|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Buying a PC? Some tips for you
Leslie D'Monte in Mumbai | December 12, 2006
You even have it delivered to your home without much ado - warranties, guarantees intact. Second, you have finance schemes, which will help you pay for the PC with a down payment and equated monthly installments (EMIs).
The complexity starts with PC configurations. Should you buy an Intel or AMD PC; a Celeron, Pentium 4, Athlon, a dual core or Core 2 Duo; how much Random Access Memory (RAM), and the like?
For users, who simply want to surf the Net, use Word (to type and print documents) and access email, an Intel Celeron D (2.8 Ghz) or Pentium 4 processor (2.66 Ghz) should suffice.
There's hardly any configuration worth mentioning that's lower than this. The price of such a PC (including a mouse, onboard integrated graphics, combo CD-DVD drive) would range anywhere between Rs 18,000-25,000 (varies with every brand).
Mid-level users may do with the same configuration but will need additional RAM (typically DDR2 - around 512 MB). More RAM helps software applications to load faster on the machine and comes in very handy if you want to play games or use image-editing software like PhotoShop or vector-drawing packages like CorelDraw. It also pays to have a good hard-drive.
A 60-80 GB SATA drive with 7,200 RPM (loads data faster than a 5,200 RPM hard-drive) should do the trick. A decent branded machine with these specifications would cost around Rs 23,000-30,000.
Advanced users are hardcore gamers (they prefer seeing crisp and shrap images), developers or users of 3D software (rendering of images can take an awful lot of time on slower machines).
The RAM would be always 1 GB and above, the hard-disk capacity around 80-160 GB to store more multimedia files, a CD-DVD combo writer, a 17- or 19-inch TFT (flat screens for a better experience), 3-4 USB slots, a premium cabinet with extra fans to cool the advanced processors than can generate a lot of heat.
These processors comprise the Dual Core, Core 2 Duo (both from Intel) or the Athlon 64 X2 (from arch-rival AMD). Of course, hardcore games will need proper gaming cards - either from Nvidia or ATI. The high-end gaming cards themselves could cost anywhere from Rs 15,000-40,000 taking the cost of such computers to Rs 75,000 -100,000.
In sum, any PC with a Dual Core or an Athlon XP 3600+ is powerful enough for most users. Add around 512 GB of memory and your machine will rock for most tasks. But if Vista (Microsoft's latest operating system - OS) is on your mind - how many of you are still using Windows 98 anyway - you will require at least 512 MB RAM (we would recommend 1GB) and surely a Duo Core (at least) processor.
The Athlon 64 X2 3000+ would be a good buy since the Core 2 Duo (the architecture is called Core, processor family is Core 2, and the product names are Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme - they are said to be up to 40 per cent faster and over 40 per cent more energy-efficient) may not be full value for money till the prices drop over the coming months.
Do remember these are broad guidelines. PC buying is simple when it comes to low-end machines but as your needs increase, you may be tempted to buy higher-end ones.
Before flushing money down the drain, ensure that you read good online computer hardware sites like Tom's Hardware and Anand Tech and I can assure you that the journey will be as exciting as we find it. Wish you the best.