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How to Purchase a Desktop Computer
How to Purchase a Desktop Computer
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 oth-
ers, as well as additional input, output, and storage devices. For
example, suppose you want to run software that can copy one
optical disc's contents directly to another optical disc, without
first copying the data to the hard disk. To support that, you
should consider a desktop computer or a high-end notebook
computer, because the computer will need two optical disc
drives: one that reads from an optical disc, and one that writes
on an optical disc. If you plan to run software that allows your
computer to function as an entertainment system, then you will
need an optical disc drive, quality speakers, and an upgraded
sound card.
A desktop computer sits on or below a desk or
table in a stationary location such as a home, ofi ce, or
dormitory room. Desktop computers are a good option
if you work mostly in one place and have plenty of
space in a work area. Desktop computers generally
provide more performance for your money. Today,
manufacturers are placing more emphasis on style by
offering bright colors, stylish displays, and theme-based
displays so that the computer looks attractive if it is in
an area of high visibility. Once you have decided that
a desktop computer is most suited to your computing
needs, the next step is to determine specii c software,
hardware, peripheral devices, and services to purchase,
as well as where to buy the computer.
2 Know the system requirements of the
operating system.
After determining the software you want to run on your
new computer, the next step is to determine the operating
system to use. If, however, you purchase a new computer,
chances are it will have the latest version of your preferred
operating system (Windows, Mac OS, etc.).
3 Look for bundled software.
When you purchase a computer, it may include bundled
software. Some sellers even let you choose which software
you want. Remember, however, that bundled software has
value only if you would have purchased the software even
if it had not been included with the computer. At the very
least, you probably will want word processing software and
an antivirus program. If you need additional programs,
such as a spreadsheet, a database, or presentation software,
consider purchasing or downloading Microsoft Office,
Microsoft Works,, or Sun StarOffice, which
include several programs at a reduced price or at no cost.
1 Determine the specific software 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. In addition,
consider purchasing software that might help you perform
tasks at home that you otherwise would perform at another
location, such as at school or at work. The minimum
requirements of the software you select may determine the
operating system (Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, etc.) you
need. If you decide 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 provide reviews of
software products. These Web sites frequently have articles
that rate computers and software on cost, performance, and
4 Avoid buying the least powerful computer
Once you know the application software you want to
use, then consider the following important criteria about
the computer’s components: (1) processor speed, (2) size
and types of memory (RAM) and storage, (3) types of
input/output devices, (4) types of ports and adapter cards,
and (5) types of communications devices. You also should
consider if the computer is upgradeable and to what extent
you are able to upgrade. For example, all manufacturers
limit the amount of memory you can add. The information
in Figure 44 on pages COM 29 and COM 30 can help you
determine which computer components are best for you
and outlines considerations for specific hardware components.
For a sample Base Components worksheet that lists personal
computer recommendations for various categories of users,
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