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How can I Prepare to Buy a Computer?

Sherry Holetzky
Sherry Holetzky

When you prepare to buy a computer, don’t get drawn in by all the bells and whistles. An out of the box computer may look shiny and stylish, but what is inside the case is more important. Don’t let that sleek look tempt you into buying inferior quality or paying more for components that may be obsolete as soon as you open the box.

Another issue to consider as you prepare to buy a computer is vendors other than the most common brand names. The latter are often popular because of name recognition. Also, purchasing from them is simple, their prices are competitive, and they usually throw in some nice software to get your attention. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting top of the line products or the latest technology through and through. Do your homework as you prepare to buy a computer to make sure that what sounds like a deal really is a good value.

A desktop personal computer.
A desktop personal computer.

At the very least, you will want a decent video card instead of stock or onboard graphics. Many applications benefit from a video card, and your computer will run faster and more smoothly when graphics aren’t competing for resources. Nvidia offers quality cards, but there are other good ones as well, so it pays to research your options as you prepare to buy a computer.

A USB drive.
A USB drive.

Software is also a big consideration when you prepare to buy a computer. Don’t overspend on packages that include things you don’t need or want. More importantly, if the computer that you are considering claims to come with an operating system, make sure that means it comes with a complete version and includes the CD, registration papers, and a manual. Don’t settle for a pre-installed version that comes with only a re-boot disk.

A laptop.
A laptop.

Aside from the operating system, one of the most important pieces of software to look into as you prepare to buy a computer is a good antivirus program. You should purchase the latest version from a reputable company and update it immediately. You may also want to look for a good spyware remover, although you can find some excellent versions online that you can download free of charge. Lavasoft Ad Aware is a good one, and it is free for personal use.

It's important to consider the number of USB ports available when choosing a computer.
It's important to consider the number of USB ports available when choosing a computer.

Decide in advance what features you would really like to have when you prepare to buy a computer. One example is looking for a system that offers Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports in front. Even if you don’t see the need as you prepare to buy a computer, you’ll likely find many uses for ports later. It’s much easier to access them from the front than to maneuver to connect something to the back.

The above tips should prove helpful as you prepare to buy a computer, but do as much research as possible to make sure you get a quality system that suits your needs.

Discussion Comments


im considering buying one of the new dell 1545's as they are on sale at the moment, I've looked around and there doesn't seem to be any laptops with the same spec's that are a similar price so it seems a good deal, but im unsure as to what the graphics card is like all i no is that it is integrated. any advice on this? also are graphics cards replaceable in laptops generally or does it purely depend on the laptop and manufacturer?



It seems like you might not care who is the general computer manufacturer (i.e. DELL, Emachines, HP, Compaq, Sony) but there are 3 things that are really critical to whatever computer you purchase.

I would consider the CPU, memory and the graphics card as directly impacting your charting, movie downloading and internet experience. In terms of the CPU, I would recommend AMD over Intel. Computers with AMD CPUs tend to be cheaper than those with Intel CPUS. Assuming the INTEL and AMD CPUs are the same speed, FSB and Cache, they are about both about equal in terms of quality, and function, however INTEL tends to be more expensive, since it is more well known. Secondly you'll need about 1-3 Gigabytes (GB) of memory. The more memory you have, the more you can switch in and out of programs and the faster you can download and navigate the internet, (provided you have a fast internet service provider, of course =). Finally I would recommend buying a computer that has a separate video card, preferably something with a Nvidia chipset graphics card that has 256 MB or higher memory. Try to go for a Geforce 8 series or higher video card. (i.e. is it Geforce 8600, 8800, 9600, etc...) The more memory you have on your graphics card, the less choppy the visual and sound are when you play games and movies. Don't buy a computer with built on memory as, it will severely limit your internet and media experience.



I would like to buy a new computer, i do charting and movie downloading surfing the net. Need 1280X1024 i was told??

Hope you can help.

Thanks Helmut Sasse

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    • A desktop personal computer.
      By: Dmitriy Melnikov
      A desktop personal computer.
    • A USB drive.
      By: cristi180884
      A USB drive.
    • A laptop.
      By: nattstudio
      A laptop.
    • It's important to consider the number of USB ports available when choosing a computer.
      By: michaklootwijk
      It's important to consider the number of USB ports available when choosing a computer.
    • Consider whether you need the software that comes on a computer before purchasing it.
      By: .shock
      Consider whether you need the software that comes on a computer before purchasing it.