There are many computer options for the consumer today. When you walk into any electronic retail store, like Best Buy, someone not knowledgeable in computers may end up with a desktop or laptop that is not ideally suited for their needs.
Before you make your next computer purchase, take a few things into consideration
- What are you going to really be utilizing the computer for?
- Will you be intense computer games?
- Will you be doing heavy graphical work like photo or video editing?
Most people walk into the store and assume, like a bottle of wine, the best is the most expensive. However, you may just be buying a computer that has better specifications then your need. The best comparison that can be made is also in cars. If you are traveling 10 miles a day, in traffic, do you really need the Ferrari, or will a much more affordable and cost-effective Honda civic work?
There are a few things you should consider when looking at the specifications of a computer, and understand what they do
- CPU – This is the main computer chip, nowadays we have dual or quad core chips. What does this mean? CPU’s are the processors behind the computer and while working on a computer you may see the difference on load times, and processing. Powerful CPU’s are best utilized in video editing.
Usually a 1-2 GHZ Dual Core will suffice for the casual user.
- RAM / MEMORY – Ram or Random Access Memory is most noticeable when you are working with multiple applications open at the same time. The more memory that is installed, the quicker switching and opening applications will be. This is not to be confused with the Hard Drive. Memory mainly helps handle processes that are currently open on your machine.
Usually 1-2GB of RAM will suffice for the casual user.
- Hard Drive / HDD – The hard drive is the storage component to the computer. If you have a large music, video, or other media collection you may want to consider investing in a larger (or secondary) hard drive.
This is determined by the amount of files you have, look at your current computers Hard Drive size and use it as a comparison of the size you need
- Video Card – Most computers nowadays have video cards built into the motherboard. For those who are not planning on playing graphic-heavy games, doing video or photo editing, or other graphically heavy things, the built in standard video card should be fine. If you plan on playing the the latest and greatest computer game, another video card should be installed to handle the graphics. (Video or Graphics cards can range greatly in price based on their performance)
Most of the people we come across in the business world need a computer that can open the Microsoft Windows Operating System, run Microsoft Office, an Internet browser, and maybe a few proprietary applications. For these reasons, we never suggest the “top of the line” models, which are usually built for computer game players, video editors, etc.
Don’t let computer sales people convince you otherwise, just because you have the best computer in the store, does not mean you will need it.