When looking to buy a new computer you will be faced with a labyrinth of choice and it can be difficult to know which specifications will best meet your needs. Whether you are buying a computer for your business or home, here are a few things to help you stay focused on your goals as well as your budget.
The first thing you need to consider is budget, this is often the main constraint but once this is decided you can find the best computer within that price range.
Desktop or Laptop
If you mainly work within your office the general guideline is to get a desktop. If you need to work flexibly, in different locations and on the move then a laptop will be more suitable.
Desktops are usually cheaper than laptops with similar specifications. Desktops are cheaper to repair, more reliable and are easier to upgrade and therefore have a longer usage life. However many people prefer laptops because they enable flexible working and consume less energy.
All in ones are essentially a computer with all the workings in the back. As tower speakers are often built in they are more compact and often easy to set up. However they provide less value for money than a desktop and are more costly to fix when they go wrong.
If you want a computer that is fast and carries out tasks quickly then invest in a computer with a powerful processor. The performance of the processor is measured in number of cores and speed, for many people 2 cores will suffice but if you have lots of multi-tasking and photo-editing 4 or more cores will enable you to work more efficiently. It’s difficult to upgrade the processor so invest in a PC with the best processor within your budget.
The RAM, or memory, allows your computer to work with on several programmes simultaneously. The more RAM you have the faster your computer will work, for Windows 10 you should have at least 8GB for it to run smoothly. If you like to surf smoothly between email, internet and other programmes 8GB is the ideal amount. If you edit photos or videos and intend to use any CAD software you will need at least 16GB.
The hard drive or SSD stores the operating system, applications, and data files such a documents, pictures and music. A good SSD is more important for overall performance than getting a faster processor, because even a slow SSD is up to four times faster than a hard disk drive. If you need more space later down the line you can buy an external hard drive to transfer or store files, or upgrade to a larger hard drive. The spin speed of your hard drive will determine how quickly data is transferred, so if speed is important choose an SSD (solid state drive) will be faster than an HDD.
Most people chose an operating system that they are familiar with such as Windows 10 or MAC OSX. Linux is another option but more complex and therefore less popular.
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