If you are not good at how the computer works, then this material will inform you how to choose the right computer and help you make the right choice when buying. A computer can be different assemblies for different purposes, so first you need to decide what set of computer functions you need or why you are going to buy a computer, how you will use it.
1. Evaluating Your Needs
Ask yourself what you need your computer for.
The main functionality of your computer will dictate the kind of computer that you need. By pinning down the role of your computer early, you can save yourself some serious money down the line.
Will you be using the computer mainly to check email and browse the web?
Do you enjoy games and plan on spending most of your computer time playing the latest and greatest releases?
Are you an artist? Do you want using the computer to work with images, music, or videos projects?
2. Choice between a laptop or a desktop.
Laptops are portable, and are great for students or office workers, but it cost too much for gamers and artists. Desktops are typically much more powerful than laptops and they also take up significantly more space than a laptop and need additional peripheral devices as mous, keyboard, headphones, etc.
Ask yourself if you want to tie your workplace to your home or do you need portability. Laptops allow you to work from virtually anywhere that you can charge or get a Wi-Fi internet connection.
If choosing a laptop, pay attention to the advertised battery life, as your battery will dictate how long your laptop will be working.
3. Choice your Operating System
Apple computers are typically more expensive than an equally powerful Windows PC, and MacOS cant run powerful games. Although these are the most commonly available choices, you can save money by going with a Linux distribution like Ubuntu but it bad choise for common user.
- Apple computers are preferred for musicians and artists, as they typically run content creation programs much more efficiently than a Windows PC.
- Linux is an alternate Operating System that is free from costs, copyrights, and viruses. If you are buying a computer with Linux, look out for a System76. Ubuntu is a good distribution to start with.
4. Check your budget.
Notebooks can be found for less than $100, while high-end gaming and graphics-processing computers can run into the $500 range. Balance your needs versus your available budget.
5. Research the basic computer components.
When it comes time to start shopping around, it will be useful to know what the basic pieces are so that you can make good comparisons.
- Hard disk – This is the storage for your computer. Storage is measured in gigabytes (GB). All of your documents, programs, photos, videos, and music will use this space. In general, the more storage, the better, though average users can easily get by with 500 GB.
- RAM/Memory – This is specialized storage that programs use to keep temporary information. If you don’t have enough RAM, you’ll find programs running sluggishly or even crashing. 8 GB is a good baseline number for RAM, though gamers and graphics designers will want at least double that.
- CPU – This is the computer’s processor, and what makes your computer run. There are two major manufacturers – Intel and AMD. AMD is typically a little cheaper than Intel for comparable performance, at the cost of some quality and support. Be sure to research which CPU you are planning to purchase, as the market changes frequently.
Video card – If you aren’t running games or doing 3D development, you most likely won’t need to worry about your graphics card. If you’re a gaming enthusiast, however, then the video card is a crucial component of the computer.
6.1 Getting a Desktop
1. Take a look at the pros and cons to both building and buying.
2. Look at available prebuilt computers.
If building your own computer seems a little intimidating, you can find prebuilt machines from all of the major manufacturers. Make sure to compare specifications across brands, and to avoid computers that have for more features than you’ll ever use. On the flip-side, don’t buy a computer just because it is cheap, make sure that it has the features that you need.
- Popular desktop manufacturers include: HP, iBuyPower, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, Gateway, and more.
- Apple desktops run Mac OS X instead of Windows, and are often much less customizable or upgradable. The upside is their unified hardware means programs designed for much typically run much more efficiently, and OS X has to worry less about viruses. Linux computers such as the System76 are cheap and do not get viruses. Although, a Linux computer may not have many applications. But, there are equivalents that work just as well.
3. Shop around for computer components.
6.2 Getting a Laptop