If at all possible, I would take a computer savvy friend with you to purchase a new system - especially at Best Buy. They can be overwhelming. My mother-in-law (with our help) just bought her new computer at OfficeDepot. It has a 19" flat screen monitor and a super processor. Printer,scanner, copier was almost free with mail in rebate. No Vista. It was a good deal I thought. We wanted to make sure she got what she needed and got a good deal. It's good to have a few opinions also.
I have a 15" flat screen monitor and a printer, scanner, copier (this is soooo nice). I would get the fastest processor you can afford. I run Photoshop 7, Quark, Illustrator 10 and many other huge programs but mine does seem to do fine - kinda slow though. My system is a couple years old. I don't have Vista and don't really plan to upgrade in the near future. Do invest in Norton or some virus protection. Any computer should come with a free trial version for 30 days I think...
I used Hewlett Packards'website and bought from them direct.You can take your time reading all your options without a salesman following you around.Good computers,lots of choices depending on what you want to use it for.It explains them all pretty well.
I also suggest Dell for value and support. Assuming you are also thinking about upgrading to Photoshop CS2 (soon CS3) at the same time, you want to maximize the amount of memory and disk space within your budget. A Dell XPS 410 with single 320 mg hard drive and 2 gig of memory will cosr about $1500-1800 depending on what monitor you select. As needed, you could then add another internal hard drive (up to 500 gig). The Dell UltraSharp monitors are very good for graphics work.
I saved $600 by getting a pre-configured Gateway from Bestbuy. That was a notebook versus dells online notebooks or gateway's online notebooks. There is a premium in getting a special ordered one, but the ones in the store will have everything you would want.
I like the notebook with cable modem plus a wireless router so now I can work anywhere in the house.
One drawback to Vista is that it doesn't work with my HP Photosmart 7150 printer. HP hasn't got a driver that will work for the printer in Vista yet, so I email my documents to my old computer to print. You may want to check your current printer for compatability at the manfufactor's website for a compatable Vista driver.
PS.... If you do much traveling, you can take a notebook with you and keep up with email and business. Most hotels these days have wireless internet. If your hotel doesn't have it, a lot of McDonalds has wireless, or local coffee shops like Panera Bread or Starbucks will have wireless internet.
Whatever you get, whatever you do, don't get it at Best Buy!!! If for some reason it doesn't meet your needs, it is subject to something like a 10 or 15% restocking fee. My husband purchased a camera from there for me as a gift. It took blurry photos no matter what I tried. (and let's face it, I use the camera MOST on moving objects... kids and dogs!) Because the camera wasn't technically BROKEN and I didn't want an exchange for the exact same product, I had to pay $75 just for the opportunity of returning it to them. GRRRR! Get with a computer savvy friend or call Dell. They will put a system together for you. My husband also purchased me this Dell Laptop that I'm on now. He knows nothing about the computers really, but they talked him through it based on what he knows I do on it and they gave GOOD advice. I have since heard that some of the newer Dells have had some troubles, but this one has been a great computer. Anyway.... their folks helping you pick out what you need are apparently good, because I got what I would have picked out for myself.
Dell, Hp or Gateway are safe choices. Configure it for tomorrow rather than today. It may cost more now, but will save you in the long run. Stay away from MS Vista for now! Get no less than 1 Gb of memory. Also, I am not a Celeron fan. As said, have someone in the know help you.
Ginger, when you want to get a new comouter, here are some things to think about.
What do you want to do with it?
Is speed important?
Do you have dail-up or faster system?
What system are u currently using? xp etc
What programs do you have in current system? old programs may not work in new operating system.or may need upgrad.
ook now what
RAM get as much as you can afford
memory- how much are you going to store? if you put programs on hard drive then you may need a lot. hard drive is for storage. I have 60gig and only 24% used in 6 years. I donot play game they use a lot.
processor--- get the best you can afford--
3, things control speed, motherr board, ram, processor
ram will take off web etc and store there, so the fast the better less waite time when on line.
processor--- the faster the better when working with progframs and on line it takes less time to work the faster the processor.
mother board--- the fASTER THE BUS ON THE MOTHER BOARD THE BETTER if you can get the fastest (gameing is the fastest)
ok now keep in mind the computer is only as fast as the slowest point.
good luck and if i can help let me know. if you have dail up the fastest will not help