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Buying A Computer. Agenda: What type of user are you? Computer Ad Review (Terminology) Service and Warranties Where to Buy Questions?. Steve Garwood Camden County Library 9/7/01. Buying a Computer. Don’t Forget…. You can’t know everything (and shouldn’t want to)

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Buying A Computer

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Buying A Computer

  • Agenda:

  • What type of user are you?

  • Computer Ad Review (Terminology)

  • Service and Warranties

  • Where to Buy

  • Questions?

Steve Garwood

Camden County Library

9/7/01


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Buying a Computer

Don’t Forget…

  • You can’t know everything (and shouldn’t want to)

  • It’s all a learning experience

  • Buy as much as you can (but try to avoid leasing)

  • In general the better the computer the higher the cost

  • The day you buy something something better will come out


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

  • How Experienced are you with computers?

  • Have never owned one/don’t use one at work.

  • Own a system that’s more than five years old/rarely used

  • Own a system purchased after 1997/use it regularly

  • Own a two year old computer system that can’t keep up with present demands

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

  • How do you use your current computer or plan to use a new one

  • For basics like word processing, e-mail, and web surfing.

  • For all of the above, plus financial management andchildren’s software.

  • To manage and run a home office or home-based business

  • To play the latest online, CD, or DVD games and/or useit for digital imaging and photo archiving.

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

  • 3. Who will be the primary user of the computer?

  • Yourself and/or your spouse.

  • Yourself and/or your spouse and young children.

  • Mainly yourself in a business capacity.

  • Yourself and your children, teenagers in particular.

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

  • 4. How many hours per week will the computer be in use?

  • 5-10.

  • 10-25.

  • 25-40.

  • 40 or more.

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

  • 5. How do you use or expect to use the Internet?

  • Occasionally, mostly for e-mail and research.

  • At least once a day, to check e-mail and news andto shop.

  • Several times a day to communicate for business andto access important information and files.

  • All the time, for entertainment and socializing.

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

  • 6. What types of software are most important to you?

  • Web browser, word processor, and encyclopedia.

  • A productivity suite for home-office use.

  • All of the above plus games and financial programs.

  • The latest DVD-based action games and/or photo-editing software.

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

  • 7. When you set up your new computer, you’d like…

  • Goof-proof instructions and color-coded cables.

  • Basic instructions and a user’s manual.

  • A user’s manual perhaps, but I sort of know what I’m doing.

  • Nothing – I can do it blindfolded.

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

  • 8. How many years’ use do you expect from a new computer?

  • I don’t know how many I should expect.

  • A minimum of 5 years sounds good to me.

  • Three to Five years, and then I know I’ll need to upgrade.

  • Until the newest must-have technology comes along.

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

  • If your PC has technical troubles, what procedure wouldyou follow?

  • Call the store where I bought the PC and ask for service.

  • Call the manufacturer’s customer service number and beled step-by-step through diagnosis and repair.

  • Have a repair person come to my home, under warranty.

  • Consult the user’s manual and/or manufacturer’s web site and try to fix the problem myself.

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

  • 10.What do you see yourself doing on your PC in the future?

  • Banking online and doing web shopping.

  • Sending e-mail photos to friends and relatives.

  • Running a small business and video-conferencing with distant colleagues.

  • Downloading MP3 music files, using cutting-edgemultimedia software, and perhaps doing some digital video editing.

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

What type of user are you?*

Answer Key:

Mostly A’s – Novice User Expect to pay $600 to $1,000

Mostly B’s or mix A’s and/or B’s – Mixed Needs Expect to pay $1,000 to $1,500

Mostly C’s or mix B’s and C’s - Experienced User Expect to pay $1,500 to $2,000

Mostly D’s or mix C’s and D’s – Power User. Expect to pay $2,000 to $3,500

*From Consumer Reports


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Buying a Computer

Comparing Computer Ads:

#1 Staples Advertisement 9/9/01

Intel Celeron Processor800mhz 128mb RAM 20 Gigabyte Hard Drive 48x Max CD-Rom Drive Compaq 15” Monitor

Compaq Color Printer

Free year MSN $899.94 - $200 in rebates = $699

#3 Gateway Website 9/9/01

Intel Pentium 4 1.6 Ghz 128mb RDRAM 40 Gigabyte Hard Drive 32x Max CD-Rom Drive 8x Max CD-RW Drive 17” Monitor (15.9 viewable image size)64MB NVIDIA™ GeForce2 MX400 AGP Graphics 56k modem Boston Acoustics Speakers Intel Pocket PC camera Free year AOL$1299

#2 Best Buy Advertisement 9/9/01

Intel Celeron 900Mhz computer package 128mb SDRAM 30 Gigabyte Hard Drive 48x Max CD-Rom Drive 8x CD-RW Drive Intel Direct 3D AGP Graphics V.90 high speed modem 15” HP .28monitor (13.8 viewable image size) Polk Audio Speakers HP Color Printer Free year MSN

$1099 - $300 in rebates (4 rebates) = $799

Anyone else confused?


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Buying a Computer

Comparing Computer Ads Step 1 - Processor

Computer #1 – Celeron 800Mhz

Computer #2 – Celeron 900Mhz

Computer #3 – Pentium IV 1.6 Ghz

  • Processor – (also known as CPU)

  • The clock speed of the processor measured in Mhz and now Ghz determines how fast the computer can operate.

