Computer hunting

So once again I am asked to look for a computer for my parents.  Here is the situation this time.

My dad is being laid off at the end of next week and will be losing his work computer. We’re trying to find a decent replacement.  We want him to have a decent computer so he can do some graphics work. ‎”graphics design” is all they told me. I’m assuming they meant the ability to make quality fliers, newsletters, brochures, and things like that but I’m not 100% sure.

I know next to nothing about graphics work, so I’m looking for software recommendations and what the minimum hardware specs should be.  Of course, if you know of anything on sale, that’d be helpful too.

As for price, I’m thinking 200~500 but I may be able to talk them into more if it means we wont have to replace it or get another one in less than 2yrs.

Thanks for any advice

  1. #1 by Andrew D. on February 14, 2011 - 1:36 PM

    If you’re certain they mean brochures and fliers, you’ll want to make sure they have at least the following:

    1. A copy of Microsoft Office or a comparable office suite (LibreOffice, Quark Xpress). You might be able to get a copy of MS Office from UWM with your student discount, otherwise they start around $200. A good, free alternative is LibreOffice, available at
    2. RAM. Get at least 2 GB of RAM. Best price / performance ratio compared to other components in the system.
    3. At the very least, a decent color printer, possibly a printer/scanner/copier combo. This is, of course, if you want to be printing at home; you could also consider taking the files to Kinko’s, OfficeMax, or some other commercial printing place.

    If they might be doing custom graphics (photography, photo editing), consider the following additional software:
    1. A decent photo editor, like Adobe Photoshop Elements. This is about $100 online. Photoshop CS5 has more features but is much more expensive. Free alternatives include The Gimp ( and Inkscape (

  2. #2 by Chadwick on February 15, 2011 - 3:37 PM

    For a ready-to-go system that should serve nicely, I might suggest the Dell Studio XPS 7100 that has going for $450 right now. It’s well stocked on the essential hardware, includes mouse and keyboard, Win7 Home Premium…only thing you’d need to add is a monitor and printer, if those are things you need.

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