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Do I need to pay a lot for a computer?
It's easy to pay a lot for a computer if you don't understand your needs. Knowing what you plan to do with a system goes a long way toward avoiding getting more computer than you need.

Most users don't need a top-of-the-line system. In fact many people can often work quite well with basic systems from a few yerars ago. Most users need to surf the Internet, send and receive e-mail, use office suite software and perhaps work with their digital photos. You don't need a very powerful system to do that. A good amount of memory, a current processor, a modern video card and a large hard drive will perform well for most users.

For most tasks, any Intel or AMD processor, 1GB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive and onboard video and audio cards will be plenty. If you plan to do a lot of digital photography, step up to a larger hard drive so you won't run short of storage. You should be able to get a complete system with these specs for $600 or less. A flat screen LCD monitor may add a little to the cost, though many retailers will often provide a good deal on one if it's purchased with a computer. Though they are larger and heavier, a CRT monitor can often save you some money.

Generally, gamers will spend somewhere in the $1500 to $2500 range for a robust system that will render graphics and sound at its best quality. Most users don't need that level of hardware.

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