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I need to buy a new computer but am really confused.

(76 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by savvysusan
  • Latest reply from whs
  • Topic Viewed 4136 times

whs
Posts: 17584

He guys, my little polar bear named Knut was born in the Berlin zoo last year and hand raised by the warden. He was all peaceful when the picture was taken. But by now he is grown up and pretty ferocious - even the guard who raised him cannot get close to him any more. But we have a new one in the Nueremberg zoo, her name is Flocke:

Posted 6 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

Thank you all - again.

Cute bear and ferret. At our zoo here in Oregon I read that Polar Bears are the only bears that will stalk a human.

I love ferrets, but no time for any more pets.

Now, onto computers:
My Office copy is 2003. If anything is easier or faster I'll get the 2007 updated version. I'll get Vista too.

I need "easy". I get around the computer with common sense and no training whatsoever on Excel, Powerpoint, dvd burning, . . .

Remember, I know very little about computers. I don't know what anything is in the computer description: I don't know what a "ribbon" is, I don't "understand RAM", I don't understand Media Readers, or how many or what type of DVD Burners I need, how many cd/dvd drawers do I need at the front of the computer, where are those drawers on the slim models, etc. etc. etc.

I have a homebased travel agency and need to keep my client base encrypted. It's in a Microsoft Office Address Book.

BTW - I realize that I keep a huge amount of programs open at once: Ten internet pages open, my Outlook Express Inbox is open, Microsoft Office is open, 5 Word Documents are open, i Tunes are up and playing. If it didn't "disappear" from my computer I'd have the Nortel Network "Focalpoint" programs open. Does that change the speed, size whatever that I need.

Any opinions on Dells Outlet department?

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Susan, I would not buy from Dell - and in the outlet you get old stuff.
1. For the PC again: get 3 Gigabytes of Memory (RAM), a big disk (350 to 500 Gigabytes) and a decent duo core processor (2.2 to 2.6 Gigahertz should be enough). The CPU is probably the least critical component.
2. Office Products: I use Office 2007 all the time and find it very nice. If you have used the 2003 version, you should be ok - and there are a lot of tutorials on-line.
3. A PC is not like an appliance - if you want to make good use of it, there are certain basics you have to get aquainted with. And the computer language is like the language in any field - try Doctors or Chemists, and I am sure in the travel industry you have your own lingo too.

Posted 6 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

You can read about the Office 2007 Ribbon and see a screen of it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.....007#Ribbon

On the RAM, it's a part of the computer where current running programs and some of their open data is stored. It's a part of the computer that is erased on shutdown and so any important data has to be saved to the hard drive. RAM is faster to access then the hard drive so many things that don't need to be saved are stored there.
For the multitasking you do 1GB for Windows XP and 2GB for Windows Vista should be enough.

Posted 6 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

You guys are impressive.

Thanks.

Posted 6 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

@Susan - Many people say it takes time to "unlearn" Office 97-03, but once they have used Office 2007 for a bit they would never go back. The big thing is the Ribbon that replaces the menu at the top of the screen.

There seems to be an "Aha" moment while learning the Ribbon, just all the suddon your think, "Wow, this really makes since and is easier. It took me about two minutes to get to the "Aha" moment, it took Mrs. Apple about two weeks. But neither of us would ever go back.

And you can download a 60 day trial - http://office.microsoft.com/en.....81033.aspx

As to computers, whs has it right. Since you have so many running applications (like I do), memory is king. I would go with four gigs - even though Vista can only use 3,325, the fourth gig will let you use 253MB more RAM than than three gigs.*

I would also consider getting two hard drives, maybe 250 each.

* - here's my math: Vista can use 3,325MB of Ram. 3 gigs = 3 x 1,024 = 3,072. 3,325 - 3,072 = 253

Posted 6 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@Appletom: Actually it's just the Vista 32-bit version that has that limit. The 64-bit version of Vista has much higher memory limits. See the page http://www.microsoft.com/windo.....64bit.mspx for more on that.
Unfortunately, from what I've read the driver and program compatibility for 64-bit version is not that good.

Posted 6 years ago
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Budohorseman
Posts: 847

@whs, is that your foot the cub is snacking on?

@savvysusan--Go ahead and give TrueCrypt a try, there is a decent tutorial on their site and the wizards that come with the program are decent. To be honest, it is a bit 'techie' to get it set up the way I think you need it, but the price is right (free) so you can at least download it and give it a shot. If you have a geek around I'm sure they could help you set it up for how you will be using it. Once you have it up and running and your database in it, you should have no problem with it.

As for the 'ribbon' in the Office 2007, it's pretty much just a redesign of the tool bars, but a bit different. If you go to the MS Office web site you can see the changes to the layout.

For the system itself, with that much open you'll be better served by a quad core processor and as much RAM as you can. For storage I would not want less than 500 GB.

Posted 6 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

You are correct, I hadn't even thought about 64-bit. I'm guessing it will be 18-24 months before 64-bit is common and affordable.

Posted 6 years ago
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Budohorseman
Posts: 847

@jd2006, I've been running 64-bit Vista for a month or so now and I have yet to have any problems with it, though I should admit that I just built it last month so everything is pretty much up-to-date. The thing that surprised me was that even my older games ran fine in it!

