It is important to choose a computer that fits your specific needs. Here are 14 things to consider when buying a new computer for your home or office.
Computer use in today’s world is extremely widespread, becoming a staple of modern life. Studies show that nearly 90% of all homes have a computer in them for some purpose. Buying a new computer is often important for professional needs, recreation, and everything in between.
With them being so common, it’s sometimes difficult to know what to look for in a computer. If you’ve been looking to purchase a computer, we’re here to help. Here’s everything you need to know to find the best computer for you.
1. Budget First
The first thing you’re going to need to look into is your budget. There are computers that can work for any budget, but that doesn’t mean they’re all equal. You can find a budget PC pretty easily, but you’ll usually have to cut some corners to do so.
This is especially the case if you’re working to build your own computer. That way, you can customize exactly where you want to cut corners. You might decide to skip out on a graphics card entirely or go for a weaker processor to get better RAM.
Whatever your choice, your budget will need to stay at the forefront of your mind. The best computer doesn’t matter if you can’t afford it, after all. Decide early on how much you’re willing to spend so you know where to start.
2. Mobile or Desktop?
Speaking of building your own computer, what kind of computer do you want? You’ll want to decide if you want a laptop or a desktop before you start searching. This can drastically impact prices, performance, customization, and many other factors.
Think of what you’re going to use your computer for and how often it will be. If you travel a lot or prefer to do your work in public places like a coffee shop, laptops are best. If you want a dedicated office space and to customize your PC, desktops may come to mind.
It’s easy to find a computer when you’re searching for laptops. Make sure to look for the best deals on laptops if you decide to go mobile.
3. Ensure Proper Memory
If you don’t know much about computers, it can feel overwhelming. The specs list for a computer might seem confusing at first. One of the most important things for performance is your RAM.
RAM – Random Access Memory – is vital to running programs on your computer. This goes from having a tab of your favorite browser open to running games and applications. Everything you use on your computer uses RAM, and the more RAM, the more things you can do at once.
If you go for something low on RAM, you could struggle with performance issues. Low multitasking ability, slow operating, and inability to run more advanced programs could appear.
No matter what your computer is for, make sure you’re getting a system with enough RAM. 16gb of RAM is good enough for most systems. However, if you’re looking for more advanced tasks such as animating or the latest games, you’ll likely want more.
If you’re building your own computer or purchasing a desktop, you can customize this easily. An adequate amount of high-speed RAM is key to a good computer. When buying a computer online, keep RAM in mind.
4. Proper Portability
This feature is more in mind for mobile systems. Laptops come in all shapes and sizes. Some are much more portable than others.
There are laptops – especially older models – that are bulky. This can make it difficult to transport it. When you’ve gone for a computer specifically to have a mobile workstation, this becomes a real hassle.
When you’re trying to find a computer, keep the weight in mind. If you’re using a desktop, this is still something worth thinking of. Whether you intend to move it frequently or not, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t getting a system that’s difficult to transport.
5. Ample Connectivity
One thing that some forget to look at is the connectivity of their systems. This includes things like USB slots, ethernet ports, and the like.
All of these are necessary for making sure that you have the ability to connect everything you need. For example, if you don’t have WiFi set up at your home and intend to use ethernet, you have to make sure your system has the right port. Some laptops are built only for wireless and may not have one.
Look into the specs and reviews of a computer to make sure it has what you need. Extra monitors or USB plug-ins will need ports for proper use. Nothing is worse than getting your new system and finding out it doesn’t fulfill your needs.
6. Preferred Operating System
This one is relatively simple but extremely important. There are multiple different operating systems – often shortened to OS. Each of these systems has perks and reasons to pick them.
The two most common that you would likely find while searching for the best computer are Windows and Mac. Each are excellent choices that specialize in different things. However, many programs run better on one over the other, and some are outright incompatible.
Mac is often sought after for productivity, whereas Windows is common for gaming. There are other operating systems like Linux to keep in mind as well.
Do some research to make sure that the OS is able to fulfill your needs. This can also affect the price and several other specs of the computer. Look into whether you’re getting the best operating system for your uses before you buy.
7. Screen Size
Another thing you’ll need to look into is the size of your screen. With laptops, this is simple – the size of the screen is usually the size of the computer. Don’t get something so small you can’t see, but so big you can’t transport it.
With desktops, this gets a bit more complicated. Desktop computers don’t have built-in screens, meaning you need to put more thought into the display.
