How to Select a Cheap Computer That Truly Meets Your Needs

Cheap computer selection can be fun and exciting. Or it can be mysterious and end-up costing you more than it should. Here are some ideas to help. Selecting a computer all boils down to your computer needs and computer strength. You should understand both before you go shopping.

Computer strength is determined by certain key components. They are the CPU, RAM memory, the hard disk drive, the graphics card, and the sound card. This article will review these parts and explain them so you will be able to avoid the many pitfalls in selection when purchasing any computer or laptop.

Your Intended Use

First, it is important to determine exactly what you intend to use the computer for. This is because you should buy a computer suited to your needs, and NOT only because of price, color, cabinet design, or because it’s what a store has in stock. Your primary considerations should be a balance between your ability to pay and if the computer is powerful enough to handle your computer needs. Otherwise you are paying for excess Processor and Ram that you will never be used.

I recommend you write down on a piece of paper exactly what you want to do with a computer. If you know what software programs and games you will run, write them down. If you have these programs and you still have the box they came in, look on the box and see what operating systems (O/Ss) they will run on and the amount of RAM Memory and other requirements your programs require.

Note that the most popular O/S today is Microsoft Vista©. Unfortunately, many or all of the software programs and games you now have will probably not run on Vista.

Vista is a more complicated system and software must usually be created specifically for Vista in order to run. If you wish to keep the programs and games you now use, you may want to look only for a new computer that has Microsoft XP (usually Microsoft XP Professional) or you will have to buy upgrades or new programs and games that will run on a new computer that has Vista.

Most new computers will come with some software already installed on the computer, such as Microsoft Office, which includes several programs such as Microsoft Word.

Your Budget

You will need to consider your budget when buying any computer or laptop. Standard or basic computers are low-end systems that will handle most everyday computer needs for home, light office, individual and student users. Such uses would include surfing the Internet, using email, writing and editing reports, bookkeeping, downloading and listening to some music, watching some video, and light graphics editing. Many games will play on a standard computer, if an adequate graphics card is installed.

However, dedicated gamers, and those that wish to do considerable graphics and photo editing and video editing will need the more expensive higher-end systems that have the correct Athlon or Intel processors, the correct graphics and sound cards, and plenty of RAM Memory for good 3D rendering and heavy graphics use.

In determining your computer needs, you should assess how much power you need. If you have specific software graphics programs, such as an Adobe program, or games you have or wish to buy, look on the software and game boxes for recommended system specifications.

These specifications should be your guide when looking at computer systems.

Computer Components

Okay, so it gets a little complicated here, but I’ll keep it simple. It is important to understand computer components so you have a better idea of what makes computers run. Here are the most essential components and parts in a computer.

THE PROCESSOR

The processor, or CPU, is the brain of the system. It is only a chip and is located on the motherboard, which is a large board system in the computer. All other computer components are designed around the processor because the processor is the master regulator of the entire system. It is the most expensive item in a computer, so the general strength of a computer is determined by the quality of the processor.

At the present time the AMD Sempron and Athlon are common low-end processors. Low-end RAM chips will only handle minimal graphics, meaning older or undemanding games and typical display graphics. The AMD Phenom Quad and Intel Core (TM) 2 Duo are mid-range, meaning they are stronger and can handle more. While the AMD Phenom X4 and the Intel Core(TM) Quad Q9450 are high-end, they are fully capable of full 3D rendition and heavy graphics use.

RAM MEMORY

The system’s Memory, or RAM or RAM Memory, is the temporary memory of the computer. Typically, the more RAM you have the smoother the computer will run. A good standard computer not long ago would have 512 MB of Memory. Things have changed. Now, many low-end and mid-range computers today will have up to 1 GB of DDR II RAM. High-end computers will have 2GB or even 4GB of DDR II or DDR III RAM.

