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Buying A New Computer


Buying a new computer?

  • System Tips
    If you are buying a new computer, make sure you get Windows XP (why pay for an old operations system?)  XP has the stability of Windows 2000 and the "user friendly" interface like Apple computers. If you wish to do high-end graphic design and/or video editing you should stick with Windows2000 for stability.  The only problem with Windows 2000 is that there are often "compatibility problems" so you will need to make sure that all your external hardware and software  (i.e scanner, CDRW) will work.  You can have the same type of compatibility problems upgrading to XP or Windows 2000 as well so check first.

  • Case Tips
    Buy a computer with a large case and less "integrated" features like video and sound for better "upgradeability". E-Machines in particular, use small cases that make it difficult to add additional drives etc.

  • Monitor Tips
    Buy a high quality 17" monitor.  Wait on the LCD flat screen models until the price drops more unless you "just have to have one". Recommended Brands: KDS, Hansol, View Sonic.

  • Printer Tips
    Printer prices have dropped tremendously in the last few years but I would not recommend buying a low-end printer (less then $70), because the construction of low-end models is more prone to jamming and problems.  I also would not spend more then $250 on an inkjet printer, because the quality after that point is higher than most people require, unless you have specific photo quality printing needs.  I prefer HP printers because of the availability of printing cartridges, durability and customer service.  Lexus printers are a bit too cheaply made for my requirements and personally I don't prefer Epson printers either. Canon makes some great printers but I would not buy the lower-priced models. Also avoid buying an "All in one" system I.e. fax, scanner, copier etc, because of the high rate of problems and connectivity.

  • Memory Tips
    Memory prices have never been lower so everyone should have at least 128 MB of RAM because it improves performance so much.  I use 256 MB of RAM and that is the amount I  would recommend for all new computers unless you are a power user and need 512 RAM. The new DR RAM is slightly faster and necessary for some Pentium machines, however, most users will not notice a performance improvement.

  • Sound Tips
    Use better speakers than the ones provided with most new PCs.  Spend $29 to $49 on some new speaker for much better sound.  Most new computers come with built-in sound. However, if you want to hear music in stereo quality, you should get a separate sound card installed.


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Revised: November 21, 2007