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Purchasing a Computer for your Projector System
Selecting the right computer to run your projector system is the most important projector-related decision you will have to make. While projectors are very stable, and the lamps used in these projectors will last for many years under normal church usage, a cheap computer can a myriad of problems (imagine your computer crashing in the middle of your worship service). Purchasing a quality computer is a wise investment. If you are having someone configure a computer for you, print out the list below and have them review it.

Projector system CPU recommendation  

You should purchase a fairly fast CPU. Although the use of stills does not require a fast processor, the use of video certainly will. Also, some of the animated effects will skip or crawl if the processor cannot keep up. A CPU speed of 1.6GHz or higher should be fine. Processor type is a matter of preference, however we highly recommend the AMD CPU mainly because of its lower price.

Projector system Motherboard requirements  

The use a quality 'motherboard' in the computer system is another must. Again, the reliability of your computer is largely dependent on the quality of the motherboard. Avoid using first generation motherboards - a motherboard that has been on the market for 8 to 10 months will have had the kinks worked out of it. Asus has been making quality motherboards for many years and we are confident in recommending their motherboards.

Dual Video Card recommendation for church projector systems.   Dual Video Card
To run your system in dual video mode, you will require a dual video Card. A dual video card allows you to easily plug your monitor and projector into your computer system. Some dual video cards do not work well when displaying overlay video. The GeForce FX chip set is fairly stable. A video card we have found that works well in video overlay mode is the Asus V9520. Make certain that the video card has a minimum of 128mb of ram if you intend to use video.
Projector system Memory requirements   Memory
You should have a minimum of 512mb of memory (RAM) installed in your computer. This will allow you to use video and open multiple presentations without slowing down your system. For the few extra dollars it costs to increase the computer's memory, we recommend installing 1Gig.
Projector system Hard Drive recommendation   Hard Drive (IDE)
Choose a reliable brand name hard drive. You should purchase at least an 80GB drive as graphics will take up a fair amount of space over time. If you have the money, you may elect to invest in a high revolution hard disk such as a SCSI. This will allow you to run live video directly off of your Hard Drive without dropping frames.
Projector system CD-ROM requirements   CD ROM (Writer)
You will need a CD ROM drive in your computer to load or install software. We recommend purchasing a CD Writer which will allow you to efficiently backup your materials. Graphics and Video files can be fairly large and backing up onto a CD is fast and safe. A DVD writer can be used in place of a CD writer and will give you 8 times the backup capacity.
Projector system Sound Card recommendation   Sound Card
A sound card enables you to run sound from your presentation through your sound system. You will also be able to play music CD's or mp3's through your sound system. Sound Blaster, the industry standard in PC audio over the last 3 decades, offers a full range of quality audio cards and accessories. Some motherboards have quality sound boards built into them.
Projector system Monitor requirements   Monitor
A good quality monitor can serve your needs for many years to come. While computers require upgrading or replacement, monitors tend to last for quite a long time. It is best to get a monitor capable of a resolution of 1280x1024 or higher. Larger screens give you more viewing area which is helpful in Projector System applications. 17" - 21" monitors are recommended and if you have extra money, flat panels will use up substantially less space.
Projector system Keyboard recommendation   Keyboard
When using PowerPoint in slideshow mode with a dual screen system, you will be constantly using your keyboard. Invest in a quality keyboard. A keyboard one or two price steps up from the low end keyboard will do. Examine the keyboard and make certain that you can feel when you've pressed a key.
Projector system Mouse requirements   Mouse
When using a worship program, you will be using your mouse a fair amount as well. When you are using the mouse, you will often be in a hurry to get something on screen. Purchase a quality mouse. We recommend an optical mouse as their movement is more accurate.

We don't recommend playing DVD movies with the computer DVD player/writer. It is much cheaper and easier to operate a stand alone multi DVD/VCR player and plug it into your sound board and the video feed on the projector. Although the computer can handle it, the sound board on some computers will not always play the audio properly when connected to a sound system. It also means that someone must understand the computer system to properly play a DVD.

Although it is a good idea to purchase a name brand computer like Compaq or Hewlett-Packard, some of these computers have video cards built into their motherboards. Verify that you can install a Dual Video Card in the system before you purchase. Laptops also have built in Video cards and they cannot be changed.


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