February 23, 2015
Which computer is right for me?
Shopping for a new computer can be quite overwhelming. It’s quite easy to get confused by the sheer volume of technical decisions you need to make, add to that a salesman spouting off a bunch of foreign sounding PC lingo, you may very well decide that you want to stay with a stone tablet and chisel and skip the hassle altogether. Instead of breaking out the abacus to do the monthly bills let me explain to you what you need to know in order to shop for and buy the perfect computer for your needs.
The first step to choosing the right PC for you is to evaluate what you will be using your computer for. Deciding what sort of applications you’ll want to run on your new PC will help you decide the features your system will need. For example, if you only intend to run basic tasks such as browsing the web, e-mail, running basic office software such as Word then even the budget end of the computer selection should meet your requirements.
However, home computers are used for a variety of more specific activities now than ever before. An entertainment PC can handle the basic jobs as stated above, as well as using it to watch TV and movies, listen to music, play some games, and share video and music files on a home network. If it’s a gaming Pc you’re looking for then you’ll want the best possible performance for the latest games. This type of computer can be much more expensive. You will want a quality screen, a good sound card and speakers, a powerful graphics card, and a fast hard drive and a good processor.
Now that you’ve determined what you want to use your computer for, it’s time to decide what type of system you want. There are multiple types of computers on the market today. When I think of a computer I think about a tower type desktop. However, in this day and age computers are in the palm of our hands with our smartphones. We have tablets, and netbooks, ultrabooks, laptops, and all-in-one desktop systems.
Laptop computers have all the basics in a single unit. They can range in cost from $200 to well over $1500 depending on how much power you need. If you need the ability to watch movies on DVD or Blu-Ray, or burn DVDs, then a laptop or Ultrabook will likely be the best choice; tablets and netbooks don’t offer an optical drive.
Ultrabook’s are thinner and lighter than standard laptops. They range in cost from $600 to $1800. Ultrabook’s are usually more expensive than laptops because of their slim profile.
Netbooks are similar to laptop computers but have much smaller screens (usually 10 to 12 inches), and their components are more about saving battery life than delivering power. With this type of computer you can expect a slow CPU, only a little RAM (normally 1 to 2 GB), no DVD drive, little hard drive space, etc. This type of system is good for basic web browsing, and e-mailing. They are extremely portable, the battery life is very good at 4 to 10 hours, and they are quite reasonably priced at less than $200 to around $400. Although they are not officially classified as netbooks, Chromebooks serve a similar purpose and have become popular alternatives.
Tablets are compact, extremely portable, touchscreen devices. They rely on a specialized operating system. Mini programs called apps or applications make possible the work and play you expect from a computer. Instead of a keyboard or mouse you use the touchscreen to navigate and type. Tablets cost anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on how much storage you choose and the brand.
If you don’t need a portable computer then a desktop is the best option. These units can cost between $150 and $1000 or more. They are larger, but deliver more power for your money, and are much easier to upgrade or reconfigure. This means if you decide at a later date you want a better gaming performance you can just buy another graphics card. This isn’t usually possible with netbooks or a laptop.