New Computer Buying Guide


What should I look for in a new computer?


This question was answered on November 18, 2005. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Computers aren’t real cheap but they’re getting cheaper, so should you buy the cheapest one you find? The answer really depends on what you need it to do and how long you want it to be able to do it for Here’s what to look for in a new system:

1. Installed memory (RAM) - The more installed memory your PC has, the more applications you can run at once, and the better the system will perform A low-end system should have a minimum of 256MB A mid-range system should be packing about 512MB and a high-end system will have 768MB or more.

2. Processor (CPU) - Determines how quickly the PC runs applications and performs many tasks, with speed measured in millions (MHz) or billions (GHz) of operations per second A low-end system will start at around 2.4GHz; a mid-range system will get you about 2.8GHz, and a high-end system will usually run at 3.0GHz or higher.

3. Hard drive size - The larger the hard drive, the more data you can store Most business users don't need a hard drive larger than 40GB, but for mixed use, you'll need at least 80GB People who work with big databases; spreadsheets; or digital photo, music, or video files should think larger If you intend to do any editing of home movies or have a huge MP3 library, go for 120GB or more.

4. Warranty and service plan - An economy system will probably only come with a very basic 90-day parts and labor warranty with phone support It’s recommended that you don’t purchase anything with less than a one-year parts and labor warranty with phone support If you’re buying a laptop, paying extra for an extended parts and labor warranty is probably a good investment Also consider who this warranty is through; not all warranties are created equal, customer service will vary.

There may be other factors you’ll want to consider, such as a monitor, the types of optical drives (CD or DVD), and the software that comes bundled Knowing a little about the components that make up your computer can go a long way in determining what’s right for you Cheers!

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Posted by Chad of Data Doctors on November 18, 2005