Which Computer System should I buy ?Author : Pandu Ranga Rao N
E - Mail : pandu2050@gmail.com

Perhaps, this question will be asked mostly by users who are beginners, in the world of computers. Today, robust use of computer made it, essential device. Without computer, world will become big zero. So, now, we should know how to buy a computer.

First, List all required vegetables before going out to the marketů

Just like the above said point, computer purchase also requires a small list of requirements. Just like carrot, brinjal, chillis, etc, for cooking, the computer too has got many items which are needed to be purchased. Our listing journey should start exactly from the main component itself in order to make a reliable computer system.

Select a Processor first!

First and the major thing you need to select which processor you need. The Processor is an Electronic Chip which houses many circuits. It is just like our brain. It performs calculations and controls various parts of the computer. The computer's overall average speed is also determined by this small unit you choose.

While purchasing a processor, you should and must take the following terms into consideration.

  1. Number of bits the processor can address,
  2. Speed of the processor,
  3. Virtualization support.

The number of bits the processor can address or handle is given in terms of 32-bit, 64-bit. It is better we choose a 64-bit processor rather than going with 32-bit, even though the cost of 32-bit processor is somewhat less than 64-bit processors, because, the 32-bit variant is going to the history in the near future.

Before, you could purchase a processor make sure that, it has got high speed. Speed should be the main concern when you buy a computer system. Processors, today available at around 5 GHz speed. But, you don't need that much speed. Actually, processors with a speed of around 3.0 GHz is more than sufficient for your work today. Don't buy a processor with 1.0 GHz speed. Lower the processor speed, slower the launching of your applications.

If you are a developer or wish to be a developer in near future, go with a processor which supports hardware virtualization. It will enable one to work more comfortably with the virtualized environments, today. Virtualization support is needed for computers today, because, you may need to run Windows XP, Linux inside Windows 7, Windows 8. If the processor does not virtualization, then you cannot use Windows XP, Linux, MAC OS, etc. without formatting the entire drive and also without going for dual boot option. The dual boot option is not a safe practice, if you are running an OS temporarily for learning purposes and experimenting purposes.

Earlier, during 1990's Intel became official manufacturer and dominated the processor world. As time progressed, AMD also began production of commercial processors manufacturing and gave stiff competition to Intel.

Now, if you consider going with Intel, there are many latest processors available in the market. Among them are, Core 2 Duo, Dual Core, Core I series. If you are going with AMD, then, there are many series among which FX, A-Series, Athlon, Phenom series are the popular ones.

Selecting the right motherboard

The Motherboard is the main component in a computer system. It can be like torso in human being. It houses processor slots, RAM slots, sound and microphone ports, Hard Disk Drives and CD/DVD/Blue Ray drive connectors, Ethernet LAN card port, PCI slots, USB slots. All most every motherboard has got all these connectors, ports, slots etc. built in to them.

The selection of motherboard will be done on the basis of processor selection. It is because, not all processors fit in to the processor slots. Suppose, for example, if you purchase Intel Core i3 processor, you need to purchase a motherboard which supports Core i3 processor only, not the motherboard which supports Core i7 processor.

If you think that, core i7 motherboard makes your Core i3 processor fast, your assumption is absolutely wrong. This is mainly because; the pin structure of Core i3 is entirely different from Core i7, which makes i3 not fit into i7 slot, even though the both processor companies are same.

While purchasing a motherboard, always, see whether the motherboard has got two RAM slots. If it is does not have, then it is very difficult to increase the RAM capacity, even if your processor supports the total amount of RAM. In single slotted motherboards, you need to search for single card which has got N - Capacity RAM cards, where as in double slotted motherboard you can go for RAM cards with N/2 capacities.

Memory Capacity

The next thing to choose is the capacity of memory. There are two kinds of memories in computer system viz. primary and secondary memories. The primary memory is RAM and its contents remain till you shut off the system. RAM is too expensive unit and it is available in small quantities.

For your system, 2 GB is sufficient if you are using the system for running programs like MS Office kind of stuffs in Windows 7 environment. If you are using the computer for programs development and website development activities, then you need to have minimum of 4 GB RAM. One should not purchase a system with less than 2 GB now days. More the amount of RAM you have in your system, faster the programs will run.

Selecting a right hard disk

The next thing, you need in building the system is the choice of hard disk drive for your system. The hard disk acts as a secondary memory in your computer system. The more capacity you got to store, the more you can keep things in it. You store photos, videos etc and etc. but, for that, you need large storage space available in your hard disk drive.

