Archive for the ‘Buying A Computer’ Category


Tips On Buying A Computer

November 2, 2006

Computer Buying Tips & Advice

Buying a computer can be a very confusing affair, even after a little research it can still leave you feeling more than a little bewildered. Here are just a few questions you may encounter when looking to purchase a home or business computer.

  • Should I buy a branded PC from the high street
  • Should I buy a PC from a local Independent retailer
  • How much memory do I need in my new PC
  • What type of processor do I need
  • Do I need an expensive graphics card
  • Should I buy a laptop or desktop PC
  • What size screen is suitable for my needs
  • Microsoft Windows Vista – Home Premium or Ultimate Edition

Answers to the questions are my opinions based on experience in the computer industry.

Should I buy a branded PC from the High Street

High street shops are now offering a wide range of both desktop and laptop computers for sale. The prices are very competitive and you can indeed get a system off the shelf.

One thing to consider is warranty of the system you buy. Most retailers will indeed give you a 12 month warranty on a new computer system. What most people do not think about at the time of purchase is where the computer will be repaired if a fault develops.

Most retailers will probably tell you that the warranty is with the manufacturer and not themselves. This seems like a kop out but is in fact accurate and quite commonplace. Remember that the assistant who sold you the system did not build it and probably has no skills in computer repair. So the computer has to be sent back to the manufacturer for testing and repair.

The only way around this problem would be to see if an onsite warranty option exists. The onsite warranty will make your purchase more expensive but should give you peace of mind. Always check terms and conditions before agreeing to any service contract.

Advantages of buying from large Retail outlets

  • You can get lower prices & special offers
  • Payment options such as 0% Interest free credit

Disadvantages of buying from large Retail outlets

  • Lack of product knowledge
  • Systems are returned to manufacturer for repairs
  • You may end up spending more than you need to

There are several computer retailers in Macclesfield. These include independent stores such as Mighty Micro on Chestergate, Tims Megastore on Sunderland Street.

Also you have the choice of the larger retailers such as Currys at Lyme Green Business Park or Comet who are situated on the Silk Business Park near Hurdsfield. You can buy a computer via mail order at a very competitive price from companies such as Dell.

The thing to be wary of is that a £200 computer is going to be very basic and have little or no upgrade options available. If you are just going to use the Dell computer for emails and web browsing then it may be just what you need. If you get the urge to buy a camcorder and wish to edit the footage yourself, your budget Dell computer may not be up to the job. You would be in the position of needing to purchase another more powerful computer to meet your needs. So be careful when choosing a system and consider everything you may want to use it for, even 6 months ahead. Also, remember that Dell charge a significant amount for delivery and the price in the advert does not always include VAT.

PC Guardians offer this free advice to help you make the right decision when buying a computer to ensure you make the right decision! Remember we offer a full range of services including computer setup, broadband setup, wireless broadband setup, spyware, virus removal and computer repair services

Don’t hesitate to call us on 07955 520730 or contact pc guardians via email

Should I buy a PC from a local independent retailer

Most towns and cities will have several small independent computer retailers for you to buy from. The smaller independent trader will unfortunately nearly always be more expensive than the likes of large companies such as Dell.

People are usually swayed by price but this is not always the best grounds upon which to make a purchasing decision. Again, warranty has to be taken into account here. You may well get a cheap system from Dell but unless you pay for the onsite warranty, your computer is going back to Dell for any repairs.

The local independent trader will firstly be in a position to offer you honest well informed advice on what computer system is suitable for you. You will find that product knowledge and experience are usually accompanied by enthusiasm. Simply because people who run a computer business usually have a passion for computers and will offer you honest advice.

Advantages of buying from Independent Retailers

  • Repairs are usually carried out on the premises
  • Service is usually excellent because staff are passionate about computers
  • Staff are usually very knowledgeable and experienced
  • You get the system you need, not the one the salesman wants you to buy
  • You do not get lots of “free” junk, most of which is never used

Disadvantages of buying from Independent Retailers

  • Usually more expensive than larger companies

How much memory do I need in my new PC

When looking to purchase a new PC, you have to think clearly about the reasons you are purchasing it. Maybe you want to take up video editing, or want to get into gaming.With the introduction of windows Vista most systems available today come with at least 1gb of memory installed. This is the absolute minimum a new Vista system should have installed. Vista is quite a memory hungry operating system

This will be more than adequate for most users with only extreme gamers or video/photography enthusiasts needing more. Ram is a crucial component of any computer system and the minimum you should look for is 1gb (1024mb).

What type of processor do I need

There are two main players in the processor field. The first is Intel who are responsible for processors familiar to many people such as Pentium 4, and Celeron. Most of you will have seen the computer adverts on TV featuring the annoying little jingle. Intel Core 2 processors superceded the Pentium 4 and Celeron.The latest Intel processors are what is known as quad core processors. Invery simple terms they are like 4 processors in one. Visit Wikipedia for a more detailed explanation of multi core processors

The other main processor manufacturer is AMD or Advanced Micro Devices. They are responsible for the AMD Athlon range of processors including the 64×2 dual core range. Essentially two processor cores (the brains of the processor) in one processor. Effectively giving you the performance of two processors in one. They also produce a quad core processor.

