The computer is an amazingly useful general-purpose technology, to the point that now cameras, phones, thermostats, and more are all now little computers. This section will introduce major parts and themes of how computer hardware works. "Hardware" refers the physical parts of the computer, and "software" refers to the code that runs on the computer.
Renting online hardware can offer many advantages. Amazon, for example, highlight how EC2 is elastic - because it allows users to increase or decrease their requirements within minutes, flexible - because users can choose the specification of each individual instance of computing power, inexpensive - as no dedicated capital investment is required, and reliable - as EC2 makes use of Amazon's proven data centres and network infrastructure.
As a basic rule, unless a computer is going to be used to handle 3D graphics or to undertake a significant volume of video editing or recording, today there is little point in opting for anything other than onboard graphics (not least because separate graphics cards consume quite a lot of electricity and create quite a lot of heat and noise). Adding a new graphics card to a computer with onboard graphics is also a very easy upgrade if required in the future.
Drives -- A drive is a device intended to store data when it's not in use. A hard drive or solid state drive stores a PC's operating system and software, which we'll look at more closely later. This category also includes optical drives such as those used for reading and writing CD, DVD and Blu-ray media. A drive connects to the motherboard based on the type of drive controller technology it uses, including the older IDE standard and the newer SATA standard.

If you are using a desktop you can always add more hard drives or Solid State Drives to your computer, they connected to the motherboard on the inside of the computer. Your operating system, which I will get into more detail later, is installed into your hard drive and is necessary to run a computer. If you’re using a laptop, your hard drive will be installed into the laptop from the start and there will be no way to add any new hard drives as there’s no space inside the laptop. Should want to add more storage to your laptop, you can buy external storage devices that connect via usb or firewire to your laptop and will store your data.
Hard disk drives are the high capacity storage devices inside a computer from which software and user data are loaded. Like most other modern storage devices, the capacity of the one or more internal hard disks inside a computer is measured in gigabytes (GB), as detailed on the storage page. Today 40GB is an absolute minimum hard drive size for a new computer running Windows 7, with a far larger capacity being recommended in any situation where more than office software is going to be installed. Where a computer will frequently be used to edit video, a second internal hard disk dedicated only to video storage is highly recommended for stable operation. Indeed, for professional video editing using a program like Premiere Pro CS5, Adobe now recommend that a PC has at least three internal hard disks (one for the operating system and programs, one for video project files, and one for video media). This is also not advice to be lightly ignored if you want your computer to actually work!
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