Tips For Buying Hardware
your old clunker make
wheezing noises when it boots up? Has your typing become faster than
your computer? Tired of looking at the Windows hourglass for minutes at
a time? Perhaps it's time for a new
computer. Computer manufacturers continue to struggle with weak
business. Meanwhile, component manufacturers are making their goods
smaller, faster and cheaper. The upshot: You can get a good
deal on a meaty machine. View our recommended
Laptops and desktop
go through the components that make up computers.
The Microprocessor or CPU
is one of the most
expensive parts. Microprocessors for Windows machines are made by Intel
and AMD. Don't worry so much about who makes the chip. Both are good.
For Windows machines, you have a choice of the AMD Athlon XP, the Intel
Pentium 4 and the Intel Celeron, an economy chip.
The Pentium 4 and
Athlon XP are upper end chips. You may need these house
if you're doing lots of video editing, or if you're working with
computer-aided design or playing the latest games. Otherwise, look to
chips running at 2.4 GHz to 2.6 GHz (or 2400+ to 2600+, in AMD-powered
machines). They're cheaper, and they perform nearly as well as the
Celeron is a budget
chip. If you do typical office duties and surf the Web, you probably
wouldn't notice the difference between a top-end Celeron and a Pentium
4 running at the same speed. But you could save some money.
chips run at lower speeds
than those made by Intel. AMD uses the + symbol, as in 3200+, to imply
that its chips are faster than comparable Intel microprocessors,
despite running more slowly. Indeed, tests often show that to be the
case. But those are laboratory tests; you won't notice a significant
difference in either one.
& Intel have new 64-bit
microprocessors. They can crunch twice as much data as 32-bit chips.
However compatibility with drivers and programs hinders
of this power now. That will change in the future, but these expensive
new chips don't seem to offer as much value today.
RAM - Random Access Memory
will need a minimum of 256
megabytes of memory. If you can afford it, get 512 MB. I'd go to one
gigabyte or more for demanding applications, such as video editing.
Memory is relatively inexpensive, so don't skimp.
the bigger the better.
If you do a lot of video work, you need a big hard drive. Hard drives
at 200 to 250 GB are common and relatively inexpensive nowadays.
video system sends the
picture to the monitor. Many inexpensive computers use the main-system
RAM to run video. The video processor is built into the motherboard
(the main circuit board). This works, but is less desirable. Better
computers have a separate circuit board, called a graphics card. This
includes the video processor and memory. For video cards, 64 MB of RAM
is pretty standard. That's more than enough for day-to-day computing.
if you are doing video
work or playing advanced games, get a card with 128 MB of RAM. Serious
gamers usually get cards with 256 MB of RAM. Graphics cards and PC
games are evolving at a fantastic rate. Check the minimum requirements
specified by the games manufacturer before buying it else you may find
that your new game will not work with your graphics card.
Generally get the largest screen that
you can afford. Competition within the industry has forced prices down,
However go for the brands that you know and trust
Read our other top Computer tips here, You may also want to take a look at our top tips on computer software here