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How to buy the right PC.              By John Goulas

 

Ok, say you want to buy a car. You walk in the lot, and your eyes settle on the brand-spanking new ultimate driving machine. The sleek curves, 580 horsepower engine, all the extras, speakers so big you need earplugs to drive and acceleration  so fast you do 385 kilometers p/h from the garage to the end of the driveway in reverse!

Do you really need all that?

No! You and I both know that cash permitting, you'll be happy with the 1989 Toyota Corolla that'll get you there without an oil change. So if people are informed and intelligent car buyers, why do they demand so much from their computers?

Buying a real computer means buying one that works for you and does everything you need it too. The speed at which computers are evolving is exponential, every day another breakthrough touts the fastest speed, the most cores, the smallest chip. I'll admit, it's tempting. But I'll bet over 90% of you use your home computers for the same thing I do. E-mail & browsing. Something that takes 200mhz of speed and 256 megs of RAM to run. Buying a computer is like a car in that it is an investment in a product that you hope will give you productivity. If you invest in a Ferrari of a computer, you're ensuring that you will be able to run the latest software at the highest performance levels. But if you, like the Corolla owner, just want to 'get there' you don't need the speed.

So what do you look for in a real computer?

First, make sure it has the minimum’s to run today's software. Nowadays, 4 megs of RAM just doesn't cut it. You'll need at least 1Gb of ram to run basic system software. Most computer systems come with a standard 2 to 16Gb of RAM as a standard option. Next up, you'll need a monitor, and most likely a printer. Again, the "can display millions of colours" option is nice, but unless you get it in a package deal or you're spot checking works of art on-line, it's not worth it, a standard 18.5" monitor is just right for most applications today. The same goes for printers. Many companies have an extensive line of Ink-Jet printers & lasers printers that are more than capable of printing on high-quality papers with high clarity. The colour capacities of those printers are improving every day.

A note on the Internet. If you want to get connected, you'll need either a direct connection or a modem. Since direct connections are still a bit out of range for us plebeians (though prices are falling daily), the modem route is the safest to go. As modems go, 56kps was the high-speed standard for analog modems. For me, to check my email and netsurf a bit, a 56K modem is just fine. Since those are technically 'obsolete' you can pick up one cheap. I got mine at the local Goodwill for 50 clams. Today most ISP offer ADLS / Fibre from 384kps - 100,000kps (WOW!) or even wireless connectivity @ a variety of connection speeds, but again, that's an investment option that will cost you more than 1000 clams.

 Things to consider when buying a PC

What is the primary purpose of the PC.

What operating systems are you intending to use. ( Windows 7, Windows 8 Windows 10 , 32bit or 64bit

       platform ?

Do you need to be connected on the World Wide Web. (Analog, Digital)

Is e-mail a requirement. (Anti-Virus is a must).

Do you need to send & receive fax's.

Are you going to play games on your PC. (Graphic Card Essential)

Do you need to produce hardcopies of your work ? ie: Printer / Black & white or colour. (Inkjet / Laser ?)

Do you need to backup your work ? (A must against data loss !) DVD-Rewriter/ Flash disks/  Cloud Services  etc)

Do you want to listen to Music or watch movies on your pc, ie: sound card & speakers.

Do you need to scan in documents electronically, ie: Scanner.

What size screen do you need - If your eyesight is good a 15" will do, 18.5" recommended.

Need to be mobile, than maybe a notebook or tablet will be preferred.

Look at your warranty period & your after sales service.

How much is it costing you to run old Pcs?

 - Specializing in Hardware, Software, Consumables, Point Of Sale, Networking, Repairs, Development. -