Did you buy your computer from one of the big suppliers? When you buy a new one you might consider custom building it yourself. At the last census, Sydenham had a population of less than 30,000, even so this quiet London suburb boasts not one but two computer specialists on the Sydenham Road high street. One of these is a major custom built specialist concerned largely with on-line gaming, Arbico; the other is the much smaller Tech House, which also does repairs, from the purely mechanical to the sophisticated. Both are private limited companies.
Though we all live with inflation, computers and computing power have fallen exponentially in price since they were introduced. In the 1950s, a computer would fill a large room, generate enormous heat, and would be beyond the pocket of all but the super-rich, large corporations or governments. Today, ordinary people walk around with devices in their pockets that can perform advanced calculations, translate languages, take high quality photographs and videos, then publish them to the world in a few minutes.
Having said that, a desktop computer can be a major investment for someone who is unemployed or on a low income in this age of manufactured austerity. What is the best way to buy?
The first question you should ask youself is you need to acquire a new machine? Acquire being the operative word, because if you are not chasing something state of the art, you might be able to pick up one for nothing from Freecycle or Freegle. If you canít pick up a whole machine from one of them, you might be able to find a free auxiliary or two, like a scanner.
For some time in the UK, there have been government schemes run mostly at a local level to assist people to get on-line or for those on low incomes to purchase machines at bargain basement prices. Again, if you donít need the latest model and donít mind a refurbished machine, check out one of these. Other countries will vary.
If money is not a problem or even if it is, check out a local store like Tech House.This particular company also offers bargain basement refurbished laptops. The main advantage of a custom built machine is it can be tailored to your personal specifications, and may even save you money. Keeping it local has another advantage; if you have a problem at any time, a faulty connection perhaps, and canít work out what is happening, or perhaps a new software program keeps crashing Windows, you have help close at hand.
Before you upgrade or consider a serious new hardware investment, check out the local options; wherever you live, youíll be surprised what you can find right on your doorstep.
[The above article was published originally February 8, 2014].
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