It can be tempting to buy a computer based on the lowest price you see online, a fun and appealing design, or new features that everyone is talking about. However, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions before snagging that deal. This ensures you buy the computer best suited to your needs so that you won’t experience buyer’s remorse.
Questions to ask before you buy a PC:
What am I going to use this computer for?
If you plan to use it for gaming, video editing, or adobe creative cloud, you need to look at gaming PCs or PCs with lots of memory, processing power, and dedicated graphics cards. For most other uses, you can choose almost any style of desktop.
What operating system do I want to use?
Windows is the most popular operating system and gives you tons of hardware options. Learning Computer has a range of Windows tutorial you can access here. Mac is the choice of those who value aesthetics over affordability. Linux runs on a limited number of machines.
What’s more important, form or function?
Do you want a sleek, unobtrusive unit to use while working from home? Do you want the most high-powered components, even if they take up more space?
Does it need to be new?
If you’re willing to buy used, buy it directly from the manufacturer or from Newegg.com.
Do I plan on installing upgrades?
If so, an all-in-one desktop is not for you.
What’s my budget?
The answers to these questions will point you in the direction of the machines that are right for you.
Types of Desktop Computer
Full-size desktop computers take up the most space but are also simple to repair and upgrade. Compact desktop computers save space because they are about half the size of a full-size desktop. They have less features and power. All-in-one desktop computers put the computing power into the monitor. This hybridization means that they’re difficult to repair and upgrade, but they take up little space. Lastly, gaming desktop computers tend to be the most expensive, feature-packed option. Gaming computers have tons of RAM, top tier processing speed, and amazing graphics, with lots of opportunities for upgrades.
Choosing a Processor
Multiple cores process more data simultaneously. Clock speed and core number are the main determinants of how fast the processor works. If you want a faster computer, choose a processor with multiple cores and a high clock speed. You can compare Intel’s desktop processors here.
How Much Memory Do I Need?
Memory also plays into speed. When memory is taken up, the computer slows down, so you want to make sure to purchase a computer that has enough memory for your needs. 8 GB of RAM is enough for most people, unless you plan on doing a lot of gaming or video editing. If you do, aim for 16 GB. For those unsure about their RAM needs, purchase a desktop that can be upgraded.
Integrated Graphics VS Graphics Cards
The GPU (graphics processing unit) handles the graphics and visuals that run on your desktop computer. It is more affordable to purchase a computer with integrated graphics. What this means is that a dedicated graphics card is not installed. This limits the quality of the visuals and the games and applications you can run, but isn’t a problem unless you plan to use the computer primarily for gaming or video editing. We recommend saving money and going without a graphics card if you’re not a gamer. Another use for graphics cards is cryptocurrency mining using blockchain. Learn more about blockchain by reading this blog.
Once you’ve defined how you plan to use your desktop computer, you can combine that with your budget to narrow down your options. If the amount of space it takes up isn’t a deciding factor for you, we recommend purchasing a PC that can be upgraded. The ability to add more memory, processing power, graphics cards, etc. saves you the money and trouble of buying another new computer earlier than necessary.
About Sheri Holshouser
Sheri Holshouser is a marketing manager based in Dallas, Texas. In her free time, she likes to read science fiction novels and play with her pug Chloe. Learn more about her professional qualifications on LinkedIn.