Monday, January 3, 2022 10:16PM EST


  1. What is the difference between a notebook and a laptop?
  2. Nothing, fundamentally. Notebooks though, tend to be thinner and lighter.

  3. What is a gaming computer?
  4. Any high-performance system equipped with a dedicated/discrete video card and memory necessary to run most resource-intensive video games fluidly. Note that gaming is a purely marketing term; any computer with specs capable of handling such games effectively qualifies as a gaming computer. Computers and components sold for purely gaming purposes also tend to exhibit design cues uncommon to most consumer units, such as colored (RGB) lighting, tampered glass, and an overall sports aesthetic.

  5. Is it better to put a computer to sleep or shut it down?
  6. Depends on circumstance. Sleep is usually momentary; the computer saves its current state and enters a low-power mode to reduce energy. This allows you to resume where you left off quickly. Shutting down of course, turns the computer off, and is the better choice for extended periods of nonuse, like before going to bed. Shutdowns also give the computer the opportunity to purge its memory, allowing for more consistent performance the next time it's used.

  7. What is the best brand of computer?
  8. Personal preference. Dell and HP are probably the most widely seen in retail.


  1. What is a refresh rate?
  2. The speed, measured in hertz (Hz), that a monitor redraws frames. The faster the rate, the more fluid objects in motion will appear. Note that this is separate from framerate, which varies between applications, and is affected by computer performance. General purpose monitors usually have a base refresh rate of 60Hz, while gaming monitors commonly have rates of 144Hz and higher.

  3. What is gray-to-gray (GtG)?
  4. The speed, measured in milliseconds, that pixels change from one tone of gray to another. The faster the speed, the better things like motion and transitions will appear. Note that this is a purely gaming monitor metric and almost never applies to general purpose units. GtG is also sometimes known informally as the response rate. As GtG is measured differently by manufacturers, it is not standardized.

  5. How do you clean a monitor or laptop screen?
  6. Glass cleaner and a microfiber or window cloth. Avoid using napkins or paper towel; the fibers in them can scratch the screen. Make sure the monitor is unplugged, preferably flat on its back, before you clean. Spray the cloth directly; do not spray the screen. Choose a direction to wipe and do so in strokes from edge to edge. Apply extra pressure on particularly dirty areas. Once finished, use a portion of the cloth that isn't wet and apply even pressure in circular motions to buff out streaks.

  7. What is a gaming monitor?
  8. A monitor with a refresh rate generally above 120Hz (144Hz and higher commonly), and varying degrees of gray-to-gray (GtG).


  1. What are those Celeron, Pentium, and i3, i5 and i7 labels mean?
  2. These designations indicate that an Intel Corporation brand of processor is used in the system. Each one is graded for speed, performance, and application. Celeron and Pentium are the least powerful and expensive, often found in budget systems. The Core i-series is Intel's premium line of processor: i3 for general purpose computing and light multitasking, i5 for medium to high-performance and some gaming, i7 for high-performance and gaming, and i9 almost exclusively for gaming.

  3. What are those Athlon and Ryzen labels mean?
  4. These designations indicate that an AMD brand of processor is used in the system. Each one is graded for speed, performance, and application. Athlon is the least powerful and expensive model, often found in budget systems. The Ryzen series is AMD's more premium line of processor: 3 for general purpose computing and light multitasking, 5 for medium to high-performance and some gaming, 7 for high-performance and gaming, and 9 almost exclusively for gaming.


  1. How much memory is good for a computer?
  2. Depends on need. The more memory your computer has, the more things it can do simultaneously. Insufficient memory will make it difficult for the computer to keep up with tasks, causing programs and the system to lag or crash. Larger amounts are best paired with fast processors.

    Some common amounts include:

    • 4GB. The lowest acceptable amount today. Usually found in budget systems.
    • 8GB. Ideal for light multitasking. Is more or less the consumer standard today.
    • 12GB Moderate multitasking; ideal threshold for gaming and creative applications.
    • 16GB Heavy multitasking. Gold standard for all high-performance needs and gaming.
    • 24GB Creative applications.
    • 32GB Reserved for the most resource-intensive multitasking and creative applications. Anything larger than this is wholly unnecessary to consumers.

    Note that each computer has a limit to how much memory it accepts, if it allows upgrades at all. Make sure to check official documentation for your system before purchasing additional memory.


  1. Does the brand of printer matter in relation to the computer?
  2. No. All modern printers are compatible with any Windows, macOS, or Chrome OS system.

  3. Why is ink so expensive? Are aftermarket cartridges a good alternative?
  4. Printers are sold at a loss to the manufacturer; ink and toner, which cost substantially less to produce, expectedly make up the difference in volume sales.

