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Purchasing a new computer

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We receive frequent requests for information and guidance on what the best specifications are when purchasing a new computer. This is a major cost and due consideration must be given to this. Here is some simple advice on making the right procurement decision.

The first thing to consider is the usage of the device. What is its purpose? How frequently is it used daily and by whom? What operating system is currently in use and what are its minimum specifications? Most standard devices now come with at least 2.0GB RAM, 500GB drive and an Intel processor as standard.

Intel do a range of processors from the entry level Celeron to the sixth generation range of i-core processors and costs are quite substantially different. The minimum specs shown and a Celeron processor is sufficient for normal office use. Screen size should be a minimum of 17” unless we are talking about mobile devices.

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If the computer is expected to carry out a wider range of processing jobs, such as extensive spreadsheets and reports and/or media manipulation activities such as video and music editing, then definitely look to upgrade the processor to one of the Pentium i-core series. Processor pricing is often one of the largest components of a computer purchase.

It can vary from US$999.00 down to just over US$100.00 depending on the specification. Likewise, in these situations – look at increasing your RAM – which can normally be expanded to 8.0GB or more on standard devices. As I open and use a number of applications simultaneously – I am personally comfortable with 8.00 GB.

If upgraded specifications are required, you will also need to look at the graphic capacity of your device – which is becoming more and more important in the current age of windows and audio streaming and social networks.

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Now to your type of device. Are you a mobile worker looking for a mobile device, such as a laptop or tablet? If so, you will need to consider your screen size – which can vary from 10.1” to 17” if required. I would normally suggest a mobile worker looks at a 13.3” or 14.1” screen – which seems to be the best option for a mobile office solution. A 14.1” laptop is my choice and I connect it to a stand alone 19” screen at the office to give me more working virtual desk space. If this is not a choice, explore the new Windows 10 Task View functionality which allows users to open up more than one desktop view and group their open applications in a more practical and easy to use way.

If you can do without a physical keyboard, go for a tablet. If, like me, you cannot, then consider a small laptop or one of the range of new convertible devices available. This allows you to detach the screen from the keyboard when required, and Windows 10 very cleverly detects when this happens and converts to the full touch experience away from the keyboard. Once again, consider the cost implications here.

If you are looking to purchase a new Microsoft device soon, check that they have the correct camera and fingerprint scanner facilities to allow you to log on with either facial recognition or biometric identification. Windows 10 offers these options as part of the Hello functionality.

Finally, remember that your software is an essential part of optimizing your device. Ensure you have legal copies of your OS, Microsoft Office and an anti virus solution. Piracy remains an ongoing issue in Malawi, and it is the user that suffers lack of efficiency and security in the long run.

Note that SyncIT will be offering short tutorials on Windows 10 in the next few weeks in Blantyre. Email info@syncitafrica.com to register your interest and book a place.

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