Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
How to Purchase a Desktop Computer
Considerations for Hardware Components
Card Reader/Writer: A card reader/writer is useful for transferring data directly to and from a memory card,
such as the type used in a digital camera, smart phone, or portable media player. Make sure the card reader/writer
can read from and write on the memory cards that you use.
Digital Video Capture Device: A digital video (DV) capture device allows you to connect a computer to a video camera
or VCR and record, edit, manage, and then write video back on an optical disc or VCR tape. To create quality video
(true 30 frames per second, full-sized TV), the digital video capture device should have a USB or FireWire port.
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 a
convenient way to back up data on other internal and external hard disks. External hard disks can be purchased
with the same capacity as any internal disk.
Fingerprint Reader: For added security, you may want to consider purchasing a fingerprint reader. It helps prevent unauthorized
access to your computer and also allows you to log onto Web sites quickly via your fingerprint, rather than entering a user
name and password each time you access the site. Most use a USB connection and require software installation.
Hard Disk: It is recommended that you buy a computer with at least a 320 GB hard disk if your primary interests are
browsing the Web and using e-mail and Microsoft Office suite-type programs; 1 TB if you also want to edit digital photos
or if you plan to edit digital video or manipulate large audio files even occasionally; and 2 TB if you will edit digital video,
movies, or photos often; store audio files and music; or consider yourself to be a power user. Internal hard disk controllers are
available with the RAID option for added data protection.
Joystick/Wheel: If you use the 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 include a modem so that you can use a 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
19" LCD flat-panel monitor is recommended, but if you plan to use the computer for graphic design or game playing, then you
may want to purchase a 22" or 27" monitor. Instead of a single large, widescreen monitor, you may want to consider a
side-by-side monitor setup.
Mouse: While working with a desktop computer, you use the mouse constantly. Make sure the 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 also is important
because your hand is on the mouse most of the time when you are using the computer. A wireless mouse should be
considered to eliminate the cord and allow you to work at short distances from the computer.
Optical Disc Drives: Most computers include a DVD 6 RW combination drive and/or DVD/Blu-ray Disc drive. A DVD 6 RW
or a Blu-ray Disc drive allows you to read optical discs and to write data on (burn) an optical disc. 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 DVD/Blu-ray Disc
drive. A Blu-ray Disc has a capacity of at least 25 GB, and a DVD has a capacity of at least 4.7 GB, versus the 650 MB
capacity of a CD.
Hardware guidelines. (continues)