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What determines the price of a PC?

There are a variety of factors that can determine the price of a PC which we may quote you for. We wanted to explain the factors to help you understand the price range and variation between some of the PCs we offer. To discuss this topic, we need to break the PC down into it’s components, explain their jobs and how the level of these products affect performance and therefore price.

Lets start with the processor. The easiest way to explain this component is that it’s the brain of the computer. There are two factors which determine the performance and speed of a processor. Processors are made of a number of cores and their speed. The speed of the processor tells us how quickly it can process data, while the number of cores acts as a multiplier. Each core can run at the stated speed of the processor therefore the more cores, the more data can be processed at any one time. For example, a single core 2GHz processor is slower than a four core 2GHz processor, as it has three additional cores to process data, even though they are the same speed.

We generally work with Intel processors in our PCs and the most common offerings are the i3, i5 and i7. As a general rule of thumb, i3 processors have 2 cores and i5 and i7 can have 2 or 4 cores. This is one of the many reasons why we generally encourage our clients to take an i5 over an i3 as the processing power is noticeably different between an i3 and an i5, especially if the i5 is a four core.

Random Access Memory or RAM, is like your short term memory. It keeps data that you are currently working on in an easier to access location than the hard drive to allow you to move between programmes. This is where the more RAM you have installed the less performance drop you will notice when running multiple programmes at the same time. There will usually be a few slots in a PC to install a couple of sticks of RAM. Therefore an additional physical component on top of a standard spec, will increase the price. The other price factor with RAM is the bigger the RAM value in one stick, the higher it will cost. So a 4GB stick is higher priced than a 16GB in one stick, as it only takes up one slot with a higher amount of RAM.

We generally encourage our clients to start with 8GB RAM at the moment, to help to futureproof their PC and to cope with the demands of the future work they intend to conduct on their PC. Also, if our clients intend to use demanding software programmes alongside general office packages, is why we encourage you to go for increased RAM to ensure that you have enough short term memory to flick between your programmes with no noticeable performance lag.

The operating system of a PC also has an effect, as we on the main deal with Windows PCs the main difference is between Windows 10 Pro and Home. Pro is required for a PC working within a business, as the added features allow this to be setup within a business network. Home is as it describes a version of the operating system that has all the features that may be required for a home user and therefore, is a lower price due to the reduce functions in comparison. The price difference is never more than approximately £30 to £40 so this factor does not impact the overall price as much as physical components like RAM and the processor.

The third component found in all PCs which has a part to play in the price, is the hard drive. This may come in the older mechanical drive (HDD) format or as a Solid State Drive (SSD). The hard drive of a PC is where all your data is stored and is like your long term memory. The main difference between a HDD and a SSD is that the SSD has no moving parts. This makes it more reliable and quicker to access your data. As such it is a higher price than a HDD. However, even in just the past year the price of SSD’s has reduced making the larger sizes more affordable. We would always encourage our clients if they can afford to have the SSD in their PC to go for this, as the HDD is old technology and to ensure reliability and futureproofing of a new machine an SSD is a good way to contribute to this.

For some of our clients, there may be additional cards and components they need to add to a machine, which are an additional extra to the cost of the base PC. For example, clients who needs to render graphics and work with drawing programmes require graphics cards to all these to operate at a functional speed.

The final factor in the price of a PC we want to tackle is the brand and therefore the quality of the PC. Here at MJD, we work extremely closely with Terra and are our recommended brand of PC. Terra are a high quality, award winning German brand who tend to do more build to order to ensure that they can always use more up to date components. This way the end user gets longevity out of the PC as a whole and a quality build. Combined with their warranty services which are operated through their MSP partners, like ourselves, so your PC is serviced by someone you know if a warranty issue occurs. This can also affect the price of a PC in comparison to some other manufacturers you may be able to pick up on the high street.

When evaluating the price of a PC quotation that you have been given, by ourselves or anywhere else it is important to compare like with like. So be thorough and check the individual components and make sure that between two offerings it is genuinely the same specification. Most times when there is a difference in price one of the factors detailed above will be your explanation.

It is also important to consider, that if price is a big factor in your decision making for a new PC what is the most important task you will be carrying out on this PC? Is it just to browse the internet and do your personal admin? Or do you want to run a few work programmes every day of the working week? Or create highly detailed drawings? This will then lead you to which component in the PC will be the most important and where you shouldn’t look to reduce the price on.

As always, if you have any questions or would like a quotation for a new Terra PC please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Team here at MJD.