Buying a new computer 28 Feb 2017

Most of us know very little about computers. When we need a new one, we go to a shop and the salesman usually seems more concerned about making a sale than giving you valuable knowledge.

Here are a few helpful tips to think about before you buy.

Consider why you are buying. If the computer is more than three years old (a good rule of thumb), it's probably time to upgrade. But if everything is working fine, keep your money. Most operating systems can be upgraded for free online, so make sure you've got the latest. If the new system slows down all your programs, then you'll need to consider installing more RAM, or getting a new computer.

If you decide to buy a new computer, you'll future-proof yourself by getting as much RAM as you can with the purchase. It will cost you more than the basic computer, but it will make a difference to efficiency.

Likewise with disk space (storage capacity). The more you have, the more you can store. Consider what you store most. Photographs and videos downloaded from your smart phone or digital camera can chew up space. Complicated programs, such as MS Office and design programs, can also take a lot of space, but most files, such as Word, take minimal space.

If you're into gaming (or your kids are and they use your computer), a high-end video card is important.

Another thing to consider is whether you need a desktop computer, a laptop or a tablet. You might find the flexibility of a laptop or tablet useful, but if you're mostly desk-bound, nothing beats a robust desktop computer.

Whatever your considerations, talk to the salespeople about the above points and make sure you understand what they're telling you. If you feel you're getting a sales pitch more than information, go somewhere else.

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