Computer Systems

Written by Sarah Provost
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A computer system includes all the hardware, software, and peripherals you need to accomplish the functions you want from your computer. The most basic, "bare bones" system comprises a CPU, monitor, hard drive, modem, keyboard and mouse, plus a suite of software that includes word processing and internet access. Systems can be bought as a package or assembled from components.

The vast majority of consumers prefer to buy a prepackaged system. There are many different systems to choose from, even within one specific brand. Upgrades are also usually available to increase memory, speed, gaming capability, etc. Monitors, which used to be included in most packages, are now usually purchased separately.

The advantage to buying a prepackaged system is clear. You don't need any special technical skills to set it up, and you can be certain that all parts are compatible. Many computers now are virtually "plug and play," with color coded connections.

Assembling Your Own System from Components

If you have both the patience and the know-how, buying your components separately and assembling them yourself can be very satisfying. This method gives you total control and allows you to pick and choose among brands to create your perfect system. Buying parts separately is also somewhat cheaper. However, don't forget to include the costs of software. It can be rather expensive to buy it piece by piece rather than having it bundled with your computer. Again, however, it gives you complete control over what software you will use.

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