Personal computers have never been more popular.
Over 71 million of them were shipped in three months leading up to September this year! That, according to the same source, is a 3.6% increase on last year’s figures.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. After all, PCs are now a ‘must-have’ in today’s world- especially since COVID-19 forced so many more of us to work from home. Whether you’re gaming, working, studying, or procrastinating, having a computer makes life ten times easier.
However, knowing how to pick a PC that’s suitable for your needs is another ball game altogether. With little to no technical IT insight and endless options available, it can be really tricky to know which one is right for the job! Moreover, with lots of money on the table, the last thing you want is to rush the decision and pick the wrong one.
Know the struggle and want some help? You’re in the right place. Keep reading to discover 9 top tips and tricks for choosing the perfect personal computer.
1. Know Your Budget
The vast array of options out there can make searching for computers (online, on sites like lenovo.com, or in-store) a daunting prospect. Want to know one of the simplest ways to narrow down the list of possibilities?
Deciding your budget.
After all, computers range in price from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. If you walk into a store with up to $1000 to spend, though, then you can walk straight past any models that fall too far above or below that price range. Instead, you can focus on select computers with an appropriate price tag.
One thing worth adding is that it’s often worth treating this purchase as an investment.
As always, you tend to get what you pay for in the world of computers! Spending more than you might wish to will often deliver a better end-result in terms of speed, longevity, and overall performance. You’re more likely to avoid expensive repairs and replacements in the future as a result.
2. Recognize What You’ll Be Doing
The next all-important thing to think about is what you’ll be doing on your new computer. In other words, what task(s) do you need it to accomplish on a daily basis?
Your answer to this question will determine the quality of the computer you should buy.
Remember, these devices don’t just vary in price. They come with different levels of speed, power, and memory as well. Computers with higher specifications can perform more advanced tasks (and are more expensive as a result).
Take the example of a home-based worker who needs to swap emails, write documents, and put spreadsheets together. In this case, a budget computer with average power, speed, and memory would probably suffice. Yet someone who wants to edit videos, get their gaming going, and have hundreds of tabs open online at once will need another beast altogether!
3. Consider the CPU
The power and overall performance of computers are determined by what’s called their ‘CPU’. Short for ‘central processing unit’, this is the part of a PC that processes instructions. To avoid getting too technical, though, the main thing worth knowing is that better CPUs deliver greater all-around performance.
Think back to the person working at home that we mentioned above. Their basic computing needs could be met with a simple dual-core processor (though a quad-core, such as Intel’s i3, would be better). By contrast, the video-editing gamer with hundreds of tabs would probably want a six-core CPU (such as Intel’s i5 or i7) to handle those demands.
Once again, it’s all about finding a CPU that can match your individual requirements. Pick top-ranking PCs that are more powerful than you need, and you’ll spend more as a result. Too weak, though, and you’ll be frustrated by the lack of speed and overall performance.
4. Don’t Forget About Memory & Storage
Memory (or ‘RAM’) and storage are two more key ingredients in choosing the right PC. We’ll keep things nice and simple as far as RAM (aka the system’s memory) goes: an 8GB to 16GB capacity is enough for almost everybody!
The only exception might be people who do lots of content creation and video editing. In these cases, you might want to push things up to 32GB.
By contrast, storage space is where you save all of your files and programs, so you can never really have enough. A computer with 250GB is a good starting point for non-professional users, though. You can always add more storage space (or use the Cloud/an external hard-drive) whenever you start to run out.
5. Decide Between a Laptop and Desktop
The next step is to think about whether you want a laptop or a desktop. There are pros and cons to each. However, the decision often comes down to your need for portability.
If you want a computer that you can transport with ease, then you’ll want a laptop for the task! But if you prioritize power, screen size, and customizability, then a desktop would be a better choice. Of course, a desktop computer requires a monitor/display as well, whereas laptops tend to be ‘all-in-one’ solutions.
6. Think About Size & Weight
Let’s imagine that you want to take your computer anywhere and are happy to sacrifice some processing power for the privilege. A laptop’s the only logical way forward! From there, you’d want to think about size and weight.
Trust us, just because laptops are designed to be portable doesn’t mean they’re always small and lightweight. Larger models can weigh multiple kilos and require their own laptop bag to carry them around!
Lug these laptops around all day, and you’re sure to feel it the next day. If that doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, then look for the smaller, thinner models instead.
7. Consider Battery Life
One benefit of desktop computers is that they’re plugged into the mains. The result? You don’t have to worry about them running out of battery and shutting down unexpectedly!
Alas, the same can’t be said for laptops.
Nevertheless, many models do boast impressive battery lives these days. It depends what you’re doing on them (some processes drain the battery quicker than others), of course, but you can expect a high-quality laptop to offer upwards of 10 hours of life before they need recharging. That’s good news if you want to use it on the go without access to mains power.
It’s still worth checking a laptop’s battery life before you buy it, though. You’ll find a huge range out there, and the last thing you want is any nasty surprises. Ensure you know what you’re getting into (in terms of battery life and other key attributes) before committing to a purchase.
8. Check the Number of Ports
There’s nothing more exasperating than wanting to connect a USB device to your computer and not having enough ports to do it!
Whether it’s a printer, an external hard drive, or a wireless mouse, you’re unable to do the task without disconnecting something else first. That might sound like a first-world problem (and it is), but these minor issues can cause real frustration over time.
That’s why we recommend taking the time to consider any peripheral devices you’ll want to connect to a PC before buying it. On this note, desktop computers tend to offer more ports than smaller laptops. If you’ve got many different devices to link up, then a desktop could be a better option.
9. Decide on the Operating System
Windows or Mac? This is a hot topic in the computing world with fierce proponents on either side. Ask Apple lovers, and they’ll tell you Mac’s far better; Microsoft aficionados will say the opposite!
Ultimately, both operating systems have their advantages, and the final choice comes down to personal preference. Mac computers tend to be more expensive but more secure (from the rising threat of cyberattacks). Whereas Windows computers offer more variety, cheaper price tags, and a better gaming experience.
We suggest trying both out for size before you choose a PC. If you can find a model that’s intuitive to use and falls within budget, then that’s probably the best one to buy.
Time to Pick a PC That’s Perfect for You
Tens of millions of PCs are sold every single year in the US and overseas. But don’t be fooled! Those sky-high sales figures don’t mean that buying a computer’s an easy task.
Far from it. Indeed, with so many expensive models to choose from these days, finding the right PC can be a serious challenge.
We hope the advice in this post will make a difference to anybody in this predicament! Keep these tips in mind, and you should have everything you need to pick a PC that’s up to standard. Would you like to read more articles like this one?
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