    In the case of remanufactured inks and toners, while they often do cost much less than genuine product, using them comes with risk. They're known to leak, the quality of their contents is often inconsistent, and ink or toner that is improperly formulated can damage the printer, often voiding any remaining warranty. For this reason, manufacturers do not encourage them.

  5. Why do some inkjet printers require that all cartridges be installed to print? I don't print in color, so why do I have to have it?
  6. A few reasons. Some printers that have routine maintenance sacrifice ink in order to maintain reliability and function, like cleaning the nozzles of dried ink deposits. Printing with empty cartridges may also cause the printer to suck in air during prints, which can damage the printhead. Check if your printer has a black and white (B&W) or black only mode that you can use to bypass color if you do not intend to use or purchase it.

  7. What is the difference between an inkjet and laser printer?
  8. Inkjets use ink for printing, lasers use toner. Lasers produce superior results and use their toner more economically than ink, but are more expensive.

  9. Which is better: fax or scanning and emailing?
  10. Depends on need. Operating a fax requires a landline; both a telephone and fax can share the same line, but cannot access it at the same time. When this isn't feasible, a second line must be implemented specifically for the fax. The benefit of fax is simplicity; any number of pages can be sent to a recipient with just a phone number. Scanning documents and emailing them as attachments has the benefit of being free, however the process is lengthier, attachments that exceed a certain file size will be rejected, and users unfamiliar or unable to create multi-page documents may need to individually attach them to potentially many emails.


  1. What is the difference between a hard drive and a solid-state drive?
  2. Hard drives are mechanical, solid-states are not. With the former, information is stored on spinning magnetic disks, whereas the latter uses flash memory, like thumb drives. Because of this, solid-states use considerably less power, produce no noise, do not fragment, generate little to no heat, and are on average 8 to 10 times faster than hard drives.

  3. What is a cloud?
  4. A cloud is a form of storage where data is saved remotely, but accessed much in the same way it would be if saved locally. Cloud services are often set up on multiple devices and synced to ensure that data remains the same no matter what device accesses it. Examples of clouds include iCloud, OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox.


  1. What is the difference between Wi-Fi and wireless?
  2. Nothing. Wi-Fi is an informative trademark for wireless capable devices.

  3. What is the difference between a modem and a router?
  4. A modem connects a telephone or cable line to the Internet, while a router allows a computer or resource access to it.

  5. What is an IP address?
  6. An Internet Protocol address is a sequence of numbers and sometimes letters that identifies a device on a network. The most common use of the term is usually in reference to one's public IP address; that is, the one your computer is assigned for the Internet. It should be noted that this address does not contain or provide any form of personal information, like your name, home address, or phone number to those who look it up. This information is strictly the business of your Internet Service Provider.

  7. What is VPN?
  8. A virtual private network is a technique of concealing the origin of a user over the Internet by having one's computer connect first to a remote server (in another city, state or country altogether) before connecting a destination, like a website. This has the effect of changing the public IP address of the user so as to appear somewhere than they actually are.

    VPN is primarily used for anonymity or to access resources unavailable in one's country. Note that some websites will refuse such connections and that VPN may cause other unexpected issues, such as emails failing to send. Free and commercial VPN services are available, however paid subscriptions tend to have the most reliable servers.

  9. What is the difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless?
  10. Speed and range. 2.4GHz has a larger range but slower speed, while 5GHz has a shorter range but comparitively faster speed. Note that some older devices do not support 5GHz.


  1. What is a browser?
  2. A program that facilitates access to websites. Examples include Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

  3. What is the difference between Windows and Office?
  4. Windows is an operating system, while Office is a software suite of programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Both are developed by Microsoft.


  1. I have fast Internet but my computer is slow. Why?
  2. The speed of your Internet has no effect on how fast your computer performs. Access to the Internet merely provides a gateway to information; how fast that information is then processed by your computer is contingent on how fast your computer is on it's own. For this reason, an opposite effect can potentially occur, where a slow computer struggles to process data from faster Internet.

  3. I just bought a brand new computer and it's really slow. Why?
  4. Speed is based on two factors: storage device type, and processor. As information saved in storage is sent to memory, and then retrieved by the processor, how quickly your storage can send data and how fast the processor can then parse it ultimately decides performance. Hard drives, being mechanical, can operate only as fast as their components allow them to; the slower the drive is, the slower data is sent. Solid-state drives on the other hand, being digital, send data almost instantly, meaning the processor has less waiting to do.

2022 Matt Day // Valce