Desktop PC

Published Date
01 - Dec - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Dec - 2006
Desktop PC
Assembled PCs once ruled the market entirely, while branded PCs were relegated to medium to large businesses, schools, and colleges. In a market like India where value for money affects all buying decisions, this was quite expected. But things have changed. Though assembled PCs still retain a bigger market share, branded PCs are getting a stronger hold of the market. The factors that have led to this change are many, but the strongest one is that branded PCs are available for only a little more than what an assembled PC costs.

Myths And Realities
Branded PCs are expensive: True only to an extent. Branded PCs cost a little more than assembled PCs. There are some very strong justifications behind this, though. Branded PCs come with licensed software, offer better support and features like one-touch recovery.

Branded PCs offer lower-powered configurations: Not true at all. Most PC manufacturers have offerings targeted at all segments of the market. And if you want to specify your own configuration, some manufacturers allow you to do that as well.

Questions To Ask

What kind of support do I get?
The most important question. Check whether the manufacturer has a helpline for technical support. A technical support line lets you get in touch with qualified technicians who will help you troubleshoot your problem. Most software glitches can be resolved by talking to technical support. They also help you determine if there is a hardware issue with the PC. Depending on the warranty provided, your PC can either be collected by authorised personnel, or you may have to carry it in to the nearest service centre.

Can I overclock my branded PC?
Overclockers, stay away from branded PCs! They don't allow you to overclock using the BIOS. And if you try some hard overclocking, it will void your warranty!

Can I upgrade my branded PC?
Upgradeability is one area where branded PCs lag behind their assembled counterparts. Since some branded PCs use custom-built motherboards, upgrading components can be a problem. Check the manufacturer's Web site and find out what upgrades are possible. These may include installing more RAM, a better graphics card, or a larger hard drive.

Future Trends
It's time to usher in HD (High Definition) content. Today, you can record live TV shows and pause them; what's more, you can view one show while recording the other, and you can do all this with a remote! In the near future, with better hardware-namely, larger displays and more number of supported sound channels, PCs will change the face of entertainment. Bigger and faster hard drives will ensure that you can store as much HD content as you desire.

What To Look For

After-sales support
Never forget to check the guarantee/ warranty provided by the vendor. Some vendors have a replacement warranty, while others just fix the component in question. A replacement warranty means a quicker turnaround time. Check where the nearest authorised service centre to get the unit fixed is. This factor doesn't sound very important as long as your PC is working fine, but not so once you face a problem!

Bundled software
Most PCs come pre-installed with an OS. Some low-end PCs come with either FreeDOS or Linux installed. These require you to buy your own copy of Windows (if you need it), and this can push up the overall cost of your PC. If you opt for a PC with Windows pre-installed, check the version; you also get some utilities like CD/DVD authoring tools at no extra cost. Make sure you get copies on CD of the OS, drivers, and other software in case you want to do selective installation.

Branded PCs offer you features like one-touch recovery. This helps you recover your PC to factory-shipped state-no need to go about formatting and installing Windows, drivers, and the other software that came pre-installed. Check for the location of the connectors. It's good to have the USB ports and audio connectors on the front.

The Display
We recommend investing in an LCD display. They save a lot of space, and don't add too much to the cost of a system. LCD is the way to go for the future. If the vendor is offering the option to buy your monitor separately, refer to the section on LCD monitors.

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