The PC builder bluffer's guide – all the info you need to convince the world of your tech cred
Our useful techie glossary of phrases will give you all the key phrases you’ll ever need to memorise to masquerade as a PC professional. Whether you need to sustain appearances, or simply merely bypass the advertising and marketing lingo for your newest element buy, we have you coated.
Find all the you need to construct your personal machine with our useful guides.
Technology develops fairly quick. If you do not cease and go searching on occasion, you may miss it. And the phrases used to describe the newest and best PC gaming develop even quicker. Especially when producers title their very own merchandise with full disregard for traditional naming conventions, we’re taking a look at you guys, Intel and AMD.
Maybe you need a brand new processor, however do not know what you need. Maybe you need to know what kind of board you can slot in your diddy PC case. Or perhaps you simply need to choose up a brand new SSD and you’re drained of attempting to determine your manner by means of all the advertising and marketing jargon. Whatever your purpose, we will guide you by means of the terminology wilderness.
We’ve gathered the most essential key phrases right here, for straightforward entry, however clicking on the fast hyperlinks under will take you to the in-depth web page for every part.
Processor | Motherboard | Graphics card | Memory | Storage | Monitors |
Power provide | Mouse | Keyboard | Audio
Think you’re prepared to overclock? Wondering what to do with all that extra liquid nitrogen? You need to study to speak earlier than you can run, so we advocate you begin off with our useful guide to every thing CPU.
You would possibly simply be questioning how to choose a processor appropriate for your wants. Understanding the technical phrases would possibly imply you gained’t purchase a processor that doesn’t slot in your motherboard socket, or unintentionally drop a pair of grand on a 32-core server chip for your DOTA2 machine.
- Cores: The cores are the precise processing items inside a CPU, with a number of cores making up a single processor
- Threads: Cores can typically run a number of operations at one time due to a expertise referred to as HyperThreading on Intel CPUs and Simultaneous Multi Threading (SMT) on AMD chips.
- Socket: The socket by which a CPU connects to a motherboard and subsequently different parts inside a pc. Commonly employed as LGA (land grid array), PGA (pin grid array), or BGA (ball grid array) designs to create the a number of contact factors between chip and board.
Check out the full processor glossary.
The motherboard is a PC’s hub for connectivity and options. Pick the improper one and you can severely restrict the options obtainable to you, particularly down the line when you look to add extra or improve.
If you aren’t certain if you’ll need a couple of PCIe, or if you’ll need a water block fan header, then our guide to helpful phrases may help you out.
- Chipset: The chipset is a set of built-in circuits on a motherboard. The chipset manages many of the connections with the CPU, akin to, the inputs and outputs, LAN, Storage, and Audio, though many of these connections at the moment are being constructed into the processors. The chipset additionally provides additional PCIe lanes on high of these built-in into the CPU.
- Form Factor: EATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX,listed from largest to smallest. Various dimension requirements have been designed for prolonged, or minimize-down, connectivity to match completely different case designs. Mini ITX is the smallest of these listed, typically with solely a single PCIe slot and generally even reminiscence slots for pocket book reminiscence (SODIMM) relatively than common desktop DIMM slots. EATX provides an excellent wider ATX board, with extra options and connectivity than an ATX motherboard.
- PCI-e Lanes: The peripheral element interconnect categorical is the newest excessive velocity bus connecting peripherals, akin to graphics playing cards, to the CPU. They are made up of a number of lanes permitting simultaneous ship and obtain alerts per lane. Graphics playing cards typically use PCIe connections that make use of 16x lanes for elevated bandwidth.
Check out the full motherboard glossary.
If you need to show to your console pals that your graphics card is, past a shadow of a doubt, higher than their new Xbox One X, then you’ll need to study all about graphics playing cards and what makes them tick.
Once you know all about your TeraFLOPS you can throw down information on your pals till they buckle, or till you haven’t any pals. Either manner, you’ve all learnt one thing.
- Video reminiscence: The reminiscence used on a graphics card to retailer data the GPU requires, and is working with, akin to the body buffer and textures.
- PCB: Printed circuit board. The PCB accommodates the connections for permitting the parts of a system talk and obtain energy.
- FLOPS: The quantity of floating level operations per second – helpful for measure compute efficiency of a tool. A teraflop is a million million operations per second.
Check out the full graphics card glossary.
So you’ve simply picked up some new reminiscence, plugged it in and, excellent news! The laptop begins up and nothing appears damaged… however wait. Why is it operating a lot slower than what it says on the field?!
You might really feel ripped off, however earlier than you ship that offended e-mail, check out our guide to reminiscence jargon. Soon sufficient, you’ll be up and operating with your reminiscence purring alongside at marketed speeds, and you gained’t even have to shout at customer support. Everybody wins.
- Speed: This is the clockspeed that the reminiscence runs at. For gaming, reminiscence velocity just isn’t a massively essential issue, inside cheap speeds.
