Monday, December 11

Deciding On What To Buy When Looking For A New Computer Or Desktop PC

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So, you’ve decided it’s time to buy a new PC. I’m assuming here that you’ve decided against buying a new laptop or netbook and it’s definitely a PC you’re going for. Your first question should be ‘What am I using this computer for?’

Now, if you’re a desk top publisher or a high end gamer, you probably know what you need. This article isn’t for you. Jog on. However, if you’re Joe Average, then you might find this article useful.
The vast majority of people use a PC to surf the internet, to check and send e-mail, and to open the occasional word document. Even the lowliest PC will perform these tasks admirably. In this case, you really don’t want to be spending more that £400 on new PC system.

So, start with the budget systems and if you have extra requirements you can add extra or upgraded components. Dell makes this easy. Too easy. You’ll never get through their shopping program without upgrading somewhere – even if it’s just the colour of the case. You’ll be presented with a vast array of upgrades from extra memory and larger hard drives to blue-ray DVD drives and Graphics Processing Units.

But be disciplined. Ask yourself – do I really need this? For example – storage. I have never used more than 200GB of storage on a hard drive. Unless you’re storing films on it you won’t need it either. So if the budget system comes with 500GB. You’re not going to need to upgrade to the 1TB one. You’ll never need it. And if by some remote chance you do, you can upgrade at a later date. Most Desktop PCs have a second bay for an extra hard drive. SO you won’t even have to replace your old one. Similarly, if your computer monitor, keyboard and mouse are on the desk and the case is under it next to your feet, what do you need an orange case at an extra £30 for?

Well get the best you can afford, I suppose. But I’ve got to tell you. Unless, they’re sat in the shop next to each other – I can’t tell the difference in picture quality. They are all pretty good these days.

DVD Drives:
If you’ve got a large collection of Blue-Ray DVD disks, by all means purchase a PC with a Blue-Ray player. Evidently, you’ve got a lot of money anyway! Otherwise, you won’t need one will you? All budget PCs will come with a DVD player. Stick with that one.

Keyboard and mouse:
Don’t get fooled into buying those wireless ones. I’ve yet to meet anyone who sat on the sofa while typing on a wireless keyboard. On a laptop, yes. But surfing the next 6 feet form your monitor? Not a likely scenario.

Anti-virus software:
NO. NO. NO. NO. My personal pet hate. Do not buy it. MacAfee, Norton, Panda. Whatever. All rubbish. I know this, as I have said before I worked for an Anti-Virus company. You will need AV software but download Avast or AVG from the internet for free. Faster and better.

Ram or computer memory:
Yes, if you’re going to upgrade, buy RAM. As much as your budget and PC will allow. Much cheaper and more effective than purchasing a high end, fancy processor.

You aren’t going to need more that Windows 7 home premium, so don’t upgrade there. Maybe you’ll want to purchase Windows Office. But personally, I would download OpenOffice. It’s free. It’s very easy to use. And you can configure it to open and save in Microsoft Office formats anyway.

The final reason not to get too carried away with a budget PC purchase is because in 2 years your PC will be obsolete anyway. And like laptops, 2 years is about the time to replace a PC generally, so there’s not much point wasting your money on this one. At £400 that works out at £16 per month or around 50 pence per day. Start saving for your next one now!

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