Points to Remember When Purchasing a PC

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

  • Size. What is the ideal size of your laptop or PC?
  • Specification. Make sure that the PC matches your exact requirements. Will it have the right number of USB ports (See Glossary) or will you need to add a further USB Hub? (See Glossary)
  • Will your PC have an in-built wireless card and the ability to communicate via Bluetooth? (See Glossary)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Graphics card. Often, laptops use integrated graphics, which means they’re built into the system and access RAM in order to work. This is fine graphics 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.
  • 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.
  • Security Lock. Does the laptop include a security locking system?
  • Warranty. If you have to pay for an extended warranty or insurance cover and it is worthwhile? 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.
  • Upgrades: Consider what can be upgraded in the laptop you are choosing. Can you easily and relatively inexpensively upgrade RAM? 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?
  • 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 they closed?
  • If you have to pay for support, how much will it be?