Buying a computer for college has moved from being a luxury to becoming a necessity. Ultimately, it is your decision on what you buy (it is your money). What we have hoped to do here is offer some friendly advice to consider before making your purchase.
User support and warranty is important.
In many ways, buying a computer is like buying a car. You should consider computer vendors with a reputation for making quality products who have proven they will be around to support them. When you are preparing to buy your computer, ask yourself (or better yet, the salesperson) the following questions about the vendor:
Does the vendor offer telephone help?
Some vendors offer 30 days of support after purchase, others offer unlimited support for the life of the product. Yes, there is the CCIT Help Desk (656-3494) and Hardware Repair (656-4454) you can call, but sometimes you will need help directly from the vendor. Make sure you know how to reach them and what their policy is before you have a problem.
Does the vendor have a Return Policy? Is there a trade-in program? If you have a "lemon" machine, how can you return it?
Please contact your laptop vendor for these issues.
How will you get it fixed if breaks down? Does the vendor have a warranty agreement with the University?
The University's Hardware Repair Shop handles warranty repairs from Apple, Dell, HP, and IBM/Lenovo but it is strongly recommended that you contact the original manufacturer before contacting the University Repair Shop. To see what other vendors are supported, you can check with the Hardware Repair Shop's web site. If the Repair Shop doesn't support it, you can go to other repair shops in the area, but they may have higher repair costs and be less convenient.
Most computers come with a one (1) year warranty, but we strongly recommend getting four (4) year on-site Warranty and Accidental Damage Coverage. If your computer has only a one-year warranty, you can usually extend it and add accidental damage coverage at the initial purchase.
Don't skimp on the processor or the graphics capability.
Remember your computer should last throughout your college career (four or five years). Therefore, it is a good idea to avoid buying an "entry level" computer, and look to purchase computers in the mid to high end range level. By "entry level", we mean computers with options that are typically at the end of the product's life. A higher-end computer should be viable for 4-5 years. Remember that RAM and hard drive can usually be upgraded at a later date, but normally the processor and graphics card are not upgradable.
Consider buying the "extras" for your computer.
Today, a CD/DVD player is a must; not a luxury, especially with most commercial software now coming on DVDs. Combo drive (CDRW/ DVD-Player) and most DVD Burners read most CDs just fine. We would also strongly encourage you to consider USB keys or external hard drives for storage as a data back-up solution.