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I am not really very computer literate

My PC at home (a Compaq Presario) currently is partitioned into a 7.35 GB main drive and a 2 GB backup. Both are practically full. Our needs have changed in the last few months, as Fergal has discovered games and I have discovered, cough, archived videos. We've had it for just over five years.

Is there hope? Can I add much extra memory to it without having to resort to buying a new machine? If I do get a new computer, is it worth while considering getting one that I can just plug into the existing peripherals (printer, monitor/microphone, speakers)?

Your advice is welcome.

Comments

qatsi
May. 7th, 2006 11:18 am (UTC)
My experience of Compaqs is that they tend to have their own interfaces for things like hard drives, which makes upgrading the innards a bit tricky. But that was years ago and they may be much more standard now. Alternatively you could get an external hard drive, provided there's a port on the back - probably USB - which, of course, you could continute to use if you upgraded to another PC later. Depending on size, a new hard disk (much larger than either of your current drives) can be had for less than £100 (external units tend to be more expensive per GB because they have their own case and more electronics).

Monitor, microphone and speakers would probably be OK with a new PC, though it may not save you much money; the printer may be obsolete if it doesn't have a USB interface (i.e. if you have a lead with rather chunky D-shaped ends with lots of pin connections in them). Certainly in the UK, prices have fallen a lot in the past few years. A friend of mine got a new Dell PC for about £500 recently (including LCD monitor, printer/scanner/copier), and I'm minded to spend only a little more when I come to upgrade mine (which is c.1999 and starting to show its age rather less then gracefully). I'd recommend a minimum of 512MB RAM and 80GB hard disk for a new PC; more of both of these, if you can afford it (especially the RAM; adding a new hard disk later is simpler, as you can avoid opening up the box by getting an external one if you prefer).
alexmc
May. 7th, 2006 11:24 am (UTC)
Since Compaq got bought by HP they only seem to make "HP" Pcs any more. The ones I have seen appear to be pretty standard but with novel things like being able to remove the hard disk without using a screwdriver.

I remember the good old days when compaq had their own type of screw :-)
qatsi
May. 7th, 2006 11:27 am (UTC)
I seem to recall (sometime in the mid-90s) a Compaq hard drive that had neither an IDE nor a SCSI interface (or was it the connector at the motherboard end rather than the drive, I can't remember). It was supposed to be an IDE interface. Of course, I didn't find this out until the maching was in pieces...
alexmc
May. 7th, 2006 11:31 am (UTC)
You are correct. Compaq's did use a drive interface that was neither IDE nor SCSI - but that was a long time ago.
nwhyte
May. 7th, 2006 11:30 am (UTC)
Thanks, especially for the advice about minimum requirements.

I think the Presario may have been the first Compaq which was really compatible - certainly the printer does indeed use a USB connection (though there are only two of those, and inconveniently at the back). So that's less of a worry.

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