- DDR (Double knowledge price): Transfers knowledge twice per clock, permitting for extra knowledge to be transferred. The present most typical reminiscence customary is DDR4, though DDR3 continues to be widespread amongst some older PCs. DDR4 provides larger frequencies, higher bandwidth, and decrease energy consumption than DDR3 modules.
- XMP: An Intel-supported customary that may be turned on inside the BIOS of XMP-supported motherboards to enable larger frequencies than normally supported. XMP profiles are preset by the producers.
Check out the full reminiscence glossary.
If you aren’t certain why one SSD prices huge quantities greater than one other, and you can’t discover a straight reply on the product web page, then you’ve come to the proper place.
SSDs are such a key element in fashionable PCs they usually are available many sizes and shapes. Not understanding the phrases can depart you stranded with an SSD that value you an excessive amount of, or doesn’t provide you the efficiency enhance you might have hoped for.
- SATA: Interface for storage drives, at present utilises the AHCI protocol with a tough bandwidth restrict of 600MB/s on inputs and outputs throughout the interface.
- PCIe: Interface used for the quickest shopper storage drives – can use AHCI and NVMe protocols.
- NVMe: Protocol – quick, designed for SSD – up to three,500MB/s
Check out the full storage glossary.
Need a 4K, ultrawide, G-Sync, 240Hz, Quantum dot monitor? You more than likely don’t, however it may be tough to determine what you really need when looking for a monitor.
Even if you’ve acquired the good monitor, and you simply need to know extra about the tech, our guide is a superb place to begin your analysis.
- Resolution: The quantity of pixels obtainable to show a picture on the monitor, historically measured in top and width.
- Refresh price: How many instances the monitor refreshes the picture inside one second. The customary is 60Hz, however it may be up to 240 and even 480Hz.
- Response instances: How rapidly the pixels change to the new data given to them – low response instances leads to ghosting and movement blur.
Check out the full monitor glossary.
The PSU is a massively underappreciated element in PC constructing. It pushes voltage to the most delicate and complicated techniques, which might be was costly paperweights by even the slightest surge of energy.
Knowing your 80+ Titanium PSU from your unbranded ebay knock-off can save you cash on your electrical energy payments in the future, and stop full system meltdown and catastrophe.
- Rails: 12V, 5V, 5VSB, three.3V – the connections that ship energy to parts in your system.
- Modular: All cables might be eliminated and connected as required, offering simpler cable-tidying and elevated airflow.
- 80+ Efficiency scores: Products with 80+ score can obtain 80% power effectivity at 20%, 50% and 100% rated load. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium enhance on effectivity from 80% up to 94%
Check out the full energy provide glossary.
Get to know your rodent with our useful guide. It’s not essentially worthwhile to exit and purchase a laser mouse with 16000 DPI simply because it’s touted as the finest by a sponsored esports grasp.
Unless, of course, you are masquerading as an esports grasp, by which case, nobody will imagine you with out some high quality mouse information, and that’s the place our guide is available in.
- Laser sensor: These sensors bounce laser gentle off a floor to measure the distance travelled. It provides larger DPI scores and works on any floor, however requires acceleration to translate the movement of the machine to motion on the display screen which may have an effect on the consistency of movement.
- Optical sensor: An typically cheaper, extra constant sensor, utilizing infrared gentle. That means they need a mousemat for dependable use, however present 1:1 monitoring. Traditionally they provided decrease DPI settings, however that’s more and more a factor of the previous with the finest sensors now being optical.
- DPI/CPI: Dots per inch and counts per inch, that is how the mouse measures how exactly it might probably monitor motion. Some mice can change DPI on-the-fly with particular buttons.
Check out the full mouse glossary.
Annoy your everybody with one easy buy! Cherry MX Blue switches won’t ever stop to bug your fellow workplace/home mates. However, if you really like individuals, you would possibly need to take a look at our glossary of keyboard phrases to keep away from the most clickiest and clackiest key switches obtainable to you.
Mechanical keyboards are an unimaginable expertise in contrast to their membrane counterparts, however there are rather a lot of completely different options and switches on the market. We’ve compiled a breakdown of all the phrases you’ll need to get began in your sadly by no means-ending quest for the good board.
- Mechanical: A bodily change with actuation level on keypress. In some instances provides tactile suggestions.
- Tactile: Keys that provide a bodily click on when actuated.
- Linear: Keys that provide no tactile suggestions as soon as actuated. Popular for players.
Check out the full keyboard glossary.
Want to achieve the benefit in gaming with a full encompass sound setup? Maybe you simply purchased the finest headphones on the market and they’re too quiet?
Whatever the case, understanding the phrases and phrases is the first step in the direction of getting your personal perfect audio setup.
- Drivers: The element inside headphones that converts the electrical sign into sound. The bigger the driver, the extra highly effective the output, however that doesn’t essentially equate to larger high quality. Driver high quality is vital in creating the finest sound high quality.
- Amp: Power amplifier used to push a louder and higher sound expertise.
- DAC: Digital-to-analogue converter, this converts the digital sign to analogue and utilise larger bitrate and sound high quality.
Check out the full audio glossary.