Checklist for Purchasing a Computer
Part of the Computers For Seniors For Dummies Cheat Sheet
When you're shopping for a new computer, check for the following features to make sure it will serve you well into the future as software and graphics become more powerful and complex:
Memory: Your computer should have at least 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM for a 32-bit computer and 2 gigabytes for a 64-bit computer.
Processor speed: Look for a minimum of 2.8 GHz processor speed.
Size/footprint: If you're short on space, a minitower or laptop or even a tablet might be better.
Price: Set a budget that you're comfortable with — you can get pretty inexpensive computers that work for most folks these days.
Keyboard: Make sure the keyboard feels comfortable to you.
Monitor: Monitors come in different sizes and qualities. A 15-inch monitor is comfortable for most people, but if you do work with higher-end images or watch videos, consider a larger monitor as larger screens may be easier on your eyes. Consider getting a touchscreen monitor to take advantage of all of Windows 8 touchscreen features.
Input ports and drives: Computers might come with CD or DVD drives, USB ports for connecting peripherals and USB sticks, and ports to connect to monitors and printers. Tablet computers don't normally offer a lot in the way of input ports.
Wireless capability: To connect to wireless devices and networks, you need wireless capability.
Included software: Some computers come with utility programs, such as antivirus software, or productivity software, such as Microsoft Works.
Manufacturer support: Check the warranty and technical support available.
Graphics and sound cards: If you want to use multimedia or game software, ask for more sophisticated sound and video features.
A webcam: If you will be calling your friends or grandchildren over a service such as Skype, it's useful to have a built-in webcam to transmit video images while talking.