Image of different computers. Tips and advice on how to choose a computer

How to choose a computer: Tips and advice

So you want to buy a computer… Where do you start? Well, that can be a hard question if you’re not so much into computers. The good news is, there is a first time to everything. We’ll guide you on how to choose a computer you will be proud of years to come.

Tips on how to choose a computer that fits you

How to choose a computer Tip #1

  • Know exactly what you want to do with your computer.

Making a needs list will make it easier for you when you begin the actual shopping processes.

It will make it easier to consult; whether with a knowledgeable friend, or on an online forum, or wherever once you know what you want from your computer.

It’ll further bring clarity to your mind on what you really need so that you don’t end up buying a machine that’s far more powerful (and expensive) than you’ll ever require, or the other way round.

A few of the things you may likely use your computer for include:

  • Surfing the Internet
  • Sending and receiving e-mail
  • Spreadsheet and Money management
  • Word Processing
  • Listening and recording music
  • Streaming movies from the net
  • Storing and manipulating images
  • Programming
  • Playing games

2. How to choose a computer Tip #2

  • Consider mobility against cost.

Once you have your needs on paper, contemplate on whether mobility is really important to you on not. If you are a student or are often on the move, a laptop will serve you better. However, if you plan to use your machine for home or at your office, or even for demanding tasks such as video editing and heavy gaming, a desktop computer will be a better choice.

It is import to keep in mind that laptops are often more expensive than desktops with the same specifications. However, today you can get a laptop at an incredibly low price compared to 5 years ago, so you need not to worry too much about price. Price becomes an issue when you need a powerful laptop that is also light. The special design employed pushes the price up quite a bit. Not forgetting gaming laptops with premium components…those raise the price quite a bit too.

If you’re planning to use your computer for word processing, surfing the net, listening to music or playing movies – you really don’t need a very powerful machine. A basic computer will do just fine. For standard home or basic office use, you should be adequately served by 2GB of RAM, at least a Pentium or Core i3 processor and at least 250GB hard drive for storage. These are the base requirements you will need to have. However, anything above this will be a better choice for you in the long-run. You can get suggestion on laptops here.

If you plan to use your computer for word processing, this article might just be right for you.

For moderately demanding tasks such as light gaming and CAD work – 4GB RAM, a Core i5 processor and 500GB hard disk storage will be quite fine. And… if you’re a hard core gamer or programmer, you likely wouldn’t be reading this piece. You probably are on your 5th computer by now and you know enough about computers to make an informed choice.

How to choose a computer Tip #3

  • Decide on where to make your purchase

The choice of where you make your purchase is also an important factor to consider. It often affects price, warranty and the after sale service you’ll receive after your purchase.

When buying from an online shop, make sure to read through lots of reviews on sites like MOGZTech and others. However, not all reviews are honest. As such, do your due diligence once you get to the seller site (such as Amazon or Newegg) by reading user reviews so as to know how other users rate that particular machine. You can also try searching the web for computer related forums. Just search “computer forums” on any search engines and you’ll get some good hits.

Its also a good idea to go to the help section of seller sites to get their best recommendations according to your needs. See for instance Amazon’s Choice for some suggestions on desktops, laptops and 2-in-1s. The advantage of buying from reseller sites like these is that they offer delivery service, are often cheaper than your local store, as well as have a return policy in case the product is faulty. Often the down side to buying through these sites is the waiting period between paying for and receiving goods, as well as the time it takes to have a product replaced in the event that it is faulty.

A woman testing a computer at a local computer store

You can also make your purchase from the original equipment manufacturer’s site such as Dell, HP, ASUS or CYBERPOWER. These sites offer the same benefits as those mentioned above, but often offering at slightly higher prices than their third party counterparts. The main advantage that comes with buying on such sites is that you get a warranty served directly by the manufacturer as opposed having to go through a third party vendor.

When buying from your local computer store, make sure to carry along a your needs list. This will make it easier for the salesperson there to assist you. It’s also a good idea to tag along someone who is well informed in matters computer to help you tell between fact and mere noise.

How to choose a computer Tip #4

  • Choose the right monitor/ display
A gaming laptop linked to three large displays

Most desktop computers on sale online come as separate units, with the monitor being sold separately from the CPU. If you you are to buy a desktop computer, you might want to try a 21 inch (or larger) display so that you don’t have to squint to see what is on your screen. Flat panel displays are great for saving space too and the clarity of the displays are quite impressive. We’ve done an article on how to choose a computer monitor that we think you’ll really like. Check it out.

How to choose a computer Tip #5

  • Consider the software installed

Most computers will come installed with basic software. Find what software the PC will come with and work out if this is all you need. Basic users will find all they need pre-installed in the computer, either in trial version or the full version. Now, this is where the price difference come in between computers of the same specifications. Make sure to confirm whether it is a trial version or otherwise, because often times the price of software adds significantly to the price of the machine you want to buy. And you will find, with a little diligence, that many offers made by sellers for computers with all the necessary software installed in their full versions may at times beat offers made for similar computers yet with trial-version software. The word is diligence. DO YOUR HOMEWORK and you will be happy with the computer you end up with.

To know more about the parts that make a computer, click here.

See also: