The Personal Computer

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Introduction

On starting my research, I looked into the different options available to me, to purchase a system and I have to admit that I was spoilt for choice. While its said that computing in general is big business in the world today, so can be told about the competition within it. Having tried to see past the numerous marketing gimmicks, I was forced to concentrate my efforts on the online bazaar. This on its own was a big challenge and through the help of search engines, this took me to dabs. It is only after some serious considerations that I opted for the HP Microtower dc5700 Core 2 Duo E6320 1GB 160GB DVD+/-RW/+R with Windows XP Professional Installed at a cost of £412.98 that included VAT.

Specifications

Having looked at the specifications of the system, I was able to justify the price and actually felt it was a case of gaining more for less. The specifications of the machine has in addition, quite a number of extras which, if purchased on their own could cost a small fortune. I focused my research on the main components, which were found to be on an average scale compared to other products in the market today. It is important when purchasing a system to look at the different components individually, so as to build a bigger picture and with that get a general idea of the general performance it can or is capable of offering.

CPU

This is indeed the brains of the computer. It’s a component that handles and manipulates data within a computer. The system comes with an Intel manufactured central processing unit, which is of Core 2 Duo type. It is mentioned as being energy efficient and having an unbelievable system response, which means that you won’t have to slow down for virus scans, which is the norm today. The E6320 model CPU is listed, on the top side of processors made available by Intel as shown on there website.

FSB

The Front Side Bus, referred to as the FSB in this article is very important to all systems. Simply put, it is the path that the CPU and motherboard use to communicate. To break it up further, the motherboard can be said to have two parts, the Northbridge and Southbridge which are both parts of the chipset. The chipset allows the components within the computer to communicate. The Southbridge includes controls such as the Universal Serial Bus ports, Serial and Parallel ports and other component connections. The Northbridge includes external cache, memory controller and also bridges the gap between the CPU and memory and most importantly is served by the Front Side Bus. The FSB speed is measured in Megahertz or Gigahertz, which in this case is 1066MHz. It is said that the CPU speed is usually faster than that of the system buses, thus there is a ratio between the FSB and CPU speed. It can therefore be said that the lower the ratio is, the more efficiency one can get from the processor. One can conclude, the faster the Front Side Bus speeds the faster the overall performance. This is of great benefit to the end users who can do more in a shorter space of time, which we all know that the alternative can at times be very frustrating.

Network Capability

As was mentioned in the introduction, the system should be capable of connecting to a network. What I found with this system, was not only could it do that, but could provide a range of options in doing so. It comes with a Broadcom BCM5755 Ethernet Controller which is detailed as being able to support a number of compliant standards most notably the IEEE 802.3 which is considered the “defacto” standard in the networking field. Another feature worth mentioning is the capability of Gigabyte Ethernet which supports speeds of up to a 1000Mbps.

Office Suite of Applications

Being required to purchase a system able to run a suite of office applications, it was clear to me that Microsoft Office was the answer. While it is known that this doesn’t come standard with most systems, especially with the budget I was working under, I knew that the pressure was on me to deliver. Again with the help of Google, I came across the Microsoft Office 2007 Professional Complete Edition at a reduced price of £31.00.The suite includes a combination of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook. This is very useful, as the user can create, manage, present documents of different types in a relevant and professional manner.

Operating System

This was one area of the research that I found to be somehow tricky. I initially set out to have one of the many distributions of Linux as the preferred operating system. While it proved almost impossible, the attention of this crucial part of the system was instead directed to focus on Windows. As it cannot be argued about the security concerns that Windows brings in general, it too can be praised on its user friendly nature. The system comes with Windows XP Professional which can be said is one, if not the best of the Windows Client Operating System products. Besides the better Security it offers, it is also capable and originally intended for businesses..

Monitor

I obviously at this time needed a monitor to go along with the system, which I duly found at dabs. The 19 inch Widescreen TFT Monitor, with a good customer rating, was priced at £79.99 excluding VAT which brought it to £93.98 which was well in my budget. It was also to take advantage of the Free delivery on orders above £99.00, considering I was fictitiously going to purchase the HP Microtower too. It would be sufficient to support the system.

Memory

Well, as the saying goes, “You can’t ever have enough memory”. The HP Microtower in this case, is well on its way to putting a question mark to that. The System comes with an installed size of one gigabyte, which would in most cases, and to mine, be more than sufficient. What was found interesting, is that one could increase it in time, to up to four gigabytes, should the need arise. The DDR II SDRAM technology does provide a faster access time to the systems Random Access Memory which results in faster data processing hence user satisfaction.

Storage

It is also important to consider various other aspects when purchasing a computer. The user and Operating System will in most cases require a place to store data in. The HP Microtower comes with a Hard Drive that has a 160 Gigabyte capacity, which can be considered sufficient too most users. With a channel quantity of four, the number of storage devices can easily be increased if need be. The performance of the Drive is increased considerably by the Serial ATA-300 interface type. It can support data transfers of up to 3Gbps which should complement the system. The system also comes fitted with a CD/DVD Rewriter which provides an interface to store data while also providing a means to introduce new programs and data to the system. It is also worth mentioning that it takes advantage of the SATA Technology which makes it considerably fast.

Extras

The system comes with a varied range of additional hardware and software in terms of necessity. The inclusion of Norton Antivirus software is definitely a bonus, considering it is listed as one of the top products according to a review published on 6 star. Data backup as we know is vital when it comes to protecting data in computer systems. Using the analogy I once heard, “It not a matter of if it does, it’s when it does”, referring to the loss of data due to hard drive failures or system breakdowns. The added HP Backup and Recovery Manager, aids in the process of storing and recovering of data.

Best Buy

Having met the objectives satisfactorily, within budget, some change to spare, I was left to reflect on the purchase. The factors that mainly came to thought were the core components of the system. Whilst this is not the best money can buy, they are indeed not the worst. Taking the example of the CPU, which sits high on the manufacturer’s products, it can be argued that it is one of the better ones. I consider the system to be The best buy because, in more ways than one, it meets, and exceeds the requirements especially with the extras included. It also, ultimately offers the option of upgrading the system with ease, which in today’s world is just a matter of time.

Source by David Gathoro

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