Computer Shopping? No Need to Go for Broke

Typical users don't have to break the bank: Mossberg
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2008 10:36 AM CDT
This undated photo released by Dell Inc. shows the new line of desktop personal computers called "Vostro" that is aimed at small businesses with 25 or fewer employees.   (AP Photo/Dell Inc., David "Adran" Matte)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Economic conditions being what they are, you might not have a ton of dough to spend on a new computer. So in his annual PC buyer’s guide, Wall Street Journal tech expert Walter Mossberg adopts a budget-focused mindset. His advice:

  • The current Mac OS, Leopard, is much better than Windows, but Macs don’t come cheap. Look for a computer with Windows XP; downgrading from Vista may cost money, but you can then buy a cheaper machine.

  • Get 2 gigabytes of memory if you’re running XP or Leopard, though 1 will do in a pinch. For Vista, get 3 if you can.
  • Don’t worry about a processor’s speed or brand; any dual core should do.
  • Shoot for 160 gigabytes of hard drive space for a laptop and 250 for a desktop; you can get by with 120 or 160, respectively.
  • Above all, "Pay only for capabilities that you need."