stop waisting money
Everybody is forever asking the question; which is the best machine I can buy? The actual question you should ask yourself is; which machine and model is perfect for the purpose I need it. You see, the short answer to this fundamental question is; there is no best machine to buy, there is only the wrong choice you could have made.
I have personally seen store rooms full of computers that were never used for the purpose that they were built for, 1000s and 1000s of Rands (ZAR) wasted and even worse I have seen a lot of people bragging about a machine that costed them 1000s and 1000s, just to learn later on that they paid for functions that they will never ever use in their life.
So what am I trying to say; you bought a Ferrari, but only have the potential of a VW Beetle 1965 model. A complete waste of money and effort. Then I am not even going to refer to the institutions that buy state of the art equipment, but install only the minimum capable Operating Systems and Software – that is the worst case of wasted expenditure.
So let us look at the following situations so to prepare yourself better before entering a shop to buy any computer related equipment.
MAIN TYPE OF MACHINES ...
The only true difference between the different types of laptops are the actual size and what is made available related to that size. Each type of laptop, regardless of make, have all the different model types (Atom, Duel Core, I3, I5, I7) available, so don't think that the difference will be in the price.
Laptop 15.6"screen (15.6" screen, DVD writer, extended num-keypad, average battery life time, heavy and big).
Laptop 14" screen (14" screen, DVD writer, no extended num-keypad, better life time than 15.6" screen, thinner and lighter than the 15.6" screen).
Netbook 10" screen (10" screen, no DVD writer, no extended num-keypad, much longer battery life time, very thin and very light)
You do find more sizes available however the above mentioned are the most common to be found in South Africa.
Laptop 15.6"screen Notice the extended Num-Keys. This type of laptop is wonderful for when having to type a lot of numbers (book keepers, financial departments, HR registration of ID and employee numbers). The screen resolution is usually +1300 in width.
Laptop 14"screen It has no extended Num-Keypad, however the machine is smaller, thinner and lighter than the 15.6". It is ideal for any daily administration and general work. The screen resolution is usually +1280 in width. You may purchase a Num-Pad accessory to complete the keyboard.
Netbook 10"screen This is a much smaller and lighter type of laptop. The reason why it is called a Netbook is because it is network reliant. It has no DVD drive, so installation of software is done via the network. Due to that it is so small and versatile it is much more usable in highly mobile requirements. Never however underestimate these machines, they are very powerful and when in an office with an external screen and keyboard, they are just as versatile as any other computer; however it then entails additional costs. Screen resolution up to 1024 pixels in width only.
It is very important that before you buy the machine, test the keyboard and see if it is comfortable or not. Remember the size of the keys are also influenced by the actual size of the machine.
WHICH MODEL SHOULD I BUY ...
You know now which type of laptop; now the model. You will have to choose one of the following:
ATOM. This is a slow processor that is primarily used for general administration work. Games usually are limited to very basic games only - this is ideal for students just requiring doing some typing and printing.
2 or Quad Core. This is a faster processor and meant for general administration work, more advanced programs and games. This is a good office computer and for limited gaming. Perfectly priced for any general usage. Usually 2 Gig of RAM.
i3. This is a good processor with fast speed. Ideal choice for any type of business and good for gaming. Well priced for the user that requires more speed, especially when using graphic programs and games (compatible with 70% of all games). Usually 4 Gig of RAM.
i5. This is a well-balanced machine between work and gaming. It is excellent for video editing and large 3d rendering programs. The perfect choice if you need speed for graphical programs such as video editing, advanced 3D graphic programs and requires a good gaming machine that will be compatible with 90% of all games. Usually 4 or 8 Gig of RAM.
i7. This machine is tweaked for gaming and advanced 3D rendering programs (video editors). Extremely fast and perfect for any type of game available. This is also the most expensive machine amongst the selection. Usually 8 Gig of RAM.
My opinion is that any business will satisfied with the 2 Quad or i3 machines. Remember if you give a gaming machine such as an i5 or i7, to a worker at your office, he chances are good he/she will be playing games and therefore install unauthorised software. A tip to any computer programmer; do not buy the i5 or i7 and expect your clients to have the same results and speed as you. Purchase the 2Core or i3 (maximum) so to test your software on machines that the average person owns.
WHICH MAKE SHOULD I BUY ...
It is not the make that differs, it is how which functions that make available to you in support of your machine. Other differences are; quality of Web-Cam, keyboard layout (please test the keyboards, some keyboard layouts are hateful), amount of USB ports, type of USB ports, speaker quality, display quality).
