Monday, May 18, 2009

Time for a New Computer?

COMPUTER TIP OF THE WEEK
from Dr T -- RTemlak4dds@aol.com

When is it Time For a New Computer?

A reader asks: I have had my computer for quite some time now and my grandkids are always telling me I need to get a new one. They say mine is too slow and it just doesn't work right. As for me, I'm not convinced. Do you have any guidelines I can follow to see if I really should get a new one or not?

Good question! Isn't it funny how everyone's views on the same exact topic can be so different? I mean, it's obvious the person who asked today's question is being bombarded by their grandchildren to get a new computer. And why do you think they want a new one? Well, so they can have all the perks they're used to when they go visit grandma and grandpa, of course! Then on the other hand, grandma and grandpa don't agree and they think their computer works just fine.

Well, it's hard to tell who is right here. Children these days are very much into computers and they know a lot more about them than some of us would like to admit. But then again, if our computers are working good enough to do what we want on them, why bother buying a whole new one? That debate could go on and on, so I think I'll end it by giving you some pointers you can follow to see if you really should buy a new computer or not. Let's check them out!

First of all, as you all know, technology is changing everyday. There's always something new coming out and there's always something different to try. It's not always pertinent that you go along with those changes, but here are some reasons why you may want to. You need a new computer if:

1.) Your processor speed is less than 1.0 GHz (gigahertz). (On another note, if your computer is still running on megahertz, you'll definitely want to make an upgrade soon!) See, most programs and other applications that you may put on your computer require a lot more power than 1 GHz can give them. If you don't have a fast enough processing speed, your computer will run very slow and you won't be able to browse the Internet, play games, etc. with the ease you should have. You can check your processor speed by going to Start, Control Panel, Performance and Maintenance, System.

2.) Your computer has less than 256 MB of memory. (Again, go to Start, Control Panel, Performance and Maintenance, System to check on that information). If you don't have at least 512 MB or 1 GB of RAM memory, your computer will not run smoothly or to the best of its ability.

3.) You're using a Windows version that starts with a 3 or a 9 (for example, Windows 3.1, 95 and 98). Those older operating systems lack a lot of the features every computer should have these days, including security features and other updates that are required to keep your computer running properly and protected. The same thing applies if you're using a Mac version that is older than OS X.

4.) Your monitor is a 14 inch or smaller. If you don't have at least a 17 inch monitor, you're not going to be able to see full Web sites, which really is a shame!

5.) You're always getting an error message of "Operating system not supported" when you try to install new programs onto your PC. Or, when you're trying to upgrade to a new operating system and you get an error message of "Hardware not supported."

6.) Your computer has no USB ports. Nowadays, most external devices (such as keyboards, mice, printers, etc.) run via USB. Therefore, if you don't have any ports, you're going to have trouble keeping up with the newer computer devices.

7.) Your PC has a 5.25 inch disk drive or even a 3.5 inch floppy drive. Floppy drives are still around, but they're being phased out as well. Software has just outgrown those two drives and they won't be of much use in the near future. Flash and thumb drives are definitely taking over.

So, those are just a few things you should look into if you're wondering about buying a new computer or not. They are all good reasons why you should fork out the money and invest in a new PC. And I'm not just saying that to make your grandchildren happy either! With a brand new computer, everyone who uses it (including you) will benefit. Now, I realize you may use your computer on a very limited basis (maybe just for checking your e-mail and playing a game here and there), but if you fall into any of the categories listed above, you should still look into getting a new computer.

Yes, I know change is hard to take, but I think once you get your new computer up and running, you will agree with me on everything I said today. On the other hand, if you answered "no" to almost all of the specifications above, you should be fine with the computer you have. And if your grandchildren still complain, just tell them once they give you enough money for a new PC, you'll go right out and buy one. That should do the trick!

Note: The above was sent to me in an email.

To add to the suggestions above, I might add that a NEW computer will probably cost you about 1/2 to 1/10th as much as that old computer did when new!

I was just looking at Walmart and saw a comprehensive Emachines computer for $498 including 19"monitor!

See CPEDLEY.COM for some great discounts on Dell Computers.

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