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Thursday, 14 October 2010

How to Buy a Personal Computer

The computer salesperson says I should buy as much "RAM" as I can get, with a huge hard drive. Ah, what did he say? Help!

Every day thousands of regular "non-geeks" try to unscramble the secret codes to purchasing a personal computer. And all too often, they let the salesperson decide what to give them. Don't let the 15 year old salesperson run you over. You can make better decisions if you follow the below hints:

#1 Buy according to your need. If you plan on doing nothing but sending emails, you can get away with "last year's technology," and avoid buying the latest and greatest, which comes with a big price tag. If you are using an application (software program) for work, and you know it's going to be necessary to have a safe, reliable, and fast performance, then you need to have the greatest and latest technology.

#2 If you know you'll need certain high-performance software packages, like Microsoft Professional Suite, then pony up and pay the extra money. if you just want to play solitaire, and don't want to pay extra money for non-essential software, then tell the salesperson that, up front.

#3 If you love high performance graphics, you need a high performance "graphics card", which is to say, you'll need to buy a non-standard circuit board to achieve better, faster graphics.

#4 A standard mouse is cheaper than a "hands free" mouse. Do you feel the lack of cord is important to you?

#5 A standard keyboard is kinda cheesy, but maybe you'll only be on the computer for thirty minutes per day, so it's going to be just fine for your use.

#6 Ram. Ram stands for "Random Access Memory" Get lots of it. Why? Every year people want faster and faster graphics with the latest looks. It becomes a serious burden to older (small Ram) machines to just keep up. What is OK for now, becomes way too little in the next few years.

#6 Hard Drives. Get a standard hard drive of between 80 Gig to 160 Gig. And I am assuming you will not be saving full length movies, because even these large drives can run out of memory if you have large needs. For regular emailing, family pictures, and a lot of letters, you'll never reach an out-of-memory condition.

You can also save money by purchasing 13" monitors, rather than huge 17" screens. Why do you need a huge screen? Both will perform equally well for years. And finally, don't be in a hurry. Once you've figured out what kind of system you will need, shop around. Don't buy a really old machine, unless you know it's been cleaned and serviced by some talented techie. I've been successful purchasing on-line, and you might find better deals there, too.

And finally, ask somebody you trust that already owns and knows computers. They have probably been in your shoes just a few years ago. Happy computing!

Jake Earl is an author and happy computer user.


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