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  Notes that accompany all specifications  

The attached specification is my best suggestion matching my understanding of your computing and budgetary needs to current technology.  I realise that the specification is, necessarily, acronym rich, but it is meant as a basis for discussion, and possibly refinements, and I hope I can translate or explain anything that you are unsure of.  I try to suggest a balanced system – one where ideally there is no bottleneck component that is likely to perform significantly worse than the others do in the likely use the computer will be put to.  This analysis is a benefit that off-the-shelf distributors are not able to provide, as they have to cater for many different use profiles.  However, I am happy to discuss changing any components that may be of different performance or cost than you would like. 


The main system is shown at cost price.  I do not add any mark-up and specify components in some detail as this allows better comparison with other suppliers.  In fact, your payment would be made direct to my wholesaler using my trade account – I receive no commission or other incentive to recommend one component over another.  The advantage of using the suppliers I do, is that not only are shipments faster than retail, but if a problem arises they know that there are future orders that depend upon their performance currently; again, not often a feature of retail purchases.


Note that the more information I gather in my requirements analysis about the likely use you will put the computer to, the better I will be able to suggest an appropriate match of components.  If you forgot to mention an application you may use in the future, please tell me now.  If you are hoping to run an existing program that works on your current version of Windows, please let me know so that I may check whether there are compatibility issues that would prevent it from running under Windows Vista.


It is very common for clients to under budget.  Whilst I can accommodate most budgets by limiting the performance or quality of the components, my experience is that it is far better in the long term to spend more on the initial infrastructure of a computer than suffer the consequences of a sluggish or high maintenance cost PC over the years the machine should provide useful service.  This is especially true for systems running Windows Vista (as it is far more demanding than its predecessors are) and notebooks (as they are inherently not upgradeable).


Regarding the budget, my suggestion when buying a new computer is to distinguish between those parts that can be easily added later and those that are core components that would have to be replaced if an upgrade was later found to be necessary.  Core components are worth spending the existing budget on to get the maximum likely required performance and quality; whereas peripherals may be added later for no cost beyond their own, and therefore should be sacrificed initially if budgetary requirements demand it.


If you prefer me to buy and assemble all the components personally, please let me know.  Normally I recommend that a specialist company perform the assembly of the main hardware for two reasons:

  1. Economies of scale allow others to do this more cheaply than I can
  2. The supplier will offer a warranty on the whole system

When I receive the basic system from the supplier, I test each major component, add any extras such as usable components from your current computer, install and configure software then test the system as a whole and create a backup DVD.  If you would like me to quote for moving your existing address book, e‑mail messages and accounts, favourite bookmarks, documents, photos and music from your old computer please complete the form at http://www.1computercare.co.uk/transfer_options.htm


Your contract of sale for the main system will be with the supplier directly, and they require payment in full with the order.  This may be by debit card, credit card (a 2% surcharge may be added), cheque (shipment will be delayed until the cheque has cleared), bank transfer or finance (10% deposit required).  The terms of sale are available on request.


The full warranty terms are also available on request.  In a nutshell, in the event of a failure attributable to a manufacturing defect in hardware, or if a failure is due to defective fitting, you are covered for parts and labour for arranging and fitting a replacement for at least a year.  You are not covered for

  • costs of packing or shipping a failing part or the whole system to the supplier
  • backing up or restoring programs or data
  • problems with software configuration or corruption
  • abnormal use or accidental damage
  • alteration to or addition of any internal hardware.   


I encourage you to have me install any software you will want initially.  This is to avoid the situation where problems arise with an installation causing the operating system to malfunction.  This is not covered by warranty and time spent repairing the system after delivery is chargeable. 


Although initial failures are rare, they do happen; and in that situation, I would be happy to liaise with the supplier on your behalf.  My time for this would be chargeable and not covered by warranty.  Components would be requested by me on your behalf for delivery at my address.  By establishing a long term relationship with suppliers, I am usually to obtain a faster and sometimes cheaper service than one-time customers.  However, if you prefer to order the components yourself, I am happy to accommodate that.


The computer is delivered complete with all necessary cables, documentation, heatsinks & fans and is fully assembled & thoroughly tested.  All original operating system and driver CDs and product keys are included as well. 


All components are OEM licenced.  That is functionally identical to the retail versions except that to comply with the terms of the licence:

  • They may only be used on a new PC or one that has been upgraded to include a new system disk.

  • The manufacturers do not offer non-warranty support.  Software still has to be activated in the normal way and updates are available as with retail equivalents.

  • They can only be used legitimately on the PC they are initially installed on.  i.e. you should not sell or transfer them to another PC.

  • They usually come without a box and printed documentation. 

  • They are typically much cheaper than the retail equivalent.

For your residential broadband Internet connection, I recommend PlusNet’s Plus package as that gives you up to 8Mbps speeds for £9.99 a month.  There is no up-front activation fee and a minimum 1 month contract.  My experience with other ISPs is that their minimum contract periods are often set to 12 or 18 months, during which time you are not able to switch suppliers, and in some cases are bound by the price increases they dictate in that period.  Also, having an 0845 technical support number, which does not transfer you out of this country, is often desirable.  Further, there is a free dialup number available should the broadband connection fail.  As my own supplier they would give me a 50p referrer’s fee so I make no charge for arranging this for you – whether you are new to broadband or migrating from an existing supplier.  My only charge is for visiting you to perform any configuration you require.


To save having to ask all your e-mail correspondents to change their address books when you switch your provider, a domain name is recommended and could be as little as £2.59 a year to give you an address similar to  YourName@Anything_you_choose.me.uk  Please let me know if this is of interest.


I am confident that it is the cheapest comparable system available.  If you see what appears to be an attractive offer elsewhere, I would be happy to check it for hidden extras.  The systems I deliver come with a genuine Microsoft operating system CD and driver disk that can be used for a repair if necessary, unlike the cheaper ‘recovery disks’ which most distributors provide or force the purchaser to create themselves !


While some clients are comfortable with new interfaces and technological changes and are happy to investigate problems themselves, others are less used to this and struggle with learning new things.  This latter group are those who sometimes expect to be able to efficiently use a computer with a new interface immediately - that despite there being myriad possible uses, all should be so intuitive than no training is required, neither self taught from books, help files and experimentation nor from a formal training course.  In such cases I am often asked numerous questions that take a considerable time to research and explain in terms that the client can understand.  Whilst I am genuinely very happy to be asked a few odd questions about how to do something, I am not a trainer, and it is sometimes appropriate for people to book themselves a place on a training course delivered by someone better equipped (and paid) then I to deliver such material.  Let me know if you would appreciate a recommendation.


The quoted price includes one (discounted) hour for delivering, setting up and demonstrating the system.  Additional time is chargeable at the standard rate of £40 per hour or part of, after discount, payable on delivery of the system.  I am so confident in the quality of this computer that I offer a free 2 year collection and re-delivery service should you ever have a problem with your computer.  Warranty extensions of 2 or 3 years are available too.


Each specification takes a considerable time to research and produce.  If you choose not to proceed, I would very much appreciate your letting me know the reason so that I can do something differently next time.


The beauty of a customised PC is that we can easily switch components individually to reduce the overall cost or improve performance, functionality or expected lifetime and there are no unnecessary ‘free’ items or branding.  If there are any acronyms or components that I can usefully decrypt or explain in more detail, please let me know.  If you would like to progress this specification please complete, sign, date and return the top copy of the enclosed Work Order, together with a note of your payment details.  I will then order the components.  Delivery and configuration normally take about 7 working days, and the balance of the cost is then due when I deliver the system to you. 


I look forward to hearing from you,

Eugene Gardner.

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