Ok this will be sort of a list post. I am going to define the terms most commonly used with computers so you’ll get a basic understanding of what all these things mean.

  • CPU Central Processing Unit – this is the workhorse of your computer. It does all the calculations and process management necessary to run the system. Think of this as the foreman of the construction site, everything passes through it and it delegates responsibility.
  • GHz Gigahertz – Giga in computer terms means 1 billion and Hertz is a unit of measure that means ‘cycles per second’ Imagine running around a track 1 time in 1 second, that is 1 hertz.
  • RAM Random Access Memory – This is where you computer temporarily stores data and retrieves it as needed. This determines how fast programs will open up and how many windows you can have open at one time before your computer just gives up. Think of this as sets of file cabinets that you rapidly put paperwork into and take it out of.
  • HDDHard Disk Drive – More commonly called the ‘hard drive’ or ‘hard disk’, this is your storage space for all your files and pictures. This is a permanent space that holds all of your stuff, sort of like a safe deposit box. Your HDD and RAM share one thing in that they both are measured in Bytes, be it Mega or Giga.
  • MB, GBMegaBytes, GigaBytes – another unit of measure for your computer. Mega means 1 million and Giga means 1 billion. If your hard drive is a safe deposit box, then having a box the size of a building would best illustrate that capacity using these terms.

Well thats about all the terms that need to be explained right now. If you would like to get some reading done, these are some decent books that I would suggest: Windows XP For Dummies, 2nd Edition, and PCs For Dummies (Pcs for Dummies). These are some excellent books that attempt to use simple terms just like this site.