Buying tips for your next laptop or Desktop PC

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As an IT Support provider we are regularly asked if a certain laptop or desktop is a good deal, and would we recommend it or not. Others prefer we take the guess work out, and give our own recommendations to procure on their behalf.

Whatever your preference if you want to go it alone in buying a PC, save your IT support chap a little stress by following these tips.

(1) Windows 7 Home or Professional?

If you have a server at your office please don’t buy Windows Home editions and expect it to work properly with your server cardinal rule! You would be surprised how often we see this. If in doubt ask your IT Support Company. Of course with Vista and Windows 7 you can perform an online upgrade to the Professional version, but this will cost £120 extra, making your shiny new laptop look a little less of a bargain!

(2) Don’t skimp on memory:

Windows 7 really needs 3-4GB of RAM to run well, but many PCs are sold with less than this. Adding memory is the easiest way to speed up your PC. Did you know that 32-bit Windows only recognises 3.5 GB of memory, whereas 64-bit Windows 7 varies depending on the edition from 8GB up to a staggering 192GB?

(3) Graphics:

If you are doing a fair amount of graphics work then opt for the dedicated graphics card. This can add around £50 – £100 to a PC but the improvement is well worth the extra investment.

(4) Laptop Screen Size:

17″ screen laptops weight noticeably more than says 15″ ones. This is partially due to the actual screen but they require more power, and so more battery cells. You need to consider how much you will be lugging your laptop around with you before choosing the very largest screen. All laptops have a port to plug in another screen too, which can be an idea solution.

(5) 32-bit or 64-bit?

There is a move towards 64-bit Windows which in the most part is good. This does rely on manufacturers of printers, scanners, and software ensuring compatibility. If you are using specialist software then check first if there is a 64-bit version available and factor in any additional costs. A client of our recently discovered that the 64-bit version upgrade would have cost them over £5,000 if they had wanted to use a 64-bit operation system.

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