Know what you want before buying a computer
By Andreas Thieme Jun 6, 2010, 13:43 GMT
Hamburg - Buying a new computer can be like navigating a labyrinth. Various offers can confuse, making it ever more important for a shopper to ask himself what he wants from a new computer before plunging into the maze.
'That will help decide the setup, and thus, the price,' says Alexander Kuch of German computer magazine Computer Bild.
If the goal is a computer for games or multimedia programmes, then a powerful computer with high quality graphics is needed. If the computer will be for saving pictures and video, then the computer needs to be one with a large hard drive, says Markus Schuetz of Dell's Frankfurt offices.
Also to consider: if the PC is going to be set up in the living room, then it's important that it works quietly and matches the decor.
A simple nettop computer for around 300 euros (367 dollars) is more than adequate if you just want to send emails, do some office work and surf the web, says Kuch. These computers won't have the power of standard PCs, but work much more quietly and energy-efficiently.
For an additional 100 euros, consumers can upgrade to a computer that will work as a media playback device. Kuch recommends a more expensive nettop. If it comes with the ION graphic platform and a dual-core processor, then it should even be able to show Blu-ray films in full HD resolution.
If a photo and video editing is planned, then shoppers need to think about investing between 500 and 700 euros and look for a PC with a quadcore processor, 4 gigabytes (GB) of working memory (RAM), 1 terabyte (TB) of hard drive space and a graphics cards with 1 GB of space, advises Kuch.
Computer gaming, professional video editing and other high-intensity media work require an even more powerful PC in the 800-euro-and-up range.
Notebooks and netbooks lend themselves to working and surfing while on the move. Germany industry association BITKOM estimates that 10 million portable computers will be sold this year.
Entry-level models are already available for less than 300 euros. Skip a computer with a powerful battery - and the attendant costs - if the notebook is just going to be a supplement for a desktop PC, says Peter Knaak of Stiftung Warentest, a German consumer review organisation.
If you're looking for a brand name computer with a good price-performance ratio, just head to your local electronics store. 'These PCs are usually configured for the typical home user,' says Kuch.
However, these stores don't usually accommodate special requests. For those, go to a speciality store, which will offer extensive dialogue and work to meet special customer wishes. Kuch says there are advantages. 'When it's time for servicing, he'll already know the customer and the device.'