Both companies manufacture very high quality processors for both desktop and laptop computers. Unless you have a specific preference a processor from either company will be fine. When looking to buy a new pc make sure the processor speed is adequate for your needs. If you are only using the computer for word processing and internet use, a lower speed or budget processor will be sufficient. If you are intending to edit home video, you need a powerful processor such as Intel Core 2 or AMD Athlon 64×2 dual core or better.

Make sure the salesman understands your requirements and make sure he does not sell you more than you need.

PC Guardians offer this free advice to help you make the right decision when buying a computer to ensure you make the right decision! Remember we offer a full range of services including computer setup, broadband setup, wireless broadband setup, spyware, virus removal and computer repair services

Call 07955 520730 or contact PC Guardians via email

Do I need an expensive graphics card

If you or your family are not planning on playing high end games or video editing, the graphics capabilities of most systems sold today will be more than adequate.

If you wish to purchase a faster graphics card make sure you purchase the appropriate one for your system. The standard motherboard slot for graphics cards used to be PCI but things moved onto AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port). AGP speeded up the graphics of computers considerably. Predictably the AGP standard has been superseded by a new format called PCI Express.

Graphics cards are expensive items and you should only upgrade if you need the extra graphics power and capabilities for gaming or video editing. Windows Vista supports the new Direct X 10 from Microsoft which supports ultra realistic gaming quality.

Desktop or Laptop – Which should I buy

This is a big buying decision that you have to make carefully after considering various factors.

Desktop computers are quite big clunky items to have in your house. Cluttering up the corner of a room with cables trailing everywhere and extension leads full of plugs, is not everyones idea of latest technology. Laptops are neat, compact and most importantly for some tidy.They can also be taken with you almost anywhere. If you are buying for a student at university, they would most likely prefer a laptop for not only portability but also having a new laptop is quite cool.

Apart from aesthetics you need to consider other major factors when making a buying desision.

A desktop computer can be upgraded in the future by replacement of certain core components. A laptop computer cannot be upgraded apart from additional memory or a larger hard drive.

A desktop computer, when standard warranty expires, can be repaired by a local computer repair company such as PC Guardians.

A laptop can only be repaired by a technician specialising in laptops. The components for laptops are not always readily available and are usually considerably more expensive than their desktop counterparts.

If you are restricted regarding space for a computer then a laptop is probably your best bet. Once again portability is a factor for some and being able to put the computer away easily in a storage cupboard is very appealing.

Key points to consider

  • Desktop computers can be upgraded quite easily
  • Desktop computers are easier to have repaired
  • Laptops are excellent if space is at a premium
  • Laptops are great for portability
  • Laptops need to sent away for specialist repair if faulty
  • Laptops are very limited with regards to upgrades (Ram & hard drive only)
  • Laptops can be used in any room (Especially good with wifi internet)

What size screen is suitable for my needs

Again this is dependent on individual needs. Most desktops will come with a 17″ or 19″ TFT or LCD flat panel screen. This will be more than adequate for most computer users. The only time to consider anything larger is if you do a great deal of photographic work or maybe have partial sight. I personally know a gentleman who is officialy registered as a blind person but with the use of a 22″ screen and the magnifier facility built into windows he can use the computer at home.

Laptops are available with various screen sizes. Standard is probably 15.4″ on most but you can get bigger and smaller sizes such as 17″ widescreen and 12″ screens.

It is actually more expensive to have the smaller screens on laptops. Certain manufacturers also provide screens with a shiny almost gloss finish on them to enrich colours and image quality. This gloss finish uses names such as crystalbright.

Microsoft Windows XP or Windows Vista

The majority of new computers will now come with Microsofts new and improved operating system Windows Vista. There are four different versions, home basic, home premium, business and ultimate.

Retail systems usually come with Vista Home basic or premium. Microsoft offers an option called anytime upgrade if you wish to upgrade at a later date.

If you have business software that you wish to use on your new system, please check compatibility with Vista as it has been reported that certain applications do not work with Vista. Windows XP will become unavailable for purchase after June 2008 according to many reports.


Do not rush into making a buying decision you may later regret. Sales staff in stores can be too pushy and steer you towards something not right for you.

Take your time and consider the points above to help you make a good and correct decision.

Buy a system that meets your current needs with upgradability if you think you may need it in the future. Think about warranty and repair scenarios. Do you really want to be without a computer for several weeks if develops a fault. This may be the case if you buy a laptop computer.

Most new computer systems now come with the recently released Microsft Windows Vista Operating system pre-installed. Most computers sold for home use are pre-loaded with the Vista Home basic or Home Premium Edition.