster processor, but advances in technology have made chips more efficient. For this reason it’s not advisable to compare performance based on GHz or clock speed alone. (See Clock Speed)
Think of the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) as your computer’s long-term memory. It acts as a filing cabinet for your documents, photos, music, videos and so on. The size or capacity of a hard drive is measured in gigabytes. If you plan on storing a lot of movies and other big files, get a larger hard drive. Another option is to purchase an external USB 2.0 hard drive. Some new notebook PCs now use solid-state drives (SSD) with no moving parts, making them more resistant to shock, quieter and with faster information access.
Intel® HD Graphics
Available as a built-in visual feature on select Intel® Core™ processors, Intel® HD Graphics enables discrete 3D graphics performance without the added cost of a separate graphics card. You’ll enjoy crisp images with the highest frames per second for mainstream games and videos.
Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology
Available on select Intel® processors, Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology makes more efficient use of your processor so you can run demanding applications while maintaining system responsiveness. With this technology, multimedia enthusiasts can create, edit and encode heavy graphics files while running other applications, without losing performance.
A graphics component needed to view images. Integrated graphics offers the performance for everyday tasks like watching HD videos, viewing photos and creating presentations. Standard in select Intel® Core™ processors, integrated graphics improve graphics performance and notebook battery life.
A unit of measure, a nanometer (nm) is one-billionth of a meter. The transistors on Intel’s latest processors are just 32nm wide, with older models at 45nm and 65nm. The smaller size allows transistors to be packed more densely, leak less energy, produce less heat and switch faster, so processors run faster, use less power, and are more energy-efficient.
Also known as 'chip' or 'CPU', the processor controls everything your computer does. It lets you do several things like work, email and surf - all at the same time. More powerful processors are better for more demanding tasks so get one that performs a little above your current needs.
Intel® Quick Sync Video
A built-in visual feature on 3rd gen Intel® Core™ processors, Intel® Quick Sync Video accelerates hardware performance during video editing, burning and sharing to significantly reduce waiting time from hours to just minutes.
Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
Available on select Intel® Core™ processors, Intel® Turbo Boost Technology automatically speeds up processor performance to match your workload. Previously, unused portions of the chip would be “turned off,” leaving some cores idle. By maximising the use of the cores, you get extra performance when you need it, and increased energy efficiency when you don’t.
Intel® Wireless Display
Available exclusively on notebooks powered by 3rd gen Intel® Core™ processors, this built-in visual feature allows you to wirelessly view your personal content, online TV shows, movies and videos on your home TV screen.
Acting like a serial number, the processor number differentiates features within a processor family, with a higher number generally indicating more features. You can use this number to verify that your chosen processor includes the features you want. Keep in mind that processor numbers do not work across different processor families.
The computer uses random access memory (RAM) to process what the user is doing as they are doing it. This includes multitasking, writing a letter, editing a photo or browsing a web site. 2GB of RAM should be enough for most of your everyday needs, and you can always upgrade and add more RAM later.
Intel® Smart Cache
A cache is a fast storage area where the processor keeps frequently accessed data. Intel® Smart Cache maximises this data storage. It allows each processor core to utilize up to 100% of the space and pull data faster, improving overall performance for rich media applications and games.