12/07/2011

By Ben Weiner, CEO of Conjungo

The following factors are important to consider when purchasing or investigating buying the most appropriate computer:

1. What is the ideal size of your laptop or PC?

2. Specification. Make sure that the PC matches your exact requirements. Will it have the right number of Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports or will you need to add a further USB Hub? Will your PC have a inbuilt a wireless card and the ability to communicate via Bluetooth?

3. Media, CD/DVD/BluRay. Most laptops are manufactured with a CD writer/DVD reader drive. However, consider that if purchase either a netbook or a tablet, you won’t have this functionality but will have to buy an external drive.

4. Processor. There are two main manufacturers of processors for PC’s; Intel and AMD. You will need to research which is the best (most powerful or fastest that is required and can afford). Both manufacture powerful processors but the range available and naming methodology can be confusing.

5. Memory (RAM), is a very important consideration when purchasing a computer. Find out the amount of memory included in the computer as well and ensure that the memory can be upgraded in the future. The more memory the computer has, the more efficient the computer will be.

6. Graphics card. Often, laptops use integrated graphics, which means they're built into the system and access random-access memory (RAM) in order to work. For this fine graphic chips are good enough for most everyday tasks, but if you plan to do any gaming or graphics orientated work, then buy a system with a dedicated graphics card.

7. Battery. A very important consideration for any users that need to have a mobile PC or laptop is how long the battery charge will last. Many manufacturers will indicate a battery usage time but this is often based on the most power effective settings which in reality may not reflect your actual usage. Find out what the manufacturer states for the standard battery usage life are when using the portable computer in all power modes.

8. Security Lock. Does the laptop include a security locking system?

9. Warrantee. If you have to pay for an extended warrantee or insurance cover and it is worth while? Check your household or work insurance in order to see if it covered under that policy. Consider the implications if the laptop is broken or stolen.

10. Upgrades: Consider what can be upgraded in the laptop you are choosing. Can you easily and relatively inexpensively upgrade RAM? Central Processing Unit (CPU)? Hard Drive? If it is possible to do so, what are the maximum values for each and is this something you could do yourself or does it require specialised support?

11. Support. What levels of support are being offered?. Things to consider when looking at the support options of a computer are:

• Is support offered for 24 hours, 7 days a week? If not, what are the hours?

• Is support function open on Bank Holidays? If not, what days are it closed?

• If you have to pay for support, how much will it be?

It’s easy to assume that purchasing a PC is a straight forward task often heavily influenced by the cost of the machine. However, it should not be the case. There are many factors to consider when buying a computer and this will ultimately dictate whether it is appropriate, let alone ‘value for money’. These factors are size, weight, the applications being used, its’ prime purpose and of course the technical specification. Of course price is a concern but do bear in mind that you will want to keep the PC for a number of years and that by paying a little more may give you an element of ‘future proofing’. If you can’t then consider the costs of upgrading the machine in the future, then finding out those costs now and if it would be viable, may save you a lot of money in the long run.


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