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Improving desktop IT support

 Introduction  Improved Support  Buying a desktop PC  Laptops?  FAQ

What will I get?

Standard features

  • Compact and very quiet case.
  • 3-year Next Business Day on-site warranty.
  • Vista-premium capable graphics, dual monitor support.
  • Gigabit ethernet.
  • 2 PCI slots, 1 PCI Express x1, 1 PCI Express x16.
  • Audio.
  • 1 serial, 1 parallel, 8 USB 2.0 ports.
  • A spare machine to get you instantly back to work.

Configurable options

  • Dual or single-core Athlon processors
  • 1 to 4 GB RAM
  • 1 or 2 160-250 GB hard drives.
  • CD and DVD drives including DVD+-RW
  • Your choice of monitors.
  • Floppy drive, card readers, etc.
  • 4 or 5-year Next Business Day on-site warranty extensions.
  • Third-party monitors, graphics cards, disks, etc. can be supplied and fitted by IT Support.

Choosing your desktop PC

Don't start off with technical questions like what CPU/RAM/Disk/Vendor to buy (from), or even worse let your work habits be dictated by that old desk somebody gave you when you first arrived! Instead start by asking what you want to achieve and let that decide what you buy. The following guidelines are for a desktop "office" PC.

Factors effecting...

Our advice

Your personal productivity

  1. Large and/or dual monitors.
  2. The amount of time you spend fiddling with or fixing your IT rather than using it to do science.
  3. A comfortable and ergonomic workspace.
  • Buy the biggest monitor you can, and/or dual monitors.
  • If you want an add-on card or peripheral ask IT Support if they have one they recommend. Don't expect a warm reception if you buy one at random and then later have a problem with it.
  • Buy a slightly bigger hard disk than you think you need.
  • If you can't comfortably work at your current desk with a large monitor and some papers then buy a new desk. We recommend one of those curvy L-shaped ones.

Your PC's performance

  1. How often it gets replaced.
  2. The amount of RAM it has.
  • Plan to replace your PC every three years.
  • Buy more RAM before buying a faster CPU.

Your PC's life-time

is three good years, followed by one or two years of slow decline, irrespective of what CPU you buy.
  • If you think your PC will still be useful, it's probably cheaper to buy the extra two years' warranty now than in three years time.
  • After the warranty is over it's basically run it until it drops.

Buying your machine

IT Support suggest you configure and buy your machine together with them using our step-by-step guide to purchasing your desktop on-line.

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