Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
ESSENTIAL INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS
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Ports: Depending on how you are using your computer, you may need anywhere from 4 to 10 USB 2.0 ports.
USB 2.0 ports have become the connection of choice in the computer industry. They offer an easy way to
connect peripheral devices such as printers, digital cameras, portable media players, etc. Many computers
intended for home or professional audio/video use have built-in FireWire ports. Most personal computers come
with a minimum of six USB 2.0 ports and two FireWire ports.
Port Hub Expander: If you plan to connect several peripheral devices to your computer at the same time, then you need
to be concerned with the number of ports available on your computer. If your computer does not have enough ports, then
you should purchase a port hub expander. A port hub expander plugs into a single FireWire port or USB port and gives
several additional ports.
Printer: Your two basic printer choices are ink-jet and laser. Color ink-jet printers cost on average between $50
and $300. Laser printers cost from $200 to $2,000. In general, the cheaper the printer, the lower the resolution and
speed, and the more often you are required to change the ink cartridge or toner. Laser printers print faster and with a
higher quality than an ink-jet, and their toner on average costs less. If you want color, then go with a high-end ink-jet
printer to ensure quality of print. Duty cycle (the number of pages you expect to print each month) also should be a
determining factor. If your duty cycle is on the low end — hundreds of pages per month — then stay with a high-end
ink-jet printer, rather than purchasing a laser printer. If you plan to print photographs taken with a digital camera, then
you should purchase a photo printer. A photo printer is a dye-sublimation printer or an ink-jet printer with higher
resolution and features that allow you to print quality photographs.
Processor: For a PC, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor at 2.66 GHz is more than enough processor power
for application home and small office/home office users. Game home, large business, and power users
should upgrade to faster processors.
RAM: RAM plays a vital role in the speed of your computer. Make sure the computer you purchase has at
least 512 MB of RAM. If you have extra money to invest in your computer, then consider increasing the RAM
to 1 GB or more. The extra money for RAM will be well spent.
Scanner: The most popular scanner purchased with a computer today is the flatbed scanner. When evaluating
a flatbed scanner, check the color depth and resolution. Do not buy anything less than a color depth of 48 bits
and a resolution of 1200 x 2400 dpi. The higher the color depth, the more accurate the color. A higher resolution
picks up the more subtle gradations of color.
Sound Card: Many computers come with a standard sound card that supports Dolby 5.1
surround and is capable of recording and playing digital audio. Make sure it is suitable
in the event you decide to use your computer as an entertainment or gaming system.
Speakers: Once you have a good sound card, quality speakers and a separate subwoofer that
amplifies the bass frequencies of the speakers can turn your computer into a premium stereo system.
PC Video Camera: A PC video camera is a small camera used to capture and display live video
(in some cases with sound), primarily on a Web page. You also can capture, edit, and share
video and still photos. The camera sits on your monitor or desk. Recommended minimum
specifications include 640 x 480 resolution, a video with a rate of 30 frames per second, and a
USB 2.0 or FireWire port.
USB Flash Drive: If you work on different computers and need access to the same data and information, then this
portable miniature mobile storage device is ideal. USB flash drive capacity varies from 16 MB to 4 GB.
Video Card: Most standard video cards satisfy the monitor display needs of application home and
small office users. If you are a game home user or a graphic designer, you will want to upgrade to
a higher quality video card. The higher refresh rates will further enhance the display of games,
graphics, and movies.
Wireless LAN Access Point: A Wireless LAN Access Point allows you to network several computers,
so they can share files and access the Internet through a single cable modem or DSL connection. Each device that you
connect requires a wireless card. A Wireless LAN Access Point can offer a range of operations up to several hundred feet,
so be sure the device has a high-powered antenna.