Choosing a new computer


You may be looking to buy a computer for a number of reasons, Windows 7 is reaching “end of life”, one of your children is leaving for Uni soon, your old computer is wheezing or you just need a another computer for a new member of staff.

Where do you start? The choice is seemingly bamboozling.

Choosing a computer

Here is what we do when we’re asked to supply a computer by one of our customers, I’d suggest you do the same (or contact us and ask us to do it for you). Break the decision into three.
– The form the computer is going to take.
– The specification (what’s inside it).
– The manufacturer.

First, decide laptop or desktop/All in One.
Is it going to be (or likely to be in the future) used in only one room or are you likely to use it around the office/house or need to take it with you?

Laptop: choose a screen size and also decide whether you would like to be able to use it as a tablet as well or just a conventional laptop.

Desktop: Is it important that it’s tidy and looks good (it’s going to be kept in a living room, client facing area or front of shop in a retail situation)? If it is then choose an All In One.

If it’s not important then a conventional desktop will be a better choice as they are better value, more easily repaired and can be upgraded easily.

The curveball setup is a smaller screened laptop (maybe 13” or 14”) with a docking station and a large monitor. This is a superb setup and gives you the best of both worlds. Portability when out and, when at home or in the office, a large screen, wireless mouse & keyboard, good sitting position and wired internet connection.

So, you’ve decided what form your computer should take. Now you need to choose what is inside the computer in the way of components and this is determined by what you’re going to use it for.

When I ask this question, the vast majority of customers say “E-Mail, Internet, some documents and store some photos”.

Core i3 processor, 8Gb RAM and a 1Tb SATA hard drive would be fine for all of the above. If you want better performance/longevity then choose a computer with an SSD drive AND a conventional large SATA drive. 256Gb SSD + 1Tb SATA would be perfect but make sure that Windows is altered to store your data on the larger SATA drive as most manufacturers don’t make this alteration for you…… which is plain daft. Alternatively buy a computer with a hybrid drive.

If you need to edit videos, do a lot of photo manipulation, use CAD or play games on the computer then you need something with much better performance.
If that is the case then definitely choose a computer with an SSD AND SATA/Hybrid drive and also consider increasing the memory above 8Gb. Also look at what is available with a Core i5 or i7 processor.

Choosing a manufacturer
We look at all makes of computer when we search for the perfect computer for you. However, the decision invariably comes down to three manufacturers… HP, Dell & Lenovo. We generally avoid manufacturers whose names all begin with an “A”. For most of those “A” manufacturers, the build quality of the computer is poor (very important if you’ve chosen to buy a laptop, less so if you’re buying a desktop). For the other fruit based “A” manufacturer (Apple) the difficulty comes in justifying the cost of the computer over and above the other manufacturers. There’s no doubting that they are incredibly well built, well specced and look great cosmetically but they are often double the cost of the equivalent Windows computer and these days there’s not a lot else to justify this in-spite of what many Apple acolytes will tell you. We use both Windows and Apple computers and so we understand the pros and cons of each and are very well placed to help you with your decision. We don’t discount recommending either until we know and understand what your priorities are.

If at any point you still feel bamboozled or you just plain dislike the whole process of seeing what’s out there then let us know and we will do it all for you and present you with your perfect computer….. or if you want some choice then we can send you the top three to choose from.