Friday, November 28, 2014

Beware of the low cost entry level computers and tablets being sold by retailers.

There's some really good priced cheap computers available from retailers and it would be very tempting to replace your old, or perhaps broken computer with a new and inexpensive computer. Prices seem to have come down dramatically.

The problem is this is largely perception. The low cost entry level computers and tablets often have very slow processors. Even the more expensive computers available from retailers may not be as fast as you think.

As an example, I got a call from a person who purchased a great portable unit overseas which they loved. The problem is the unit was too slow. I checked the processor and found it was a very slow processor.  The person then decided based on advice from a person who worked at a major computer company to upgrade the memory and were initially quite pleased. A month or so later they came back and said the computer was still far too slow. Memory can often help but sometimes you have to think are you throwing good money into a computer that ultimately will still be too slow.

I've just compared fixing a computer for a client (the hard disk has died) with a new low cost computer. I have to say it is a hard call. The computer is a around five years old and came with Windows Vista. I'm the first to say save your money and put it into a new computer, but sometimes the budget won't stretch. When I checked the low cost computers some had processors much slower than their five year old computer. Those that were fast were a few hundred dollars more expensive than repairing the computer. If it was only the hard disk there would be no question, but there's labour and because the operating system disks didn't exist, there's also a copy of Windows 8.1. So the decision could easily go either way. Ultimately the choice is the customer's, which in this case was to keep the computer.

Another example is a client decided to purchase a new super fast computer on the spur of the moment. Their Windows XP computer was giving them grief and Windows XP was coming to the end of support. They purchased a new computer from a well known retailer who said the computer was one of their fastest. When I compared the brand new computer to their old XP computer that was over seven years old, the new processor was only about 20% faster. This was a bad purchase with bad advice from the retailer, as for the same price they could have purchased a computer that ran 300% faster.

I've heard another salesperson at a retailer tell and elderly couple the processor speed doesn't matter as they're much the same.

This is bad advice and means people are being guided into making poor purchasing decisions. Clients are welcome to contact me and I'll show them how to compare processor speeds. The processor is one of the main decision points when purchasing a computer. Salespeople are often only interested in making a sale. Only you can look after your interests by gaining a basic skill that will help you make a better decision for yourself.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

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