NCompass Live: Computers: What to Know Before You Buy

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Gigahertz, gigabytes, 32-bit, 64-bit, megahertz, megabytes, hard drives, solid-state drives, RAM, CD, DVD-R, DVD+R, Blu-Ray. Could purchasing a new a computer ever have been more confusing? Spend an hour with the Commissions’ Michael Sauers and Diane Wells while they discuss what you need to consider when purchasing new computers for your library and your home. There will be ample Q&A time so be sure to bring your questions with you!

NCompass Live - March 4, 2009

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NCompass Live: Computers: What to Know Before You Buy

  1. 1. Computers: What to Know Before You Buy Diane Wells & Michael Sauers Nebraska Library Commission NCompass Live 4 March 2009
  2. 2. Desktop recommendations
  3. 3. Processor <ul><li>Intel Core™2 Duo or Core™2 Quad or compatible. Processor clock speed: 2.40 GHz or higher. </li></ul><ul><li>CPU Comparisons (from Tom's Hardware)   </li></ul>
  4. 4. Operating system <ul><li>For workstations, the Library Commission recommends Microsoft Windows Vista Business or Ultimate edition. </li></ul><ul><li>The 64-Bit version of Windows is a reasonable option. Check your mission-critical software for compatibility issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Vista Versions </li></ul>
  5. 5. Memory (ram) <ul><li>2GB minimum, 4GB if feasible </li></ul><ul><li>(more is better, but 32-bit workstations can only  fully utilize approximately 3.5GB) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Hard drive <ul><li>120 GB or larger </li></ul>
  7. 7. Monitor <ul><li>17 inch or larger LCD </li></ul>
  8. 8. Video <ul><li>If the workstation will be used for gaming or Second Life, be sure to specify a compatible video card. </li></ul><ul><li>Video Benchmarks (Tom's Hardware) </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life System Requirements </li></ul>
  9. 9. Sound <ul><li>Be sure to include speakers and/or headphones as appropriate. </li></ul><ul><li>Microphones are not a bad idea any more. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Removable Media <ul><li>DVD-RW    </li></ul><ul><li>DVD - Specifications, Terminology, History, etc. (from Wikipedia) </li></ul><ul><li>Have plenty of USB ports on the front of the computer. </li></ul><ul><li>You really don’t need floppy drives any more. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Media Reader/writer <ul><li>Provides access to memory cards from cameras and other portable devices. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Keyboard and Mouse <ul><li>Keyboard and mouse may use either PS/2 or USB ports. If you are planning on re-using an existing keyboard or mouse, be sure your new computer includes the necessary ports or adapters. </li></ul><ul><li>Note: the same caution applies to barcode readers, trackballs, and other input devices. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Network Card <ul><li>Gigabit Ethernet card </li></ul>
  14. 14. Printer <ul><li>Ink-jet or laser printer </li></ul><ul><li>[Higher resolutions are better: 600 dots per inch is better than 300 dpi, for example. Higher pages per minute ratings are better: 8 ppm is better than 4 ppm, for example.]    </li></ul><ul><li>A 24-pin dot matrix print may be required for continuous feed forms. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Laptop recommendations
  16. 16. General considerations <ul><li>Weight </li></ul><ul><li>screen size </li></ul><ul><li>battery life (# of cells) </li></ul><ul><li>keyboard touch & size </li></ul><ul><li>also a bag to carry it in and its accessories.  </li></ul>
  17. 17. Wifi <ul><li>802.11b/g or 802.11b/g/n integrated wireless network card. </li></ul><ul><li>How Stuff Works: WiFi </li></ul>
  18. 18. Optical Drive <ul><li>Laptops generally come with at least DVD/CD-RW drives at a minimum; extremely light-weight laptops may not include an optical drive. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider having a USB optical drive available for laptops that don’t include one. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Odds & Ends
  20. 20. Support & warranties <ul><li>Purchasing a technical support agreement is up to the user depending on cost and how much the user feels they will need help. </li></ul><ul><li>Warranties are recommended on mobile workstations tend to take some abuse during travel. If you are especially hard on such equipment, check out your options for &quot;no-fault&quot; warranties that will repair or replace your laptop no matter how your laptop was damaged. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Software <ul><li>The Nebraska Department of Education negotiated a contract for purchase of Microsoft software products with Softchoice located in St. Louis, Missouri. Interested public libraries and school media centers should contact them for pricing and availability. </li></ul><ul><li>TechSoup Stock now serves U.S. public libraries . TechSoup Stock connects nonprofits with donated and discounted technology products in the supportive environment of the TechSoup Website. Choose from over 240 products from the 25 providers including Cisco and Microsoft. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Additional resources <ul><li>NLC’s Purchasing Recommendations http://www.nlc.state.ne.us/comp/ recommend.html </li></ul><ul><li>Computer Maintenance & Security Checklist http://www.stls.org/it/computer%20maintenance-new.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Computer Maintenance Checklist http://www.onlineorganizing.com/ ExpertAdviceToolboxTips.asp? tipsheet=78 </li></ul>
  23. 23. Any questions? <ul><li>Michael Sauers [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Diane Wells [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>800-307-2665 </li></ul>
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