Tech talk June 2014

By Michael Ludlam

A new computer, what to choose?

There are so many out there, how can you choose the right one? Here is a checklist to help you out when purchasing a new computer; I always suggest talking to a professional before purchasing a new computer. You will be using it for the next 5+ years so it’s important to get something that’s going to stand the test of time and provide you with the best possible experience.

1. Plan a budget

You can only spend what you have to spend. If the computer doesn’t fit your budget you will have to do the research to find a computer that has everything you want and fits within your budget

2. Where to shop?

Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Noel Leeming, JB Hifi, Warehouse Stationery etc. all sells a range of desktops, notebooks, netbooks and tablets. My advice is to know what you want before you start shopping. Whilst many of us don’t require the latest and greatest, the bottom of the range run-out model may also prove to be a disappointment. Finding the best performance for your dollar is the key. Also don’t forget the online retailers such as Dell which allows you a certain amount of customization, delivered to your door and all done from the comfort of your home without a sales push.

3. Components

3.1 CPU

I believe the Intel line of CPU currently provide the best performance for your dollar. There are 3 in the line being the i3, i5 and i7. Unless you are a gamer or into multimedia work either of the i3 or i5 will provide you with all the power you need. The i series is in its 4th generation e.g. i5 4xxx — look at the previous generations e.g. i3 3xxx for a cheaper price with still excellent performance. 4GB is standard these days and perfectly adequate for everyday use. If you don’t know what you would use extra memory for, odds are you don’t need it

3.2 Memory

4GB is standard these days and perfectly adequate for everyday use. If you don’t know what you would use extra memory for, odds are you don’t need it

3.3 Disk

Is more better? Yes, to an extent. Common options are 500GB, 750GB and 1 TB (Terabyte). To put this into perspective if say an average digital photo was 500 kilobytes you would have space on a 1 TB drive for 2 million photos. 500GB should be more than adequate for most people
Solid State drives (SSD) are becoming more common in notebooks but they are still expensive for the capacity you get. If space isn’t a top priority then a Solid State drive will give you the best performance increase over all other components

4. Still unsure?

Talk to your computer support person , this is their bread and butter and they can point you in the right direction and maybe save you money at the same time

Final thought

Once you have your new computer up and running don’t forget the Backups!! USB keys and USB hard drive are cheap these days. Getting into the habit of regular backups can save you grief down the track.

By Michael Ludlam

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