Ho Ho Dough

A 2 minute Primer for 2010 Computer Shoppers

 


Christmas is coming and along with it the traditional gift giving holidays. I've already heard from several people, seeking advice, because the will soon be looking at new computer like devices for themselves or someone else. One of the biggest questions they have is what kind of computer to get. Here are a few quick notes I hope will help.

 

DESKTOP . Desktop computers tend to be full size and very capable machines. Dollar per dollar they offer the most bang for the buck. Downsides are there not easy to move to so you have to use them in one place.

LAPTOP.. Also known as the notebook. Often used as a desktop replacement. Today's notebooks come pretty close to delivering the power and versatility of a desktop. Plus they have the added advantage of taking up less space and are able to "travel". Downsides are there more expensive, easier to break, and harder to repair.

NETBOOK. Netbooks are little laptops. They are smaller lighter and less expensive. They're also less powerful. But.... over the past several years they have become powerful enough to do most things that you do most often with computers - albeit a little slower. Such as searching the Web, e-mail, Facebook and the like. They have become in many ways as powerful and versatile as desktops were just a few years ago. Downsides are they have small screens ( might be hard to read) but not as small as tablets or cell phones. The keyboards are small so if you have big boxy fingers it might be hard to type on. Still, many find net books and the excellent replacements for laptops.. Especially when used in multi device households where there are desktops to do "the heavy lifting".

 

TABLETS. Somewhere between a small netbook and a big cell phone.

SMARTPHONES. Itsy-bitsy teensy-weensy low power computers that might also make phone calls


Current trends seem to indicate that soon (if not already) most households will have multiple computers. A desktop at the center, one or more Laptops/netbooks/tablets for portable and light duty and some smartphones and other specialty devices.

 

 

What to Buy?

Operating System:

When it comes to computers I am a Windows fan. Look for Windows 7 Home premium or better on Desktops and Laptops. 64 Bit for full power machines. 32 bit for Netbooks and low performance machines.

Apple/Mac: Good machines that offer great snob appeal, but cost way too much and are way too restrictive.

Linux: Still a little too geeky for most to use directly.

Android: Coming on strong but still best suited for pocket devices like cell phones.


Processor:

For desktop computers look for 64 bit multi-core processors. AMD is OK for desktops. I don't like them as much in laptops. Intel "I" series preferred. all the way around Avoid the I-3 for all but very low quality/performance systems. I-5 is good for most of us, for both laptops and desktops. I-7 for heavy duty high performance needs.

Intel "Atom" in netbooks.

Hard Disk/Storage:

250 GB will do for small /medium- low use systems. Desktops should have 1 TB if possible.

Memory:

Windows needs at least 2 GB to work well - more (like 4 GB or 8 GB) is better.
Much more important than hard drive size especially in Laptops and Netbooks which are often harder to add more to later.


Extended Warranties

Generally not worth it unless for laptops that travel a lot, are subject to loss or breakage and maybe not even then.


Extra software

There are many good "Free" virus scanners, office suites and other software available. Talk to your trusted technician before buying any.

Initial Setup

Use store/vendor service only when you have to. If you have a trusted tech let them set the machine up and give it a good once over. It can often save you time, trouble and money.


Brands.

My opinion, stay away for Compaq and Hewlett Packard.
I am not too crazy about Sony or Toshiba either.
Look at "Mid- range" Dells, Gateway, Acer, e-machine and Asus.


Good Place to shop on-line

www.tigerdirect.com

 

As always, if you have questions ------- call.


Hope that helps

Merry Christmas and Happy Shopping

Ed