HARD DISC DRIVE

The hard drive is the permanent memory of the computer. In general, it is best to get as much as possible, and hard drives are no longer expensive. Today, a typical hard disk in a standard computer should have a minimum of 40 GB, but will usually have about 80 GB. Mid-range computers will often have 200 GB or more. While high-end will have up to 1,000 GB. Look for the speed of the hard disk, 7200 RPM Serial ATA is desirable.

A person that downloads a lot of MP3 or that edits video (non-professionally) will want at least 160 GB, minimum.

GRAPHIC CARDS

Lower-end computers and some mid-range computers will have an integrated motherboard, meaning the graphics card is part of the motherboard. This will work well if you will use the computer mostly for non-graphics intensive programs, including non-3D games.

Serious gamers, photo editors, video editors, and those in graphics creation will want a separate, higher-quality graphics card, which is sometimes called a video card. Popular graphics cards include the NVIDIA® GeForce® 9300GE and the ATI® Radeon(TM) HD 4870 X2. Right now, the top quality high-end cards include the Dual ATI Radeon® HD 4850-CrossFire and the NVIDIA® 9800 GTX.

SOUND CARD

On many lower-end systems, the sound card is “integrated” on the motherboard. On other lower-end and some mid-range systems the sound card is “integrated” with the graphics card.

A separate sound card (not integrated with the graphics card or the motherboard) can indicate a better sound system, but that depends on the quality of the card. Top-end sound cards include the Creative Labs Sound Blaster® Audigy®2 ZS High Definition and the Intel® High-Definition 7.1 Audio.

MONITORS

Monitors are a matter of personal taste. Some people still prefer the older CRT monitors, even though they use-up more room on a desk and they are heavy. However many LCD monitors are now being sold. LCD is now the standard even for low-end computers. I recommend at least a 17 inch screen. Of course, the bigger the screen the better.

PORTS

Look and make sure the system comes with support for the latest USB 2.0 specification. If you plan to do any video capturing and editing, make sure the computer has FireWire ports.

In Summary

By understanding computer components and other vital parts, and by understanding your computer needs, you can make a wiser cheap computer selection. Buying only what you need is good for the environment, and you will save money in the process.

Allan McFarlane is a computer consultant. His website is at Cheap Computer Information Center. For more information on buying a computer, see The Computer Buying Guide.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Allan_MacFarlane/266391

 

Quick Guide to Getting a New Computer

Are you convinced that you need to get a new computer? Do you have an idea of what type of computer to get? Do you have the budget for it? If you answered yes to all these questions, don’t think that you are well on your way to getting that new computer. There are still many questions you need to ask yourself before getting that computer. Here is a simple guide that you can use in buying computers.

What do you want to do with your computer?

Before you rush and get that new computer you must first identify what reason you have for getting one. What is your purpose? You must know what your computer will be mostly used for as this will be your most basic guide in choosing what kind of computer will be right for you.

Do you understand computer basics?

This is the next thing you need to ask yourself. Do you have knowledge and information about computers to make you choose one that is right for you? You need to have the right knowledge about computer basics so that you can get the best computer you possibly could and not feel cheated with the price you got it for. Make sure you understand what is a computer processor, RAM, the speed of the graphics, the size of the hard disk and other technical stuff like this before you embark on your quest for a new computer. If you are not very familiar with computer specifics, it is best to get the help of a person who does, preferably a friend or family member.

What Operating System do you want to use?

A computer’s operating system or processor is one of the most important thing that you would need to consider when getting a computer. Today, the newest operating system used is Window’s Vista but some people may still prefer using Window’s XP. Other people may also prefer to use Macintosh computers.

What RAM size is the minimum you are willing to get?

The computer’s Random Access Memory or RAM is your computers short-term memory. The bigger memory capacity of your RAM, the more files you can store and the faster your computer can go. Generally, when you computer’s memory gets too crowded, your computer’s function also slows down. Make sure that you have at least 1 GB of memory in your computer system.

What size and speed of hard drive will you be getting?

The hard drive is where computer programs and files are stored. It is best to get a bigger and faster hard drive to ensure a better performance from your computer. It is best to get a hard drive with at least 250 GB of memory.

