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Considerations When Purchasing a New Computer
Like buying a new car, purchasing a new computer can be an intimidating experience because of several factors. This article will address many of these factors to help you make the best decision for you and your family.
Laptop or Desktop?
Although this question seems overly complex, it is simple. If you travel, or plan to travel and need a computer with you, purchase a laptop. If you have no need of a computer away from home, buy a desktop. Though laptops provide freedom from our desks, keep in mind the following about laptops:
- They are less powerful than their desktop counterparts,
- They are more expensive than desktops of equal performance,
- They are at a higher risk of theft, damage and loss.
- Spurious replacement parts are readily available for most Desktops making it easier to get parts faster and at a reasonable cost. Unfortunately, this scenario does not apply to Laptops in most cases.
Netbooks are one or the more recent entries to the computer form-factor debate. Netbooks are essentially small laptops. They have screen size less than 12 inches and typically don’t have a CD or DVD drive. Their greatest strengths are their long battery life, high portability, and low cost.
Recommendation: Laptops and netbooks are great for students (of all ages) and those with careers which often have them away from home (For mobility & portability ease you should consider Tablets and Smart Phones too). Desktops, however, are the default selection, especially for families or multiple users and are much more powerful.
When a client asks what they should consider when buying a new computer, our first question is to ask, “How much do you plan to spend and what do you intend to use it for?” This is the most important question you can ask yourself. Computers cost as little as $200 €170 £150 Approx, but you can spend as much as you want to on a new computer. Keep in mind, as with almost any other significant purchase, you get what you pay for, and typically, the more you spend, the better computer you’ll get. Most clients expect to get 3 – 5 years usage from their computers before newer technology deems them obsolete.
If you are replacing an existing computer, you may not need to purchase a new monitor. This decision alone can save you several hundred dollars!
Recommendation: For a family computer which will provide many years of high-performance service, plan to spend at least $600 €450 £400 Approx on the computer tower. Monitors are $150 €115 £100 Approx and up. Computers costing less than this will result in a need to upgrade sooner.
Should I Buy Online?
Buying Online Pros:
- Greater selection and control of options,
- Can often avoid tax on purchases,
- Slightly better overall prices.
Buying Online Cons:
- May take a few weeks to receive the computer,
- Difficult to return or replace the computer if needed.
Buying Retail Pros:
- You can see and handle before purchasing,
- Take home your purchase that day,
- Replacing or returning is a simple process, typically.
Buying Retail Cons:
- Higher cost due to tax and store overhead,
- Fewer computers to choose from,
- No way to customize the computer components.
Recommendation: Consider your timeline and budget. If you are short on time or need a computer immediately, retailers are the best route. If customizing your computer is a necessity, online purchasing is the only way to go!
Whether you’re interested in laptops or desktops, there are two types of consumer computers: PC and Mac.
Apple is the only option when purchasing a Mac.
PC’s are offered by many, many companies. Most people are familiar with Dell and HP; however companies such as Acer, ASUS, Toshiba and Lenovo are growing in popularity.
Recommendation: Acer and ASUS are great options for netbooks. Dell and HP have excellent laptop options. No desktop manufacturer is significantly better than another.
How Much Memory?
Memory is different than storage. Storage refers to the size of the hard drive. New computers have sufficient storage for almost any person’s needs. However, when computer shopping, the more memory the better. Memory dictates how much processing can be carried out simultaneously and has nothing whatsoever to do with storage capacity.
Recommendation: Purchase as much memory as you can afford.
How Do I Move My Information?
One of the biggest challenges in moving to a new computer is getting data and information from the old computer to the new. Pictures, music, documents, emails and other items accumulate and must be moved to the new computer. This is where an external hard drive can prove to be invaluable. You can copy all your valuable files to the external drive in readiness for transfer to your new computer. It also acts as a must have backup. You may need some advice on the correct way to transfer email accounts, emails and address books etc and we (here @ Techkings) can advise you so as you can do it yourself. Remember too, Google is your friend
Extending warranties provided by the manufacturer are highly recommended. This is typically an option for online purchases only. Warranties provided by retailers are wide and varied. Consider them, but read the fine print carefully before purchasing.
If you use your computer to work from home, or use your computer many hours a day, consider getting a second monitor to increase your productivity. Studies have shown dual-monitor productivity increased, ranging from 7% to 50%! (Read these articles 1. 2. )
Last edited by Gman496; 28-01-2012 at 04:45 PM.