There’s more to it than size, but the size is a good place to start. Think of what you use your screen for so you know what size to use. If you spend most of your time viewing movies or playing games, a bigger monitor is often more appealing.
Make sure that you aren’t getting something too big for your set-up, though. Using a monitor that’s too big might end up unenjoyable, especially if you sit too close.
8. Future Customizability
Many laptops are difficult to work on once you receive them. They’re tough to open and often can’t have parts swapped out freely. This can make it difficult if you want to customize it later on.
This is something else to keep in mind while you’re buying a computer online. If you want to customize your own, desktops might appeal to you more. You can open up the case much easier and swap out parts whenever you please.
That said, many laptops are still customizable as well. You might want to look into taking them into a professional to have the swaps done. Either way, future customizability for your computer is important to think of for your computer’s future use.
9. Storage Space
The storage space of your computer is another vital thing to keep in mind. This memory is different from the RAM that we discussed earlier. Because of that, many people have begun to use the term “storage” instead.
Storage is something that you usually see in a hard drive. This is crucial for storing anything on your computer. All games, videos, pictures, music, applications, programs – literally anything on your computer takes up storage.
Obviously, the more the better. Nowadays it’s usually easy to find a terabyte of storage for relatively cheap. If you’re building your own computer, going up to two terabytes is an easy jump.
There are also solid-state drives, or SSDs, which have become popular as well. These are faster, but often more expensive and lower in space. That makes them great for a few key programs such as your OS and most used applications.
10. Powerful Processing
Speaking of the internals of your computer, the processor is another thing you won’t want to skip. There’s nothing your computer does that doesn’t affect your processor and vice versa.
Without getting too deeply into the technicalities of it, processors complete your computer’s tasks. That means that a faster, more powerful processor will make your computer faster.
Needless to say, this is worth looking into when buying a computer. An old, obsolete processor will make your new system unpleasant to use. If you’re on a budget, though, getting the most powerful up-to-date processor might cost too much.
Compare and contrast processors to see what has what you need. This is an important step if you intend to use your computer for more advanced tasks. If you only intend to run basic programs, a weaker processor should suffice.
11. Clear Resolution
Another factor that goes into the display of your system is the resolution. In fact, this is the most important factor of your resolution.
Your display is made up of pixels. The more pixels, the clearer your picture. The higher your resolution, the better your display!
High resolutions are often usually larger displays. Smaller laptops or monitors will often have a lower resolution because of this. A standard of 1920×1080 is common for both mobile and desktop displays.
The peripherals of your system are something you’ll want to keep in mind. With laptops, this is a bit easier, as much is already built in. If you’re set using the laptop’s built-in speakers and trackpad mouse, you can likely shrug off peripherals.
Desktops, however, don’t have such things built in. Peripherals include things like headsets, microphones, keyboards, your mouse, and other such items. It’s important to make sure that these items are compatible with whatever you’re using.
Some may require more USB ports than you have, for example. Others may also need connectivity that your computer will need to have.
Another thing to think of is multiple displays. It’s especially common to have more than one monitor for productivity’s sake. This is especially for things such as writing, programming, and researching, where having multiple displays lets you keep track of multiple things.
Make sure that your computer is able to connect with all the peripherals you need. You also will want to purchase these either before or at the same time as your computer. That way, you have everything you need right at the start.
13. Solid Battery Life
Desktops connect to an outlet via a power source and cord, making battery life non-existent. For laptops, however, battery life is vital. You’ll want to make sure that your laptop can hold a charge.
This is especially the case for older systems. As a laptop ages, it often has difficulty holding its battery life. Make sure you’re getting a laptop that can hold a charge for as long as you need it to.
14. Needed Drives
The last thing on our list is something that doesn’t come up as often. Newer systems often don’t have the drives that older systems do. This is mostly the case with CD drives.
The reason is simple – CDs and discs are quickly becoming obsolete. Few if any programs install via discs nowadays, and most people don’t listen to their music through CDs. This has made it so most new systems don’t have the needed drives.
If you need them for some reason – older programs and games, burning CDs and DVDs, or anything else – make sure your computer has one. You can also purchase an external drive for any purposes you might need.
Buying a New Computer
Buying a new computer is exciting and somewhat stressful. Making sure you have what you need to get the best computer is sometimes overwhelming. Buying a computer online is a great way to get a system that fills your needs.
If you have further questions about how to find a computer, feel free to contact us. You can also browse our extensive blog for more information on how to buy a computer.