Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
HOW TO PURCHASE A DESKTOP COMPUTER
schematics, and other illustrations. By allowing you to write
and draw directly on the screen with a digital pen, a Tablet
PC eliminates the distracting sound of the notebook
keyboard tapping and allows you to capture drawings. Some
notebook computers can convert to Tablet PCs.
Mobile computers used to have several drawbacks,
including the lack of high-end capabilities. Today’s high-end
notebook computers include most of the capabilities of a good
desktop computer. Manufacturers have made great strides in
improving durability and battery life. Most notebook
computers are 1.5 to 2 inches thick and weigh less than 10 pounds,
making them very portable and easy to carry.
you purchase a specific computer, along with software,
peripherals, and other accessories.
Many of the desktop computer guidelines presented also
apply to the purchase of a notebook computer and a Tablet
PC. Later in this guide, sections on purchasing a notebook
computer or Tablet PC address additional considerations
specific to those computer types.
This guide concentrates on recommendations for
purchasing a desktop computer or mobile computer.
HOW TO PURCHASE A DESKTOP
For what purposes will you use the computer?
Having a general idea of the purposes for which you
want to use your computer will help you decide on the type
of computer to buy. At this point in your research, it is not
necessary to know the exact application software titles or
version numbers you might want to use. Knowing that you plan
to use the computer primarily to create word processing,
spreadsheet, database, and presentation documents, however,
will point you in the direction of a desktop or notebook
computer. If you want the portability of a smart phone or PDA,
but you need more computing power, then a Tablet PC may
be the best alternative. You also must consider that some
application software runs only on a Mac, while others run
only on a PC with the Windows operating system. Still other
software may run only on a PC running the UNIX or Linux
Once you have decided that a desktop computer is most
suited to your computing needs, the next step is to
determine specific software, hardware, peripheral devices, and
services to purchase, as well as where to buy the computer.
Determine the specific software you want to
use on your computer.
Before deciding to purchase software, be sure it contains
the features necessary for the tasks you want to perform.
Rely on the computer users in whom you have confidence
to help you decide on the software to use. The minimum
requirements of the software you select may determine the
operating system (Microsoft Windows Vista, Linux, UNIX,
Mac OS X) you need. If you have decided to use a
particular operating system that does not support software you
want to use, you may be able to purchase similar software
from other manufacturers.
Many Web sites and trade magazines, such as those listed
in Figure 38 on the next page, provide reviews of software
products. These Web sites frequently have articles that rate
computers and software on cost, performance, and support.
Your hardware requirements depend on the minimum
requirements of the software you will run on your computer.
Some software requires more memory and disk space
than others, as well as additional input, output, and storage
devices. For example, suppose you want to run software
that can copy one CD’s or DVD’s contents directly to
another CD or DVD, without first copying the data to your
hard disk. To support that, you should consider a desktop
computer or a high-end notebook computer, because the
computer will need two CD or DVD drives: one that reads
from a CD or DVD, and one that reads from and writes on
a CD or DVD. If you plan to run software that allows your
computer to work as an entertainment system, then you
will need a CD or DVD drive, quality speakers, and an
upgraded sound card.
Should the computer be compatible with the
computers at school or work?
If you plan to bring work home, telecommute, or take
distance education courses, then you should purchase a
computer that is compatible with those at school or work.
Compatibility is primarily a software issue. If your
computer runs the same operating system version, such as
Microsoft Windows Vista, and the same application
software, such as Microsoft Office, then your computer will be
able to read documents created at school or work and vice
versa. Incompatible hardware can become an issue if you
plan to connect directly to a school or office network using
a cable or wireless technology. You usually can obtain the
minimum system requirements from the Information
Technology department at your school or workplace.
After evaluating the answers to these three questions, you
should have a general idea of how you plan to use your
computer and the type of computer you want to buy. Once
you have decided on the type of computer you want, you
can follow the guidelines presented in this guide to help