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Specifications for a home PC
April 2002

Friends frequently ask me "how do I buy a home PC", "is the specs ok", and "is the price ok".

Here is my answer:

CPU and Motherboard
First item to decide on is the processor and motherboard. These components must match with each other. Choose Intel for your processor. For motherboards, ASUS and MSI are high end brands, while Tomato, PC Partner, and Jetway are economical in price.

Next consider whether the motherboard is AT or ATX. If AT, you would need an AT type computer case, if ATX, an ATX case. Power supply should at least be 200watts.

Main Memory
Try to buy at least 128MB of main memory. Note that some memory have specs of PC 133. This means that it will work with a motherboard that has a bus speed of 133MHz.

Hard Disk
Go for at least 20GB hard disk. Note that a 7200rpm hard disk is typically 15% faster than a 5400rpm disk.

Modems
For modems, get an external model. Internal models will take up your CPU's processing power, slowing down your computer.

Other Items
Make sure you buy a standard size keyboard (some sell the mini type, too small for my fingers). Buy a mouse with a scroll button. Get a 60x CD-ROM drive. Speakers and sound card if you like music. An AGP graphics card if you play computer games.

Price
Nothing more than P 25,000. Anything more will give diminishing returns on you peso.

That's it.

Joel Mangilit is an IT professor at the Graduate School of Business of De La Salle University (Manila, Philippines) and is CEO of www.webphil.com.

Basic Specifications
Pentium III
20GB hard disk
128MB memory
14" CRT monitor
60x CD-ROM
External modem
Speakers

CPU
Central Processing Unit. The part of the PC that performs calculations. Major brands are Intel and AMD.

Main Memory
Device used by the CPU to store programs and data. Faster than a hard disk, but more expensive.

Hard Disk
Device that stores our files, data, and programs. Cheaper than main memory, but slower in performance.

CRT
Cathode Ray Tube monitor. It is the bulky monitor. Cheaper and better picture quality than an LCD, but consumes twice the amount of electricity.

LCD
Liquid Crystal Display monitor. It is the flat panel type used in laptops and the new I-Mac desktop. Typically 4 times the cost of CRT, but consumes half the power supply.

Modem
Device that interconnect our digital computer to the analog telephone network.

Add-ons
Inkjet Printers - P 3,000 to P 5,000

Clones
Computers that have no brand name

Branded
Computers that should be more reliable than clones. IBM, Dell, HP, Toshiba.