Repair, Upgrade or Renew?
When I first started in this business it was all about repairs and upgrades: A new screen, a new hard disk, a new fan or a new power supply. Computers then cost the earth – my first home PC with its 500mb disk, 32mb RAM and a processor from a pocket calculator cost over £1,000 – so renew was never an option. Today, computers have almost become a disposable item when they go wrong, but it's always worth considering your options.
Most good computer shops won’t charge for a diagnosis of what’s wrong, so It's always worth asking for an opinion … A simple repair to replace a fan or PSU costing £50 could give your computer another few years of life. I always compare myself to a dentist: If I fill a tooth then I get paid, and in a few years time I’ll have to fill that tooth again. If I pull it out then it's gone forever. Similarly, a simply upgrade of some more memory or a new SSD (see June 2016) can rejuvenate a tired old PC or laptop. You just have to weigh up the costs and do what you're comfortable with.
Eventually, however, you will need to replace your ageing technology with some new kit, so put some thought into it. Write down what you do with your PC; Internet, email, some photographs, the odd holiday movie and your timeless collection of tunes! Then consider if you want to replace like-for-like, or change from a PC to a laptop, or from laptop to tablet (see Sept. 2015); think what extras you might need like antivirus, backup solution or additional software; and finally how much do you want to spend.
Then go shopping! Here you have three choices: On-line, Superstore or Independent Retailer.
If you shop on-line then make sure they are reputable, check the returns policy carefully just in case, check out the delivery charges and read the specification carefully. If you go to a Superstore them be mindful that they will try and sell you what they make the most money on, not necessarily what is best for you, and they will try and sell you every last add-on that you probably don’t need. Finally, you local independent retailer where you will hopefully get good impartial advice, a product that is suitable for you, and a new machine set-up with care and all your stuff transferred. Of course you’ll have to pay for the service, but nothing in this world is really free!
Added: 1st July 2016