The fastest computer in the world will not help you with dial up. You need a broadband, dsl, or satalite provider for your internet to increase in speed.
I have a 3yr-old Sony Vaio PCG-FXA32 notebook computer.Specs: Mobil AMD Duron processor 900MHz, L2 cache memory 64KB (cpu integrated), 256MB SDRAM (expandable to 512MB), 15 GB hard drive (not sure of RPMs), 15" XGA (1024 x 76 screen, grapics: ATI 3D RAGE Mobility-M1, XP(SP2)Home edition. It generally stays plugged-in to the wall.
PROBLEM: We use the computer just for word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail, general web-surfing. We moved from a city where we had DSL access available, and we were thrilled with the DSL speed. We are now in a rural area (Green Acres!) and must rely on dial-up service. We have AOL 9.0 (hate it.) Web-pages load very slowly. We are considering satellite internet, but these services are very pricy -- at least $60/mo, plus hardware purchase of $200 -$600 (or up to $1000, if you want faster downloads).Basic satellite will probably enable 500-600kbps download.
Question 1): Assuming we stay with dial-up, and probably switch to another provider with "accelerated dial-up", would a new, faster, up-to-date computer increase our web-surfing speed significantly? (Assume specs below.) Would we be able to watch streaming video or listen to streaming audio again? (We can't do this now. It will stop every few seconds to buffer.)Or, is a new computer basically a waste of money if our main goal is to increase web-surfing speed.
Question 2): If we do go with a new computer, I was thinking a 17" desktop replacement would be the way to go. I focused on the Dell Inspiron 9200 and the HP Pavilion ZD8000 (or its clone, the Compaq X6000, which is less expensive). The HP/Compaq seem to get better reviews from both CNET editors and users, and HP seems to have the edge in customer service-- though users report horror stories for both Dell and HP cust. service. So, my proposed Compaq X6000 would have these specs:
Intel Pentium 4 540 w/HT technology, 3.2 GHz; 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM, 400MHZ; graphics card 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X600; 60 GB 7200 RPM hard drive; 17" WXGA+ Bright View screen (1440 x 900); XP Pro. Would this configuration improve web-surfing speed? Are any of these specs irrelevent to web-surfing speed? For example, will the fast drive 7200 RPMs benefit web-surfing? Will the 256 MB graphics card help? Is the 1GB memory "overkill" for my purposes?
Question 3): For my purposes, is a 17" desktop replacement notebook "overkill"? I know a lot of you out there are gamers. This would not be used for gaming in any serious way. Would a 15.4" screen, maybe with a 64 bit AMD processor be better for me? Also, even though the 17" screen is physically bigger, my understanding is that the higher native resolution will make all the letters and images smaller. Does this mean that my Word documents, for example, will all have smaller fonts on the screen, and that the document will appear with "bars" running along the sides of the 17" screen? I was hoping to get a bigger screen so that all the images and documents would appear bigger, not smaller. My eyesight ain't what it used to be!
I am not very knowledgable about computers, and I know (from peruzing this CNET forum) that many of you are extremely knowledgable. I've learned alot. But you gamers never seem to comment about basic web-surfing or common everyday office applications. I look forward to your input. Thanks.