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Old 05-21-2014, 09:50 AM
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What to Consider When Purchasing a New Computer

It is not so much the brand name of the computer you are buying but the quality of the components/hardware installed. You also want to think about what you will be using the computer for. Each user is different.
Some people will use their computer for basic everyday tasks such as checking email, using the internet, and creating documents. Other users may be working with graphic files and programs, audio and video files and programs, some may be using the computer for gaming. So what computer you choose depends on how you will be using it and how much you would like to spend.

CPU (Central Processing Unit): It is important to choose a computer with a quality processor. The processor type and speed are one of the main factors that contribute to the overall performance of the computer. If you buy a computer with a low quality CPU you will not be happy with the choice. Even someone using the computer for everyday tasks does not want to experience slow performance, freezing up or other “glitches” when using the computer. Very low end processors have a shorter life span and are prone to overheating and other issues. Choose the highest quality processor your budget will allow for. Intel and AMD both offer budget processors, mid-range processors and top of the line processors. Do not purchase a computer with a budget processor.

RAM: Memory is also an important factor in the overall performance of your computer. Choose the maximum amount of memory your budget will allow. The quality of the memory is also important. With modern operating systems you should choose at least 4GB of memory. If you can get a system with 6GB or 8GB, you will be better equipped for high-end applications and multitasking. Most computers do not come with the maximum amount of memory the motherboard can use already installed. After you purchase your system you can add additional memory. When doing so you want to purchase memory to match what the system currently has installed. Mixing memory or purchasing low end memory can cause problems with the system. Purchase additional memory directly from the manufacturer or go to Crucials website and use their system scanner to scan your computer. http://www.crucial.com/

Hard Drive: When choosing a hard drive, the speed of the hard drive is just as important if not more important that the size of the hard drive. If given the choice always choose a 7,200-rpm hard drive over a 5,400-rpm hard drive. Computers today normally come with a 500GB or larger hard drive. The hard drive size again depends on the user. If the user is creating a lot of files, installing a lot of programs, working with and saving audio and video files they will want to choose a larger hard drive. I would recommend a 1TB drive if that is within your budget. It is better to have more space than you need than not enough. Solid state hard drives are also an option. They typically cost more than traditional IDE and SATA drives and they are smaller in size. But they dramatically improve system performance. A SSD drive has no moving parts so the failure rate of an SSD hard drive is much lower than other types of hard drives.

Graphics Card:Graphics cards can be integrated or dedicated. An integrated graphics card is built into the motherboard. There are also graphics cards that are built into the processor (CPU) these types of graphics cards share system memory, meaning that part of the memory on your computer will be assigned to the graphics card if it does not have built in memory of its own. This means less memory will be available to the system. When a graphics card borrows memory from the system it can slow the system down and cause performance issues.
A dedicated graphics card is a separate card, not built into the motherboard or CPU that have their own built in memory. If given the choice it is best to choose a graphics card that is dedicated. Graphics cards come with different ports. VGA, DVI and HDMI. If you are not replacing your monitor you want to be sure the graphics card you choose has the correct port that will accommodate your current monitor. Many graphics cards offer multiple ports. This allows for connecting different types of displays to the computer. You can also setup a dual display that will allow you to use more than one monitor at a time.
See more on graphics cards here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_card

Network Card: A network card can be integrated or dedicated. An integrated network card is built into the motherboard, a dedicated card is installed in a slot on the motherboard. Many manufacturers give you a choice on the type of network card you would like. Some desktop computers also come with a wireless network card and Bluetooth. If you would like these features include them in the configuration.

Sound Card: Most computers you buy pre-built will have an onboard sound card, meaning the card is an integrated audio chip on the motherboard. These types of cards are very basic and may work fine for some users but they also have drawbacks. Integrated sound cards call for the CPU to do much of the audio handling. This limits the resources available to other tasks. Depending on what you are doing at the time this may cause problems when listening to music or live audio. You may experience skipping and slowness issues. You can add a sound card to a PCI or PCI-E slot on the motherboard. If you play games, listen to music, watch movies you may want to consider an add-on sound card.

USB Ports: USB ports allow you to connect devices to your computer. You want to make sure the computer has enough USB ports to accommodate the hardware you would like to connect. You can buy a USB hub that will allow you to connect more than one device to a single port.

CD/DVD Drive: Consider what you would like to be able to do with your CD/DVD drive. Be sure you choose a drive that can read and burn both CD’s and DVD’s. Most new computers come with drives that offer both. You can also get a Blu-ray drive which offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVD’s. Blu-ray drives allow you to record, write and play high-definition video. LightScribe is another option to consider. Using LightScribe you can burn text and graphics to the surface of a CD or DVD. A newer technology is M-DISC optical discs. A standard disc is estimated to have a 3-5 year life expectancy. New M-DISC technology claims that the data written to the disc will be readable 1,000 years from now. The difference is the way that data is “burned” to the disc. If given the choice you may want to consider a drive with M-DISC capabilities. The price of the disc is slightly more than a traditional CD or DVD but for backup purposes they are a better choice.
Expansion: Some users will want room in a computer they buy for expansion. For example you may want to add additional hard drives or CD/DVD drives to the computer. Or add a graphics, audio, network or some other type of card or additional memory. You want to be sure the computer you purchase can accommodate the additional hardware you may want to install.

