I want to buy a new computer, what should I be looking at getting?

LaptopWhile the intended use of the computer is still important”, playing games, making videos, surfing the internet, With the release of Windows Vista the requirements needed in a computer have changed.

In the days when your only choice was Windows XP what you were planning on doing on the computer was what I made recommendations on due to the relative basic nature of Windows XP. Now however Windows Vista changes all that.

Windows XP requirements:

Pretty much any new computer you buy currently will easily be able to run Windows XP, however there are a few things you should look out for when buying a computer, or even with your current computer if it is using Windows XP.

Memory:  Windows XP, to run smoothly for day to day activities, needs at least 512 Megabytes (MB) of RAM. The 512 MB should not be shared with the graphics of the computer, if it is you will need to get some more memory.

If you are intending on doing any video or audio editing or playing any modern games you will need at least 768 MB preferably 1 Gigabyte (GB).

If games are important you will also need at dedicated video card. Most on the market currently are good enough, however if you want the best graphics possible you will be looking into spending a few hundred dollars just on that one component.

Hard drives are still important however you best bet is to always get the biggest one your budget will allow. If you can only afford a smaller hard disk, at a latter date you can always buy an external USB hard drive to store all your videos, music and other files.

Windows Vista requirments:

Windows Vista was only released in January this year and while I still don’t personally think you should buy a computer with it yet, if you are getting a new computer you pretty much don’t have a choice.

Processor: Windows Vista, unlike XP Home, can take advantage of the new “Multi Core” processors that are now being sold. This will allow multiple programmes to run at the same time with out affecting the other ones performance.

Intel Core 2 Duo processors are currently the leader, at time of print, in performance under many different tests from many different organisations.

Memory: Windows Vista is big. Having been part of the Vista Beta project last year I was able to test Vista under many different hardware configurations. My results. You will need a lto of memory, dedicated memory.

To run Windows Vista smoothly for day to day activities you will need at least 2 gigabytes of memory. This will allow you to run most modern games as well as use many internet based programmes. If you wish to play games with high end graphics, or use programmes such as Photoshop to do photo editing, you will need around 4 gigabytes of memory.

Unlike Windows XP, Windows Vista comes in many “flavours”. This can add to the problems. Windows Vista Home Basic, while still needing 2 GB of memory does not need a major graphics card due to it’s stripped down interface, however Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate do need a high end graphics card, just for Windows itself.

As with Windows XP, the larger the hard drive the better you will do in the future.

Many computer companies can still sell you Windows XP installed on a new computer, but be careful, Microsoft has already said they will stop supporting Windows XP Service Pack 2 (the current version) in 2010,” so you might want to hold off on buying a new computer for a few more months.

By Matthew