Pay attention to this when buying a complete PC system
Manufacturers produce complete PC systems for specific requirement classes. In order to assess your individual needs, it is helpful to be able to classify the properties of important components.
The processors (CPU, Central Processing Unit) for complete PC systems come from AMD or Intel. In addition to some Pentium processors, Intel uses the processor series Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7. The higher number stands for more power. Intel processors of the i3 or i5 family are suitable for editing images or videos. Computers with Intel Core i5 or i7 processors are intended for gamers.
In systems with CPUs from AMD, the A processors (such as the A8-9600) with the associated graphics chip can be found in the entry-level range. The AMD processors of the FX series or the Athlon X4 series meet higher demands. The AMD CPUs of the current generation of the Ryzen series offers even more computing power, for example for ambitious gamers. They are also classified as Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 7 in order of ascending performance.
Random Access Memory
Random Access Memory (RAM) can be referred to as the computer's short-term memory. It supports the processor in its tasks since running programs and data required for active tasks are temporarily stored here. Basically, a larger main memory is better, but it should also be able to be used by the CPU. 4 GB RAM is installed in entry-level models for occasional use. In office and multimedia systems it is usually 8 GB, in gaming systems 16 or even 32 GB are used.
There are currently two types of memory, DDR3, and DDR4. DDR4 offers more contacts to the mainboard. It can thus transmit more data at the same time and achieve a higher clock frequency. This makes it work faster. DDR3 is still sufficient for many common tasks. If you want to upgrade your complete PC system later, it will be easier if DDR4 is supported and already installed when you buy it.
Fixed combinations of processor and graphics chips (chipsets) are only installed in complete PC systems in the lower entry-level range. Otherwise, separate graphics cards are common. You take on a lot of the computing work for multimedia tasks and games, thereby relieving the processor. They ensure a smooth and precise display on the monitor. Graphics cards work with technology from AMD or Nvidia but are produced by many manufacturers. That makes the comparison difficult. Current graphics cards with Nvidia chips can be recognized by the "GeForce" part of the name. This is followed by a note on the performance class: The letters "GT" designate entry-level models, followed by the abbreviation "GTX" for more powerful models, you can recognize top-of-the-line models by an additional "Ti" (an abbreviation for "Titan"). Graphics cards from AMD are all the more powerful, the higher the number after the “R” in the name. The current generation is RX, where the X stands for the Roman numeral 10. Predecessors are called R8 or R7.
A hard disk (HDD) with a storage capacity of 1 TB (around 1,000 GB) is installed as standard in a complete PC system. Systems with 2 TB are offered in the middle class, special multimedia systems offer up to two hard drives with 4 TB each. The combination of flash memory (SSD) and the conventional magnetic hard disk has become the current trend. In addition to the hard drive with mostly 1 TB, an SSD hard drive with 128 to 256 GB is also installed. The HDD hard drive is intended for data such as videos, images, and documents, and the fast SSD is for applications that start and react much faster from there.
When purchasing a complete PC system, the screen is included as an accessory. These are mostly entry-level or mid-range models. Do you place higher demands on your monitor? you can connect another model. You can then use the supplied screen as a second monitor or as a larger display for your notebook, for example. The usual resolution for monitors for complete PC systems is Full HD with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The display diagonals in the entry-level class are between 22 and 24 inches. Mid-range PC systems can also include monitors of up to 27 inches. In addition to size and resolution, response time, contrast ratio, and viewing angle also play a role. Better values can be found in displays from high-end PC systems.
The usual housing size for complete PC systems is the so-called midi tower. It is about 45 x 20 x 40 cm (H x W x D), although deviations of a few centimeters are possible in all dimensions. They are partly due to the design, which is often conspicuous, especially on gaming PCs. Especially in the multimedia area, for example for video editing software, complete systems with Mini-ITX housings are also offered. They measure around 25 x 21 x 37 cm. There are also complete systems based on mini PCs. Thanks to passive ventilation, they work silently, but the built-in components are designed for special applications and are often found as media centers at home, in shops, or in offices with customer traffic.
Interfaces and input devices
An Ethernet connection and WLAN are standard on all models. This allows you to integrate them into your home network. Whether the supplied mouse and keyboard can be connected wirelessly or by cable depends on the model. If required, a wireless mouse and a wireless keyboard can be connected via a dongle in a USB port retrofit. The interfaces VGA, DVI, and HDMI are basically available for the monitor connection, in some models also DisplayPort. In the upper segment, two monitors can be connected via two HDMI or two DisplayPort interfaces. The standard equipment also includes an integrated DVD burner and at least one USB 3.1 port. Depending on which and how many devices you want to connect to your complete system via USB, it is worth taking a look at how many USB ports are easily accessible on the front of the PC case. If necessary, more can be provided later via a hub.
Fully configured computer with accessories
A complete PC system usually consists of a fully equipped PC with Windows 10 as the operating system, a matching monitor, and a suitable keyboard and mouse. With the purchase of such a system, amateurs and demanding users get a computer that is ready for immediate use and equipped with all the necessary hardware and software. So you don't have to assemble individual PC components and check their compatibility. If demand increases with more intensive use or applications and games require more powerful resources, upgrading to a full PC system is also possible later.
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