the "Brain" of the computer, handles processing of data.
power measured in 2 ways:
Ghz. This is the frequency the processor runs at (and is the most commonly cited number) 1.6Ghz, 2.4Ghz are examples. The faster the frequency, the quicker the processor handles it's computations. Up until 5-6 years ago, this was the only way to measure the performance of a processor.
CORES: a few years ago, processor designers started to hit a limit wall on Ghz with existing technology. I'll skip most of the history lesson, but the eventual answer they came up with. . instead of faster Ghz, was to put 2 "cores" (essentially 2 processors) into one package. So you may only have a 1.6 Ghz processor, but that's PER processor. So in this instance, assuming your software will take advantage of both cores, A dual core 1.6 Ghz processor will handle your task generically twice as fast as a single core 1.6Ghz processor.
Today's modern processors can have 4 or more cores. Some of the new intel processors also use what they call "turbo boost technology". In software that can only use 1 core, the processor will actually speed that core up or "overoclock" that one core in order to have the computer run the program faster. Even more confusing in the intel line is what they call "hyperthreading" skipping all the boring technicals, this allows each processor in the computer to act like 2 processors.
So, for example, the Asus G73 has a 1.6Ghz quad core processor. It has 4 cores, and each core acts like 2 cores, for a total of 8 cores [4 virtual, 4 physical] When only using one core, it speeds itself up to 2.8Ghz. With programs like FFXIV, the processor will most likely benefit from all cores. Each core is running at 1.6Ghz, but that's 1.6Ghz X 8 = 12.9Ghz worth of power.
These numbers may not be exact, I'm just trying to give you a basic idea of how processors work.
For video cards, it's very similar. These cards have specially designed graphics PROCESSORS that handle your video calculations. They have their own performance numbers, but instead of being refered to by their processor speed, they're referred to by their model number. It's really kind of confusing, especially since Nvida keeps rebranding their old hardware. Like normal computers, video cards today are typically built with their own onboard memory. The type of memory, measured in GDDR or Graphics Double Data Rate. That's a big name you don't need to worry about. Generally, the higher the number is "faster" ram (GDDR3 is slower than GDDR5) Also, obviously, the amount of ram on the video card makes a difference (1Gig VS 512Mb [which is half a gig]).
Overall though, the ram is not as important as the graphics PROCESSOR. Again, it can be kind of difficult to classify nvidia, but I'll try to give you an idea of how to judge high power cards from low:
Used to use a 4 number system (6000-9000 series) The higher the number, the faster the card. it seems like now they've moved to a 3 numer system (200 series, 300s series, 400 series) The 200 series is good enough for games several years old, may play relatively new games on low settings. 300 series have more power, and the 400 series are even more powerful (Currently the newest cards on the market)
Ati works similarly, with 4000 series and 5000 series cards. This does not mean that all cards in a series perform the same. An nvidia 420 gfx card is nowhere NEAR as powerful as the brand new 480 series.
Confusing, I know. And it gets worse.
Notebook computers use "mobile versions" of desktop computer cards. Using the Asus G73, for example, it has an ATi Radeon 5970 mobile graphics card. This DOES NOT MEAN that it has the same performance as a desktop with a 5870. I wanna estimate that a mobile card will have roughly half the performance of it's desktop counterpart, and it may be even less than that. THIS is why it is recommended to go desktop over notebook for heavy gaming. You can get a lot more performance for a lot less cash going desktop vs notebook.
Hopefully, this will help you at least understand the basics of computer performance. If you have any questions, google is an AWESOME tool of learning and discovering. Thank you for reading, and have a great day ^^