With Christmas almost upon us there will be the usual scramble to buy presents for family and friends. Over the years I have had many experiences of customers and friends frantically buying computers at the last moment and not really understanding what they are actually getting for their money. In quite a lot of cases it’s like buying a car and not knowing the power of the engine.
Whether you are buying for your business or home there are certain principles that are important to be aware of. Irrespective of who you purchase from, whether it’s online with Dell or from any of the usual computer retailers such as PC World, Harvey Norman etc they will always have cheap offers that appear to be the answer to your problems (the bottom line is they will market their cheapest deals to get you to buy but unless you know what you want then you may not get what you need). The big question you have to ask yourself is will the new computer be “fit for purpose” and what ultimately will it’s life span be?
Taking this into account you then need to look at the key components of a computer and understand their importance. As technology changes by the day it is not possible to give specific examples but what I would like to do is go through the key areas that make up the computer.
To help you get the most out of your purchase, you first need to be clear on what the computer will be used for and then what choices you have within the specification. Some examples of how you might view what type of specification you might require would be as follows:
CPU / Processor
This is the heart of the system. While it is a single physical device, it has multiple ‘brains’ within, all working at the GHz (Gigahertz) value. Generally the larger the Ghz value the better, though this is by no means all that affects the overall performance.
The GB or Gigabyte value affects the amount of files that can be open at the sametime and the size of the files that can be open. The MHz or Megahertz value affects the speed at which this works. Broadly speaking the more GB and the higher the MHz the system has, the better the performance. For a PC running Windows 7 a minimum of 2GB is required.
Hard Drive Disk Speed
There can be different hard drive speeds so it goes without saying that the faster the hard drive the better the performance relative to a slower hard drive. Low end computers and laptops generally have speeds of 5400rpm whilst the better machines go from 7200rpm and greater.
The quality and screen resolution in most laptops tend to be good enough for most users however if you use your laptop for viewing drawings, movies, photos etc then you may want a higher quality image. If the option exists for a higher quality graphics card and you can stretch the budget then it may be worth the investment.
If you are a home user then the current version of Windows 7 Home Premium will be fine, however if you are a business user this will not suffice as a home version operating system cannot be securly connected to a business network. In that case you will need to purchase the Windows 7 Professional edition or higher. Apple Mac’s have their own operating systems and have different requirements.
Overall the better the specification the better the performace and ultimately the longer lifespan that with proper usage you will get from your purchase. In general there are three things that you should take into account as a “Buying Guide”:
1. Decide on a budget.
2. Identify primary use (Work / Travel / Home / School).
3. Compatibility – Identify exisiting applications that will continue to be used.
If you are unsure of any issues mentioned or wish further clarification, contact our office on 01 – 2930363 and speak to one of our Engineers.
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