Even though computer prices are lower than they ever have been, buying a new computer can still be a major expense. In fact, many people spend more than they should do on a new computer mostly because they end up paying extra for features and performance levels that they have no use for. If you go to your nearest computer store, for example, the sales representative may try to persuade you that you need the latest and greatest computing power house even if all you want it for is to check emails and surf the Web. Following are some unbiased tips to help you make a more informed purchase.
Different Types of Computers
Computers were once characterized by their towering beige cases before laptops came along and, much more recently, all-in-one desktops, media centre PCs, netbooks and tablets. There is more to choose from than ever before but, when it comes to the form factor, it is all about portability. Desktops remain the top choice for those whose priorities are power, features and upgradability. Notebooks offer a great compromise for productivity and desktop-like abilities while on the move. Netbooks are basically tiny, low-power notebooks while tablet computers are the ultimate portable touchscreen devices.
For everyday computing tasks such as Web browsing and emailing, any modern computer will be more than adequate. However, you may want to avoid tablet computers if you plan to do a lot of typing. When it comes to productivity, a tablet computer is far from ideal. Power users, particularly those into high-end computer aided design applications, image and video editing or gaming, will generally be best off with a desktop computer although there are some high-end (and much more expensive) laptops as well which can usually live up to the task. Such computer users will want something with a powerful graphics card, at least four gigabytes of memory, a quad-core processor and about 500 GB of hard disk space or more.
If all you need is something for everyday computing tasks, then you can get away with quite a low budget. For as little as $300 (£200 or €230), you can get either a tablet or laptop computer which should fulfil such requirements. For around three times this price, you can expect to get a powerful computer which should fulfil the requirements of most high-end users, particularly if it is a desktop machine. Of course, you can even set your budget a great deal higher than that if you want to get the very best in terms of performance and features.
For many people, a major concern is upgradability. Today, laptop and tablet computers might be becoming more and more popular, but they are both very limited when it comes to upgrade options. If upgradability is your main concern, you’ll likely want to stick with a traditional desktop computer. In laptop computers, you can typically upgrade the memory and hard disk but not much else. Tablet computers generally offer no such possibilities.
Operating Systems and Other Software
Most laptop and desktop computers come with Windows 7 or Windows 8 preinstalled. For tablet computers, the most common operating systems are Windows 8, Apple iOS or Google Android. For the most part, the operating system you choose is entirely a matter of personal preference. It is generally best, however, to stick with the one that you’re most familiar with and the same one which you use on any other computing devices that you own. For desktop and laptop computers, there are many possible options although, for maximum compatibility with the widest selection of hardware and software, you will probably want to stick with Windows.