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FAQs answered

Considerations when buying a new computer or laptop

Buying a new computer can be a daunting experience - there are so many to choose from. You don't want to spend lots of money on the fastest, most powerful supercomputer with all of the latest components if you're not going to use them!  On the other hand, you don't want to have to upgrade your computer the first year you have it.  So, what are the questions you need to ask yourself?

Laptop v PC
If you are looking for a portable device, or space is at a premium, you may wish to consider a laptop.   Remember though the keyboard will be smaller than a standard size keyboard and the viewable screen may be smaller than you would like.

How much do you want to spend?
Decide on your budget and then look around to see what you get for your money.  TV and magazine ads, specialist computer magazines as well as searching on-line will all give competitive prices.   However, one word of caution ….. when you see the quoted cost of a new computer system, check very carefully what devices are included (generally speaking they come with speakers, mouse, keyboard and monitor), but check whether it also includes a printer, a scanner, DVD re-writer or just a DVD reader, the Windows operating system, (Vista, XP  Pro etc), Microsoft Office with Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc,  anti-virus software etc, otherwise be prepared for your quote to increase – sometimes up to double the original price.  

One downside in opting for an “all-inclusive package” is that you don’t get to choose the specific devices.  If you want to print lots of photographs for instance, then you might want a higher specification printer.  You may want a wireless mouse and keyboard; you may want a higher specification scanner, or a wide-screen TFT, etc. 

What is the computer to be used for?
If you want to download lots of music, video clips, and play internet games, then you’ll most likely want a large hard drive (for data storage), top-notch CPU (the brain of the system) and RAM (memory).  If the use is confined to general internet surfing and emails with low storage and memory requirements then a lower specification computer is more appropriate. 

Consider too what devices you want to use with your new PC. If you want to connect a digital camera/video, you will need USB or Firewire ports or both.  Wireless broadband and linking up to other computers in the home or office is another consideration.

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