What To Look For, When Buying Puter


Old 02-04-06, 09:16 AM
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Exclamation What To Look For, When Buying Puter


i am looking to buy a new computer. what is a decent brand? should the cpu be 2ghz or better? hard drive 80gb or better? a few gb of ram ok? its going to be for home use, and looking to spend in the neighborhood of $1500-$2000, including a flat lcd monitor, if thats possible. ty

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Old 02-04-06, 09:53 AM
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"Home use" doesn't tell us much. If you are only doing email, word processing, and basic Internet access then you don't need much. If, however, you intend to do on-line gaming or serious video editing then you need something more powerful.

I don't buy anything except Dell. I have had good luck with them and own three. At work I use a Gateway and haven't had any problems with it.

I wouldn't go less than 1 GByte of RAM. 512 Mbytes is about as low as you can go with Windows XP. I wouldn't go less than a 160 GByte hard drive. Processor speed should be at least 2.8 GHz.
Old 02-04-06, 11:35 AM
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I build home computers for people, and the biggest thing i look at when i build a computer for a client is the ability to upgrade and expand at a later date. I want my customers to be able to upgrade their computer system when they need/want to i don't want them to be forced to buy a whole new system when they have to upgrade. If you want a computer system to grow with you stay away from store bought systems and others like them. Contact a system builder and work with him/her on building the computer system that is right for you. They have no hidden charges and shipping is NORMAL not over priced. If you want, i would be more than happy to help out.

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Old 02-04-06, 12:32 PM
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Like they mentioned above, it depends on what you're using it for.
Dell, HP, and Compaq are all brands that I have used at home and at work.
All three of these are good brands, I've never had problems with either.

What to look for:
You can go to a computer shop and they'll build a system for you to your specifications, but there's also things you can check yourself if buying from a store or directly the manufacturer.

Like others, I would recommend no less than 512MB RAM, 1GB or more being ideal. Make sure that whatever amount of RAM you buy only takes up one of the two slots available for RAM. (i.e. if you buy 1GB of RAM, it should be 1 stick of RAM of 1GB, instead of 2 sticks or RAM of 512MB each). This way, you have one free slot for future upgrade.

Open Bays:
You also want to check how many empty bays are available. The empty bays come in handy if later you want to add an additional drive (DVD reader, writer, CD player, etc...) This may not be important to you if you know you won't be adding anything later. Most off the shelf computers will have at least one free bay.

Open Slots:
You want to check how many slots (PCI, AGP, etc...) are free on the computer's motherboard. These slots would be used if you're adding cards to the computer for video capture, TV tuners, wireless cards, etc... that install inside the computer.

Hard Drive:
Hard drives are relatively easy to upgrade if you've done it before and if you're willing to spend the time. This one is hard to answer for you. It depends on what you're using the computer for. If its only e-mail, word processing, web surfing, etc... you don't need much space, an 80GB drive would be enough.

If you're planning on storing a lot of pictures, videos, and media stuff on the computer, then you need a much bigger drive. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy the computer with an 80GB drive, then add a second (or third) drive purchased through a local store. (A second hard drive is always a good idea for backups as well, especially if you're storing pictures... if your hard drive crashes, you don't want to loose all those precious files). I have two 250GB drives in my Compaq desktop. The second is purely a backup drive.

These are up to you... what are you using the computer for???
You can get a CD Player, CD writer, DVD player, DVD writer, or a combination drive. It depends on what you want to be able to do.

Do you need memory card readers? To be able to plug in your memory card from your digital camera or other devices directly into the computer.

Do you need firewire connection? Mainly used for capturing video from camcorders, connecting external hard drives, etc...

Do you need a network card? To connect to other computers, the internet via DSL or Cable, etc...

I hope this helps and doesn't add to the confusion.
By the way, if you're spending the money on an LCD, may I recommend one of Dell's Ultrasharp LCDs. The 2001fp and 2005fp Ultrasharp have composite inputs built in. This means you could hook up an existing video source to it (to watch TV, movies, videos from your camcorder, etc...). I don't have one myself (yet), but I'll get one as soon as I have the money (and my wife is convinced).
Old 02-04-06, 12:51 PM
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Oh... I forgot:


Speed: The processor doesn't have to be 2GHz or better, but it's probably close to what you'll find in new computers anyway. The performance of the computer depends on the entire system. All the components play part in system performance.

For example: I have a 1.53GHz with 640MB RAM. My hard drives spin at 7200 RPM (another thing I forgot to mention in previous post). My computer runs great for word-processing, picture editing, web browsing, downloading, uploading, etc... If I want to do some serious video editing or run more complicated applications, it will start to slow down, and you can tell.

CPU Brand:
Intel and AMD are both good processors. Make sure you get an Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon (not Intel Celeron or AMD Sempron). Systems with AMD processors are cheaper than Intel processors, and in my opinion just as good... I always buy AMD for the price, can't tell the difference from other systems running Intel (for my applications).

CPU Cache:
The cache available with each of the processors will also play part in the system performance. An AMD Athlon 256KB L2 cache is better than a similar AMD Athlon with only 128KB L2 cache.

Hard Drive RPM:
An 80GB Hard Drive spinning at 7200RPM will perform better than an 80GB drive spinning at 5400RPM. Also keep that in mind!

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