There are two types of hard disks available at present. Internal and External type; you need to choose internal hard disk for your system. The reason is, that, external hard disks gets connected via USB cable, and do have lower data transfer rates rather than an internal hard disk. You can purchase an external hard disk also but, just to create backups and for data storage.

Today, the drives do come up in 250 GB, 350 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB capacities. If you are photography professional and have plans to store large files such as videos, High definition images (photos) then only go for 2 TB and above. If not, go with 500 GB or just with 1 TB. There are many hard disk manufacturers namely, Seagate, Western Digital, Kingston, Toshiba and Verbatim and lots more. Among them, Seagate is the most popular one and perhaps the oldest hard disk manufacturer too.

Solid State Disks, defining new trend in computer startup

If you have extra penny to spend, then along with HDD, purchase a SSD. SSD stands for Solid State Drive. The SSD can be your boot device, which can boot up your system 10 times faster than ordinary HDD. You can use HDD for storing your personal data and use SSD as a boot device. But, pricewise, SSD can be costly. For example, if you need SSD of 500 GB Capacity, you need to spend the amount of an entire computer system itself. You can go for SSD's from Kingston, Transcend etc. In future, SSD will take over HDD, if we see substantial reduction in the prices.

Selection of Display Card

Choosing display card perhaps is tricky one. If you are using the computer for playing games with the support of High Definition Technology, then, you need to go for 3D graphics card, which supports HDMI port. The motherboard comes with built-in normal VGA graphics card adapter port, but, that's not sufficient to meet the requirement. In such cases, purchase an add-on graphics card and insert into PCI slot provided in the system. Popular graphics cards are available from NVIDIA, ASUS, etc. Depending on the graphics port in your system, you need to choose a monitor.

Majority of the monitors do come with VGA ports, but, do not come with HDMI port. So, check out for monitors which come with HDMI port if you are thinking of purchasing graphics card which supports HDMI port in the later stage. You can also connect your HDMI enabled mobile via HDMI cable to HDMI port of the monitor, if you want to have a clear vision from your mobile. Some monitors do come with DIV ports. In such cases, you may need a motherboard or a graphics card which has got DIV port.

Monitor Selection

Selecting monitor is not a big task, since many companies do manufacture various types of monitors. While selecting a monitor, you must keep in mind what application you are going to use in your computer. If you are going to use the computer for website designs, advertisement banners then you will need a big screen, to get a clear picture of what you are doing etc. But, on the other hand, if you are going to make use of the system for applications like Word, Excel etc. then you can go for medium range monitors. Presently, high resolution monitors are available. Whatever the purpose is, I personally recommend that, you should buy a monitor with 1600x900 resolution.

Another aspect to look is, the adapter motherboard supports. If your motherboard has DVI port, then you must go with monitors with DVI adapter. If your motherboard has VGA port only, then you must look out for a monitor with VGA adapter. If your motherboard has HDMI port, then you must go with monitor with HDMI adapter. But, if you have all the 3 ports, in the motherboard, you can choose HDMI as a best option, because, you will get better vision, than in VGA and DVI.

Keyboard and Mouse

Next thing you need to have is keyboard and a mouse. It is better, while selecting a motherboard look out for PS/2 ports. If the motherboard does not have a PS/2 ports, then you need to spend 2 USB ports just only for Keyboard and mouse, if you have already purchased mouse and the keyboard separately even if the manufacturers are same. In case, you don't have mouse and keyboard and don't have PS/2 port in the motherboard, then go for a mouse and keyboard combo. Of course, today, no one likes to use the computer without a mouse.

Today, selecting a keyboard and a mouse, is not a big deal as; there are too many manufacturers in this line. Logitech, HP, Zebronics, Frontech, etc. are some of them. If you need a branded one, then go with Logitech. They are the leaders in this area. If you can spend a few pennies more, go for a wireless mouse and keyboard combo as it is the latest trend in present day technology. But, remember to check the number of batteries used, life time of batteries, before buying wireless keyboard and mouse combo.

Playing Sound from Computer

Present day mother boards do come with sound card along with it. So, normally, you need not for sound card. However, the sound quality varies slightly. If you are serious about it, then go for an add-on sound card. Among the sound card manufacturers, creative labs, ASUS, Zebronics are the leading manufacturers.

