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Guide to Buying a Computer

You need to get to know some basic info, so you can be on top of the buying process. In Guide to Buying a Computer, you'll learn how to determine what type of computer you need, you'll learn about computer parts, get to know some terminology, and some smart tips you need to know in order to make a wise buying decision.

We'll tell you what to look for, and more importantly, what to look-out for. We'll give you some insight into computers, some important shopping tips, and our recommendations.

So, let's get started.

How Much Computer Do You Need?

Part 1 of Guide to Buying a Computer

Most people buy too much computer. That's understandable. Computers are now much more powerful then ever before, and prices have come down. Of course, sales people will try to sell you the most powerful and expensive computer possible. For lots of folks, it doesn't take a lot of persuasion. Most people are eager to pay too much for a computer that's too powerful for their needs.

One reason why we wrote Guide to Buying a Computer was so we could place things into perspective.

We think if you understand a little more about computers, then you'll be able to evaluate exactly what you need, before you go shopping. Then you'll be able to make good judgments and buy a computer that is fitted to your needs. And, you'll save money!

What do you want your computer to do?

The first thing you need to do is to ask yourself - exactly what do you want to do with your computer?

I suggest you get a pen and paper and write a list of exactly what you want to do with your computer. This is an important step because by writing it down, you work all of this out clearly in your mind.

The list you write will, in fact, determine what software (or programs) you will need. The software programs will determine what strength of computer hardware you will need to run your software. And that determines what type of computer you will need.

Nowadays, computers can do all kinds of things, or so it seems. Most people are interested in surfing the Internet, as well as sending and receiving eMail. Many use their computer to write reports and papers for business or school. Others use an accounting program in order to keep their personal or small business bookkeeping in order. Some people use their computer to play some of the highly complex computer games that are now on the market. There are hundreds of things you can do with a computer.

So, first write a list of what you want use your computer for.

Selecting Software Programs

You need to select exactly which programs you'll want to start off using. To help you with this, a discussion on software programs can be found in Part 5: Software of this guide. You may want to speak with people you know who have experience with computers, such as friends and family.

Selecting the Computer Type

You only need to select the type of computer you will want to use. In Guide to Buying a Computer, we categorize computers into three types of home computers.

The Standard (Basic) Computer

Things have changed. Today's basic computer is far more powerful than a basic computer of only a few years ago, and prices have dropped. So now, this level of computer is perfect for those that want to surf the Internet, receive and write eMail, use Word processing for writing reports or papers for work or school, editing a few family photos, and downloading and playing music.

The price tag should be between $400 and $700. See the complete Complete Standard Computer Recommendations.

The Mid-Range Computer

These are for people that need more power without going for an expensive computer. This level of computer will handle larger or graphics-heavy programs faster than a basic computer.

The price tag here should be between $600 and $900. See the Complete Mid-Range Computer Recommendations.

The High-End Computer

These are for people who need a powerful computer to smoothly run high-end games, edit lots of photos, edit video, or to run any other power-hungry graphics-intensive programs.

The price range for top quality is always more. See the Complete High-End Computer Recommendations.

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Guide to Buying a Computer

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