Now that you have answered the 5 basic questions, you are ready to get a new computer. But do not limit yourself to this. Ask more questions about the computer you would want to get. Look at the other computer parts. Would you like to get a CTR or LCD monitor? A mouse with a trackball or an optical one? A wireless keyboard or one wired to your computer? Continue to ask yourself and also get the opinion of others to ensure that you will be getting the best computer you could possibly have.

After all that, go and visit www.cheapshoppingcenter.com [http://www.cheapshoppingcenter.com] This is the best to get all your computer needs. This store offers lots of options and the best prices too. Look through Cheap Shopping Center and this might be where you can get the computer that will best suit your needs and your lifestyle.

Marshall is an avid Internet Marketer, and enjoys connecting surfers with the products they are looking for and getting paid to do it. He has been running as a way to present various new computer [http://cheapshoppingcenter.com/quick-guide-computer/] in a new way.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Marshal_Pull/262601

 

Computer Problems? Quick Fixes and Solutions Inside For FREE!

It can be very frustrating working with a computer that runs slow especially if you are under a strict deadline. The least that you need is a computer that takes forever to start up and load program when all you need to do is send a one-liner e-mail to your business partner or boss. You did not experience this kind of problem when you first bought your computer. You might be constantly asking yourself, “Why does this happen? What can I do about it so that I can work much faster?

There can be many reasons why this happens. The reasons can be grouped into two: first is the momentary slow down of your computer because of its normal activity and second is the slow down of your computer because of computer problems.

There is a momentary slowdown of the computer when it is busy performing regular tasks. Examples of these are when the computer copies large files; the computer is reading a file and opening it; the computer is running a program that use a large amount of resources such as games; or the computer is shared on a network and one of the computers in the network is downloading a large file.

These reasons happen but are not big problems that need quick fixes and solutions. They are almost always momentary. When the computer activity finishes, you’ll enjoy the optimal performance of your computer.

The other group of reasons why this occurs is those that you must do something about. They need your immediate attention because when ignored they do not just irritate you because of a slower work; they can also destroy your computer altogether.

One of the answers to your question, “Why computer slow down happens?” may be the presence of spy ware programs in your computer. Spy ware is software that gets into your computer through your computer’s access to the Internet. Specifically, you get a spy ware when you open an unknown file in your e-mail; download music; or when you visit a web site.

A spy ware program disguises itself as a safe file that you can download into your computer but once it is in your computer and you run it, it can initiate activities in your computer without your control. Examples of these are the pop-up advertisements or the sudden shutting down of your computer. A spyware program can also get information from you like your Internet use habit or even your credit card number.

A spyware takes space in your computer and thus result in the slow down of the performance of your computer. If you don’t fix this problem, your computer will continue to slow down its performance. You may also experience sudden computer crash down or the loss of precious data in your computer.

The quick fix for this reason on why a computer slow down happens is to install an anti-spy ware program in your computer. Makes sure the anti-spy ware program that you will install is of optimal value. Do your research first and take that spyware program out of your computer once and for all.

Tired of asking why computer slow? Do you wish there was a way you could fix it today? You can by instantly fixing your corrupt registry. Go to www.ComputerProblemFix.com to receive your free download and learn exactly why your computer is running slow.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Kelly_Purden/255406

 

Debugging Slow Computers – Common Problems and Solutions

Have you recently gone out and purchased a state of the art PC, with all the bells and whistles hoping to get the very best performance for your money? Are you now starting to notice that your computer isn’t performing as well as it originally did? Are you looking for answers as to why your top of the line computer isn’t working any better then the old machine you gave to your friends? If any of these questions ring a bell then this article is for you.

