Tech Talk

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Times have changed and so has technology. Schools are using Google Classroom and other online sites for students to find assignments or learn new subjects. It can make knowing just what type of computing device you need to buy more difficult and confusing. Here are some tips for helping you determine what, exactly, you need in a new computer.

Power of Processing: The processor (think Intel or AMD) makes the computer do everything. Each application requires power to work. A 3 or 4 GHz clock speed CPU is what you see typically on the market today. If you open many apps at the same time, it takes a faster CPU to deliver information to you. If you frequently are making videos or graphics, you’ll need the fastest processor. If you just are surfing the internet, last year’s processor will be enough.

Out of Memory: Random Access Memory (RAM) is where the computer stores data it needs so that everything runs quickly. If you have a fast processor but limited RAM, your computer will still slow to a grind. The current range is 2 to 16 GB of RAM, but the average seems to be 8 GB.

Graphics Card: The graphics card converts the 1s and 0s from the processor into pictures for the screen. It has its own processor (GPU), along with its own memory. If clear, beautiful images are important, then buy a computer with a high-end graphics card such as the GeForce GT X 1070. When comparison shopping, decide how the laptop or computer will be used and what you are willing to pay. My year-old ASUS Ultrabook has an Intel i5-410 1.7GHz processor, 8 GB RAM and Intel HD Graphics. It performs like a champ—at least until I spill a cup of coffee all over it.

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Sheila Burkett is an information technology expert and co-founder of Spry Digital, an interactive design agency that delivers smart digital solutions. Catch her weekly Spry Hive at