Buy the best you can

Buy the best you can

When deciding to buy a PC, it is easy to get fooled by the tempting offers that computer sellers make. Therefore, before you make an investment in your new PC, it’s a good idea to scan the market and find the best options within your budget instead of simply getting carried away by a free Printer, scanner or a Web Camera.

Most home PCs are used for general tasks like word processing, spreadsheet, home finance, some basic windows games, e-mails, browsing the Internet and listening to music. So look for a mid-range PC with high performance.

The two key factors that determine the performance of your PC are the processor and the memory. The processor governs the speed at which your PC processes information, which is measured in Gigahertz (GHz). The memory, also known as RAM (Random Access Memory) is where your computer stores the information while it works. Like the processor, RAM also determines the speed of your computer, albeit in a different way. RAM is measured in megabytes (MB).

The hard disk is another key determinant of your PC’s performance. Hard disk space is measured in Gigabytes (GB). A 40 GB Hard Disk is more than sufficient for most people.

Since you’ll be staring at the monitor for hours, it’s important to make sure that you get one that’s comfortable on your eyes. Monitors come in sizes ranging from 14" to 21". We suggest you go in for a 17" monitor as the difference in price from a 15" one is only marginal.

When you buy a branded PC, you will receive integrated peripherals like keyboard, mouse, floppy disk drive and CD-ROM drive as part of the standard equipment. A 56K external fax modem is a must if you wish to connect to the Internet the old fashioned way – using a telephone line. You can also use it for sending faxes.

Once you zero in on the options, follow this general rule: and you won’t regret: buy the most powerful computer your budget allows. If you’re short on cash, put off buying those fancy gadgets or that printer if you will, but do not cut corners on the main system unit – processor, memory, hard disk and monitor. You can always add other contraptions later, when you have spare money. Remember, you will use your PC for at least 2 or 3 years, maybe more and you definitely don’t want to find yourself running out of disk space or memory in the first few weeks of your using it.

Some brands bundle gadgets like the web camera, hi-fi speakers, CD Writer or DVD-ROM drive to make the offer attractive. Although a CD writer can come in handy for copying large files and taking back ups of important files, the rest of devices should be considered only if there cash left over after you take care of the main components.

Some people buy a PC because it looks attractive. Remember, a PC’s performance has very little to do with its looks. Therefore, do not invest in a machine simply because it looks good.

Finally, carefully read through the terms and conditions of the warranty and after sales service policy of the seller. How much free support do you get when you buy this PC? Is the warranty onsite, or will you have to take your PC to the service centre? Make sure the terms and conditions suit you.

Keep in mind

  • When taking the delivery of your computer, insist on driver CDs for all the hardware – particularly the mainboard, display card and sound card (also known as motherboard)
  • Prevent electrical voltage fluctuations – use a voltage stabiliser or at least a spike guard for supplying power to your PC

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