Buying a computer

There is plenty of choice in the personal computer market, and what you get depends on what you want to do. It is worth it, if you can afford it, buying new rather than second hand - the computer will last longer and have warranty cover with it. For many students, who want just word processing, email and Internet access, there is no need to go for an expensive computer. It is worth getting plenty of memory, at least 4Gb (4096Mb) and preferably more, since this is important for good performance and is often skimped on to reduce the price.

Many students prefer laptops and mobile devices over desktops as they are more portable, but bear in mind that they are also more of a target for thieves and are harder to upgrade and repair. They can be less comfortable to use over long periods. iPads and similar devices are very sleek and easy to carry but don't have all the functionality of laptops. You can plug  a full-sized keyboard, mouse and monitor into a laptop if you wish.

A  CD/DVD reader and writer are useful, but are often missing on lighter laptops (and on tablets) to save weight and space. You can get a portable drive so it depends how much you think you'll need one.

Wireless access cards are standard in most computers. Ethernet sockets are not always included, and not found on mobile devices. Wireless Internet connection is available almost everywhere in St Catharine's although there are some patchy areas due to the nature of the buildings.

The University Information Services' pages for hardware support contain general purchasing advice.

Note though that things change very quickly and the above pages can sometimes be a little out of date.

Feel free to contact the IT Office if you'd like more advice - we will be happy to assist if we can.