You have been shopping for a new computer and have narrowed the search down to the one you want. Here are five other essential items to remember to make your computing experience complete.
New Computers – Best Items to Include with Your New System
1. Monitor for a desktop computer — OK, you’re saying that this is really overstating the obvious since you can’t use a desktop system without a monitor. But you would be surprised how many desktop computer ads slip in that old “monitor sold separately” in the fine print. Be sure to compare prices on similarly configured systems. Plus if you are using an old, huge CRT or a small (15″) LCD monitor it might be time to consider upgrading to a nice 20″ or 22″ display. You can even connect your 22″ monitor to your 14″ laptop for a better view and increased productivity.
2. Internet Security Suite – You want to use an Internet Security software suite that includes antivirus/antispyware, firewall, intrusion protection and email scanning capabilities along with frequent, automatic updating of the software. See my earlier post on “Internet Security“ for more details. Also consider anti-spam capabilities if your email client does not provide spam blocking. Run at least one full system scan a week. Norton Internet Security Suite 2010 from Symantec will provide you with excellent computer and Internet security protection.
3. External hard disk drive with backup software – do yourself a favor and purchase a backup device now and do regular data backup – especially if you’re getting a laptop computer. There is nothing worse than losing your laptop (theft, accident) or having the hard disk drive crash on your desktop computer. Don’t tell yourself that you will back up your files on DVD or CD — it won’t happen. Get a backup drive and use it.
4. RAM – lots of RAM — The cost of RAM (memory) has dropped dramatically in the last few years. Adding RAM is the single easiest and most effective step to improving performance on most computers. See my earlier post on “Performance Penalty for Too Little RAM.” For a computer running Windows XP get at least 2GB of RAM; Windows Vista get at least 3 GB; and if you are running Windows Vista 64-bit get 4 – 6 GB of RAM if the price is right.
5. Microsoft Office – With your new system all set and running smoothly what else will you do besides browse the Internet? Microsoft’s venerable Office Suite provides word processing (MS Word), spreadsheet (MS Excel) and presentation (MS PowerPoint) capabilities plus an email client (MS Outlook) depending on the version. Remember to include a copy of Microsoft Office with your new computer.
Having all these pieces in place will help you get off and running with your new computer. One last item to consider is picking up some blank CDs and DVDs if you don’t already have some. Now you’re set.