The value of computers

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When you buy a computer, you need to know what you are getting, so here is a quick guide to what you are getting:

Refurbished

Similar to buying a computer out of a paper, or being given one from a friend; the refurbished computer is one that has had a previous life. A computer installer has bought it and installed a special licence of Windows for refurbished PCs on it.

This means that it’s a much older computer, with a potentially dubious past, in that you don’t know what state the hard drive is in or whether the files have been deleted properly, so it could fail on you and you lose your data more easily.

Since it uses older generation technology, every part is much slower than a new computer. Additionally, every part uses more energy than a new computer.

Sometimes refurb companies don’t clean their computers before selling them on, so you may see paint splatters, dirt or dust in them.

Low End

Unlike the refurbished computer, you are buying a new computer with a guarantee.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer has often cut corners to keep the costs down. The cheaper and slower processor cannot do more than basic tasks like web browsing and emails and some don’t even use hard drives, opting for cheap memory cards that cannot be upgraded and only hold enough to hold the operating system, which makes them difficult to upgrade. 

Mid Range

Personally, I wish manufacturers would stop selling low end computers and make these the starting block.

The latest 9th generation Core i3 and i5 processors are much faster and more energy efficient than the previous generations. When coupled with NVMe Solid State Drives instead of old fashioned drives, they can be up to 70x faster and can achieve boot times of 6-9 seconds.

Solid state drives have a distinct advantage over traditional hard drives in that there are no mechanical parts to wait to spin up; break or draw extra power to work. This means the computers can be smaller, lighter and still provide amazing performance.

If you are planning on needing to do a lot of photo or video editing, or need the power of the i5 for high end business applications, then go for that one, other than that you can start from as little as £350.

 

High End/Gaming

High end needs such as gaming call for specific parts and processors like the i7 or i9 which are beyond the scope of shop bought computers.

Refurbished

"Second Hand"
£100-150
  • No ide of its history.
  • Sold as seen
  • Potentially unreliable
  • Consumes a lot of energy
  • Slow hard drive with dubious past.
RISKY

Entry Level

Celeron/Atom/AMD processor
£150-300
  • New computer
  • Guarantee
  • Poor performance
  • Slow hard drive or eMMC
  • Starts in minutes
SLOW

Mid Range

Core i3/i5
£350-600
  • New computer
  • Guarantee
  • Low energy
  • Solid State Drive
  • Starts in 6-9 seconds
Fast

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