Computer Hardware 101

June 30, 2014 Michael Ray

It is safe to say the majority of churches in this world have a computer or two.  Now, is that computer getting old or does it have a few years left in it?  Does the church have to purchase a $1000 computer or just a $500 computer?  Let’s answer those questions.

Let’s start with the basics of a computer.  All computers (Mac or PC) possess the following hardware: CPU, Memory, Hard Drive, Power Supply, and a Motherboard.  While all pieces are necessary, the first three listed truly define the price of the computer.  The CPU is the heart.  The better the CPU, the faster the computer will run.  The memory allows for multiple programs to run at the same time, the higher the number of GB (gigabytes) the better.  Typically, 4GB is a good size, but 8GB never hurts.  The hard drive is all about space.  It is rare to find drives less than 250 GB.  Most computers now feature 1 TB (terabyte) hard drives.  Now you know the basics, let’s answer the questions.

 Now, is that computer getting old or does it have a few years left in it?

Depends really.  If you are running Windows XP, it is time to upgrade.  Microsoft has officially dropped support for Windows XP.  Your options are now Windows 7 or 8.  If you are Mac user, 10.6 (Snow Leopard) then you have some time left.  Anything prior to Snow Leopard, it may be time to upgrade.  If you do plan to upgrade, you might be finding yourself purchasing new versions of the software you are currently using.  Most new computers are running a 64 bit operating system, so your old software may not be compatible.

Does the church have to purchase a $1000 computer or just a $500 computer?

Generally speaking, a $500 computer (no monitor) will serve most needs in a church.  Now for the computer being used during a worship service, it will need more power and may be around the $1000-1500 range for the hardware.  None of these prices include the software.  The main cost drivers are the CPUs and video cards.  Higher end CPUs and video cards can cost hundreds more than their cheaper counterparts.