View Full Version : How to choose a computer?

07-31-2004, 07:13 PM
We have an ancient computer and NEED to upgrade. The one we have now is 200mhz! We joke that it has a handcrank! :roll: Anyway, I don't know where to start. We have 4 children to use the computer for educational programs, business use for invoices, and using the internet for research.
Some people have told us to build one OR there are packages to buy. Is it best to buy from a place like Best Buy where you can get a package with technical support and someone fairly close or from Dell or Gateway? What about clones - is it best to stay away from them? I notice friends computers tend to stay in the shop most of the time - How can I avoid this? Is there a website that might help tell me what to look for?

I haven't been computer literate for about ten years(traded computers for children) and don't know what to look for when I look at the list of included things.

Thanks for any input! Sabrina

07-31-2004, 07:24 PM
Hi Sabrina.....

I'm so NOT Technical Tina, but there are some things to consider because no matter what good computer you get, your going to one day need something. Like service,etc.

So for me, who is not technical, I wanted to buy it from a place that I could take it back too and have it back in a day or two and get my questions answered in person.

Dh wants to order one built from Gateway, but i don't really know how that work if it crashed. I know several of my friends live in Houston so its no big deal to find a service person. But for me in small Brenham, it is. So thats one reason why I chose Best Buy.

I do have the kids use it and we both use it, so it is subject to things that the kids and me :oops: do to the computer.

For our purposes, we do generate invoices and bids for our business. i use it for homeschool and the kids play games and we are set with the 128 mb memory,1.3 ghz pentium processor.

I think probably most come standard now with cd burner...where you can make a copy of audio..you know sound like music,etc. I enjoy that feature about mine.

Some really tech people I know that my dh uses, he never saves anything on his hard drive. he has a separate one hooked up.

As far as software, I like the student/teacher edition by Microsoft. It has word,powerpoint, excel and outlook manager. i don't need publisher (this can allow you to make calendars and other neat things, but Ican live without it) which the profession edidtion of Microsoft has that included.

We kept our older computer and delegated that to the kids for games..because their games do sometimes miss up my settings and cause my Active Desktop to go bonkers!

So those are a few things to consider!

07-31-2004, 07:58 PM
Sabrina, I'm turning you over to my DH...he's the "computer expert" around here, and can answer things for you, though probably rather generically....

Hi, this is DH. I work with computers daily, and can give you some guidelines.
1) Keep the old computer around for word processing and older educational programs.
2) Unless you or your DH are up on current technology, buy a package deal from close by. That way you can always pester the sales person you bought it from.( Favorite trick of mine personally).
3) Buy the most you can afford. Don't go for the cheapest deal. Don't go for the most expensive just because it is there. Most computers are only good for 3-5 years max. Plan a budget around that. The computer may still be "good" after 5 years, but out of date for just about everything you want to do...
4) Clones or e-machines can be useful IF you buy local or are a guru to know how to work on them.
5) Included things: What do you want it to do??? Top of the line video and multimedia cards are nice, but expensive toys unless you are a video producer...
Basics- at least a 60 Gig hard drive(most come with 40, try for larger); 256M memory, preferrable 512M; 17 inch screen(easier on the eyes); network card installed(even if you are using a modem, switching is easier this way); standard sound card(note above about video producer...).
If you are really using it for homeschooling, try to find a deal that gives you a printer/scanner/copier. We love the copier part...
Digital cameras have come down in price, but are not what I call a necessity. (Of course, we have 2...) :D
Unless you are hyperactive, don't worry about cordless mice/keyboards. I hope you don't mind the "numbered" format. Just me.
Back to your previously scheduled interactor...

07-31-2004, 10:56 PM
We bought each of our children an Emachine for their rooms. We bought the package deals with the rebates that came to about $350 each from Circuit City. They have 40 gigs, and run great. We have not had any problems with them, and we have 4 of the Emachines in our house and 3 laptops. My husband is a Network Administrator, which helps. We do not believe in buying the most expensive, or even moderately, as they go out of style within months! We use Windows XP. The one nice thing about that is there is a restore date. If something happens, you can restore it to an earlier date where it was running great. I love that! It saves my husband from reformatting. Anyway, building one from scratch is not cost effective anymore. Good luck. Oh, and I have to say, I love my mouse with the scrolling wheel!

08-01-2004, 04:00 PM

Thanks Jackie's dh,Carl Right? :D DH and I are always looking for more info from computer people. :wink:

You should see when we get on the computer together :lol: What a grand time we have laughing at each other and trying to figure out what it was we did! :oops: He asked me something like *it seems we oughta be able to do this on this thing* I agree, and well thats the end of it. :lol:

We always wonder though what can you with them after you have the last two old ones for the kids and now we have 3 total. Pretty soon our 3rd will be ready for retirement. What do you do with the oldest? How do you get rid of them? Dumb question here: But do you just throw them away?