Buying a computer is not easy. There are a tremendous amount of different makes and models of computers that range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Below are some tips that will help you select a computer that is best for your needs. If you need help with financing for a computer consider applying for one of our affordable computer loans.

- Is the computer primarily going to be used by your grade school kids? If yes, then contact their school and find out what computer platform is being used in school. At one point, Macs were the predominant computer type being used in schools. Nowadays PCs are more prominent. It is really a good idea that your kids have the same computer platform at home as they do in school.

- What do you do if your kids go to a school where both Macs and PCs are being used? What should you buy? PCs make up about 92% of the computer market. Consequently, the majority of the business world is using PCs. As a result, PCs are less expensive and also have more software available than Macs.

- Now that you have selected the computer platform you want to buy, you need to determine exactly what kind of computer you are going to be buying. The technology associated with computers is changing almost every year. Therefore, what you purchase now, will likely be considered obsolete in 3-5 years. A good idea would be to purchase the best technology that you are able to afford.

- RAM (random access memory) is the speed a computer can access information and is one of the most important aspects of computers. You will need at the minimum 64 megabytes of RAM. However, the price of RAM has gone down tremendously over the last few years. Therefore, buying a computer with 128 megabytes is not much different in price than a 64 megabytes computer.

- The size of your computer's hard-drive is also very important. Don't consider purchasing anything less than 4 gigabytes. What you are going to use your computer for will determine how many gigabytes you will need. So if you plan on storing a lot of pictures, music or any other sort of media files, you will need more gigabytes.

- How are you going to connect to the Internet? Dial-up is the cheapest option, but also the slowest. Faster services like cable, T1, and broad band cost around $50 - $100/month but are MUCH quicker than dial-up.

- Monitors are available in a variety of different sizes with 14" being the smallest. Bigger is better when it comes to monitors.

- There are also a wide variety of different video cards available. If you and/or your kids enjoy playing computer games, consider purchasing a 3-D video card with at least 4 megabytes of video RAM.

- When buying your computer, see if the retailer will include a Microsoft software package that will include at the least word and excel.

- It is important that you buy a good surge protector. You want to protect your investment from any type of electrical surge that can destroy the motherboard. The higher quality surge protectors come with a lifetime insurance protect plan that will cover any damage that may occur.

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