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Should I Spend More on Computer Features I Don't Need? Spending your Money Wisely

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 4/26/2009

Why pay out top dollar for a new computer if you only intend to use it for simple documents and surfing the web? If you want to get the best value for money then you have to consider your requirements and ignore features that you don't need.

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    Buying a New Computer

    Desktop Computer When it comes to buying a new computer the options can be overwhelming, and people often end up spending more money than they really need to. Salesmen will try and sell you the latest system. They’ll argue that it will last you longer and try to convince you to part with more cash to get the latest features, whether you need them or not. The trick to finding cost efficient desktop computers is to weigh your requirements in advance and avoid paying for extras you don’t need.

    Before you even start shopping, ask yourself what the computer will be used for. If you are looking for a machine to do some writing and maybe surf the Internet then there is no sense in shelling out for a PC capable of running the latest games. If you are buying PCs for an office and the purpose is general admin work, then you can easily find cheap systems that will do the job.

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    Hardware

    The individual components that make up the system will determine the overall price. The most common waste of money is for people who don’t play games or use demanding software packages on their PC to buy a machine with a high end graphics card, a fast processor, and lots of RAM. You don’t need an expensive graphics card for simple text based programs or surfing the net. You don’t need lots of RAM unless you are likely to be multi-tasking on your machine; if you use one or two applications at a time, don’t worry about extra RAM. You don’t need a fast processor unless you are asking your machine to run something demanding, again text based programs and Internet surfing do not require expensive processors. When it comes to the hard drive size think about what you will be storing. Text files hardly use any space at all. Generally the reason you’ll need a large hard drive is to store video footage or install games.

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    Software

    Something else which adds to the overall cost of your PC is the software that comes with it. If you want a really cost efficient desktop computer, then don’t worry about the latest operating system or subscription-based virus protection. Windows XP is cheaper than Windows Vista and currently it is better supported by most software. As Microsoft try to introduce the new operating system they strike deals with manufacturers so their software comes pre-installed on computers. If you shop around or order online you can pay less for an older operating system that works better. There are also plenty of free antivirus programs out there, so there is no need to sign up to a subscription-based one simply because your machine has the trial pre-installed.

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    Budget PCs

    The budget PC market is competitive and for basic requirements you should not have to spend more than $500 for a complete desktop system. If you shop around and look for special offers and refurbished machines, you’ll be able to spend even less. Older hardware comes down in price remarkably fast because the market is driven by the latest technology, but the latest machines are so far in excess of what most people require that they are not cost efficient at all.