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Mid-Range Computer Recommendations

Mid-range computers can better handle graphics programs and programs that require the management of a larger database.

Although not a graphics workstation, a mid-range computer can handle all common business programs with better speed than a standard computer. This is especially true with limited photo editing or video editing. However, intensive video editing works best with high-end computers.

The Computer Buying GuideA mid-range computer is more powerful than a standard computer, and it is suitable for more demanding work.

All games will work on a mid-range computer, however, the more complicated games may run somewhat slower than on a high-end computer. Nevertheless, for those new to gaming, the mid-range computer will be fun to operate.

Of course, individual computers may vary in their capabilities and running speed. Also note that a monitor and speakers may or may not come with the computer as a complete package.

While nothing here will have this year's cutting-edge component advancements, with the dramatic rise in component quality and falling costs, mid-level computers are now more powerful and less expensive than ever before. As a rough guide, typical cost of a mid-range computer including a monitor and speakers is about $700 and $1,400.

Here are our recommendations for a mid-range computer.


  • Processor:
    - AMD® Phenom™ X4 Quad Core
    - Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core E5200 (2MB, 800FSB)
    - Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E7400 (3MB, 1066FSM)
    - Intel® Core™ i7-920 (2.66GHz, 8MB L3 Cache)

  • Memory:
    - 2 GB DDR II SDRAM 800MHz 2 DIMMs
    - 3 GB DDR III Tri-Channel SDRAM at 1066MHz 3 DIMMs

  • Hard Drive:
    500 GB to 720 GB at 7200 RPM Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache.

  • Video Card:
    - NVIDIA® GeForce® 9300GE
    - ATI® Radeon™ HD 3450 256MB
    - ATI® Radeon™ HD 4850 512MB
    - ATI® Radeon™ HD 4870 X2

  • Sound:
    - Integrated AC '97 SoundMAX with SPX
    - Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio

  • Motherboard:
    TIP - If you're building a computer, make sure the motherboard and the processor (CPU) are compatible!
    - Intel® 945GZ Express Chipset, 800 MHz speed.
    - Intel® G31 Express
    - XFX nForce 750a SLI

  • Monitor:
    When a monitor is part of a mid-range computer package (it's not always), it will be either a 17" to 20" color monitor. For a household computer, a 17" monitor is acceptable. But if you intend to do a lot of work on your computer, then we recommend a 18" or 20" monitor. It is simply easier to work on.

    I recommend making sure you can adjust the brightness on the LCD screen. (That ability is on the video card.) If a brightness control is not on an LCD screen, then it is better to get a standard CRT monitor. Some gamers prefer to avoid LCD monitors because of "ghosting" which can be very irritating.  

  • Optical Drive 1
    A CD/DVD-ROM, and

  • Optical Drive 2
    A CD/DVD-RW, OR...

  • Optical Drive 1
    A Blu-ray disc drive - This will allow you to read and write Blu-ray discs, read HD DVD discs, and read and write traditional DVDs and CDs.

  • Modem:
    For dial-up: 56 Kbps PCI Data/fax modem. But for serious surfing or a home business, you should get ISDN, DSL, or a cable connection, depending on what is available in your area.

  • Operating System:
    Windows® 7 is the new standard but inproven. Try to avoid Windows® Vista which is still available, but if Windows® XP is available, even with an extra fee we recommend it.

  • Software:
    A typical package will usually include Microsoft® Works, Microsoft® Office Standard version or Professional version. We strongly recommend you use an Anti-Virus program and use a Firewall. See Part 5: Software for more information on software programs.

  • Power Supply:
    Often ignored, it is very important to get a good quality power supply.

  • Power Protection:
    Computer hardware is highly sensitive to power surges, voltage spikes, power sags, brownouts, and blackouts! You can easily melt-down your silicon circuitry before you know it. Use a APC Back-UPS or similar unit that is appropriate for your computer. Do not rely on a cheap and often unworking plug-in circuit breakers. Get a UPS unit.

Some retail sellers may offer an extended warranty on your new computer or laptop. We do not recommend them, ever. They are expensive and they are very rarely used.

Recommended Stores:

You'll find great deals on a wide range of standard computers for the home, student, personal use, or small business.

Tiger Direct
An unbelievable huge range of desktop computers and laptops and everything else you could possibly need or want. This is computer heaven.  

On to the next Part...

Standard Computers     High-End Computers

After Recommendations, the next part is, Part 7 - The Buying Process, we discuss how to go about selecting a computer and some tips and thoughts on the buying process.

Buying Guide Table of Contents