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What computer to buy for...


If he was going to buy a tomato boat, there would no be greatly problem in which he was wrong of mark. But when it is a question of the hundreds of thousands of pesetas that it costs (that not always costs) a computer, must play safe... Do not be that they bandage a tomato boat to him with keyboard.

In normal conditions, this section would be updated every month, approximately. Nevertheless: the last finished update was realized 11/22/2001! If he wants to know the current tendencies, I recommend to him to read first the article Spring 2005: CPUs, basic badges and memory, and later these pages of What computer to buy for...: the components, quantities and prices are still still to update, but many of the general advices keep on being perfectly applicable.



Here there go a few councils independent from the use of the computer:

In the prices orientativos that will happen, the operating system (Windows Me or Windows XP Home Edition, although I would prefer Windows XP Professional) it is the only software that is included, and 16 % of VAT is not included. The price faces, it is not the Divine Truth; principally it is to arrange a little the computers.

First study the basic configuration and then go to the classification as use of the PC to know what enlargement he will need or in what components it can save something. If for what he looks is a portable one, pulsate here to go straight to the corresponding paragraph.


Basic configuration

We are going to put an intermediate starting point, a few computers that we might name "todoterreno":

Component Economic Recommended Luxurious
Mike (CPU) AMD Duron 900 / 1000
(or Athlon?)
AMD Athlon 1333
(or Pentium III / 4?)
AMD Athlon 1400
or Athlon XP 1500 +
Motherboard With chipset ROUTE
(not Intel 810E)
With chipset ROUTE, AMD, SiS, ALi or Intel 815E/815EP With chipset ROUTE, AMD, SiS or ALi
Memory RAM 256 MB SDRAM (better than 133 MHz) 256 MB DDR-SDRAM PC2100 (266 MHz) 384 MB DDR-SDRAM PC2100 (266 MHz)
Hard disk 30 GB UltraDMA100 30 GB UltraDMA100,
to 7.200 rpm
40 GB UltraDMA100,
to 7.200 rpm
Graphic card Of mark, with chip 3D and 16 MB SDRAM Of mark, with chip 3D and 32 MB SDRAM Of mark, with chip 3D of high scale and 32 ó 64 MB SDRAM or DDR-SDRAM
Monitor 17 " of mark, with pipe curved CRT 17 " of mark, with pipe flat CRT 17 " of mark, with pipe flat CRT, high scale
Multimedia CD 52x mark - integrated sound or PCI DVD marks - sound PCI upper intermediate scale DVD marks - sound PCI upper intermediate scale
(not in the price)
DeskJet 845C or Epson Stylus C60 DeskJet 940C or Epson Stylus C70 Monochrome laser or high ink scale
Communication Modem 56Kb I Intern PCI... or ADSL Modem 56Kb Day pupil or "finished" PCI (not winmódem)... or ADSL Modem 56Kb Day pupil or "finished" PCI (not winmódem)... or ADSL
(without VAT or printer)
120.000 ptas
(721 euros)
(645 $ aprox).
160.000 ptas
(962 euros)
(860 $ aprox).
190.000 ptas
(1.142 euros)
(1.020 $ aprox).

It is difficult to change the table significantly: for the time being, the market is... the one that is, and the options are... those who are. Anyway, the true thing is that the prices have never been better. Make use of the crisis of the sector in his benefit: buy a team with as MINIMUM 256 MB of memory and with a few MHz more than really I needed (although for many applications, any mike of approximately 750 MHz would be more than in abundance). Ah, do not forget TO BE REQUIRED to put a GOOD fan to the mike...

While they last (and it will not be forever, I am afraid), there cannot allow taking advantage the ridiculous prices of the memory SDRAM (PC100/PC133) and the memory DDR-SDRAM, with chipsets variety for the last one (SiS, ROUTE and AMD are slightly better that ALi, in our opinion). It is not that it is obligatory to install memory DDR (it improves the yield but neither it does big miracles), but it does not come badly and costs almost the same.

The AMD Athlon / Athlon XP have a relation price - yield so excellent that Pentium III are not worth it (his price is anything high and his low yield). Even the AMD Duron scarcely can compete with his older brother (in price, because quality remains him; and also it uses the same badges Socket A as the Athlon). Ah, if the shop does not sell mikes AMD, distrust: only a few Intel fanatics do not sell them, and not for technical motives but of marketing.

The Celeron simply is not at a height of the Duron, although the Celeron to 800 MHz or any more (with 100 MHz bus) at least manage to defend themselves; if the only thing that can find or pay include this mike, try that it is really cheap and that it avenges with a lot of memory and a graphic card of quality, not integrated to the motherboard. In this respect, read this article surprises are avoided with the new ones GeForce2 MX.

The Pentium 4 is only advisable with memory Rambus-DRAM, but it goes out very expensively, and really his yield is something low in many applications (the model to 1,4 GHz can sometimes Duron turns overcome even by an AMD to 900 MHz that uses memory DDR-SDRAM). If nevertheless he likes, bear in mind that the basic badges Socket 423 are being replaced with the Socket 478 (one does not anchor in the past), does not buy it of less than 1,7 GHz and especially: do not use it in any case with SDRAM (chipset i845), eye!!

Nowadays, it is essential to have a monitor of 17 ", to be able to use resolutions of 1.024x768 points or more without problems. Fond of his yield on having worked, to his health, to his sensation of well-being on having played... The only question to be decided is his quality and the guarantee that it offers, and that depends only on his pocket. Outstanding figure (CRT, pipe of cathode beams - I curl or flatly-) or digital flat screen (LCD)? Question of tastes, price and needs for space, this way of simple.

And how always, just in case did I try not to curtail in motherboard, in memory RAM or in monitor, if it does it I make sure him that more soon or later he will repent; also, in Windows often it deserves more the sorrow to have a lot of memory that many MHz (or that to have memory DDR or Rambus, since we are). Certainly, he is worth buying a hard disk of 7.200 rpm (the type of UltraDMA that it uses does not matter, the important thing is to how much it turns and the size of his buffer: the major are these values, skylight).

Well: does an idea already go being done what he needs? Since it does not go so quickly; we are going to consult his specific needs, perhaps meet some surprise (even print, do not be scared). If it is not sure, try with the first two opciónes:


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