Posted December 30th, 2008, 01:14 PM
I don't understand what RAID is, what I should be looking for hard drive wise?
RAID - Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks
This is a data security methodology that was once limited to big servers but is now becoming common on home computers. There are several configurations and I won't bore you with all of them. The one you need to look for is RAID level 1, also called mirroring. Say you have a 500 GB drive in your computer. If the drive fails and you haven't backed up your files...you're screwed. What mirroring does is to add another 500 GB disk and tells the computer to write the exact same information to both disks simultaneously, just as if it were one disk (the two disks are called a RAID array
). If one disk fails, the other one continues to function until you replace the bad one. After the new disk is installed, the system "rebuilds" the RAID array without ever losing a single bit of data.
Please explain the difference between the graphics card vs integrated to me. As I said, my computer knowlege is limited and I feel I would be better off learning some basics before going in to talk to a sales person.
Integrated graphics means that the graphics processor is built into (integrated) the motherboard. The motherboard is the main processing framework for a computer. The actual processor (CPU) plugs into it, as do the memory, hard disks, floppy drive and all other parts of a computer. Motherboards also have slots where accessory cards (used to be called daughter
cards...get it, mother
) can be added to support additional computer functions like a TV tuner, etc. It used to be that the computer had to have a separate graphics card for the monitor, one for the network, sound, hard drive connector and almost everything else. As technology got cheaper and manufacturing more advanced. The chips and connectors in these cards got moved to the motherboard. Many of today's computers have motherboards that require no additional cards to be fully functional. Because of cost and complexity, the built-in components are usually more than sufficient for everyday use, but if you need additional performance like super graphics for gaming, publishing-level graphics or a sound card to drive a home theater, you need to plug a card into the accessory slots to upgrade the basic function.
Bottom line: Integrated graphics have become very powerful and will handle most home usage. If you add a graphics card to the computer, it will render photos faster. Not night and day faster, but significant. Unless you are into heavy-duty gaming, don't spend more than $100 or so on the graphics upgrade. You can add a lot of power for cheap these days.
Thank you all for your responses and patience!
Pierces - I looked at your picture gallery. Beautiful! I am off to find more photography classes.....(after I get a new computer!)
Thank you. I've been doing photography a lot longer than computers and it's always nice to hear that other people don't think I've wasted my time!
Good luck shopping. Post more questions if you need to.