Choosing a new business computer

Tips & Hints

As prices drop, it's a good time to consider upgrading. But be careful to specify the right system.


If you have a Windows NT, 2000 or XP server you must update your system to cover the latest security patches. We have the details listed here.

Posted 5 February, 2004

Computer prices are plummeting. We are now seeing desktops priced under $1000 and laptops under $1500. While these are good deals, it's worthwhile looking at the small print.

Operating systems

Most cheap systems include have XP Home. While this is fine for home use, it does have some serious limitations. Even if you work from a one computer home office, you should consider XP Professional. If you are on a network you must get XP Professional


Officially, Windows XP will run on 64Mb of memory. There may be someone doing this, but they will be suffering. Windows XP needs 256Mb of RAM to run properly and 512 will really get the system flying. We recommend you get 512 or 1024 Mb of Memory.

Video Memory

The cheap systems use Shared Memory. This is where the video hardware steals some of the system memory to run. This is a Very Bad Thing on all but the lightest used computers. Get a machine with at least 32Mb of Video RAM. If you are going to do anything vaguely graphical (web pages, desktop publishing, scanning, digital photography) get at least 128 Mb of RAM.

Network Card

Get a network card built in. Even if you aren't on a network, you will need it when broadband becomes common place.


Almost all dealers offer two year extended on site warranties for around two hundred dollars. Given we won't even answer the phone for less, this an excellent deal. Make sure you have a three year onsite warranty.

Bundled Software

Many cheap computers don't include software. Going to the next model up may actually be cheaper when you consider the software that may be included. We've seen a lot of computers that don't include virus software. This isn't a problem, as you can download a free anti-virus but you need to be aware of it before you get on the net.

The reduced prices make it a great opportunity to retire those older, crankier computers. But check out the specs and make sure you get a machine that delivers what your business needs.

PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
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