Home Ch: 2 - Computers Purchasing a Computer
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Chapter 2 - Hardware and Software

Purchasing a computer

Network Computers

An alternative to purchasing a desktop computer is to buy a network computer. A network computer, depending on its configuration, relies upon a central server for its application programs and files. It is a throwback to the mainframe computers and the “dumb” terminals attached to them. These stripped down computers cost less.

Before considering the purchase of computer hardware and software, one needs to focus upon the particular needs of your law practice. Where do you do work - at the office, at home or on the road? Is it necessary to connect to your office from your home or while you are working on the road? Do you sit in front of the computer all day preparing documents or reviewing images of litigation documents? Do you need remote access to your office’s computers? Do you need to access deposition information while on the road or in depositions? Do you visit your clients or do they come to your office? Do you need a desktop, a portable, or both? Do you need the latest and greatest equipment, or can you wait until the prices come down since you usually have to pay a premium for the latest processor, etc.? Though waiting may save you money, will you have enough computing power for your needs? Finally, do you have the necessary amount of money to purchase what you want?

You may want to consider purchasing a refurbished computer. Refurbished computers are computers that have been returned for repairs or the buyer simply did not want it. Because it is not new, it is discounted and resold. Generally, the machine has been thoroughly tested before it is resold. Also, there generally is a strong warranty that supports the machine. Though it may not come with many bundled extras, you may save a significant amount of money buying a refurbished computer. Most of your major manufacturers sell refurbished computers; just visit their web sites.

There are many factors to consider when deciding upon what computer hardware to buy. Computer catalogs and magazines, such as Computer Shopper (www.zdnet.com/computershopper) and PC Magazine (www.pcmag.com), list weekly or monthly changing prices and features offered to the consumer. Also, check out the automatic pricing comparison sites at ZDNet (www.zdnet.com/computershopper) and CNet (www.cnet.com).



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