You need to look for the following in a laptop before buying it:
Build in WebCam.
Build in Mic.
USB Ports. At least 3 ports (USB 1 is slow and out-dated - white in colour; USB 2 is much better and faster than USB 1 - black in colour; USB 3 is extremely fast - blue in colour).
VGA & HDMI ports (so that you are able to plug in external screens/LCD projector). Be careful of buying a laptop with only a HDMI port as most external displays and LCD projectors don't have HDMI. You must look for both or VGA only.
WIFI & BlueTooth. Ensure that the machine has both WI-FI and Bluetooth adapters.
Drivers and Adapters. Some computer makes such as LENOVO and ASUS supply you with the computer's drivers (drivers are the software establishing and running your graphics, sound, processor, touchpad, etc. etc. etc). This is crucial to have as you may reload your computer yourself should it ever be needed (a virus that deleted or corrupted your drivers, need to reinstall your computer, etc.) If you don't have these drivers you will have to pay R480+ just to have this installed again. When you open MY COMPUTER, you will see a folder on one of the drives called DRIVERS and APPLICATIONS. Immediately get a blank DVD disk and burn these two folders on that disk to be your backup disk. I have seen many computers that were "fixed" that never worked the same as when the owner bought it, simply because the people whom "fixed" it did not have the correct drivers. I personally will never buy a computer if I don't get the drivers (either on disk or available from the disk).
RAM. This is what speeds up a computer when processing a large or lot of data/processes. You will notice that when you buy a game it always refer to the RAM and well, if you don't have enough, then you just can't use that program/game. Irrespective of your model, you need at least 2 Gig of RAM (Windows 32 Bit machine) to have an effective computer. If you have a Windows 64 Bit machine, you need at least 4 Gig of RAM. The 2 GIG of RAM is good enough for a Windows 64 Bit machine, but will lack if you bought the computer to play games.
As soon as you buy your computer and switch it on, create a RESTORE POINT (1st point). Should something happen, and if anything can happen, it probably will happen, you can reset your machine to that point and recover the computer. If you don't have a RESTORE POINT, you will either loose your computer or pay a LOT of MONEY to fix it. There is no RESTORE POINT when you switch it on for the first time. You need to create the 1st one yourself.
WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU BUY A LAPTOP ...
When you buy a 2nd hand laptop:
Check the battery - does it still work and for how long.
The Windows are probably already registered.
Software such as MS Office is probably already installed and registered.
Confirm the anti-virus to be up to date and scan it (full/complete scan)
Ensure you get the drivers with the machine - if no drivers, DON'T buy.
Confirm all the keys are working.
Check the hard drive for any unwanted software and data.
Ensure that all ID and passwords (auto-log-in and auto-password saver) are disabled and cleared from the computer.
Ensure that all the USB drives, DVD Drive and Memory Card reader works.
Confirm the password if any when you switch on - if the owner don't know the password OR the computer is reloaded with an unauthorised copy of Windows OR the machine has NO DRIVERS installed, it probably is a stolen machine
When you buy a new laptop:
When you switch it on for the first time, Windows will have to be registered (if it is Windows 10, then prepare for 5-8 Gig of downloads before you may use it - you will receive the UPDATE NOW popup until you do).
95% of the Software that comes with the computer is either trial (only allowed to use it for 14-30 days for instance the MS Office package) or freeware versions (you have it with limited functions and resources - buy to use complete program). When you buy a new computer, you must tell yourself something until you believe yourself ... THIS COMPUTER HAS NOTHING, I MUST STILL PAY FOR IT!!!
You only need 1 anti-virus installed on a computer - in fact if you have multiple anti-virus programs, they will see each other as a virus.
As soon as you switch it on, run the updates and registrations - don't install any other programs yet. Now create a SYSTEM RESTORE before you continue. If you run into any trouble, simple call that RESTORE POINT and your computer will be as you set it by that restore point.
Remember, DO NOT ALTER THE WINDOWS operating system, otherwise your guarantee will expire - this includes any form of updates - if you strip the machine, you loose the guarantee.
There is nothing wrong with buying a second hand machine, just ensure the aspects I mentioned. There is wonderful companies such as http://justpcs.co.za/product-category/pcs/ that completely refurbish machines and then sells them at a fraction of the price. This is really like buying a new machine. Please don't just buy any machine, compare the machines and ensure the DRIVERS and other functions as I indicated above. Don't ever buy a machine with functions such as satellite communications etc. if you will never use it. Just to brag is costing a lot of money.