Computer Purchase


Computer Purchase Essay, Research Paper


Recently, I decided to purchase a new computer. Buying a computer can be a complicated procedure. A number of decisions must be made before making this purchase. I must decide what type of software and hardware I need for my everyday use. Another decision that must be made is how much money do I want to spend.

There is no real budget for this purchase. I am not really concerned with the price of the computer. I am not looking to cut corners. My main concern is that I purchase a reliable computer that can support all the necessary functions for my day-to-day business and personal affairs for an extended period of time.

The basic need for this computer is for writing documents and reports for college.

In addition, I need the computer for my financial accounts. The Internet is essential for research and for that occasional surf. I would also like to purchase a number of games to keep myself busy while I download files.

I am not in favor of proprietary computer systems. It is not fair to consumers for a manufacturer to produce hardware and software that has built-in obsolescence. It is not very realistic for a consumer to have to purchase totally new software when he wants to switch computer models or manufacturers. The only people who could ever be in favor of this type of manufacturing are the manufacturers themselves. Technology keeps changing and a lot of newer software is being developed which requires more powerful machines. Machines should be upgradable and not have this forced turnover feature.

I must first determine what software I will need and then find hardware to match that software. I have a lot of experience with the Microsoft Office 97 software package and it supports all my word processing and spreadsheet needs. Although Office 2000 far surpasses Office 97, there is no real need to go for the upgrade at this particular time. Office 97 covers all my needs and it is takes time to learn to use the upgrade. Parenthetically, if I so require, I can always upgrade at a later time.

This package requires a Windows operating system. I am familiar with Windows 95 and I am very satisfied with it. However, there are a number of improvements that were made by Windows 98, which would make my life easier. The improved startup, the faster startup speed, and the faster shutdown are features that I really appreciate. It is very annoying sitting there waiting to start work while your computer has to get its act together. It is even more annoying during the shutdown phase. Although this is only a matter of a number of minutes, I am a very big advocate of this feature.

For my personal finances, Quicken would be the best. The new Quicken 2000 seems to be the best program to deal with my financial accounts. Quicken is easier, faster, and more accurate than taking care of my finances by hand. It gives me the ability to have a clear picture of what my financial standing is and therefore, worth the money.

To cover my Internet needs, I would like to install the AOL software package. It is easy to use and I am already familiar with the way it works. It is a great investment and well worth the money. When the upgrades come out it is easy to implement them into your computer. This is a plus because they are always finding ways to better their software. Another positive note is that installation does not take too long.

The games that I would like on my computer come with the software that I already decided to purchase. Solitaire and FreeCell are all that I need being that I will not being spending much time playing games on the new computer. Therefore, no special game software must be purchased.

A digital camera allows you to take pictures and store the photographed images digitally instead of on film. Once the pictures are on your computer, they can be edited with photo-editing software. At this point I am going to remain old fashioned and not purchase any digital camera software. Although it may be very useful to have a digital camera, I do not take pictures that often and my traditional zoom camera works just fine. Therefore, the purchase of a digital camera is not needed at this point either. I am sure that if the need arises, I can purchase the software and have it installed at that time.

Multimedia combines text, graphics, sound, video, and other media elements into one application. Much of the software that is produced today is considered multimedia. Therefore it is important to make sure that a new computer includes multimedia software.

For my personal needs programming, graphics, or educational software are not required.

Now that I have decided what software is needed I must turn my attention to hardware. In regard to a microprocessor, it is apparent that the Intel Pentium III is the best buy on the market today. I do not have a lot of extra time on my hands. With the 500 MHz speed, I will be able to maximize the productivity of my time in front of the computer. Time that ordinarily would have been wasted can now be saved. Many of the new animation and graphics software packages require this amount of speed.

RAM is an important feature of the computer. The more RAM a computer has, the faster it can work. I am constantly using more than one program at a time, which can only be done if there is sufficient amount of RAM. Therefore, I find it necessary to have 128 MB on my computer.

In terms of disk drives I am interested in a hard disk drive, a floppy disk drive, a Zip drive, and a CD/DVD-ROM drive. Because in the future I may require additional drives I will make sure to purchase my computer with extra bays.

A floppy disk drive is used for the standard floppy disk. A Zip disk is a higher capacity floppy disk that can store the equivalent of about 70 standard floppy disks. Because of their storage capacity a Zip disk is a very practical way to backup the many files one may have on their computer. The Zip drive should be 100 MB.

