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LRC Tech Page

LRC Technical Support

 Welcome to the technical support page for UAMS Faculty and Students alike.  Here we will discuss the ins and outs of computer jargon.  We hope to arm you for the fight against viruses and salesmen alike.

Nicholas Larsen is here for any and all technical questions, if you ever have a question and can’t find the answer through the various tutorials, videos, and description, please feel free to come visit him in the LRC Sun-Thurs from 2-10 PM or  e-mail him at nglarsen@uams.edu.  Nick helps students and faculty with phone or non-UAMS laptop issues from viruses to attempted data retrieval he will assist you in any way he can with a plethora of tools in his arsenal.

For any technical issues that could be solved remotely (non-internet connection issues) please submit a ticket here.

 


Computer Parts And You!

So, you just got your acceptance letter or your financial aid, and along with it came a slew of requirements for your laptop to meet, and you have NO idea where to start.  You were sent here to try and understand it, no problem, let’s get started.

There are several components you should consider when diagnosing your (old or new) laptop:

CPU Central Processing Unit, the “brain” of your computer. Processors handle all the programs that you want to run.  The more processes, or the heavier processes, you want to run, the stronger your processor needs to be. Processors (or CPU) are measured in MHz or GHz (Mega Hertz or Giga Hertz) It is required that students have at least a 1.86GHz dual core processor, this requirement is nothing to worry about as processors that slow haven’t been in production in years.  Right now the slowest processor you’ll find is about a 3.4 GHz dual core
GPU Graphics Processing Unit (Graphics Card, GFX Card, GPU, and Video Card are all for better or worse interchangeably used) process visual information for your computer so this is the part of the computer that actually lets you “See” what the processor is doing along with assisting the processor in graphics heavy environments like video games or 3D image
rendering software.  Graphics cards’ power is measured in memory with either GDDR3 or 5 after it(For Example: 2GB GDDR5).  GDDR3 is slower than GDDR5. (GDDR Stands for Graphics Double Data Rate).
The video requirements for UAMS are very low, and you don’t have much to worry about with this part, however it is one of the core components that you should be aware of when purchasing a new computer. You want something with no less than 512MB of GDDR3.
RAM RAM, or Random Access Memory, assists the processor by storing data for rapid access.  RAM is measured in memory
size then specification (DDR2 or 3).
(For example: 2GB DDR3)
You need at least 2GB of DDR2, when buying a laptop anything over 8GB is useless as 99% of programs don’t even harness 4GB of data, and most are under 100MB.
Hard Drive Space The most common knowledge among people, however one of the most common mistakes lamens make is Hard Drive space determines the speed and quality of a computer.  Outside of really technical jargon and about 20GB of spare space, they have very little to do with the speed of your computer.
Hard Drives are measured by 3 standards:

  • HDD or SSD (Hard Disk Drive or Solid State Drive)
  • Size in GB or TB (Gigabytes or Terabytes (1000 GB))
  • RPMS  (5400 is standard 7000+ is “faster”)
There isn’t much you need to worry about with this, Make sure you have at 250 GB free for school as we will be giving you a lot of information and we want to make sure you have enough space for it all.
Screen Size/Tablets After all the technical stuff this may seem like such a small factor but it is, in fact, an important one to consider.  You’ll be with this laptop for the next 4 years potentially and size matters. The main thing you need to know is not to get a Netbook or tablet for primary use.  Netbooks and tablets are great but they cannot accomplish your goals here at UAMS.  We use software here that doesn’t have tablet support and that has hurt several students in the past.
Peripherals Things people often forget to consider when buying a laptop:
CD/DVD Capability
SD Card Reader
Firewire (If you need it)
When buying a laptop, just remember to always get the specifics and make sure
it has every thing you need.  Some laptops only have 1 USB port, what if you
need to use a mouse and keyboard simultaneously for higher precision?Always consider the specifics when spending over $400 on anything.

 

The Red Room

Nicholas Larsen and Tim Muren have been working on videos to showcase various services that the Library and UAMS provides along with tech tips and tutorials.