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How to...

Buying a PC

When should you buy?

There's never a perfect time to buy a PC. There is always a faster, newer and possibly cheaper model about to be marketed. The key to success is deciding upon an affordable PC that is capable of running the software you intend using, and, if possible, will be able to cope with future developments for at least two years.

These pages try to offer guidance on the technical specification of the PC. You may then need advice on where to buy it. Much more advice can can be found on the web.

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Laptop vs Desktop

Laptops are generally more suited to University life, especially if you intend to be mobile and want to work in various locations: at home, in seminars, at the Library. Most students at Sussex use laptops. However, they are more expensive than Desktop PCs and offer less upgrade flexibility. The technical specifications of Desktops are higher than Laptops for the same cost.

If you bring a laptop on to campus, you can use the wi-fi network (eduroam) and you can also print to charged printers direct from your laptop:

Most manufacturers are producing a new breed of thinner, lighter laptops called ultrabooks. These devices are generally easier to carry around but are currently quite expensive. However, some good deals are sometimes available - see the links to the student computer stores below to find the latest offers.

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What software should you expect to be able to run on your PC?

If you are considering buying a computer, check the requirements of any software you intend to use (CPU, memory, hard disk space).  If you aren't sure, contact the seller or manufacturer before you buy the computer.

Students use Microsoft apps a lot, so you will need to check that your PC can run these.  Students have free access to all Microsoft 365 apps during their time at Sussex, including the ability to install all the apps (Word, Excel, Outlook atc) on their comuter.  They can also buy Microsoft Office at reduced prices - see our software page for details.

You will access a lot of online resources, including course materials, through your web browser.  Your PC will come with Edge installed, but you may have a better experience using Chrome or Firefox.

If your course requires specialist software, you may want to check if your computer can run this.  However, you will be able to run essential software on the shared computers in student computer rooms around the campus.

You may be offered illegal or pirated copies of proprietary software. Under no circumstances accept such offers. IT Services will follow up all reports of pirated or illegal software and will report to the appropriate authorities all suspected cases of breaches of the appropriate University Regulations and of the UK laws on Software Copyright.

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Apple Mac

Many people prefer to use a Mac - they're particularly popular in the Music department and some of the science schools. If you are buying a Mac, be sure to check the prices at Apple's Higher Education store.  Staff may also be able to purchase Apple computers at a discounted rate - please see the staff discounts page.

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created on 2010-01-01 by Lez Oxley
last updated on 2020-07-09 by Alexander Butler