Buying a Computer

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Needs
This computer would be used for mainly writing papers, surfing the Internet, a little desktop publishing, and playing some 3d sports games.

Software
The software I would buy would have to include a word processor, and desktop publishing program. The standard programs for this are Microsoft's. They are Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Publisher. Using a student discount, I can get them both for under $200. (See http://www.edu.com/software/ ) I also need to decide which operating system I want. The main choices are Windows ME/2000 or an Apple Macintosh OS. (OS 9.1/X) All the important productivity software is available on both operating systems, but Windows machines have a lot more games. I would probably use Windows ME instead of 2000 because it runs older software better. I can get Windows ME for about $80 using a student discount.

Hardware
Since I am using Windows ME, I cannot buy an Apple. Here are the parts I need to buy to build a machine that will run my software well. I need a motherboard, processor, video card, sound card, case, monitor, memory,hard drive, floppy drive, modem, and CD or DVD drive. Some of the choices I make will determine others. For example, the processor (aka the CPU) I pick will determine what motherboard I will get. To begin—

Processor
There are three processors that make up the market, The Intel Pentium 4, Intel Pentium !!!, and the Amd Athlon. The Pentium is the newest, and has only been out for a few months, the Pentium !!! and Amd Athlon have been available for about two years. There are two criteria here for me. One is how fast the chip is for a given price (bang for the buck) and the second is upgradability. That is, whether I would easily be able to take out the current CPU, and easily slip something faster in when needed in a few years. The Pentium 4 will be changing to a slightly different configuration in a few months, that will not be compatible with the current motherboards. The Pentium !!! is pretty much...
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