The hard drive is another important feature of a computer. Before you can use any new software, it must be installed on the hard drive. The more space that you have the more software that can be installed. It has been said, ? Like closets in a home, you can never get too much storage space?. With this in mind I would prefer over 12 GB of hard drive space.

Although CD-ROMs have huge storage capacities, even a CD-ROM is not large enough for many of today?s complex programs. Some software, for example, is sold on five or more CD-ROMs. To meet these tremendous storage requirements, some software moved from CD-ROMs to the larger DVD-ROM format. A DVD-ROM is an extremely high capacity compact disc capable of storing from 4.7 GB to 17 GB. In order to read a DVD-ROM you must have a DVD-ROM drive. These drives can also read CD-ROMs. I am extremely interested in including a DVD-ROM drive in my computer purchase.

A modem is a communications device that enables computers to communicate via telephone lines or other means. Although modems are available as both internal and external, most modems are internal. Just about every desktop system ships with a 56Kbps modem that meets the V.90 standard supported by all the major ISPs and online services. This speed is fine for my Internet and e-mail needs. I will also opt for the type of modem that relies on the PC?s CPU for processing rather than the dedicated controllers option.

A monitor is a display device that consists of a screen housed in a plastic or metal case. I am interested in a color monitor. The screen size varies from 15 to 21 inches generally. A 19-inch monitor is what I am looking for. 19 inches gets you more screen real estate for very little extra cost, size, or weight over a 17-inch monitor. The quality of a monitor depends on its resolution, or sharpness and clarity. A higher resolution provides a smother image. Resolution is expressed as two separate numbers: the number of columns of pixels and the number of rows of pixels a monitor can display. You can view images comfortably at 1600 x 1200 resolution, although many monitors do a better job on image quality at 1280 x 1024. Another factor that determines monitor quality is dot pitch, which is a measure of image clarity. The dot pitch is the vertical distance between each pixel on a monitor. The smaller the distance between the pixels, the sharper the displayed image. To minimize eye fatigue, one should use a monitor with a dot pitch of .27 millimeters or smaller, which I will. I will also make sure the monitor emits low amounts of radiation.

A printer is an output device that is required by most users. An ink-jet printer more than covers my printing needs. It has reasonably good output for both text and graphics and can handle color. An important factor that determines the quality of an ink-jet printer is its resolution. This is measured in dots per inch (dpi). Most ink-jet printers have a dpi that ranges from 300-to1440 dpi. An ink-jet with a dpi of 600 should be sufficient for my needs. The speed of a printer is measured in pages per minute (ppm). An ink-jet printer that prints 8 pages per minute will be sufficient.

I have no need for a plotter at the present time. If in the future I make any changes in my career choice, I may consider buying one.

I have no particular preferences in regards to a keyboard. The standard QWERTY keyboard will suffice.

A scanner is similar to a copy machine except that it creates a file of the document instead of a paper copy. When a document is scanned, the results are stored in rows and columns of dots called a bitmap. Today?s scanners range from 24 bit to 45 bit, with the latter being a higher quality, but more expensive. The density of the dots, known as the resolution, determines the sharpness of the resulting image. Resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi). Most of today?s affordable color desktop scanners have an optical resolution ranging from 300 to 200 dpi. Today you can get a descent scanner for a relatively low price. Therefore, I feel it is worth investing a little more to have this piece of equipment.

Of all the different pointing devices out there I am most comfortable with a mouse. I feel more in control of the pointer on the screen with this device. I have used trackballs in the past. Unfortunately, I am not coordinated enough to use this device.

The speakers that come standard with computers today are perfect for my audio needs. There is no reason for me to spend extra money on a fancy set of speakers.

All things being equal, a three-year warranty is more attractive than a one-year warranty. If however, the one-year plan is solid and covers parts and labor on all components and includes onsite service at my discretion rather than at the discretion of the vendor, I would take that over three years of haggling and headaches.

The best way to purchase a computer is with a credit card. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have 60 days from the occurrence of the problem in which to report the details in writing. With checks or money orders by the time you have a complaint the money is out of you account. With Credit cards you have the best security.

With all the different variations of software and hardware, it is extremely important to know what you need before making a purchase. If you do not get the proper information beforehand, there is a great chance of getting conned into a bad deal. Hopefully, this research will help me in my purchase.

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