Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Choosing a new computer (my article 70 )

As i offer PC help in the Cambridge England area i think itll be helpful to explain a little of the choices you face when buying a new PC. Its never been more complex to choose the right computer for your needs, so here ill list what you can use a PC ( personal computer) for and the manufacturers who build them plus what shops to buy a pc from. You can build pc's yourself from the endless parts available but its tricky and time consuming and not for people new to computers. Ill list some parts youll need and where to get them from so ill compile a list of retailers who sell computers and parts in the uk.

First list what your going to use the pc for, are you a gamer? will you play lots of games? will you use office software to write letters etc? will you use the internet? do you want to download lots of data like films, videos, music etc? will you be editing camcorder footage on your PC? so list exactly what your intending to use the machine for. List all the software you intend to use on it also from Antivirus to Antispyware to media players and video editors list all the programmes you intend to use. Once you know what you need a PC to be able to do then your ready for the next step choosing the hardware to run your software.

Here is a list of the PC makers i know of..

Advent, Alienware ( now owned by Dell) , Apple, Armari, Asus, Beast computers, ccl, Chillblast, choclate pc, Compaq, Cube 247, Cyberpower, Commodore ( making a comback since late 2007), Dell ( 1 make ive bought and used for years) , Evesham which is in administration as of september 2007, Esystem, Extreme prometia, Gladiator computers, Golden electronics, HP/hewlett packard, hi-grade, Hoojum design, IBM ( now its sold its pc building business to lenovo the chinese pc maker), jal computers, kustom pcs, Lenovo, Mesh ( a british make with terrible customer service according to reviews on ), Novatech, Packard bell ( which is part of taiwan maker Acer) , Panrix, pc specialist, Quiet pc, Rock, Savrow, Scan, Shuttle, Sony, Systemax, Vadim, Vantage computers,Viglen (sir Alan sugar's brand) Voodoo pc, Watford aries ( who bought the assets of Time/Tiny/The computer world the rubbish PC maker), Wiredzfire, Zoostorm ( pc next day), Zepto, Time computers of burnley uk went bust i made the terrible mistake of buying one of these crap PC's hence why you must fully understand not only what parts your PC is made from but also research the make/Brand as some have terrible reputations like Time.

Also there are some very small businesses now building pc's mostly for gamers who need fast machines to display the video games graphics on i found these pc builders mostly via a search for quad core computers ..

1-mind-media-pcs, amjzez, bucklaycomputing, computer-hq-ltd, devilcomputers,

deep thought research which is stores.ebay/ the call some of there pc's cryo meaning super cooled, they overclock which is safe if within thermal limits which they stay within by design, a non overclocked cpu will run hotter on standard hardware than their overclocked cpu's on quality hardware. cpu overclocking is dne by standard bios changes. overclocking will reduce a cpu/gpu life expectancy from 15-20yrs to say 10yrs but thats fine as pc's change so much within 10yrs anyway so youll need to buy a new pc sooner than your old ones conked out!,

ethiocom, falquuan-oniine, g4-tehnologies which is via , gaming compters is , highspecdesktops, interwesystems, martin151515 is , , palicomp, realtech-computing, is a dell reseller , vale-star-computers-ltd, zoom computers i strongly recommend you consider what after sales support youll get from a small pc maker before you bid or buy one..its their job to inform you how they compare to a big pc maker.

Now most PC builders make maybe a dozen different models of PC's which means you the buyer has to somehow narrow down from a hundred+ pc's on the market to the one your going to buy.

Here's some ot the shops you can buy a PC from in the uk.. , , , Comet , , , Evesham , , uk. , , , , ( part of dsg international which uses the brands pcworld/Currys/Dixons etc) Staples , Tesco , Yoyotech and ill add more as i think of them.

I must stress i think far to many people just go to pcworld because they advertise a lot ( im unimpressed by the sales staff in this store, anyone whos job it is to sell computers should be a pc user who's very well trained and pcworld staff arnt very good at all. Then most people choose a pc mainly by price, this is the worst thing you can do, always choose a machine that can do what you want it to do, a minimum specification £300 pc can do a lot of things but a £1500 machine offers to do a ton more tasks ( why do you think prices differ so much? ) you need to learn what all the features of a PC mean so you can choose correctly. For £? an hour i can talk you through the tricky info PC makers give out so you choose wisely. Look down the right side of this website for my past articles and look in the one called pc help in the Cambridge area for a list of my services and youll find my contact info there. Im on 07963 348582. or 07762 789559

To buy a PC youll need to understand the motherboard features, memory, microprossessors, fans, cases, cd/dvd writers and roms, chipsets, operating systems, what spare bays there are to expand your machine and lots more, quite frankly its more complex than any other buying decision youll make a Computer is an incredible mass of technology and unless you choose wisely youll end up with a machine that struggles to do tasks you want it to or it wont be able to do them at all. I have found that uk PC magazines offer very little help to inexperienced pc users most of them offer info thats far to complex for home pc users to understand, they dont seem to understand that not everone works in the IT industry. If you have any PC makes or PC selling websites you want me to include on this website email them to me at filmstorywriter @ yahoo dot co dot uk and put PC info for your blog in the subject line or it may end up in my spam filters. Book David to help you through this maze for just £? an hour i mostly work in the Cambridge area but i can do phone support but youll need to use Paypal to pay me in advance..use the article on my blog to learn how to use Paypal, it is very simple to set up so go do it thanks.

