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Washington Post: Cheap Street Is Place to Buy That New PC

Nov 26, 2000, 17:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mike Musgrove)

"...Geof Goodrum, who is on the board of directors of the Washington Area Computer User Group, a smaller organization, took the same view as Steer on processor speed. He said that the last time his organization did a presentation on the subject, a few months ago, the group's members decided that AMD's K6-2 was at the "sweet spot"--powerful enough to run most applications, yet not as disproportionately expensive as new, ultrafast processors tend to be."

"I'd probably upgrade that to include Celeron [processors] as well, now," Goodrum said. "We don't recommend the Pentium 4 or the Pentium III, even, for most users," Goodrum said--they are more powerful than most users need. He added that a speed of around 400 to 600 megahertz would be a "pretty healthy" range for most shoppers to look for in a new computer--easy advice to follow, as the slowest PCs now ship with 600-MHz processors. (Macs run at slower clock speeds but generally deliver comparable performance.) Goodrum, a Linux user, runs a machine he built himself that uses just a 200-MHz processor."

"Be careful about impulse buying if you're shopping online. DVD-ROM drives are often a questionable purchase. Sure, you can watch movies on your computer's monitor, or hook your computer up to your TV--but unless watching movies on a 15-inch screen or snaking cables from your desktop to your TV sounds like fun, it's just a waste of money. (DVD-ROM software has been "about to hit the market" for years now, but you may be shopping for a replacement unit for your next computer before it actually arrives in force.)"

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