As a lot of us know, choosing a new computer can be a stressful experience. We want to get the best computer we can to fit all of our needs, but without overpaying for features we don’t need. This article will go over what things you should consider while choosing a new computer, and will teach you how to determine what computer is right for you, without spending more then you need to spend.
Decide what you will be using your computer for.
Everyone use computers for different things. Whether it be for hardcore gaming to just simply checking your email, determining what you think you’ll be using your computer for will determine what hardware is required to suit your needs.
The processor in your computer determines how fast your computer processes data. Overall, the faster processor you have, the faster things will load on your computer. It makes more of a difference when you are using something that requires a lot of power, such as playing games. Many games and programs require computers with Intel processors, so I would recommend getting a computer with an Intel processor. If you only plan on using your computer for casual web surfing, schoolwork, typing documents, or research, you would not need a very powerful processor. Spending extra money for processing power you do not need is a waste. For tasks that I mentioned above, an Intel i3 processor should be sufficient, but it wouldn’t be a waste to get an i5 processor if you happened to need it. Getting an i7 processor would be an absolute waste, because you would never end up benefiting from the extra power it has.
However, if you’re one of the people that plans on using their computer for things such as playing the newest games, playing excessive amounts of video, rendering HD video, or other things of that sort, you should not get a computer with anything less then an i5 processor. An i5 processor will often be sufficient, but knowing that you won’t have to worry about your processor failing your needs is one reason to consider an i7. The newest i7 processors also do something called hyperthreading, which means that along with the 4 actual processors, there are an additional 4 “virtual” processors, so the i7 can handle more tasks then the other processors.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
Random Access Memory, or RAM, for short, helps determine the amount of programs or active processes you have at the same time, while maintaining your computer speed. If you are a huge multitasker, having lots of RAM is a lot. However, if you only do casual things like I mentioned above, most of the time you won’t use close to all of your computers RAM, so buying more then you need is actually a waste of money. 4 gigabytes of RAM is enough for most people. I personally have 8 gigabytes of RAM on my computer, but I rarely use more then 4. If you are planning on gaming, you should consider getting a computer with 6 or 8 gigabytes of RAM. Anything more then that is a waste of your money.
Hard Drive Space
The phrase “you can never have enough hard drive space” is becoming more and more true every day. Less then 10 years ago, people would laugh when someone bought a 1 gigabyte. hard drive, saying they would never use even close to that amount in a lifetime. Now, we have computers out with 1 terabyte, (1000 gigabytes) and it isn’t that unusual. Determining the amount of hard drive space you need depends a lot on how long you plan on keeping your computer for. The longer you keep your computer for, the more space you will want, because over time, you’ll be storing more and more files on your computer. I wouldn’t recommend anything less then 300 gigabytes, just to be safe. However, getting a computer with over 750 gigabytes is starting to go overboard.
Many people overlook this factor when choosing a computer, but if you are planning on doing things such as playing games, rendering HD video, or working with high resolution photos, having a good graphics card will benefit you. Graphics cards have dedicated memory, which is dedicated to processing and displaying video to you as fast as they can. The better your graphics card is, the more frames per second your computer can display.
If you are planning on using your computer (specifically , laptop) everywhere you go, you don’t want to be carrying around something large and heavy. However, if you use your computer only at a few places (such as your house, in the same room) portability is something to consider. I take my MacBook Pro everywhere I go, (well anywhere where it can be used, home, work, school etc.) and having a light computer was an important factor when I chose mine.
Mac Vs. PC
This is one common question when choosing a new computer. Macs are more expensive, and you don’t get quite as good hardware for the same price that you would on a Windows Pc. However, I think that using a Mac computer is much more easy and fun then using a Windows pc. Read more about Mac OS here, where I cover it in great detail. Also, take note that Windows is a more popular operating system, so new programs typically come out for Windows first. So if you’re looking to try out a lot of the newest programs, you’ll want to be running a computer with Windows on it (which is possible on a Mac!) Many, many games are Windows only, so if you’re a gamer, only a Windows will satisfy.
Got any questions? Feel free to post them in a comment, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be happy to answer any you may have. Please show this to anyone who is looking to get a new computer, thanks!