Buying A New PC
Several people have lately asked me questions about buying a new PC. The cute Macintosh TV Ad seems to say that a Windows PC is no longer a good buy. Since I am an old person that watches FOX News I believe in fair and balanced. Also being a Nerd I look at PCs as something that I want to run reliably and cheaply for years. Finally, you need to look at facts and strategies to make a final determination.
The first thing is that even the cheapest PC - a Windows low end PC with Vista (or perhaps XP) is 3 to 5 times more powerful than the PC it is replacing. MACs are generally more costly than PCs. PC notebooks run on Nextag (Next Day if you understand English and German combined words) from $220 for a small Acer Aspire to $850 for an HP Smart touch. Macbooks start at $1,000 and go up from there. Desktop Windows PCs run from $280 to about $1,250 while an iMAC 20" or 24" desktops cost between $1,194 and $2,240. Surely this is not necessarily comparing apples to apples because MACs may have more useful software that comes with them. Also there are both Apple and Windows PCs that are a lot more expensive.
My point is here that PCs that cost more also cost more to maintain. The iMACs have everything in the display. So to fix them you must pry the plastic panels that encase the display apart to reveal the disk drive and other components. And MACs use the same disk drives that fail on all other PCs. All PCs need maintenance. Apple computers are strong in Video work, while PCs are generally cheaper to own. Even if a PC catches a virus once, the repair is less than the difference in price between a Mac and a PC when you call the Nerds of course. If you call Geeks, that may be a different story.
Any PC uses either two or four CPUs in one chip. These are the Core 2 Duo Intel chips or the AMD dual core or the Quad Core chips. These chips run at slower speeds 2 GHz to 3 GHz than single CPU chips which run between 3 GHz to 4 GHz. All are faster than the older PC CPU Chips. Most New PCs come with 2 GB or more of RAM. If your PC is not running with 2 GB or RAM it is a slow PC. Today's disk drives are all huge compared to the disk drives of two years ago. No matter what you buy, it will have plenty of storage.
With Desktop PCs there is more upgrade capability than with Laptops. Both Laptops and Desktops have two memory slots that can take memory modules of 1 GB or 2 GB capacity. Some PCs can take larger capacity modules. Disk drives can be swapped for larger capacity models. Today 1 TB drives can be found for under $100. On desktops the CPUs, CD and DVD drives, graphics cards, and monitors (except on iMACs and fancy small foot print PCs) can be changed and upgraded. These components are not readably changeable on laptops so go for the top of the line or as much as you can afford when purchasing a laptop. It is wise to get the faster CPU, faster CD or DVD drive, the faster graphics card and the higher resolution (the one with the most dots or pixels) display panel when buying a laptop. This is less critical with desktop PCs because all these components can be upgraded.
Windows XP software is best for PCs. Dell still sells PCs that are downgraded to Windows XP. Do not buy 64-bit versions of Windows or Vista. Stick to the 32-bit versions that work with a wider variety of programs. Try to avoid the popular security suites like Norton and McAfee. I like AVG antivirus downloaded from www.free.avg.com. That combined with the Windows built in firewall and Spybot Search & Destroy are sufficient protection against bad software. Security suites are bloated like Vista and slow down most PCs considerably. Microsoft Office or Open Office (www.openoffice.org) are good for writing documents, creating spread sheets, and preparing presentations. Last step is to keep the cost under $900. You can do this if you do not load up the PC with too many extras. Good luck shopping.
Link to PCWorld: "How to Buy a Desktop PC"
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