I am a certified computer technician, that is trying to educate as many people as possible as to why their expensive, or not so expensive computer never seem to run as well over time as they did the day they bought them. In this article I will be covering the following the subjects:

1. Signs of a computer slow down
2. Common causes of a computer slow down
3. Easy solutions to a computer slow down
4. How to avoid a computer slow down

1. Signs of a computer slow down

You may be thinking, the obvious sign to my computer slowing down, is I start to notice it slowing down. If you are thinking this, then you are obviously correct, however that does not mean that you cannot detect a computer problem earlier.

The first sign of a computer slow down, is you start noticing many programs loading in your task bar. Your task bar is located at the bottom right portion of your screen, and as the computer is initially loading you will see items pop up in that tray. When your computer comes configured from the manufacturer it may or may not have a lot of applications running, but in most cases it does not. As time goes by and people download things like MSN Messenger, Limewire, Yahoo Messenger, AOL Messenger, ICQ … they all start to accumulate. Eventually there are so many programs running that it takes a very long time for your computer to load.

Another possible sign of your computer slowing down, is you start to notice weird looking banner ads and pop ups while browsing the internet, or maybe even when your computer is just sitting idol. This is sorta a worst scenario then above, as this usually points towards a virus issue rather then just a maintenance issue. Keep an eye out for this symptom because this is where things can go from bad to worse in a heart beat.

There exists many other common symptoms, however for the purpose of this article, I feel that if you can get a handle on these early signs and how to resolve them, then you will be much better equipped moving forward.

2. Common causes of a computer slow down

In 80% to 90% of my clients that come to me and their problem description is “My computer is very slow”, there are usually two causes.

Cause 1 – to many programs installed and running

The first problem I see, is people do not keep their computer organized. This problem often occurs in houses with many family members using the computer, each person has their separate accounts, and each one downloads and installs programs at will. One thing to know right away is, for the most part every program you download and install comes by default with a “Run on startup” option enabled, meaning as soon as your computer loads all the programs that were downloaded and installed with this option checked must load on startup. This is a very common cause to a computer slow down, and can easily be fixed. If you take a look at your taskbar (bottom right of your screen) and notice that there are many applications running, some of which you do not recognize, then we suggest reading our article on running MSCONFIG utilty to disable unwanted applications. (Refer to Apendix A at the bottom of this article for a link).

Cause 2 – Potential Virus or Spyware problem

As mentioned in the previous section, this is unfortunetly the much worse of the two causes. You can easily tell if you have been infected by some sort of virus, spyware or adware if you notice that while you are online or even when the computer is sitting idol, that there are banner ads and pop ups on your screen. Typically in this case, what happens is while you were browsing the internet, you accidentally (or on purpose) clicked a link to a site that contained malacious data. Often times when you visit legit sites, you may see a banner add saying “punch the monkey and win” or something to that effect. Word of advice DO NOT PUNCH THE MONKEY. Also, if you are reading this and thinking you might have this problem, and are wondering why your anti-virus program did not find this, it could either be that the virus is new and your software is not up to date, or perhaps if you accept the download and ignore warnings from your anti-virus then its your fault.

3. Easy Solution to a computer slow down

As mentioned in a previous section, the solution to cause number 1 can be handled by using MSCONFIG to disable installed programs so they do not run every time windows starts. In addition to this, you can choose to perhaps uninstall programs that you do not need. For example, I have seen on some computers people are running, Limewire, Napster, Bearshare, etc… First things first, I hope you are using those to share pictures with your friends, and not download pirated music. Second, do you really need all those programs running at once? My suggestion would be to go to your control pannel and uninstall the programs you don’t need. If you are unsure how to uninstall programs from your computer, then read our Uninstalling unnecessary programs article. For a link to this article please refer to Appendix A at the bottom of this article.

In regards to the second cause for a slow down, this is where you have a decision to make. There are chances that this problem does not get worse, depending on what type of virus you have been infected with, however in my experience it will get worse. The easiest way to try and remove this problem is to run your Anti-Virus scan and see if it is able to detect the problem and remove it. In the event that you cannot resolve the issue, I would suggest referring to a computer technician and have the threat removed safely and cleanly before causing other issues. I am aware that if you have been reading this article and this was the problem you were experiencing that you are a little frustrated at this point. If this is case I apologize.

