A new computer can be a considerable investment. Some cost well into their thousands. Laptops generally have a shorter lifespan when compared to desktop computers, but both start to slow down or become out of date after three to five years or so, thanks to new developments in technology and general wear and tear. Since you don’t want to spend thousands of pounds every few years on a new workstation PC or gaming machine, it is vital that you make an informed decision. Thankfully, taking a few precautions will help to avoid buyer’s regret and save you a shed load of cash in the long run.
If you are in the market to buy a new machine, whether for work, gaming, studying, or browsing, here are some tips to help you save some money.
Identify what you need from your machine
Do you need a high-end gaming machine that can also handle downloading and streaming music and films? Or do you need a CAD workstation PC for your job as a graphic designer? Maybe you need a mini gaming fierce PC? Before you rush out and spend your money on something that is not suitable, make a list of all of the tasks that you use your computer for and then explore your options. Almost any computer will do quick browsing and basic online tasks. However, even then, there are so many different types to choose from. A laptop or a desktop, or even a tablet?
Do you need a touch screen, or is it something that would annoy you (greasy fingerprint hello!) or something that is just not required for what you use your machine for? Foregoing a feature like that can save you lots of money. Do you need a high resolution? Unless you plan on tackling specialized tasks, 1080p is a great starting point for most people.
Lastly, the hard drive. If you do not mind a bit of a dip in performance, opt for a hard-disk drive (HDD). You can get more storage for cheaper when compared to a solid-state drive (SSD).
Can you upgrade your existing machine?
It is entirely possible that you do not actually need a new computer, after all. You may be able to update it with new parts if you have a desktop computer. For example, more RAM or video card can be used on a slow gaming computer. A slowed-down laptop with thousands of family photos and videos can be freed up and sped up by moving everything over to an external hard drive. Some computer systems come with upgrade plans, which can be a lot less expensive and time-consuming than buying a whole new system.
Buy at the best time
Somewhat surprisingly, there are good times and bad times of the year to buy a new computer, whatever you need it for. Generally speaking, the best time of year to be in the market for one is during the late summer and early autumn when university and college students are returning to their institutions, and chipmakers start to release new processors. It is also always handy to look in and around the Black Friday deals, although be aware that some retail companies inflate their prices in the weeks running up to it, so consumers think they are getting a better deal than they actually are. One of the worst times of year to buy is shortly before Christmas – demand means prices tend to go up.
If you can’t find a deal during those periods, you can always wait for the release of the newer version of the laptop in question. Manufacturers also lower prices on older models, which have nothing wrong with them other than slightly outdated hardware. Watch for news at the big tech conferences and bide your time.
Do not bother with the computer stores
To save yourself time and hassle, it can be tempting to head into the nearest computer store on the high street and grab one from there, especially if you need it quickly. However, in most cases, this will not save you money – and if you get sucked in by the typical salesperson patter, you can end up spending a lot more than you originally intended, or come out with a machine that does not quite do it for you. Instead, look online and think outside the box.
Many retailers offer discounts or release codes for online purchases, many of which you can find at NetVoucherCodes. It is always worth doing your research to see if there are coupons and codes available for the retailer of your choice, whether you are buying a brand new computer or a pair of trainers!
Buy a used or refurbished model
Most of us have a friend who always seems to have the latest piece of tech. This means there is an awful lot of used computers out there waiting for a new home. Such laptops often have nothing wrong with them, except that they are slightly out of date. You can always check out the local Facebook groups and places like Gumtree and eBay. Be aware though that these are bought ‘as seen’ and do not generally come with any warranties, so if you’ve bought it and something is wrong with it, you are responsible for sorting it out.
If one from your local selling site does not quite hit your trust spot, and you would rather have one that has been cleaned up and refurbished, — basically one that is guaranteed to work, look on somewhere like Amazon and add ‘refurb’ to your search terms. This will bring ones up that have been sorted out and generally come with a guarantee or a warranty.
Understanding what you need is the key to saving your money on a new machine. When you know what you need as opposed to what you want, you can get the best deal.