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Exchange a new mainframe - hardware


Someone in recent times asked me "I teach elder citizens in a cooperation based free central processing unit lab. They often ask what to look for when import a computer, what software they need for email, basic Internet usage, word processing, etc. Many are on a inadequate budget. What would you advise they need as a minimum?"

Recommendations For a New Computer

The good news is that mainframe prices have dropped a lot over the past few years, and the computing power you get for your money is going up! I don't advise used computers for anyone, since the rate of adjust of cpu equipment will render most systems just about obsolete in three years. If you're a central processing unit novice, wondering what kind of computer, monitor, hard drive, memory, and working classification to get. . . here's some guidance to get you rolling.

Windows or Mac?

You may have friends, relatives or neighbors demanding to pull you into the "Windows vs. Mac" holy wars. In my opinion, the array of in commission arrangement certainly doesn't matter. From a beginner's perspective, each has point & click interfaces that are appealing easy to use. Both will take you to the same Internet, and make possible you to send and accept email. Both offer word processing, and the credentials they build are interchangeable. As Windows-based computers make up 90% of the market, they are cheaper. It's the law of bring and call in operation. And in some areas, it may be hard to find expert or fix aid for Apple Macintosh computers. So if you're budget-minded, and you don't have any acquaintances enthusiastic to help you with Mac issues, I advocate you go with a Windows-based PC.

A good entry-level cpu with keep an eye on can be purchased for under $400, and from time to time you even get a imprinter in the deal. So what be supposed to a newbie look for in terms of speed, monitor, reminiscence and hard drive specs? It doesn't have to be all that confusing. . .

What about Horsepower?

The CPU (central dispensation unit, or "processor" for short) is the brain of your computer. In general, the nearer the better. CPU speeds are deliberate in gigahertz (GHz) and as of this writing, the best ever models obtainable conduct at about 4 GHz. Entry-level equipment start at about 1. 5 GHz and are more than enough for web surfing, email and word processing. If you see a cpu with a cpu that has a speed precise in megahertz (MHz), steer clear -- these are older models.

Thanks for the Memory

The next conclusion you have to make is how much RAM remembrance you need. Don't baffle RAM with hard drive (file storage) space. RAM is the brief running recall that your cpu uses to achieve calculations and manipulate files. When you open a document, it is banal from the hard drive into RAM. As you and your word cpu work on the file, the bespoke copy exists only in RAM. When you save the file, it is derivative from RAM back to the hard drive, or eternal storage. And as with CPU power, the more RAM you have, the develop your mainframe will perform. I commend you have a least amount 256 megabytes (MB) of RAM, but with 512 MB you'll announcement develop performance.

Hard (Drive) Decisions

The hard drive is your everlasting file storage. All of your individual files, such as word computer documents, photos, music, and emails are stored here, in accumulation to software junk mail and the working system. Most new PC's come with a hard drive that's 40 gigabytes (GB) or larger. I advise you start with a hard drive of 80 GB or more, if you plan to keep lots of photos or music on your computer.

Go For a Large Monitor

Here's the formula: Better Examine = Less Eyestrain and Less Scrolling. I advise a 17-inch monitor, or even a 19-inch if you don't mind costs a bit more. Don't worry about brand names here, they're all attractive much the same. Stay away from 14 or 15-inch monitors, they're just too small to be practical.

What About Software?

Most of the software you need will come pre-installed on your new PC. Windows comes with Internet Surveyor (for web browsing) and Outlook Definite (for email). Many PC systems add in a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or OpenOffice. If your cpu doesn't come with any of these, I be redolent of you acquire Microsoft Works, which will give you MS Word, a database comparable to MS Excel, and other convenient programs.

Look for a laptop that comes with anti-virus software pre-installed. If yours doesn't come with any anti-virus package, check with your Internet ceremony bringer to see if they offer whatever thing for free. Fading that, you can download the free AVG package.


So in a nutshell, here are my recommendations:

  • Look for a Windows XP-based PC with observe for about $400
  • Processor: 1. 5 GHz or better
  • RAM memory: 256 MB or better
  • Hard Drive: 80 GB or better
  • Monitor: 17-inch or larger
  • Software: Microsoft Works and AVG anti-virus
Where to Buy?

Look at your local laptop store first, they may have some good deals and offer local support. Bureau bring and electronics food such as Staples, Administrative center Depot, and Best Buy are good options to explore too. If you're comfortable export online, check out the Dell. com or Gateway. com offerings.

BOB RANKIN . . . is a tech author and laptop programmer who enjoys exploring the Internet and allocation the fruit of his be subjected to with others. His work has appeared in ComputerWorld, NetGuide, and NY Newsday. Bob is publisher of the Internet TOURBUS newsletter, creator of quite a few central processing unit books, and author of the LowfatLinux. com website. For more advantageous articles and free tech support, visit http://www. AskBobRankin. com


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