Rhodri Marsden: Cyberclinic

Is now a good time to for me to be buying a new computer?

Established wisdom says that you get more computer for your money the longer you leave it. But is now a good time to buy?

Many of this week's replies cast doubt on whether it's ever a good time to buy a new computer. Catherine Mellor says: "There's always a new gimmick that we supposedly can't live without. But if your current system does what you want, why bother?" Mat Bowles agrees. "I've got a PC that was bought for £500 in 1999. I can manage websites, my office software works - what more do I need?" So the buying trigger for most people seems to be the death-rattle of their existing machine.

If you crave an additional surge of computing power, you could soup up your existing machine with add-ons, including extra memory. Some readers have, over time, constructed the equivalent of a Hollywood star after successive bouts of plastic surgery: improved results with barely anything left of the original. But the lure of a shiny new toy can prove irresistible; an old boss of mine would pay a premium for amazing new systems as soon as they were launched, even though he only used them for e-mailing.

One anonymous reader warns against the lurid offers in computer magazines. "If you compare specifications carefully," he says, "the cut price is what you'd pay for any comparable system." In addition, for power users and gaming obsessives, there's very rarely an optimum time to splash out. Prices fall, but the cost of remaining cutting edge stays fairly stable.

Some readers, however, are already planning their next purchase. "I'd buy just before the next Windows release," says Sarah Heenan. "Shops will be trying to get rid of stock - I once got £1,200 of computer for £600 this way." However, Mark Anderson from support specialists Somura says: "There's always something faster around the corner, so wait until you really need a new computer and go mid-to-low end; you'll be able to afford to replace it sooner." Sadly, Steve's advice comes one week late for Cath Rutter: "I just bought a stupidly expensive Mac, and Apple have now brought out a new range. I'm fed up."


Diagnosis required

Next week's question is from Ed:

"At work, we've recently had access to various innocuous websites banned - including personal e-mail - with no real explanation. It's really irritating. What's the point?" Any comments, and new questions for the Cyberclinic, should be emailed to cyberclinic@independent.co.uk.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor