On Computers

It's Back to School Time

Aaron Kahn

17 August 2003

It's back to school time:

Well, it's that time again. Everyone has back to school specials for computers. What should you buy? Let the following guide be of some assistance.

First, check with your school. If they have any special requirements, follow them. If you don't, you may end up owning two new computers.

Second, do you go with a desktop or a laptop? You may decide that you are going to use the laptop in class, in the library, etc. so that you can justify the cost. Allow reality to set in, you won't. My recommendation is that you get a desktop. Desktops tend to be more powerful, so when you start playing all those games you swore you never would, you have the horsepower to play the games. Most laptops are not decent game machines. If you do decide to get a laptop, get one that comes with a docking station that you can leave on your desk so you can plug a regular monitor, keyboard, and mouse into it. This is one thing you won't regret doing.

Now, what type of horsepower do you need? This depends on what you will be doing. For word processing and basic Internet functions, the lower end stuff on the market is more than suitable for you. If you are an engineering/computer science student, you may want to look for something towards the higher end of the scale. Though, keep in mind that odds are you won't actually be running any of the special software on your own computer due to licensing restrictions. Most people will probably want something in the middle market. For specs, I would go with a minimum P4 2.2 GHz with 256 MB of RAM. Get a decent video card, you will need it for the games you will be playing.

Odds are, this computer will be replaced after 2.5 years. Make sure you get a warranty that will cover this time. You don't want to find out too late that your paper is due, your computer fried, and you're out of warranty. If you get a laptop, spend the extra and purchase a 3-year warranty.

© 2003 Aaron Kahn

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