computer purchaser's handbook
March 7, 1997
If you must succumb to the dark side (not many saints like myself left
I'm afraid) here's how to do it with a semblance of taste ...
- For personal desktop (read affordable, will upgrade soon) ...
- beg for a free or almost free one, DO NOT BUY NEW!
If you look last years' model is almost being given away at swap meets,
used computer dealers, and in newspaper ads. Note, nobody lets go of a
quality video monitor or other quality peripherial if they can help it
... see below.
Last note, PC hardware is an incredible scam, its quality peripherials and
software applications where real investiment is made. There's a good chance
that the core computer will be obsolete when you remove the shrink wrap.
If the core computer has a good amount of memory and a big harddisk its
useful (has value).
- For workstation grade machine ...
- Intel Pentium Pro 200 MHz at least
- PCI upgradable video, don't ever buy video on the motherboard. All video
cards are fast, and the really fast one you need you're not going to
know about until you've had a system for a year or so.
- big fat harddrive, go for fat and slow. fast hard drives just burn up ...
(gauntlet of its own making).
- sychronous RAM, as much as you can afford at purchase (unlike the days of
older DRAM, sychronous is much faster but difficult to match and install later)
- the largest highest quality video monitor you can afford ... this device
WILL OUTLAST ANY COMPUTER purchased so make it count.
- CD-ROM & sound card, it amazing how much non-audio based softwre actually
requires a CD-ROM and sound card.
- SCSI interface, unless you back up your data regularly, any significant
work you do is essentially being lit on fire a little every day.
SCSI interface allows easy ZIP, JAZ, SCANNERS, BACKUP drivers to hitch
into your system for quick backups.
- US Robotics fast modem, for web browsing, don't mess with 3rd rate brands on this
- HP DeskJet (inkjet), laserjets are power hogs, expensive to maintain.
Non-HP printers are crap regarding support, maintainence, and long term quality output
Of course the best hardware out there is not PC, its PowerMac and SGI
(at the moment) and not running under Microsoft's control. Sure the operating
system seems abit uncommon, but unlike a PC somehow these platforms ripen with
age and become invaluable. Often because its public domain where the next
criticality is, and public domain and Microsoft are arch rivals. Some of the
best work being done has these latter platforms performing the the brilliant
bits. Ya, you know or you'll never know ...
crude, blunt, hopefully helpful