How to buy a personal computer the 2 4 9 method
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How to buy a personal computer? The 2-4-9 Method!. A SeniorNet Workshop SeniorNet is a service program of the Lutheran Service Society of Western Pennsylvania. The 2-4-9 Method. Answer 2 key questions Make 4 critical decisions Consider 9 additional options. Key question #1.

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How to buy a personal computer? The 2-4-9 Method!

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How to buy a personal computer the 2 4 9 method

How to buy a personal computer?The 2-4-9 Method!

A SeniorNet Workshop

SeniorNet is a service program of the Lutheran Service Society of Western Pennsylvania


The 2 4 9 method

The 2-4-9 Method

  • Answer 2 key questions

  • Make 4 critical decisions

  • Consider 9 additional options


Key question 1

Key question #1

  • What do I want to do with my computer?

    Everyday user – Internet, e-mail, word processing, basic software programs

    Home entertainment – all the above plus digital video and image editing, moderate gaming

    Cutting edge – all the above plus graphics & processing power for home business & competitive gamers.

    Ultimate technology – high end business applications, multi-media, intense video gaming, video editing and large graphic files


Key question 2

Key question #2

  • How much can I afford to spend on my computer?

    $_____.00 to $_____.00


You must do your homework first talk to everyone

You must do your homework!First – Talk to everyone!

  • Family

  • Friends

  • Co-workers

  • SeniorNet members

  • LSS staff

  • Minister

  • Children or grandchilden teacher

  • Strangers


You must do your homework second do the research

You must do your homework!Second – Do the research!

  • Consumer Reports

  • PC magazine

  • PC World magazine

  • Smart Computing magazine

  • Web searches with Google

  • What about “How to Buy” books?


Critical decision 1 laptop or desktop

Critical Decision #1Laptop or Desktop?

  • Laptop

    (+) Portable

    (+) Convenient

    (+) Uses much less space

    (-) Difficult to upgrade and expand

    (-) More expensive to repair

    (-) Less ergometric

    (-) Can be easily stolen

    (-) More expensive


Critical decision 1 laptop or desktop1

Critical Decision #1Laptop or Desktop?

  • Desktop

    (-) Stationary

    (-) Uses more space

    (+) Easier to upgrade and expand

    (+) Easier to repair

    (+) Better ergometics than laptops

    (+) Less likely to walk

    (+) Less expensive


Critical decision 1 laptop or desktop2

Critical Decision #1Laptop or Desktop?

  • Computing Power: Laptop vs. Desktop

    Laptops can have as much or more computing power than desktops. It’s not a matter of external size but rather what’s “under the hood.”

    The Bottom Line

    Strongly recommend the desktop for your basic home PC.


Critical decision 2 the processor cpu

Critical Decision #2 The Processor/CPU

  • The processor is the “brains” of your computer.

  • In general terms, the faster the processor speed, the faster your computer can work.

  • Processor speed is measured in gigahertz or billions of cycles per second (GHz).

  • Currently processors run at speeds of less than 1.0 to greater than 3.0 GHz.


Critical decision 2 the processor

Critical Decision #2The Processor

  • Differences in processor speeds are not always noticeable.

  • Currently there are two major processor manufacturers:

    • Intel

      • Celeron (good)

      • Pentium (better)

    • AMD

      • Duron (good)

      • Athlon (better)


Critical decision 2 the processor1

Critical Decision #2The Processor

The Bottom Line

For most everyday users, an Intel Celeron or AMD Duron processor will work just fine. If you can afford the upgrade to the Intel Pentium or an AMD Athlon, do it.


Critical desion 3 ram

Critical Desion #3RAM

  • RAM is short for Random Access Memory

  • RAM is your PCs working memory – the place where information and instructions are temporarily placed while programs are opened and running.

  • When the computer is turned off data stored in RAM disappears.

