Your computer just quit – now what do you do? Do you buy a new computer or fix the old one? One rule of thumb is that if your old computer is more than five years old, you are probably better off buying a new one. Many computers that are five to nine years old have components that are failing (called planned obsolescence.) You need to do your homework before purchasing a new computer.
Questions to ask before purchasing a new computer
What is your budget for a new system? Computers prices have come down in recent years and you can purchase a computer between $200 and $2,000 depending on what you need.
Take a look at what type of computer will best suit your needs. Do you need a laptop, desktop or tablet? Each type of computer will be different in their portability, size and functionality. Here is a brief recap of the different types of computers:
- A desktop will be the least portable of the three, however, it can handle heavier workloads. You can add multiply displays for multitasking and even use a desktop computer for your entertainment center for movies and games.
- Laptops will come in various sizes depending on your needs. The larger laptops come with a 17 inch display making them easy to read and use but harder to transport. In order to conserve the batter life, a laptop typically does not have the capabilities of a desktop system.
- Of the three types, a tablet is the most portable. You can do a lot of computing on a tablet but the screen is smaller and you need to get accustomed to typing on the tablet itself (unless you add an external keyboard.) Several of our small business clients use tablets in the field for gathering information that is then sent back to the office computer.
Then there is the question of operating systems – do you want a Mac or PC? Macs have been known to be more reliable and less virus prone that a personal computer. This is changing somewhat as more and more hackers are finding their way into Macs. The downside is that a Mac is typically more expensive than your average personal computer. You will also pay more for the repair of a Mac than the repair of a personal computer. Windows 7 is much more reliable that past operating systems for the personal computer. With proper virus protection and backup, you should be just fine with a personal computer.
The last question to ask is what type or manufacturer do you prefer. You can purchase a name brand or go with a custom built computer. If you are a business owner, you will want to take a good look at the custom alternative. You will get exactly what you need with the necessary computing power. Many of the name brand computers come with addons that are not only not needed, but they slow down your system. A custom build computer will normally use generic parts which makes is less expensive in time and money to repair.
Once you have made your initial decision on the type and brand of computer, you may want to use the internet to do your research on the various components of a computer. Then take your specifications to your local computer store to make your final decision and purchase. You will want to have a relationship with a local computer dealer that you can call when you have questions or need additional help.
If you are doing comparison shopping between computer stores make sure that you are comparing apples to apples (no pun intended.) Does each computer have the same amount of memory? The same hard drive space? The same peripherals? The same operating system?
If you are like most users, you know very little about the inner workings of a computer. All you know is what you need a computer to do. You don’t understand “geek speak.” Look for a computer dealer that can talk to you on your level. Don’t hesitate to ask questions when they are recommending something you are not sure that you need. Ask for a written quote and make sure that you understand exactly what you are getting for your money.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to purchase the most expensive computer. However, beware of cheap computers at non-computer stores. Here is an example of what I mean. A customer came in and asked for a price to build a computer. When everything they ask for was added to the computer, the total price came to $2,500. A similar computer (but with lower performance) was offered at Costco for $1,000. The customer when with the Costco brand. Within a year, they ended up having to purchase another computer because they did not get the processing speed they needed. Did this person actually save in the end?
There are no quick answers as to what is the best computer to buy. Take your list of requirements and check with your local computer specialists to see what best fits your needs.
PcRx Computers is a full service computer store. We would be happy to answer your questions and what type of computer would be best for your specific needs.
408 Main Street,
Conway, SC 29526-5124
We have the right prescription for your computer.