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By far the most frequently asked question over a number of years is --

I want to buy a computer system - which one should I get ?

The answer of course is not as simply put as the question. What is the ideal solution for one person  is, as with so many things in life not the best solution for others. We always like to approach this question by suggesting that people analyse properly what they require from the system. Use the list below as a starter for the questions you ask yourself which we hope will lead you to the optimum system for you ! Please remember that the most expensive system is not necessarily the best system for your purposes, and conversely the cheapest may not be either. Plan wisely and remember - computers technology moves at a very fast pace. What is top of the range today, will be surpassed in the very near future.

What is my budget  ?  As with all things the amount of money we have to spend influences every purchase we make. Too little and you may severely restrict what you can achieve. However do you really need the top of the range gamer ? Don’t budget too little and expect too much, but don’t spend too much and not use the capabilities you have bought.[ £300 for low end machines - £750 upwards for higher specification and gaming machines - Note... Second hand machines will again save you money , but be aware that they will in all probability  not be covered by any kind of warranty ! When it breaks it costs !]  

Do I need a full computer system ?, ie system box, monitor plus keyboard, mouse etc ? Or - Do I really only require a new base system unit - If you can reuse any of your existing components you will have more cash for your base unit. Please remember - Don’t recycle parts just to save money. This could leave you disappointed with overall performance.

What do I want to do with my computer ?  [ Make a list of all the tasks you think you want to do ]. If you are only going to browse the web, fetch and send email, write the odd letter then you don’t need the gaming machine. If you want to play the latest first person shooter games then you need to be looking at a much higher specification machine, which of course means more money. [ See what is my budget ]

What software do I need ?  The previous chapter - [ What do I want to do with my computer ?  ] has given you a list of tasks you think you are going to use the machine for. Look at this list and add a note against each section where you think that you may need to purchase additional software. Bear in mind that computers nowadays can come with a range of software tools already installed. Eg.  [ Microsoft Works, - document writing etc. ]. Do you need to write CD’s or DVD’s. - Many machines have CD/DVD writing software pre-installed. Will I be working with pictures and photograph’s. The list is really quite extensive. Time spent planning your use of the machine will repay you in the long run.

Remember that if you purchase a piece of software which you subsequently find is not what you require, chances are that you will not be able to get a refund and  it will, more than likely become an expensive bookend on your shelf.

Do I need to purchase additional warranties ? All systems purchased from reputable sources should have a standard warranty. Check to see that the warranty suits your purpose. Do you need on site warranty ? Ie do you want somebody to come to your home or workplace to repair the problem, or are you happy to box it up and send it back for repair ? Remember that if you choose the box up and send back option the length of time it is away and unusable by you could be quite long. Check !. Be prepared to pay a little bit more for the on-site warranty if you don’t want to be without your PC.

I want to use the Internet. Do I need any additional software ? Most machines will have the general software required for web browsing already installed. However, before you ever connect to the Internet make sure you have

Anti-Virus & firewall software installed. Never use a computer on the web without taking this precaution. Remember that not all Internet users want your visit to the web to be an enjoyable experience. Be cautious at all times.

Make your list

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