I’ve updated the guide that I first wrote in 2014
It’s been three years since I last updated this guide and the main thing that struck me while doing the latest update was that the computer market is very definitely maturing. We are no longer seeing big developments every five minutes that make it necessary (or, at least, desirable) to go and buy a shiny new box every year or so.
So what did I update in this latest version?
Windows 11 is now the default operating system in new PCs. When I bought a new Dell last year (solely because my old Dell couldn’t be upgraded to Windows 11) I plunged for the update to Windows 11 as soon as Windows 10 offered it to me. It all went horribly wrong and I had a machine that seemed to find a new way of breaking every other day until I finally wiped the whole thing completely clean and downloaded a pristine copy of Windows 11. I must say that it has been fine since then and I haven’t come across any clients having the same issue. I performed the re-installation on Dell’s advice. They said that the upgrade was a mess, but that clean installations were fine. And so it seemed.
Mac OSX – a couple of times recently I have come across Macs insisting on updating the operating system (OSX), only for that to render an old version of Microsoft Office unusable. During a particularly difficult upgrade, I complained to Apple Support about this, only to be told (rather tartly) that we should have read the terms and conditions.
Solid State Drives seem almost to have replaced hard drives in new computers at last. This has been a very long process. I’ve just skimmed through Curry’s offerings and I’m disappointed to see that there are plenty of machines with as little as 256gb SSDs – and even some 128gb SSDs. Please make sure this is enough storage for your own needs before settling for such small drives. The minimum I would recommend for most of my IT Support clients is 512gb.
Memory. As always, the amount of memory is still increasing. Get as much memory as you can afford. My recommendation is not to go for less than 8gb – and more is better.
CD/DVD drives have largely disappeared from laptops
USB C is replacing USB 2 and 3. Some machines currently come with a mixture. Some machines only have USB C ports. Don’t let that put you off. Inexpensive adaptors are available from Amazon, so your legacy USB devices won’t be obsolete.
Ethernet ports have now largely disappeared from laptops – but are still supplied on desktop computers. If you really want a wired ethernet connection on a laptop then you can get an adaptor that allows an ethernet cable to connect via a USB port.
Prices seem to have remained largely the same in the last few years. This, of course, is a reduction in real terms as specifications have increased.
The best selling makes haven’t changed much recently. The top four in the first quarter of 2022 were Lenovo (23.8%), HP (20.4%), Dell (17.7%), and Apple (9.0%) (source: Wikipedia).