  • RAM is measured in megabytes (MB)

  • Most PCs now have at least 128 MB of RAM


Critical decision 3 ram

Critical Decision #3RAM

The Bottom Line

RAM is probably the single most important factor in determining how well your computer performs. Generally speaking, the more RAM, the better.

Consider 256 MB as a minimum.

If you can upgrade to 512 MB RAM, do it.


Critical decision 4 the hard drive

Critical Decision #4The Hard Drive

  • The hard drive (C:) is the PC’s central warehouse – the place where the startup files, operating system, and software programs are stored.

  • The capacity of the hard drive is measured in gigabytes (GB).

  • Most modern PCs have hard drives of 40 to 100 GBs


Critical decision 4 the hard drive1

Critical Decision #4The Hard Drive

The bottom line

Bigger is better

Get at least 40 GB; more to give you room

to grow with your computer


Option 1 display monitors

Option #1Display Monitors

  • Monitors are prices by

    • Size – measured diagonally

    • Type

      • Box (CRT*)

      • Flat screen (CRT*) still a box but reduces glare & display distortion

      • Flat panel (LCD**)

        The Bottom Line

        “Seeing is believing!”

        (*Cathode ray tube) (**Liquid crystal display)


Option 2 additional storage devices

Option #2Additional Storage Devices

  • The selections

    • Floppy disk

    • CD-ROM

    • DVD

    • CD-RW

    • Zip Drives

    • USB Memory Keys

    • Combination Drives

      The Bottom Line

    • Be sure to get at least the CD-ROM

    • Upgrade to a CD-RW if possible

    • Floppies will soon be obsolete

    • Consider memory keys


Option 3 video cards sound cards

Option #3Video Cards/Sound Cards

  • Video cards are the interface between the PC and the display monitor.

  • Sound cards interface between the PC and the audio hardware including speakers and microphones.

  • Consider a more advanced cards if you are using programs that feature sophisticated video or graphics or high quality sound reproduction.

    The Bottom Line

    The video card and sound card that comes standard with the PC is usually a high-end product with all the capabilities and features you will need.


Option 4 multi media hardware

Option #4Multi-Media Hardware

  • Multi-media hardware lets your PC play music and video. Consider adding a DVD drive for watching movies.

    The Bottom Line

    At a minimum, you need a CD-ROM drive, a sound card and speakers.


Option 5 the operating system

Option #5The Operating System

  • Current standard is Windows XP

  • XP comes in home and professional versions

    The Bottom Line

    For everyday users, the home version of XP will meet your needs.


Option 6 productivity software

Option #6Productivity Software

  • Choose from various bundles for software like

    • Works Suite

    • Microsoft Office XP Small Business

    • Microsoft Office XP Professional Edition

      The Bottom Line

      Works Suite with MS Word is a good choice.


Option 7 internet access

Option #7Internet Access

  • You can connect to the Internet using dial-up, broadband (DSL or cable) or wireless connections.

    The Bottom Line

    Make sure your PC has a modem and a network interface card (NIC) so you can opt for a broadband connection.


Option 8 peripheral connections

Option #8Peripheral Connections

  • Peripherals are external devices such as printers, scanners, digital cameras, etc.

  • Peripherals connect to your PC by

    • Serial/parallel ports

    • USB (universal serial ports)

    • Wireless connections

      The Bottom Line

      Plug-n-Play peripherals are quickly becoming the industry standard. Make sure your PC has enough USB ports in addition to the standard serial/parallel ports.


Option 9 input devices

Option #9Input Devices

  • Input devices allow you to give the computer instructions and enter data. The two main input devices are the mouse and keyboard

    The Bottom Line

    The mouse and keyboard sold as part of your PC package will meet your basic needs. To upgrade, select an optical mouse and an ergometric keyboard.


Other considerations

Other considerations

  • Brand choice

  • Mom-n-Pop purchases

  • Warranties

  • Protection software with purchase

  • ISP with purchase

  • Obsolete so soon

  • Place of purchase: store or phone or online

  • Build your own


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