When it comes to hard drive space, remember that the operating system takes room, as does a productivity suite (Microsoft® Office, etc.). Other programs or files (MP3s, photos, videos, etc.) also take up space. Most entry-level computers come with 40 gigabytes (GB) of hard drive space, and that is probably not enough. Look for at least 80GB for normal usage and 120-160GB if you plan to do a lot of photo or video work.
What About Sound Cards?
Most entry-level computers come with sound, video and network integrated into the motherboard. That means that the computer is sharing the main memory to run all of these. So if it comes with 512 MB of random-access memory (RAM) and the video card takes 128 MB, there is only 384 MB left for everything else. It may not seem like much, but when you start opening a few programs together, you will notice a significant slowdown. Look for a computer that at least has a separate video card. The sound and network connection should not affect performance too greatly.
The last thing to consider is the programs that come with new computers. Most do not come with Microsoft® Office. You will need to purchase it separately. Microsoft® does offer a Student/Teacher package for a reduced price. It contains all of the fully functional Office programs. The only catch is that you must be a student or teacher to purchase it. Check out the specials that stores are running. Sometimes, you can get the Student/Teacher version of Office for free with the purchase of a new computer.
Prices Are Good
You can buy a good, well-rounded computer plus a monitor and printer for about $1,000 (after mail-in rebates). If you do a little bit of research and shop the ads before you go out, you should be able to find exactly what you are looking for and not have to go to a dozen different places.
Brett Jamen is Director of Information Technology for the Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas.
This article originally appeared in the July 12, 2004 edition of The Home Builder, published by the Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas.
Note: This article is solely for informational purposes. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, warranty or guaranty by the National Association of Home Builders. The views and opinions of the author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of NAHB. NAHB and the author expressly disclaim any responsibility for any damages arising from the use, application or reliance on any information contained in this article. We recommend that users exercise their own skill and care with respect to its use.
Earlier Articles in This Series
To read, "An Effective Purchase Order System Enhances Efficiency," Part 8 of this series, published on July 21, click here.
To read, "Don’t Fix New Software If It Isn’t Broken," Part 9 of this series, published on November 24, click here.
To read, "Beware Software Consultants Who Are Salespeople in Disguise," Part 10 of this series, published on December 8, click here.
To read, "Eight Ways to Drive Internet Leads and Sales," Part 11 of this series, published on January 12, click here.
To read, "Excessive Web Site Graphics Can Stunt Sales," Part 12 of this series, published on February 2, click here.
To read, "Don’t Let Your Comfort Level Dictate Future Tech Changes ," Part 13 of this series, published on May 17, click here.
To read, "Tech Talk: Process Integration Levels Your Playing Field," Part 14 of this series, published on Aug. 9, click here.
- To read, “Know Your Technology Needs Before You Invest,” Part 1 of this series, published April 14, click here.
- To read, “Strategic Planning Software Can Help Focus Your Business Model,” Part 2 of this series, published April 21, click here.
- To read, “Does Your Planning Software Match Your Project's Sophistication?” Part 3 of this series, published May 5, click here.
- To read, “Don't Put the CAD Before Your Product,” Part 4 of this series, published May 26, click here.
- To read, “Manage Prospects and Buyers More Efficiently With Technology,” Part 5 of this series, published June 9, click here.
- To read, "Automate Your Selection and Change Order Processes,” Part 6 of this series, published on June 23, click here.
- To read, “Scheduling Software Can Improve Your Cycle Time,” Part 7 of this series, published on July 7, click here.
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The NAHB University of Housing Offers Courses on Business Management
The NAHB University of Housing offers a course on business management designed to help builders improve their business and profitability. For a list of current offerings, click here. Search keywords: “Introduction to Business Management.”
Business Management Publications Available at BuilderBooks.com
BuilderBooks.com offers a variety of other publications about business management. To view or purchase these publications online, click here.
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