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A guide for buying a computer for dummies

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Deciding on which computer to buy can be a daunting task for the average student who is not a techie.  Computer salesmen take advantage of this to swindle customers. However learning a thing or two about computers may help you avoid this. Before you buy a computer there are certain specs that you should be well aware of beforehand. Some of these include:

1. Processor.

This is the brain of the computer and is where the computer does all its work. Processors come in different types and speeds depending on the generation of the processor. The most common are duo core, corei3, corei5 and corei7 in ascending order of superiority and speed. The faster the processor the more expensive the pc or laptop so if you are a regular Microsoft Word user, you don’t need a very fast processor. A duo core should be enough. Therefore a prospective computer buyer must be able to judge a computers speed based on the processor type and speed.

2. Random Access Memory (R.A.M)

Random Access Memory commonly referred to as RAM is a virtual memory that the computer uses to store data that it repeatedly uses. The higher the ram therefore the higher the number of processes that the computer can support concurrently. Amount of RAM required for a user depends on what the user does with the computer. The average computer user would sit comfortably with 4GB of RAM however heavy games and anybody doing graphic and video processing should have RAM of up to 16GB.

3. Hard-disc/Hard drive.

This is where the computer stores all its data. It should be noted that hard-disc space has no influence over the speed of the computer and is usually a matter of preference for the computer user. The standard space is 320GB which is more than enough for an average user.

4. Operating System

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This is the software that runs and manages your computers. The average Kenyan computer user would prefer the Windows Operating system since they are well accustomed to it and it is very easy to learn as opposed to other platforms. However more advanced computer users would go for other platform like Linux, iOS and Solaris. Apple products are also easy to use but their exorbitant prices keep them out of reach of the ordinary Kenyan.

Keeping the above mentioned things in mind, the average lay man should now find buying a computer not as hard as originally perceived. However one should be cautious and steer clear of dubious computer shops and dealers, stick to the well-established and well known computer shops, where you can get a warrant of up to one year.


N/B: Try and avoid buying branded and refurbished computers; refurbished computers are old computers that have been renovated and repackaged to be sold as new whereas branded computers are cheap knock-offs of well-established computer brands. But they still work if you are on a budget.

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