Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
HOW TO PURCHASE A DESKTOP COMPUTER
CD/DVD Drives: Most computers come with a CD-RW drive. A CD-RW drive allows you to create your own custom
data CDs for data backup or data transfer purposes. It also will allow you to store and share video files, digital photos,
and other large files with other people who have access to a CD-ROM drive. An even better alternative is to upgrade
to a DVD RW combination drive. It allows you to read DVDs and CDs and to write data on (burn) a DVD or CD. A
DVD has a capacity of at least 4.7 GB versus the 650 MB capacity of a CD. An HD DVD has a minimum capacity of 45 GB.
Card Reader/Writer: A card reader/writer is useful for transferring data directly to and from a removable
flash memory card, such as the ones used in your camera or audio player. Make sure the card reader/writer
can read from and write on the flash memory cards that you use.
Digital Camera: Consider an inexpensive point-and-shoot digital camera. They are small enough to
carry around, usually operate automatically in terms of lighting and focus, and contain storage cards
for storing photographs. A 5-megapixel camera with a 512 MB storage card is fine for creating images
for use on the Web or to send via e-mail.
Digital Video Capture Device: A digital video capture device allows you to connect your computer to a camcorder or VCR and
record, edit, manage, and then write video back on a VCR tape, a CD, or a DVD. To create quality video (true 30 frames per
second, full-sized TV), the digital video capture device should have a USB 2.0 or FireWire port. You also will need sufficient
storage: an hour of data on a VCR tape takes up about 5 GB of disk storage.
External Hard Disk: An external hard disk can serve many purposes: it can serve as extra storage for your
computer, provide a way to store and transport large files or large quantities of files, and provide security
by allowing you to keep all of your data on the external disk without leaving any data on the computer.
External hard disks can be purchased with the same amount of capacity as any internal disk. If you are going
to use it as a backup to your internal hard disk, you should purchase an external hard drive with at least as
much capacity as your internal hard disk.
Hard Disk: It is recommended that you buy a computer with 60 to 80 GB if your primary interests are browsing the Web
and using e-mail and Office suite-type applications; 80 to 100 GB if you also want to edit digital photographs; 100 to
200 GB if you plan to edit digital video or manipulate large audio files even occasionally; and 200 to 500 GB if you will
edit digital video, movies, or photography often; store audio files and music; or consider yourself to be a power user.
It also is recommended that you use Serial ATA (SATA) as opposed to Parallel ATA (PATA). SATA has many advantages
over PATA, including support for Plug and Play devices.
Joystick/Wheel: If you use your computer to play games, then you will want to purchase a joystick or a wheel.
These devices, especially the more expensive ones, provide for realistic game play with force feedback,
programmable buttons, and specialized levers and wheels.
Keyboard: The keyboard is one of the more important devices used to communicate with the computer. For this
reason, make sure the keyboard you purchase has 101 to 105 keys, is comfortable and easy to use, and has a
USB connection. A wireless keyboard should be considered, especially if you have a small desk area.
Microphone: If you plan to record audio or use speech recognition to enter text and
commands, then purchase a close-talk headset with gain adjustment support.
Modem: Most computers come with a modem so that you can use your telephone line to
access the Internet. Some modems also have fax capabilities. Your modem should be rated at 56 Kbps.
Monitor: The monitor is where you will view documents, read e-mail messages, and view pictures.
A minimum of a 17” screen is recommended, but if you are planning to use your computer for graphic
design or game playing, then you may want to purchase a 19” or 21” monitor. The LCD flat panel monitor
should be considered, especially if space is an issue.
Mouse: As you work with your computer, you use the mouse constantly. For this reason, spend a few extra dollars, if
necessary, and purchase a mouse with an optical sensor and USB connection. The optical sensor replaces the need for a
mouse ball, which means you do not need a mouse pad. For a PC, make sure your mouse has a wheel, which acts as a
third button in addition to the top two buttons on the left and right. An ergonomic design is also important because your
hand is on the mouse most of the time when you are using your computer. A wireless mouse should be considered to
eliminate the cord and allow you to work at short distances from your computer.
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