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HARDWARE - PART 1

Solid State Drives

You probably have heard about new storage devices known as Solid state drives (SSDs). SSDs and hard disk drives (HDDs) are the two main storage options available for computers today.

What is an HDD?

An HDD is a data storage device that has spinning disks where data is magnetically stored. The HDD has several metal arms that read and write data on the disks. HDDs are lower in cost and can store large amounts of data.

What is an SSD?

SSDs are called solid state because they have no moving parts. All data is stored in integrated circuits. Without the need for a spinning disk, SSDs can come in smaller sizes than HDDs. Their capacity varies and today, their largest size is 4 Terabytes. SSDs can read and write data much faster than HDDs since you donít have to wait for HDD disk rotation to start up and search the data. SSDs are more expensive than HDDs for equal amounts of storage but SSD prices are beginning to drop.

Speed

SSDs are an extremely popular choice due to their speed. SSDs are much faster than HDDs because they use electrical circuits and have no physical moving parts. This leads to fewer delays when opening apps or performing computing tasks. A typical SSD runs up to 10-20 times faster than a HDD. There are times when an HDD can make sense. If you have huge amounts of data to store, HDDs are still a less expensive option.

SSD vs. HDD

When it comes to size, SSDs are available in 120 GB to 4 TB capacities. HDDs can be anywhere from 250 GB to 14 TB. When measuring cost per capacity, HDDs come out on top, but as SSD prices drop, this will become less of a factor.

Reliability is defined as how safely and securely your data is stored. SSDs in general are more reliable than HDDs, which again is a function of having no moving parts. Thatís because without movement, SSDs arenít affected by vibration or related thermal issues.

SSDs use less power and result in longer battery life because data access is much faster and the device is idle more often. With their spinning disks, HDDs require more power when they start up than SSDs. This could be a benefit when using a laptop.

SSD Boot Time

A computer with an SSD will start up much faster than a hard drive, could be as fast as a minute or less. The hard drive requires time to reach the speed needed to operate and it will be slower than an SSD during normal use. An SSD launches and runs programs faster and reads and writes files faster.

Here is helpful video about SSDs

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Adding Memory

The term "memory" in computers refers to RAM (Random Access Memory). A computer uses RAM to hold temporary instructions and data needed to perform tasks. Then the computer's CPU (Central Processing Unit) can use this information extremely quickly. If a program is loaded into memory, you can work more quickly with less time spent waiting for the computer to perform tasks. The more RAM a computer has the faster the computer operates.

Computers today require at least 8 Gigabytes of RAM to run basic applications and 16 Gigabytes is even better. Add an additional 4-8 GB for running graphic, multimedia and game programs.



That in 1981, referring to computer memory, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft said, "640K (about 1/2 of one Megabyte) ought to be enough for anybody."


  1. Unplug the computer and remove the cover. The electronics inside can be easily damaged. Probably the biggest danger is static electricity. Touch an unpainted grounded piece of metal before proceeding. There are also anti-static wrist straps you can purchase to help prevent static electricity.
  2. The most popular memory stick used today is 168-pin DIMM-type memory (See Figure H-1). Most computers have two, three, or four slots. The slots are marked on the motherboard as DIMM 0, DIMM 1, etc.


    Figure H-1
  3. Memory sticks are held in place by plastic clips on each end of the slot (See Figure H-2). To remove old sticks, carefully push the plastic clips outward until the stick pops free. Grab it by the ends and lift it straight up.


    Figure H-2
  4. On the RAM sticks there are two notches on the bottom. The memory slots have two ridges that will match up with the memory stick. You can only insert the sticks one way.
  5. Insert the first stick into the first DIMM slot (DIMM 0). Apply even pressure straight down with your thumbs on the top of the memory module. The plastic clips should pop into position all by themselves. Make sure that the stick snaps firmly into the socket and the plastic clips snap into place. DO NOT FORCE THE STICK INTO THE SLOT! If it doesn't snap into place, you might have the memory modules inserted the wrong way. Repeat this with each memory stick.
  6. Reconnect your computer and turn the power on. Click on Settings --> System --> About. The total amount of RAM will be shown under Device specifications (See Figure H-3).


    Figure H-3
  7. If the Device specifications window shows the incorrect amount of RAM, this could be due to the wrong type of memory installed. Review your motherboard documentation to find out what type of memory is correct for your machine. Memory suppliers such as Kingston and Crucial feature easy to use programs to help you determine the correct type of memory for your system.

If, for example, you wanted 16GB of RAM in your computer, would it be better to buy one 16GB RAM module or two 8GB modules?

ANSWER: most computers support dual-channel mode so it is better to buy two memory modules than a single module with twice the capacity. In memory-intensive applications,tests prove that the dual-channel mode will improve computer performance.

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Adjusting Your Display - Section 1

The display screen is more commonly known as the desktop.


One of the most important parts of the user experience is your use of the display. Whether you are writing text, viewing a website, etc., you want a pleasing display. Windows 10 includes settings you can use to adjust many functions of your display. Most of the options for adjusting your display in Windows 10 can be found in the Settings app. To use them, click on Settings --> System --> Display and scroll down to change the size of text, and other items. If you want to make your text bigger, you can use this slider to adjust this setting. The Adjust brightness level slider can be used to increase or lower the brightness of the screen.


Display settings provide options for improving the color output of your screen. Click the Advance Display Settings link then click Color Calibration.


The wizard is easy to use and helps you choose the best color values for red, green, and blue. You can also use it to make adjustments to your display brightness and contrast.

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Adjusting Your Display - Section 2

Another option is available is the Clear Type Text Tuner. Clear Type was first introduced in Windows XP. It enhances the look of text when using displays and makes the text easier to read. To use it, click Start and type "Clear Type Text" in the Search bar and hit Enter. Clear Type is turned on by default.


The link to the Advanced sizing of text and other items can increase the size of areas of the screen such as the title bar and you can change the font size.

Return to top      Hardware - Part 2




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