Search This Blog

Follow me on Twitter

January 2, 2012

Buying a New Computer

Sooner or later you will find yourself in the market for a new computer. It could be a replacement for an existing computer, your first computer purchase (not likely if you are reading this), or an additional computer.

When that time comes you need to keep a few things in mind. The first is probably what will you be using your computer for? Will you use it for word processing, surfing the net, photos, etc? While you need to realize your use may change as your computer usage evolves, you should not purchase much more of a computer than what you will need. Don’t purchase a computer that is suited for games when you will only be doing surfing and word processing.

You should get the most recent operating system provided it has been around long enough to work the bugs out. Usually the operating system should be out a few months.

Consider your space requirements and where you will primarily be using it. If you live in a small apartment, will you have space for a desktop? Would a large laptop (11” and up screen) that is considered a desktop replacement be more suitable? If you have a desktop, you likely will not be moving it around much if at all as it involves a tower. Also keep in mind if you are purchasing a laptop, a bigger one tends to be less expensive.

With that in mind, if you are purchasing a laptop you need to know again how you will use it. If you will be travelling with it often, you should consider a smaller one. You also need to realize that the keyboard is not a standard keyboard that you would find with a desktop. You can buy an external mouse and keyboard to use with your computer but this will take up space in your computer bag which you should get if you are buying a laptop. If you are getting either an external mouse or keyboard, get the mouse. It is more value added to a laptop than the keyboard as far as speed is concerned.

Also note that more and more laptops these days come with a cam for videoconferencing.

You also have 3 other aspects to consider. Note that the minimums given are as of now and will change as technology changes. Random access memory (RAM), processing speed, and hard drive size. RAM is the most important. It is the memory used when your computer is on. Once your computer is turned off, this memory is no more. It is sometimes referred to temporary memory. The more RAM, the faster your computer operates and this is the most important of the 3 components. It is where the operating system all opened programs, and current data used are stored. Your minimum RAM should be 2GB and if money is not an issue, a minimum of 4GB. You also need to consider your hard drive size. Think of this as the drawer space for keeping clothes. It is your permanent memory as opposed to RAM memory. You should have a minimum of 160 GB of hard drive storage. If you will be storing, pictures, video, audio streams, you will need more depending on how much you plan to store. Processing speed is the speed of your computer. You do not need to get the fastest processing speed available. You should get 2nd or 3rd fastest. You will not notice the difference and you will appreciate the savings.

The next issue is MAC vs PC. There is a greater availability of software for a PC than a MAC but this gap is a lot less than it used to be. There are other factors to consider however. See below:

MAC Advantages
1. Not as Prone to Viruses.
2. Less Issues of Breakdown – also quicker to start up and shut down.
3. Excellent training. A lot is free.
4. Better maintenance and customer service.
5. Easier to use. However Windows 7 operating system has greatly narrowed this gap. It is competitive with MAC’s Snow Leopard Operating System.

PC Advantages
1. Owned by 90% of people and businesses.
2. More varieties (HP, Dell, etc).
3. Less expensive especially laptops.
4. More for businesses especially since more availability of software as noted.

Last but not least if you are buying a desktop, think about the screen size of your monitor. Again space considerations come into play.

By doing a little research into your needs and space availability you will be able to get a computer that works best for you.