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An eye for computer shopping

We know that buying a new computer can be quite intimidating. Click and Hack have made a list of things to look for. Take this list with you when you hit the computer store and you’ll be armed with the knowledge of knowing what you’re getting. The less surprises when you take your computer out of the box, the better.

Processor

The processor is the driving force when it comes to speed in your PC. There are a handful of PC processor companies. Intel makes the Pentium and Celeron chips, and AMD makes the Athlon and Duron chips. The Duron and Celeron are low-cost alternatives to the better-performing Pentium and Athlon. Speeds of more than 3 gigahertz are now available. As of this writing, we recommend anything more than 1.2 gigahertz for the average user.



Motherboard

The main consideration to start with is what type of processor the board will hold – Intel or AMD. After that, look for a motherboard that will support the latest memory types. Other features on newer motherboards include: built-in network connections, USB ports, firewire ports and onboard video and sound. We recommend avoiding onboard video since it almost always drains system resources in order to function.



Graphics card

Get a video card with a minimum 32Meg memory. We recommend ATI and nVidia chipsets. Make sure that the card fits in an AGP slot. Features may include TV out and S-Video connections as well as multi-monitor support.

Hard drive

Don’t get less than 20 Gigabytes. The more you can get the better. Look for drives that spin at 7200 RPM or better.

Email: clickandhack@frisco

computerstore.com.

MEMORY

Get the most you can! A minimum of 128 Mb is the standard.

CD-ROM/DVD – Most software now comes on CD. There are also CD writers which allow you to store information on CDs or you can make your own music CDs. The DVD format can store much more information on a single disk. The writeable DVD format has not yet been completely standardized leaving us to decide between several different and incompatible formats. Best bet, a CDRW and a separate DVD drive.

FLOPPY DRIVE – A standard feature on computers for a decade and a half, these drives are sometimes eliminated on newer systems. But they can still come in handy for storing small bits of information.

MONITOR – Make sure you get one that is big enough. Generally, the advertised size of a traditional CRT monitor is 1 to 1.5 inches larger than what is viewable. LCD monitors are more expensive, but require less space and energy and they generate less heat. The most popular sizes are 19″ CRT and 17″ LCD monitors.

MOUSE – Cheap mice malfunction faster than good ones. You will want to consider wireless and/or optical solutions. You may even want to try a trackball which can be more ergonomic for some people.

Email: clickandhack@friscocomputerstore.com


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