Posted 6 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@Appletom: On affordable I think many current shipping processors are 64-bit, it's just that not a lot are installing Windows Vista 64-bit due to needing 64-bit drivers for devices where drivers haven't been written yet.

@Budohorseman: Glad to hear it works.
On games if you mean older 32-bit games for Windows XP from a few years ago then well they will run I think they still can't use things like more then 3GB of RAM due to running in 32-bit mode.
Also one thing I don't like that is keeping me to the 32-bit version of Vista is that 16-bit programs aren't supported.
I have some older games from 1995 like Chip's Challenge, Jezzball, Asteroids and other ones I still like to play sometimes.

Posted 6 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

I get amazed at what you know. . .I really appreciate your help.

I need direction on online shopping for the computer. I have to buy it now. My computer is messing up even when few programs are open. Word pages shut down or revert to something else. Lots of error messages and web pages shutting down.

I have a marketing blitz to put together that should've been done last week.

I'm currently a one person business so do it all. It keeps me at my desk all day. With the computer problems, I'm here all night too.

Thanks again!

Posted 6 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

Another question. I'm in Portland in Intel Land. Intel vs the other guys??? Is any one more dependable than the other.

Posted 6 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

More questions now that I'm shopping.

Is built in wireless beneficial? Is LightScribe enabled something great?

Is a media card reader like the portable card readers for cameras?

My all-in-one printer is around 6 years old so I'll need a new all-in-1 compatible with Vista in which case should the computer and a-in-1 have built in wireless?

I've learned more from you guys than months of researching online myself.

http://www.circuitcity.com/rps.....verall_avg|1/link/ref/N/20012961+20012962+5079/rpem/ccd/categorylist.do

http://www.circuitcity.com/rps.....verall_avg|1/link/ref/N/20012961+20012962+5079/rpem/ccd/categorylist.do

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Hi Susan,
1. Built in wireless has little benefits for a desktop unless you want to get a wireless printer (see #4). It makes a lot of sense for a laptop that you carry around the country (e.g. for use in Airports and hotels with WiFi capability)
2.LightScribe is for writing pretty labels on CD's you burn yourself. Those CD's, however, are more expensive than normal CD's. If you burn few CD's (like me), you will hardly use the feature.
3. Media card reader is a must have,if you have a digital camera. This is the easiest way to transfer pictures from the camera to the PC. The other option would be PicBridge - a little more involved.
4. Your printer may still be OK. Post the make and model and I will see whether there is a Vista driver available. If you buy a new printer with wireless capability, then wireless in the desktop makes sense provided you want to place the printer further away from the PC (let's say more than 15 feet which is the maximum practical cable length).
5. Those links you posted don't work.

Posted 6 years ago
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pipo
Posts: 428

if i may add to whs' list
for number 2. also, take note that labels from LightScribe are in grayscale (kinda like black&white), you can't make colored LightScribe labels (as far as i know).

Posted 6 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

It appears the Circuit City links are formated in an odd way so the forum didn't make a correct link.
Here is what I think the correct link would be: Circuit City Product Listing
Unfortunately, far too many sites have odd ugly links that are hard for the forum software to figure out.
Here is how to tell the forum software what is a link to be sure it works:
Example for Yahoo Link: (url=http://www.yahoo.com)Yahoo! Home Page(/url)
Notes: Replace ( with [ and ) with ]. I had to do that for the forum to display the code and not the link.

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

@jd, thanks for unravelling the link

@Susan, From this site I would pick this one: http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm.....o#proddesc -- Reasons:
1. Nice processor
2. DVI interface - better display on the monitor than analog
3. 3GIG's - regardless of what jd says. I have two PC's with 2GB's and one with 3GB's and I can tell you that there is a difference. Especially in your case where you always have a lot of programs running at the same time. The 4GB's that Appletom favors may be going overboard because Vista would use only 20% of the last GiG.
4. Reasonable price
5. Gateway has very good, knowlegable technical service personal (unlike HP for example)

But you should also look at officedepot.com and bestbuy.com (provided those stores are in your area).
On Sunday I will scout the sales ads for you and post my findings.
PS: Don't get confused by this 64bit discussion. That is for the Geeks. 32bit is the way to go for you.

Posted 6 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@whs: You're Welcome on the link.
For your information here is what I did:
1. Right click on the blue link and click "Copy Link Target" ("Copy Shortcut" for Internet Explorer).
2. Paste that into notepad.
3. Copy the black text part of the link.
4. Paste that into notepad
5. Copy the whole link from notepad
6. Paste it into a url element in a new post.
For the RAM, it's just that for me I have 2GB and the speed seems just fine for things like many Firefox tabs, email client open and other things running. Though when I start a Virtual Machine things start to slow down a lot.
I have not tried 3GB+ of RAM so I can't really say much one way or the other how much difference it makes.

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

jd, At one time I had a 1GB machine (that I upgraded to 2GB's in the meantime), a 2GB machine and a 3GB machine - all at the same time and all Vista. So I made the observations that I posted: 1GB is no good, 2Gb is ok, 3 GB is super. I admit it's empiric and not a large statistical sample, but short of extensive measurements it is a somewhat useful observation - I think.
PS: the URL unravelling works well, thanks.

Posted 6 years ago
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