With sales and shop clearances happening all year round, it seems like it’s always a good time to grab a bargain and computers are no exception. Last season pc models are frequently sold off with a reduction and Black Friday* and Cyber Monday* are days when stores reduce their prices for early Christmas shoppers. So if you’re thinking of braving the high-street or surfing for an online deal, here’s some hints and tips on what to look for.
What type of computer do you need?
The first thing to decide is whether you want a desktop, a laptop or a tablet. Laptops are comparable to desktops when it comes to power these days unless you need a specialist machine, so the answer to this question depends mainly on the following:
- Does it need to be portable? If you intend to take your computer with you when you’re out and about you’ll want a laptop or a tablet so consider the size, weight and the battery life. (This information can usually be found in the detailed specification).
- If you prefer a larger screen and have the space at home, a desktop with a monitor gives you a wide range of sizes to choose from. Laptops are available with larger screens but will be more expensive than a standard size and of course will be heavier.
- Not so critical but still worth thinking about are the keyboard and mouse. If you’re thinking of a buying a laptop some have compact keyboards and all have a touch-pad which may take some getting used to. However you can still connect a USB or wireless mouse and full size keyboard when needed, providing there are sufficient ports available.
- Some smaller laptops forfeit the CD/DVD drive to make them slimmer and lighter so check this before you buy.
- Switching to a tablet can be a completely new experience if you’ve never tried one but is a good alternative if you only want to browse the web and check your email. Being lightweight means they are ultra-portable and if you don’t like the onscreen keyboard there’s always the option of buying and attaching a small external one.
Some technical information
If you’ve been using an old pc for some time you’ll be surprised at how fast any new machine will be but here’s a guide to the technical stuff if you want to compare models and for more information on what’s going on inside take a look at the article: Computers simplified.
• RAM/Memory – A sensible minimum is 4 to 8GB which should be more than sufficient for most every day tasks. Having more will result in a quicker computer which is better able to cope with multi-tasking but unless you need a really speedy system for a specific purpose there won’t be any noticeable difference if you have any more than this.
• Hard drive/storage – 500GB is a minimum these days but for storing large amounts of photos or videos 1000GB (1TB) or more would be a better option.
Some computers come with an SSD – Solid State Drive – which, because of the lack of moving parts, is faster and more efficient. It will also put the price up!
• The operating system is going to be Windows 10, so prepare for a change if you’ve been used to Vista or Windows 7 (see my blog on Windows 10 for more information).
Windows 7 is still available from some major suppliers* but bear in mind Microsoft support is said to finish in 2020. *Correct at the time of writing.
• I won’t be going into any detail here about the different types of processor available for desktops and laptops, as your budget will largely determine what sort of system you buy but even a low end pc nowadays will perform at a reasonable pace.
*Usually towards the end of November.
For help or advice on buying a new machine give me a call on 01452 506529 or send me a message via my contact page.