  • In general the faster you can buy the better

  • Some Different Processors:

  • Intel – Pentium (III, IV) and Celeron

  • AMD – Athlon, K-6 and Duron

  • Via Technologies – MII and Cyrix


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Buying a Computer

Comparing Computer Ads Step 2 - RAM

First, how computers understand size

Byte=1 Character

Kilobyte=1000 Bytes (1000 characters)

Megabyte=1000 Kilobytes (1,000,000…)

Gigabyte=1000 Megabytes (1,000,000,000…)


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Buying a Computer

Buying a Computer

Comparing Computer Ads Step 2 - RAM

Computer #1 – 128mb RAM

Computer #2 – 128mb SDRAM

Computer #3 – 128mb RDRAM

  • RAM – Random Access Memory

  • The memory the computer uses while operating

  • In general the more RAM the more programs the computer can run simultaneously

  • Computers will generally come with between

  • 64 and 256mb of RAM (Get at least 64, though 128 is better)

  • DRAM – Current Standard

  • SDRAM (Synchronous DRAM) – Faster

  • (Set to work with computer clock speed)

  • RDRAM (Rambus DRAM) – Even Faster


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Buying a Computer

Comparing Computer Ads Step 3 – Hard Drive Space

Computer #1 – 20Gb Hard Drive

Computer #2 – 30Gb Hard Drive

Computer #3 – 40Gb Hard Drive

  • Hard Drive Memory

  • The computer’s long term memory

  • The place where computer programs are stored as well as the documents, images, sound files you create.

  • Desktop computers will generally come with 16 to 75Gb of hard drive space.

  • Think of Hard Drive space like closet space (Can you ever really have enough?)


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Buying a Computer

Comparing Computer Ads Step 4 - Monitor

Computer #1 – 15” Monitor

Computer #2 – 15” Monitor 13.8” Viewable

Computer #3 – 17” Monitor 15.9” Viewable

  • Monitor

  • General sizes: 15”, 17”, 19”, 20-25”

  • 15” Standard on low priced computers

  • Viewable area measured corner to corner

  • 17” has viewable area generally 33% bigger than 15”

  • Bigger the monitor the more space it takes up and the more it costs

  • Most computers use Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) like TV

  • Also Flat Screen (CRT) and Flat Panel (LCD) models

  • Flat Panel monitors newest, small

  • footprint, more expensive, picture not as bright

  • Beware of dot-pitch – you want .28mm or less


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Buying a Computer

Comparing Computer Ads Step 5 – CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD

Computer #1 – 48X Max CD-ROM drive

Computer #2 – 48X Max CD-ROM drive; 8x Max CD-RW

Computer #3 – 48X Max CD-ROM drive; 8x Max CD-RW

CD: Plays CD music and installs programs from CD

CD-R: Plays CD music, installs programs from CD,

and allows you to record (burn) your own CD

CD-RW: Plays CD music, installs programs from CD, and

allows you to record and re-record CDs

DVD: Plays CD music, install programs from CD, and Play DVD

Note: DVDs will eventually totally replace CDs

“Recordable” DVD is here but very expensive…price will

come down


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Buying a Computer

Comparing Computer Ads Step 6 – Printers

Computer #1 – Compaq Color Printer

Computer #2 – HP Color Printer

Computer #3 – None

  • Printers are generally Inkjet or Laser types

  • Unless you run a small business get an inkjet

  • Ink costs are your greatest enemy

  • Printers are almost “given” with computers, if not included

  • a printer shouldn’t cost you more than $200 if you just want basics


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Buying a Computer

Comparing Computer Ads Step 7 – Can you Upgrade?

  • Upgrade the Processor?

  • Memory Sockets

  • Expansion slots

  • Ports

  • Expansion Bays

  • Hard Drive or Storage


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Buying a Computer

Comparing Computer Ads Step 8 –Internet Service and Modems

Computer #1 – 56k; 1yr MSN

Computer #2 – 56k; 1yr MSN

Computer #3 – 56k; 1yr AOL

  • Your computer will either need a modem or network card

  • to connect to the Internet

  • Modem’s are most common and use your phone line to connect

  • Modem’s are standard equipment and most computers will come with a V90 56K modem

  • Network cards are used to connect to cable systems and LANs

  • Many computers will come with a year free service

  • Some come with rebates for signing up for long term service


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Buying a Computer

Software

  • Software=Programs=Applications (Generally)

  • Most computers will come prepackaged with enough

  • software to get you started

  • In general you’ll get:

  • An Operating System (OS) – Windows 95/98/ME/XP

  • An “Application Suite” such Microsoft Works – Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Database

  • Internet Connection Software

  • Some basic games


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Buying a Computer

Warranties and Service

  • Most major companies will provide you with at least one year of service and parts warranties

  • Most retailers will try to sell you long term warranties (that’s how they actually make money)

  • Do you need a long term warranty? In most cases NO

  • IF the computer might get used (read abused) it might be a good idea (Read: if you have little kids, but the warranty)

  • Also, check into the credit card you use, you might get an additional warranty on purchases.

  • A note on service: if it’s not convenient for you, it’s no good


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Buying a Computer

Where to Buy?

  • Computer Superstores – Perhaps best shopping; fairly knowledgeable staff; Decent Service; beware of long term warranties

  • Electronics Superstores – The person who sold stereos yesterday might be selling computers today; beware of long term warranties

  • Home-Office Superstores – Usually smaller higher end computers; salespeople not experts

  • Warehouse Clubs – Generally cheap, non-brand name computers

  • Mass Merchandisers – like Kmart and Walmart; Generally

  • lower end machines

  • Catalog or Online Retailers – Best prices but might have to

  • mail the computer in for service

  • Local Computer Stores – Can be good for service, but watch out for mixed components


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Buying a Computer

Questions?

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Questions?

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Questions?


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