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Everything you need to know to buy a new computer

Buying a new computer? Why buy from Willis IT Services?

For buying a computer yourself, see Choosing a new computer is complicated.

I can build you a custom specification desktop computer to order. These are some of the benefits:

    • Sometimes you may just want a base unit alone (i.e. no keyboard, mouse, screen) This is difficult to buy from computer superstores.

    • I provide a free 1 year on-site warranty. So I visit you if it should become faulty in that time. No unplugging the computer, driving to the shop, and dealing with some under-trained, underpaid sales assistant.

    • My price includes delivery.

    • Training, data transfer, and full set-up services provided!

    • A desktop computer that I build is guaranteed to be as future proof as possible, easily repairable and maintainable. Many pre-built computers use non-standard parts, making potential faults costly and / or unrepairable.

    • I understand the technical specifications so that you don't have to.

    • Why buy mass-produced blandness when you can go bespoke? For a quote, please see the sales page to fill in the new computer enquiry form, or contact me directly.

Bought a new computer elsewhere? It's not ready to use yet!

Unfortunately no mass produced laptop or desktop is simply ready to use once you have unpackaged it.

    • Even if you buy a branded computer, all new computers come with useless trial software or other marketing incentives installed by the manufacturer. These are annoying, don't fully work, work slowly, or stop working after 1-2 months. I can remove these, install a good free anti-virus, your office suite and various other programs you may use.

    • Mass produced computers also tend to miss out all the important windows updates - not all of these install automatically

    • I can transfer your data from the old computer, and re-configure your emails, printer, backup and other software.

    • I will also show you how to use the new computer.

Choosing a new computer is complicated

Here's some of the many variables I take into consideration when choosing a new laptop for a customer. If this seems overwhelming, I'm not surprised. This is why I'm happy to offer my services to choose your next new laptop. This guide is also relevant if you need to source any type of new computer (laptop, desktop, all-in-one) independently.

Desktop computers (see above) can be custom built. All laptops are mass produced, therefore the same problems and necessary work applies to new laptops as with all other mass produced computers. As per the previous topic, any new laptop bought via Willis IT Services has all this work carried out, so the computer is genuinely "ready to use".

For a quote, please see the sales page to fill in the new computer enquiry form, or contact me directly.

The processor is the most important part of a laptop, as it determines the speed of everything, and is therefore linked to it's useful lifespan. It is the only part of a laptop that can not be upgraded, so choosing the right one is essential! Both memory and storage can often be easily upgraded over the lifetime of the laptop.

Windows 10 is still supplied with many new computers, although increasingly Windows 11 will be installed instead. Windows 11 is also a free upgrade for nearly all computers manufactured after 2018. It is not possible to install a Windows version older (i.e. XP or 7) on to a new computer as the manufacturer do not provide the necessary support to make all the components work properly and reliably. Also, older versions of Windows significantly shorten the life of the computer as it will be quickly out of date.

Components and features to avoid:

Processors made by AMD: E-series,C-series, A4, A6, A8, A9.

Processor made by Intel: Atom, Celeron, Pentium.

These are all low performers, definitely a budget processor that will show it's poor performance early in life and be frustrating to use - not a good investment.

Good components, and average expectations:

Processors made by AMD, in order of performance, weakest first: A10, A12, FX, Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Rzyen 7.

Processors made by Intel, in order of performance, weakest first: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7. Also look for the generation number, which changes approximately every year. Current models are 11th and 12th generation, so a typical model number will be i5-1135G7 (note the number 11 at the start).

Memory (RAM): 8GB and upwards is average and will provide ample for the future. Memory is the computer's working space for programs or files you are currently working on. The more it has, the greater amount and bigger programs and files you can work with.

Storage: This is the amount of space available to store your programs and files. Currently two different types of technology are available for storage, but most use the newer standard:

  1. Hard Disk Drives (HDD) - traditionally the only form of permanent large storage for a computer. While they are very cheap to make with huge amounts of capacity, hard drives have the highest failure rate of any computer component as they are fragile, mechanical devices, and have massively fallen behind in speed. Expect capacities of 1TB upwards.

  2. Solid State Drives (SSD) - until relatively recently, SSD's have been uneconomical to manufacture in large enough capacities to be of much use, although the same technology exists in every memory card, USB stick, smart phone, and tablet. SSD's have no moving parts, so are not prone to the problems of hard drives. They are also silent and extremely fast compared to hard drives. Expect capacities of 256GB upwards.

CD / DVD / Blu-Ray: Both DVD and Blu-Ray drives will be able to read and write all types of CD and DVD. Most new computers do not have any form of CD or DVD drive, as the majority of software, music and films can be obtained via the internet. Cheap external DVD drives are easily available.

If weight is also an issue, laptops under 2KG are lighter than average.

Screen sizes also vary. 14.1" or 15.6" are the two most typical sizes. Anything bigger or smaller will cost more than average. The choices will also be slightly limited.

Good Brands:

Many brands are reputable manufacturers. It is more important which components are on the inside than the brand name on the outside, as all the manufacturers use the same sources for components like processor, memory, hard drive and screen. Some however, in particular those sold via PC World / Currys, are just a sales name, whereby the machine is made by a different company. This makes it hard to find some replacement parts. The best brands are known as top-tier manufacturers. They offer a good source of replacement parts should you need them in the future. Top tier manufacturers include:

    • Acer

    • Asus

    • Dell

    • Fujitsu

    • Hewlett Packard (HP)

    • Lenovo (formerly IBM)

    • MSI

    • Dynabook (formerly Toshiba)

    • Samsung