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The internet is an amazing place that allows each and every one of us easy access to a wide variety of resources. Unfortunately, there is an increasing amount of viruses, worms, spyware and spam that can easily infect your computer. Your computer in fact may already be infected and you may not even know it.


Data loss itself can come in a variety of forms. A virus can infect your network deleting documents throughout the company. An employee might maliciously delete sensitive documents. An important document might be accidentally overwritten by using the same filename. An electrical outage might cause your server to crash and damage the hard drive storing all company data. The company database might become corrupted. There are a very wide variety of potential technical disasters just waiting to happen.


We routinely encounter businesses that have setup their networks in a “peer to peer” or “workgroup” configuration as opposed to establishing a domain. A peer to peer network is a configuration that was made popular in 1992 with the release of Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11. Peer to peer networks were easy to setup and required only a basic knowledge of computer networking. In Windows XP, this technology is often referred to as “File & Printer Sharing.” Many businesses forego the cost of establishing a domain due to their belief that a peer to peer network is quicker and therefore cheaper to setup. However as we will demonstrate in this article, establishing a domain provides your business with a complete business solution that will serve your needs now and into the future.


It is a common question. The staff at Comsource Associates provides you with the following items to consider when purchasing a new computer.

Processor: The processing speed of a computer is important. With continuing advances in computer technology, comes greater dependency on the speed of your computer. In order to maintain a solid and robust system for years to come, it is important to purchase a system with a processor that meets your needs now and into the future. On a workstation, we recommend the Intel Pentium 4 processor. Although the AMD Athlon is impressive, the Intel Pentium 4 processor is an industry standard and therefore supported by a wide variety of software titles. The Intel Celeron on the other hand is a great deal for a reasonable price, but is ultimately outpaced by the Intel Pentium 4 processor. On a server, we recommend an Intel Pentium 4 or Intel Xeon processor.

Top Pick: Intel Pentium 4 or Intel Xeon

Internal Memory: The internal memory – also called RAM – is directly related to the responsiveness of a computer. When your computer boots up, Microsoft Windows loads a large number of drivers, services, programs and other modules into memory. If a computer is lacking in memory, it will be slow to respond. On a workstation running Windows XP, we recommend a minimum of 512MB RAM. 1GB RAM is ideal. On a server running Windows Server 2003, we recommend a minimum of 1GB RAM.

Top Pick: Crucial.com

Video Memory: The memory on a video card is also related to the responsiveness of a computer. In today’s office environment, even the most basic functions such as word processing can involve an incredible amount of graphics. Because of this, when you are using a computer, the video card is constantly redrawing the screen. In order to avoid unnecessary delays, we recommend a minimum of 64MB. 128MB is ideal.

Top Pick: Nvidia or PNY 128MB AGP Video Card

Video Architecture: When purchasing a video card for your computer, we recommend a video card that utilizes the AGP or PCI-Express architecture. AGP is far faster than the original PCI architecture. With recent technological innovations, however, PCI-Express has now been unveiled which outpaces AGP. At the present time, this new technology is not supported by all motherboards. Although a PCI-Express video card can be installed in a PCI slot, it does not utilize the full benefits of the PCI-Express card.

Top Pick: AGP Video Card or PCI-Express If Your Motherboard Supports It

Storage: On a workstation, the de facto standard for some time has been a 40GB IDE hard drive. We are now seeing this be replaced by 80GB IDE hard drives. The cache as well has been increasing in size – the standard 2MB cache is now being replaced by an 8MB or higher cache. Fortunately, the price has not been keeping pace. On average, the cost difference between the 40GB IDE hard drive with a 2MB cache and the 80GB IDE hard drive with an 8MB cache is only twenty to thirty dollars.

On a server, we recommend use of the SCSI Ultra320 architecture. Compared to previous SCSI architectures, Ultra320 is much more affordable and offers significant improvements in bus speed. Additionally, the Adaptec 29320ALP-R SCSI controller makes upgrading to this improved platform a breeze.

Top Pick: Seagate SCSI Ultra320 73.6GB Cheetah or Western Digital 80GB IDE with 8MB Cache

Monitor: When purchasing a computer monitor, you probably want one that is at least 17” in size. You might even want it to be a flat screen. However, there is one other aspect you should pay special attention to – the dot pitch or DPI. The smaller the number, the sharper the image on the screen. The average computer monitor used to be .28 DPI. The average new computer monitor now is .264 DPI.

Top Pick: Dell E173FP 17-inch Flat Panel Color LCD Monitor

Mouse: One of the greatest innovations of our time is the computer mouse without any moving parts. The Optical Mouse allows you to navigate Windows without dealing with periodic pointer problems. If you thought it couldn’t get any better than this, there is the Wireless Optical Mouse.

Top Pick: Dell Optical Mouse

As a Dell Solution Provider, Comsource Associates would be happy to help you with purchasing a new computer. For health and government institutions, we can locate considerable discounts. Give us a call at (541) 345-0408.


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