Buying a new PC made EASY!
OK my friend, so you need a new system. Chances are, you are going to be purchasing a used system on E-bay, but is new to you. THIS DOESN'T HAVE TO BE HARD, BUT IS GOING TO TAKE SOME TIME AND HOMEWORK! Step ONE: Learn what you need! Take a big deap breath, get out a sheet of paper, and write down what you are going to do with the machine. If for a home business, you will probably be running a version of Quickbooks. If you are a gamer or the kids are, make a list of the games you are interested in purchasing. If you are going to draft the next Sci-Fi master piece, complete with high end graphics, look at the software you need. Step TWO: Software first! Write down what the requirements are for the software you are intending to run. DON'T ASSUME ANYTHING! If you are going to buy for specific games, look at what video cards are supported. Do not think that because a computer has a nice sounding integrated video, that it will work with the latest games. Chances are very good...IT WON'T! Step THREE: Matching system to requirements. This may be the best learning tool of all, because you are now having to assertain how much it is going to cost to do all the things you want. It just doesn't make any sense to buy a new system, only to have to spend more on costly upgrades in a very short time. What you spend initially, will be the least amount of money you spend in the long run. Realize also, that probably no other item depreciates quicker than a computer. The old addage that once you buy it and get it home and set up, it is worth half of what you paid for it is often times accurate. Whether you order it from Dell or HP, or buy it at Best Buy or Walmart, it is going to rapidly be worth less and less each day. It has been that way since IBM introduced the PC! Now, GET OVER IT! Think of it as a cost of doing business. SYSTEM BASICS: 1) You can't have enough RAM! With modern computers, this is more true today than ever. The RAM memory is what moves along the programs so you aren't having to wait. Anymore, 1 gig is pretty much standard. It won't be long before 2 gig or more is an every day thing. MAKE SURE YOU CAN EASILY ADD MORE RAM, AND MAKE SURE YOUR NEW MACHINE WILL SUPPORT UPTO 4 GIG'S. 2) Hard drive capacity: You will be amazed how quick a 40 MEG. drive will fill up. Get as big of a hard drive as you can afford. Find out how many hard drives the machine will hold, you may want more than one. I have three in my computer. One solely dedicated to my operating system, and the other two for storage. Don't settle on those old slow 5500 RPM drives. They defeat the purpose of a new machine. Get fast drives PERIOD! SCSI drives have been around forever, but are still the fastest out there. There are very few PC's that support SCSI, but if you want to add one of these, it is really very easy. Why more people don't invest in these is beyond me, but they are dependable, and amazingly quick. I guess the jumper settings stump most people, but believe me, it is an investment that I have never regretted. To learn about them takes a bit of time, but once you got it, you have empowered yourself beyond what most people know, and knowledge is king. 3) Processor speed: I want a hard working processor that gets the job done quickly. I hate to wait! I admit to being an impatient male, that doesn't stand for watching a stupid hour glass twirl around waiting for programs to load. Again, realizing that you are going to get the most bang for your buck with your initial purchase, get a decent processor. I have both Intel and AMD processors in my home network. Both do a great job. I have a fondness for Intel, but can't complain at all about AMD. Duo core is the latest out there, and if you can afford it, is a great option. You can perhaps make up for a slower processor by buying an older server or work station that supports two processors. I had an older IBM server that I got for a steal of a deal that I added the second processor and more RAM, and the performace was incredible. Thinking a little outside the box makes for a way better system. Other things to consider! SFF (small form factor) In my opinion, these should be outlawed! Plain and simple, they have very few options for upgrades, and that makes them worthless in my book. If you are so cramped on space that you think you need one of these, BUY A BIGGER DESK! Expandability is poor and they are just plain junk. Graphics cards: 64 MG cards are obsolete. 128 cards are ok for now, but are quickly going the way of the 64's. Make sure you are getting a good video card. It will save your eyes, and make for a much nicer experience. If you sit in front of your monitor for any length of time, having a nice presentation is always welcome. If you can afford it, get a card with 512. These generally only go into the PCI-E slot, which is in the newer machines only. If you budget won't allow this, take a look at a 256 by NVidea or ATI Radeon. Here is a list of my favorite cards from lesser expensive to break the bank: - ATI Radeon X1900 series - ATI Radeon X1800 series - ATI Radeon X1600 series - ATI Radeon X1300 series - ATI Radeon X850 series - ATI Radeon X800 series - ATI Radeon X700 series - ATI Radeon X600 series - ATI Radeon X300 series - ATI Radeon 9800 series - ATI Radeon 9600 series - ATI Radeon 9500 series - NVIDIA GeForce 7900 series - NVIDIA GeForce 7800 series - NVIDIA GeForce 7600 series - NVIDIA GeForce 7300 series - NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series - NVIDIA GeForce 6600 series - NVIDIA GeForce 6500 series - NVIDIA GeForce 6200 series - NVIDIA GeForce 6100 series - NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 series - NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 series - NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 series - NVIDIA GeForce FX 5500 series Lastly: Ask the seller questions. If they can't answer your techie questions, don't buy from them. A computer seller should be able to tell you everything about the machine, but alas, there are a number of sellers that don't know squat. Salvagers and folks who buy only to resell are often times clueless. Stay away from those sellers unless they have a plethora of info to share. READ THE DESCRIPTIONS CLOSELY AND ASSUME NOTHING! Think of computer sellers in the same light as used car salesmen and you should be ok. My rule of thumb is, if I know more about the machine after researching it than the seller does, there is no way I am going to buy it from him. It deserves repeating, but watch feedback. I don't buy from anyone under 98%. That means that 2% of the customers they sell to have a problem SO BAD that they left negative feedback. Murphy's law says I will be one of those 2% so, I want every assurance that I am going to be treated fairly and with respect. I work darn hard for my money, and don't want it thrown away on a major purchase like this. I am quite sure you don't either. I don't tolerate excessive frieght charges either. If I look up what shipping should be, I ask the seller to justify why he is charging me more. If the reply is handling, and the cost of packaging materials, I think this should be included in the price of the machine, not shipping. I will not buy from a seller that uses that as an excuse. I think they just want to get another $20.00 bucks out of me. Hogwash...I can always find a seller that wants my business and will work hard to get it. DON'T SETTLE FOR SECOND RATE TREATMENT. I hope this all helps. It was what I use to buy newer machines. I have 7 computers now, and have not had a poor buying decision yet using these methods, nor have I had to leave negative feedback for anyone. Lucky yes, but research and homework increased my ability to make good decisions.
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