The next thing to look for is the speakers. You can connect any speakers which has 3.5mm jack, to the audio output. If you have a home theater system, then you can use it for the purpose, provided, if you don't mind carrying it from one place another. You can also purchase new computer speakers from Creative Labs, Intex, Zebronics, and so on.

Now, it's time to look for a microphone. Microphones are available in various ranges. But, you need to select the microphone, which has got 3.5mm jack.

If you need privacy, then you can opt for a headphone along with speakers. Go for a headphone with built-in microphone, with 3.5mm jack. It will help you to speak out at your voice. You can also listen to music, what the other party is saying from other computers, etc. privately, through head phones.

CD, DVD or BluRay ?

Installing software like windows XP, windows 7 etc. require the presence of a DVD drive. Instead of purchasing an ordinary DVD-ROM drive, go for a DVD writer. You can go for blu-ray drives also. But, the blu-ray drives don't provide support for reading the CD's, and it is almost failure now days. So, don't buy a Blu-ray drive. In future, you can buy it, when the OS installations do come in blu-ray disks.

System Box, Cabinet, SMPS

The last thing to look is the Cabinet with the SMPS (Switched Mode Power Supply). You can purchase a decent cabinet which suits the chosen motherboard. Do not go for a SMPS which is not compatible for your motherboard. It is always a best option to go with the SMPS and cabinet from the vendor who supplied your motherboard, as he himself knows the specifications of the motherboard very well.

Printers and scanners, should I require one?

If you have got many pages to be printed and also there is confidential information to be printed frequently, you can go for your own printer. You can select a printer based on the print quality. But, there are some more important factors, which you need to consider while selecting a printer. Presently, there are three kinds of printers exists in the printer world. You need to select a printer based on its output, which it is going to produce on papers.

Dot Matrix Printer

The primary kind of printer among the various printers is the dot matrix printer. These printers are most suited ordinary text mode printing. It can also be used for printing graphics also, but, the quality will be less compared to all other variants of printers. It uses ribbon cartridge. The cost of ribbon cartridge is too less compared to other form of printers. You can see this kind of printers, mostly, in Banks.

Ink Jet Printer

The next version of printer is Ink Jet printer. It makes use of ink spray to print. Ink is stored inside cartridge container. The cost of ink jet cartridge is slight high compared to ribbon cartridge, but, the print quality is somewhat high, if we compare dot matrix printer to ink jet printers. If the usage frequency is less, then it is advised not to look for inkjet printers, because, the ink in the cartridge gets dried up soon.

Laser Printer

Go for a laser printer, if your need high print quality but also should not waste your cartridge. The printer and cartridge units are slight costlier when compared with dot matrix and ink jet printers. But, the quality of print is high and very legible to read and see. You can go for color laser printer also, if you need to print high quality pictures, where quality is the main constraint.


The next thing to look out is the scanner. A scanner is a device which reads whatever kept on it and produces as it is on the screen. There are many types of scanners available. Among them, flat bed scanner is the popular one. Higher scanning resolution will produce the best images.

Today, there are many printers do come with a built in scanner. These printers serve as multipurpose printers, because, they scan, print and produce Xerox like copies. One can go ahead with laser printers with this capability, because, it serves all your printing needs, even if the investment requirement is slight high.

For printers, there are several manufacturers. EPSON, HP, Canon, TVS are the popular among them. You can choose any printer from these manufacturers, by looking at the price they offer for printers and also for refill cartridges. There are some re fillers who fills the empty cartridges. Go and have an enquiry how much it will cost them to refill the empty cartridges, before buying a brand new printer.

List these things and think whether to buy a branded computer from branded computer manufacturers or just buy an assmebled one.

Branded Vs Assembled, which one is the best?

Branded computers do come for longer time without much more maintainance. One will get a warranty period from 1 year up to 3 years. One can also extend warranty of the product by a fixed number of years which is pre-set by the company by paying some additional amount. But, the costs of these computers are high, compared to that of assembled one. The assembled computers do also have warranty period for some branded parts from the branded manufacturers. It has normally 1 year warranty from the vendor who assembles the computer. During this period, there is a risk of vendor shutting down his business. So, one should go for the assembled computer from a genuine business licensed vendor, if you cannot do the assembling by yourself by purchasing above discussed parts from the cheapest prices.

In the end, now, it's up to you to decide which computer system is for you. We have just given an outline of how a computer can get ready for you.

Author : Pandu Ranga Rao N
E - Mail : pandu2050@gmail.com
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