Only three years?

CONSUMERS and future PC buyers are advised to invest in personal computers that come with a three-year warranty period and which are powerful enough to meet tomorrow's user demands.

The advice came from Lee Yick Keong, technical support service manager for South-East Asia at AST Singapore Pte Ltd, who said the useful lifespan of a typical PC today was about three years.

He said the rapid rate at which new processors and powerful applications are introduced into the market, contributed toward making new PCs obsolete in that amount of time.

Lee was presenting a paper on "Investing in Today's Network" at the AST roadshow which kicked off in Ipoh last week.

The tour, helmed by AST, Intel and Novell, will cover 10 states across Malaysia. The other venues are Alor Star, Penang, Seremban, Melaka, Johor Baru, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Kuantan and Kuala Lumpur.

While Lee agreed that a user should also buy a PC according to personal needs, he said that when a user buys for performance, he gives himself growing room for new applications and software upgrades in the near future.

Also, he pointed out, if you look back at 1994 when 486-based PCs dominated the market, you realise that no one will service such machines today because the cost of such support is almost equal to buying a new, faster PC.

According to Lee, software applications also determined the useful lifespan of a PC. "For instance in year one, the PC is used for bread and butter applications such as wordprocessing, e-mail, presentation and graphics.

"In year two, you would expand that to include networking functions with Windows NT or a database manager and by the time you are in the third year, the PC would have reached its performance ceiling. Today's PCs must be powerful enough for tomorrow's demands," said Lee.

Lee said that buying early would extend a system's period of usefulness and the user would also grow with the system.

"My recommendation for small businesses would be a Pentium 166MHz MMX PC while large corporates should go for a Pentium II machine," Lee said.

He added that the machines should also offer 16-bit audio, have SDRAM DIMM technology along with adequate drive bays and expansion slots for networking.

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