Ten Tips on How to Buy a Computer as a Gift

  1. Never buy the highest spec machine at twice the price of an entry level system unless there is a very good reason. If it is for an engineering student that requires as much processing power as possible then go for it. Machines carrying the latest and highest specifications come at a considerable premium for the first few months. A machine that is almost as good will probably cost half the price!

  2. Who is the machine for? If it is going to be used solely for emails and perhaps some word processing, then an entry level machine will do. For a keen gamer, the machine will need quality graphics, sound and processing power!

  3. Buy from a reputable supplier with a recognised support network. The home computer salesman next door may be cheaper, but if he goes out of business do you still have a warranty? The warranty is important. If used for travel, then an international warranty is a necessity.

  4. Don’t buy the cheapest machine available. The cheapest machine will probably cause trouble as the cheapest components are used. The next one up will do the job more effectively.

  5. Laptops have become much more affordable in recent years, and provide a real option especially where space is an issue or where portability will be useful.

  6. If the machine is to be used for gaming, then a machine with a good graphics card is essential. AMD machines tend to be better for this purpose than the Intel equivalent.

  7. Look at the software supplied with the machine. Pre-installed products such as Ms Office are a real bonus and can represent a major cost saving to the recipient.

  8. Double-up on the standard amount of memory. You can never have too much memory! Additional memory will help to extend the life of the machine.

  9. Get as much disk-space as you can. What seems like a huge drive today, will be small in a couple of years.

  10. Bonus Tip. Linux now comes in user friendly versions with a whole range of free built in applications such as Open Office, Graphics and music players supplied as standard. The most popular version of Linux is called Ubuntu. It is free and has a user friendly interface. The operating system is more stable and less likely to slow down dramatically over time as Windows. The bonus is that the machine will already have most of the core software without the associated cost.

All in all buy from a reputable dealer. Do not buy the latest or highest specs. Think about who you are buying for, and consider Linux instead of Windows!

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