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Choosing the right computer for you

In today’s ever-increasingly inter-connected world one of the biggest decisions you can make is choosing the right desktop computer, laptop or tablet.

The first and most important question to ask yourself is “What will I use the computer for?”

Once you have decided upon your main purpose, there are a few more specific questions that you should depending on which type of computer have selected.

But first you have to look at some of the key factors such as warranty, memory, processor speed and operating system.

David Marr, senior account manager, Gateway Systems Ltd, said that the number one consideration was the warranty.

“If something goes wrong you want the confidence that you will have the problem fixed without any extra cost to you,” he said.

“Warranties can differ from product to product, vendor to vendor, so make sure you find out what a warranty covers before you purchase any IT equipment.”

Second is RAM or random-access memory. The basic rule of thumb according to Mr Marr is that the more RAM the better when it comes to laptops and desktops.

“A good way of explaining RAM is to think of it as the thinking space of the computer,” he said.

“The more RAM available, the faster the computer can complete tasks. In more practical terms this could mean that the more RAM you have in your computer the more applications you can run at one time.”

Next up is the processor itself.

“If the RAM is the thinking space, the processor is the part of the brain that does the actual processing,” explained Mr Marr.

“Processors were typically compared on their speed and principle that the faster the processor the faster you could carry out tasks prevailed.

“That has now changed slightly as multiple core processors have become readily available. Multiple core processors are essentially two or more individual processors plugged into one circuit, so in the case of a dual core processor, you are getting double the processing power.

“Speed is obviously still important but the more cores you have the more processors you will have working for you.”

Another deciding factor is weight, particularly when it comes to selecting the best tablets or laptop, so for those who want a device they can use on the move, it has to be something you can both carry and use easily, he said.

Number five is the operating system, which determines how the device can be used, with a professional system more appropriate for a business environment whereas the home will be better suited to home use, said Mr Marr.

Add-on features are also very important, so the buyer must look at the applications that come with the device as well, he said, with some having all the applications you need, for example, an Apple MacBook Pro would have all the applications that you need for editing videos or laying down an audio track already loaded.

Almost anywhere you go these days there is a wireless connection, so the capability for access on your laptop or tablet is a must, said Mr Marr.

Equally, with video and audio sharing an HDMI connection is the easiest way to do that, with all new HDTV’s featuring an HDMI connection which carries both video and sound so you only need one cable, he said.

For those who have a large amount of digital devices, users will need multiple USB devices to utilise them, so the number of ports required will come into the equation, said Mr Marr, while they will also be needed for printers and other peripheral devices.

The last but by no means last question buyers should be asking themselves, he said, is “Can it be serviced and repaired locally?”

“This is very important for Bermuda,” he said.

“It’s all well and good buying something in Best Buy in the states, but if something goes wrong it’s good to be able to have someone on Island who can fix the device. This is not always the case so is a good reason to buy Bermudian. Gateway and many other retailers on island, will provide full support for every product they sell.”

Photo by Mark Tatem Weighing up your options: Gateway Systems senior account manager David Marr looks at the netbook versus the iPad

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Published November 16, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 16, 2011 at 8:01 am)

Choosing the right computer for you

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