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How to choose a Desktop Computer

Before you shop

Step-1. Decide if you're better served by the PC/Windows platform or the Macintosh. You can generally get a faster computer for your money by choosing a Windows machine, but Macs come with more easy-to-use built-in software. Top brands are Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Gateway and Toshiba. Apple, of course, makes the Macintosh.

Step-2. Think about whether this machine will need to work with your office or school server. Exchanging files between platforms is less of an issue than it used to be, but it's still worth noting.

Step-3. Ask your friends and co-workers in similar lines of work what machines they have, where they bought them, if there were any problems, and whether they're happy with their choices.

Step-4. Expect to spend $1,000 to $2,000 for a general-purpose machine, although you can find desktop computers for anywhere from $400 to $10,000.

The basics

Step-1. Realize that if you buy a super cheap computer at a warehouse store or discounter, you're going to be on your own. Technical support from the major manufacturers tends to be a lot better.

Step-2. Buy as much random-access memory (RAM), or system memory, as you can afford. At a bare minimum, get 512 megabytes (MB); 1024 MB (1 GB) is preferable. (For a Macintosh, get at least 256 MB.) Memory is more critical than a faster processor.

Step-3. Get at least two universal serial bus (USB) connections and a FireWire (also called IEEE 1394) connection. These will connect peripheral devices, such as a printer, PDA, digital cameras and camcorders, scanners and game controllers.

Step-4. Get a CD burner so you can back up valuable data and make your own music CDs. Look into a DVD burner too if you're involved in film making or editing, but remember that there are multiple competing standards; computer-burned DVDs might not play in your home DVD player. Make sure your machine has a DVD drive if you want to watch movies on your computer. Also look for an internal modem if you planning to use dial-up Internet connection or utilize any PC Fax software.

Step-5. Ask about upgradability if you intend to use this computer for a long time, which is considered three or more years.

Step-6. Choose any current computer model from the major manufacturers with a high degree of confidence if you simply want to send e-mail, surf the Web and do word-processing.

Special considerations

Step-1. Get high-quality graphics and sound if you plan to play games. Look for a system that has a graphics card with a coprocessor, and 5.1 Surround sound. You'll want a broadband Internet connection to play online games, and to improve your Internet experience overall.

Step-2. Buy the biggest hard drive you can afford: 180 to 400 gigabytes (GB) is now commonplace. Get more than 700 GB if you're storing music and/or editing video. For video editing, you'll also need a video input/output card and a FireWire connection.

Step-3. Add a TV capture card, and you can even have your computer function as a DVR.

based on materials of eHow.com

 

|Date: 2008-06-10 visits: 2715| comments  0 Read more

Backup and Restore your PC: Where to store your Backup Data

There are lots of places to store your backup files: hard drives, CD-ROMs, flash drives, floppies and even the Internet. Table-1 compares several commonly used backup options. In a perfect world, your backup process should be safe, fast, and inexpensive. What's the best solution for you?

  • On your computer's internal hard drive. This is the most convenient place to store files: it's free, and the backup is always at your fingertips. But it's also the least secure place. If your hard drive dies, so does your backup. And eventually, all hard drives die. Plus, hard drives have a way of filling up quickly, leaving limited space for big backups.

  • On a second hard drive. A second drive inside your PC offers lots of storage space and protects your backup if your primary hard drive crashes, but it is still vulnerable to other risks. An external hard drive-one that connects to the outside of your computer via a Firewire or USB cable-can be easily removed from the PC and safely stored in another location. But external hard drives are expensive; using one exclusively for backups is a luxury for most people.

  • On a CD-ROM or DVD. Removable media like CDs and DVDs are the best solution for lots of files because they're small, hold lots of data, and can be easily transported to a safe storage place. However, both CDs and DVDs have limited space to store data and might become unreadable after several uses.

  • On a USB flash drive. These handy USB memory sticks are the size of a pack of chewing gum. Just plug one into the USB slot on any Windows compatible or Apple Macintosh PC and you can access more than 1GB of data in a few seconds. Flash drives are not as expensive as external hard drives and therefore make a great backup choice for data files especially if you regularly shuttle files between your home and office computers.

  • On the Internet Several companies like Connected.com (www.connected.com) and iBackup (www.ibackup.com) offer online data storage for a fee; you can upload your files to their website for storage and download them when needed for as little as $3 per month (for 50MB of data). However, prices climb quickly for larger amounts. This is one of the safest ways to back up data, but it can be costly and time consuming if you routinely back up more than a few hundred megabytes of data.

  • On a floppy disk. The floppy disk is acceptable for backing up small amounts of data such as a few documents and small spreadsheets, but a floppy's 1.44MB won't hold many large files like pictures or music. Floppies are also easy to damage, so store them carefully. Also most PCs sold today are not equpped with floppy drives.

Table-1. Where to Put Your Backup: A Comparison of Storage Devices

STORAGE DEVICERISK OF LOSSCOST TO BUYCOST TO STORE DATABACKUP UP TO
Internal hard drive High Expensive Moderate 20GB+
External hard drive Moderate Expensive Moderate 20GB+
DVD drive Low to Moderate
Inexpensive to Moderate Inexpensive 4.7GB per disk
CD-ROM drive Low to Moderate
Inexpensive Very inexpensive 650MB per disk
USB flash drive Moderate Moderate Moderate

8.0GB

Online Very low Moderate to expensive Moderate to very expensive 100GB+
Floppy drive Moderate Very inexpensive Very inexpensive (for less than 50MB of data) 1.44MB

based on materials of yahoo.com

|Date: 2008-05-29 visits: 2623| comments  0 Read more

10 Fast Fixes for Nagging PC Problems

1. Your Wi-Fi network is now dog-slow. If it's not a network outage, you likely have interference. Try relocating your router to shield it from disruptions such as microwave use or calls from a cordless phone. Or you may be on a crowded channel. Change the channel via your router's configuration page; look for a 'Channel' section and try 1, 6, or 11.

2. Your display looks terrible. Check display settings by right-clicking the desktop; choose Properties in XP or Personalize in Vista, then Settings. If you can't increase resolution and color quality, click Advanced, Adapter. If Standard VGA Adapter or another generic adapter is listed, download a driver specific to your PC. If your adapter is there, try a prior driver version. In XP, click Properties, Driver, Roll Back Driver; in Vista, open the Personalization Control Panel, choose Display Settings, Advanced Settings, Properties, and click Driver, Roll Back Driver.

|Date: 2008-05-28 visits: 3314| comments  0 Read more