Most households have at least one computer and you may be in the market for a new desktop computer. But there are so many computers to choose from and it’s hard to know which specifications you really need. You can make a good start by understanding the essentials and considering how these match with your requirements.
Processor type and speed: Intel or AMD, 32bit or 64 bit, dual core or single core; the processor is one of the major limiting factors for computer speed.
RAM type and size: DDR or DDR2, at least 256MB; the other component affecting speed. Multimedia operations demand more RAM than basic functions.
Hard drive type and size: PATA, SATA or even SATA II, from 40GB to 1,000GB or even higher. The hard drive stores all the programs and data; the bigger it is, the more you can store.
Monitor type: CRT or LCD; each has different advantages and disadvantages.
Operating System: Some operating systems do not support dual core computers and various multimedia plug-ins. Ensure that the operating system you chose is compatible with the computer system you want.
When considering your needs it can help to ask yourself a series of questions. You can then relate your answers to the key features of desktops.
Q. What will I primarily use the desktop computer for?
A. Your computer be might be used for work or you may use it primarily to surf the internet and check your email. You might want to use desktop publishing programs or to have the ability to edit videos on your desktop. You may want to play games. The more graphics and screen action orientated your needs, the faster your computer and graphics card need to be.
Q. What accessories do I need?
A. Accessories include webcams, keyboard, mouse, speakers, modem, graphic cards, and headphones. If you want access to the internet you will need a modem built in or external to the computer. Some desktop computer packages come with numerous accessories.
Q. What is my budget?
A. A desktop computer can cost a great deal of money if you want something fancy with lots of memory and good graphics cards for gaming. A basic model can be reasonably inexpensive to start with but you may find down the track that you need more memory and have to upgrade.
Q. What type of computer case do I need?
A. Cases come standing (tower) or flat (desktop). Make sure the case you chose fits the space you intend to use it in. Also, if you intend to attach device such as a digital camera or external hard drive that the ports are easily accessible and easy to use.
If you only use your computer for basic functions such as emailing, word processing or playing games then you can save money by purchasing a single-core processor. But if you want to make video conversions, run multiple programs at once or convert music CD’s to MP3s, you should invest in a faster dual-core processor. 1.6 to 3.2GHz are speeds you should be looking for.
Tip: Regardless of where you purchase your desktop computer, make sure you know what type of warranty you receive. Even brand new computers are susceptible to unexpected occurrences, through no fault of your own, such as a hard drive dying a few months after purchase.
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