Power Supply: The power supply unit (PSU) is what gives the computer and all hardware installed on the computer power. Many users do not realize the importance of choosing a power supply with enough power capacity to run the system efficiently. Most manufacturers install inexpensive low end units that may work for the system and the current configuration but if you upgrade any hardware in the computer the power supply may not be capable of supporting the upgrade. Many problems are caused by a low quality or under powered PSU.

Warranty: Most computers come with a standard one year warranty but shop around, you may be able to find one that has a two or three year warranty.

Call Sales: After you have decided what you want in a computer call the company you would like to purchase the system from. Often you can get a better price by calling or you may be able to negotiate free shipping, a better warranty or an upgrade to hardware installed on the system.
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Last edited by Sunny; 06-16-2014 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:14 PM
acker1 acker1 is offline
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This should be a 'sticky'!

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Old 05-22-2014, 06:08 AM
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Sunny Sunny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acker1 View Post
This should be a 'sticky'!

DICK
Hi Dick, I may do that if others would like to see it be a sticky also. Glad you found it helpful. Have a good day.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:35 PM
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Emory 10046 Emory 10046 is offline
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Wish I had this information before I bought new computer with Windows 7, although I followed a similar pattern, I'm satisfied with my new computers configuration.

I agree with Acker, should be a sticky. Thanks Sunny.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:06 AM
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Sunny Sunny is offline
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Originally Posted by Emory 10046 View Post
Wish I had this information before I bought new computer with Windows 7, although I followed a similar pattern, I'm satisfied with my new computers configuration.

I agree with Acker, should be a sticky. Thanks Sunny.
Thank you Emory, I am glad you like your new computer.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:01 AM
bearcat31 bearcat31 is offline
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As always, Sunny, this is great information to have available. Please make it a 'sticky'.
John
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:14 AM
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konajill konajill is offline
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reply to new computer replies

Thanks so much for all of this information and am saving it and printing to use when deciding what to get.

Also where best to go and look as do not want Wal-mart LOL but Staples or Best or Buy are the onlt two physical places around where I live and then there is Tiger Direct but have heard both good and bad about the, and last there are a few so called computer stores that start out with no name box I guess you would call it and then go from there.
Actually my very first computer was bought from one of this type place and had no major problems at all and same with my second purchase from same guy when XP first came out and had that machine until recently but no longer live in that area. At present am using two loaners, one a slow desktop with XP on it and a newer laptop with windows 8.1 one.
Sonny you did not give me any idea on which is a smarter one to go with ..laptop or desk type. I do not use outside of my apt so not sure laptop would be the best or not and can they have more stuff added to them? I am honestly still leaning towards a desk top machine. Again thanks Sandy
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:36 PM
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I do not open this board very often but did this evening and found this sticky post by Sunny. How absolutely brilliant! I have printed a few copies to give to people who ask me to put a system together for them. They will now hopefully understand why I use the components I do.

Thank you Sunny for taking the time to put together such an incredibly helpful article.

Paul
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Old 08-09-2015, 03:31 AM
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Sunny Sunny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddie54 View Post
I do not open this board very often but did this evening and found this sticky post by Sunny. How absolutely brilliant! I have printed a few copies to give to people who ask me to put a system together for them. They will now hopefully understand why I use the components I do.

Thank you Sunny for taking the time to put together such an incredibly helpful article.

Paul
Glad you found it helpful Paul, thank you for the kind comments. And thank you to everyone else who replied, konajill, bearcat31, Emory10046 and Dick. I think a lot of people are not sure what to look for when purchasing a new computer so I hope this helps a little.
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Old 09-27-2015, 06:55 AM
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jerrypc1 jerrypc1 is offline
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Thanks Sunny I know this post has been here a while and I glanced at it a couple times but then I wasn't planning to buy a new computer now I am so I took time to read the whole thing and I found so many things that I didn't know to look for before .so I printed it off to take with me so I can remember everything .Thanks again Sunny I wish I knew computers like you do.Jerry
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Old 09-27-2015, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jerrypc1 View Post
Thanks Sunny I know this post has been here a while and I glanced at it a couple times but then I wasn't planning to buy a new computer now I am so I took time to read the whole thing and I found so many things that I didn't know to look for before .so I printed it off to take with me so I can remember everything .Thanks again Sunny I wish I knew computers like you do.Jerry
Jerry, you're welcome. I am so glad you found it helpful. Good luck with the new computer. If you need any help please let me know. Often you can find very good deals online.
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