How to Avoid a computer slow down

Avoiding the problems described above is quite simple actually. The first and most obvious solution to avoiding your computer slowing down, is pay attention to what sites you are visiting, what programs you are downloading and what you accept to install on your computer. Often times, companies will play tricks on you when installing downloaded applications. A common example of this is when you go to download “Adobe Flash” there is a small section on the install page asking you if you also want to install Google toolbar, and by default it is selected. For those people who just click click install on a regular basis, this is a perfect example of how extra applications get on your computer without you knowing.

I wrote this article in response to many requests from my actual clients. I am not quite able to go into the level of detail in this article as I have explained on my website. If you feel that you want to learn more about computer related problems and how to resolve and avoid them, then I encourage you to visit my website. Using the links in Appendix A you will be able to access many of my online computer help documents. If you wish to request specific computer help information from me, then please visit my blog site at [http://computerhelp.cjicomputing.com] – A direct link to it is available below.

Thank you

Sincerely

Chad Ingram

C.J.I. Computing – Lead Consultant

APPENDIX A

– To learn how to use the MSCONFIG utility to disable programs on startup please read our Optimizing startup using MSCONFIG [http://www.cjicomputing.com/Content/XPTuneup/StartupMSConfig.html] article.

– To learn how to uninstall unecessary programs please read our Uninstalling programs using Add/Remove Programs article.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Chad_Ingram/29388

 

Top 5 Reasons to Buy Cheap Computers

A computer has evolved from being a luxury to a necessity these days. Students, professionals, and your average Joe, are using computers to create files and documents, listen to music or watch movies, and play games, among many others. And with the Internet, one can send and receive emails, have videoconferencing, shop online, and many more. All these features make it hard to live without computers and the Internet.

But just because many people find it essential to have a computer does not necessarily mean one has to spend so much for it. Today, one can buy an up and running personal computer system at a low price. There are a lot of options for those who want to buy cheap computers. There are refurbished computers, used computers, and recertified ones.

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should buy cheap computers.

  • It’s cheap!

Above all other reasons, buying cheap computers is cheap! Let’s face it – not all people are willing to shed bucks over a new computer set, or simply not everyone has the financial resources to do so. The best option would then be to buy cheap computers. By buying cheap computers, one can save a lot of money that can be used for other more necessary expenses such as food, shelter, and clothing.

  • Cheap does not mean low quality

Although most people are turned off by the idea of buying cheap computers because it connotes low quality, there are actually cheap computers that function and perform as well as new ones. There are cheap refurbished computer systems available in the market today, and this is just one of your many options in looking for a cheap yet high-performance computer system. Refurbished computer systems are those computers returned by the customer. They are then inspected, certified, and packaged again to be sold at a lower price to new users.

  • It’s perfect for a second computer

Having a cheap computer is perfect if you already have an expensive one but you or your family finds an urgent need to have another pc. If you don’t want to spend so much on the second computer, since of course, you already have the main one, then buying cheap computers is one solution.

  • It’s simple

Most computers are sold expensive because they allow you to do a lot of things. If you simply want to use your computer for basic activities like surfing the net, sending mails, and do spreadsheets and word processing, then buying cheap computers is the best option for you.

  • It’s perfect for newbies

If you’re a first time computer user, and you’re not yet so acquainted with high power systems, then buying cheap computers is the way to start. And since most refurbished computers are upgradeable, you can expand your memory, add larger hard drives, and faster modems, anytime in the future, when you feel you’re comfortable with it already.

These are the top 5 reasons why people buy cheap computers. Computers, regardless of how important they may be to some people, do not have to come at a high price.

Marshall is an avid Internet Marketer, and enjoys connecting surfers with the products they are looking for and getting paid to do it. He has been running as a way to present various New Computer [http://cheapshoppingcenter.com/category/cheap-computers/] in a new way.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Marshal_Pull/262601