In 2011 im looking for a good Laptop for no more than £600 as i already have a high end Desktop PC to do every task on so a Laptop is just to use when im out and about. I have decided against buying a Tablet PC as they dont do much theyre just cool simple to use gadgets that only do a few things. Heres the info i wrote down about the Dell DUO Netbook tablet and then theres info on a Packardbell Laptop im possibly going to buy.

Dell insiron duo netbook £499 inclding vat & shipping with 320gb hd and docking station

accelerometer which flips the screen
battery life up to 4hours,
battery waranty
fan noise ok
harddrive 320gb 7200rpm sata
headphone jack
memory 2gb 1333mhz ddr3
operating system windows 7 home premium
processor intel dual core 1.5ghz 667mhz fsb
screen 10.1” touchscreen
service packs 1 year coverage included
sim card slot
usb port x2 and 2 on docking station
webcam 1.3mp
weight 3.39lbs
wifi 802.11

Features the Dell doesnt have...( which is why im not buying one)
3g not built in but u can plug in 3g dongle
cant change the battery yourself !
Capacitive screen stylus (buy extra to write on tablet)
ethernet socket
optical drive eg dvd writer
usb to vga cable ( buy extra to connect it to a tv)
windows reinstall disk
I strongly advise creating a factory disk image (on DVD) immediately and then when you have the computer set up the way you want it make another one (so if the system fails you can do a full system image restore and not have to re-install everything.

Now here's the laptop im thinking of buying ( to compare any other laptop your thinking of buying just print out this article and write down the specifications of the Computer your thinking of getting next to each feature ive written, then you can see if the PC or Laptop has all the features you need.)

Packard Bell Easynote TX86-GO-035uk laptop
( number 2 in best sub £600 laptops in march 2011 issue)
Audio interface Stereo Out, Microphone In
Battery 6-cell energy/capacity 4400 mAh, Up to 6 hours battery life , Battery capacity 49WHr.
Bluetooth no.
colour silver and titanium 
Digital audio no
Display port no
DVI no
Ethernet rj45 port ? I cant believe huge retailers like pcworld or dixons fail to state if the laptop has one.
Express card slot none 
Fingerprint reader no
Firewire IEEE 1394 no its not got this.

GPS no
Graphics card Intel® GMA  HD Graphics -128MB statically allocated from RAM (shared) 3dmark06 score 1448 on
Hard drive 320gb 5400rpm SATA
Line out : sterio
memory 3gb ddr3  1066mhz RAM, expandability ?
Memory card reader 5 in 1: MS, MS Pro, SD, SC, XD
microphone yes, Microphone in yes
Mobile broadband WWAN no its not got.
Modem/Ethernet 10/100/1000  , dial up no.
operating system Microsoft Windows 7 home premuium 64bit

Optical disk drive ( dvd player/writer) SuperMulti 8X SATA 9.5mm

Power A.C power adapter 65w

Price use the price comparison links on i found it for £549.76 including postage on on 9th January 2011 if you use the kelkoo price comparison website to go through to Pixmania. The RRP recomended retail price is £599

Dixons and Pcworld sell it for £561.69 on 9th January 2011

Processor intel core i5-430m 2.26ghz which is 2 cores - 2.5 GT/s DMI
- 3MB Smart Cache( L2 cache) chipset model HM55

release date July 2010
screen : size 15.6” / 39.6cm widescreen 16: 9 , Screen type Slim Glare LED LCD Screen resolution 1366 x 768 pixel
size Width: 378 mm Depth: 259 mm hight 21.9mm, volume 2.2ltr,
software included Adobe Photoshop Elements, Norton Internet Security 60 Days trial ,Works 9 SE and Office Home&Student Trial, Adobe Premiere Elements Trial Version, Adobe Reader and Flash 

Sound Stereo, 3rd Generation Dolby Home Theater
touchpad optimized to offer one-touch social networking and seamless fingertip navigation.
TV output HDMI slot for compression-free transmission of HD images , VGA 
Tv tuner no
USB ports x3 of usb2 type, no usb3 ports.
Video interface HDMI, VGA

warranty 1 year collect and return says , i phoned pcworld on 08445 610 000 to confirm you get a 1 yr manufacturers warranty, im given no explination for why something this important isnt listed on the website ! but the man i spoke to says he "could" ask his supervisor to suggest including this info.
pcword/currys offer their own whatever happens warranty for £209 which you can take out anytime in the 12 months after you buy it and can be paid at £8.99 a month or £11.99 a month for faster service and a yearly tune up. ( 209 divided by 8.99 = 23.25 so thats over 23 monthly payments ! )
webcam yes it has one a chicony 1.3m
weight 2.5kg
WIFI 802.11 b/g/n  Wi-Fi Model: 3rd WiFi 2x2 BGN
Liteon Wireless LAN Atheris HB93 2x2 BGN (HM)

Data ive used to draw up the info on the Packard bell  TX-86-go-035uk came form multiple sources as no 1 article or website gave me all the data i needed in 1 place ! heres some of the sources i got the data from

Now who wants a free Computer? ( this part of my article was written in 2007 so youll have to check yourself if anyone still offers "free " Computers ) a few isp's will give you a free PC if you sign a contract with them... now consider that talktalk charge £10 or less for 8mbits broadband linited to 40gb a month which is fine for most users so compare what youll pay over this price for your free PC then its up to you..basically you are buying the free pc so make sure its a pc you fully it capable of doing your tasks??? right heres the so called free pc offers i know of..

redten internet isp

pcworld offer very basic laptop if you join the orange isp, right so if you ned help understanding pc's call me on 07963 348582 or 07762 789559 i can then talk to you on skype for 1 hour for £? to explain how to choose a PC or i can come visit you in your own home.

(this article was updated in January 2011)


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