Choosing a computer

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A friend asked me to go to the computer store and help him pick out a new computer. I said why go to the store when you can do it online.
Yep you can get some pretty good deals these days if you shop around online, even if you’re not someone who is confident enough to buy components and assemble it themselves. I built my last computer from the recommended list of components at Lifehacker at the time, and it was a very decent computer and at a low price compared to buying prebuilt – but that’s because I’m comfortable with building my own computer. For most people, I would recommend buying a prebuilt system from a big brand to make any warranty issues a lot easier – no need to diagnose every single hardware fault, just call up support and take it back to the store you bought it from.
But the very first and main question you have to ask yourself is… What are you going to do with the computer you are going to buy?

  • Games
  • Online/Web Surfing
  • Downloading
  • Education
  • Business
  • Hobby
  • Writing
  • Computer graphics

This is the first step. Let’s look at some of the consideration you need for each.

1. Games –

Tower( ie… a regular PC)
You will need a fast CPU – The faster the better.
A large amount of RAM (Random Access Memory)
1 Gig or better Disk Drive
A high speed graphics card
Graphics Accelerator chip or card
A large Graphics Memory as well.
Internet Connection.
DVD/CD ROM drive.
Multiple (4) USB ports
Quality stereo speakers
Comfortable headset with microphone
USB Game Controller
External Flat Screen Monitor

2. Online/ Web surfing –

Laptop
Moderately fast CPU
4 Gig Ram
½ gig Hard Drive
Internet Connection

3. Downloading –

Laptop/ Tower
Moderately fast CPU
4 Gig Ram.
1 Gig internal Hard Drive
USB 3 Port.
External USB hard drive 1 Terabyte or bigger.
DVD/CD Rom RW drive

4. Education –
If you are a college student, Mac Powerbook or iPad is the standard.

5. Business –

Laptop
Docking station
Fast CPU
Large Memory
1 gig internal hard drive
High resolution Graphics Chip Optional
Internet connection
Multiple (4) USB ports.
Wireless Keyboard
Wireless mouse
Headset w Microphone
Flat Screen Monitor

6. Hobby –

Tower
Fast CPU
Large Memory
1 gig hard drive
Multiple USB ports
DVD/CD ROM Drive
Internet Connection

7. Writing –

Laptop
Fast CPU
Large Memory
½ – 1 gig hard drive
DVD/CD Rom drive
Multiple (4) USB ports
Wireless Keyboard
Wireless Mouse
High quality USB headset w microphone
Internet Connection
20 inch Flat screen Monitor

8. Computer Graphics –

Laptop/Tower
Multicore High speed CPU
Graphics chip
Large memory for graphics
Large RAM The Biggest you can get 4 gig and up
1 Gig Hard Drive
DVD/CD Rom Drive
Internet Connection
Large Flat Screen Monitor

I am assuming you will use the latest versions of everything, which is Windows 8.1. The Macs of course will run Mavericks, the current version of OS X. In a future post we will go into the details of the whys for each of my choices. These configurations have worked well for my customers over the last couple of years and should for you too.

Posted in Computer.