Factors to consider when buying a computer

Tips to keep in mind when buying a personal computer

Shopping is not usually an easy task, more so when one is limited financially. The American Psychology Association published a research article titled “What you need to know about will power – The Psychological Science of Self-control,” in which research showed that purchase decisions required the exercising of the will. The study further showed that greater will power was exercised with low income earners than in those financially better off, resulting in will-power drain.

This goes to show how hard it may be at times to make a decision on what to buy, especially if you’re on a tight budget. I myself have many times found myself in this dilemma, and what makes it even more frustrating is when you really have little information on what constitutes a good buy. Even worse is when you need to make a high value purchase that is going to matter for years to come, yet you don’t even know where to start. I get you 100 percent. Am here for you.

Buying a computer may or may not be matter of life and death, but it sure is something that can whip up lots of anxiety in someone. Bombarded by the wide selection of machines from half a dozen manufacturers, I see how it can be a daunting task to chose one that will match your exact needs yet remain within your budget. That’s why we wrote this article, to help you get through this puzzle.

So you’re thinking of buying a new computer…

Where do you start?

Well, here are a few things you need to consider before making your purchase:

1. What do you anticipate to use your machine mainly for.

What software do you plan on running mostly, and most importantly? Make a list. This will make it clearer to you of the kind of machine you need, as well as make it easier for others to help you based on your needs list.

– A general rule when buying a computer is buy a more powerful computer than you currently need. This will ensure that your machine will remain relevant in the coming years regardless of your growing demands on it, as well as stand against the tide of obsolescence.

2. How much are you willing to spend.

This is perhaps the main question which will likely direct all other factors that may come into play later such as; durability, performance, portability, aesthetics, etc.

This matters very much especially considering that certain software run better and faster with certain classes of processors. Further, tasks such as video editing and 3D rendering, gaming, etc cannot run of all processors, so its a good idea to know what you plan to do with your machine.

3. Is portability important to you.

This is bound to affect price rather significantly, as well as battery life and general performance. Going for a light machine may often mean compromising on the size of the battery, its performance as well as cooling ability.

Below is a table that’ll break down the needs a user may have and match those needs to the appropriate machine that’ll serve their demands. In this guide, we mainly focus on laptop computers.


Business travelVideo editingGaming3D renderingPhoto editing
Main concern
  • Security
  • Portability,
  • Battery life
  • Graphics
  • Processing power
  • Display
  • Graphics
  • Processing power
  • Display
  • Graphics
  • Processing power
  • Display
  • Graphics
  • Processing power
  • Display
  • Card reader
Processor
  • Pentium to Core i5, depending on size, power demands and portabilty
  • Best of Core i7 with Multiple cores and Hyper threading
  • Core i5 and above depending on games to be played | often better with processor cores
  • Best of Core i7 with Multiple cores and Hyper threading
  • Best of Core i7 with Multiple cores and Hyper-threading
RAM
  • 4GB or more
  • 16 -32 GB and upwards depending of software used
  • 8 – 16 GB for common games. Upwards for heavier games
  • 16 -32 GB and upwards depending of software used
  • 8 -16 GB depending on extent of use
Graphics
  • Integrated
  • Dedicated
  • Preferably dedicated depending on games played
  • Dedicated
  • Dedicated
Internal Storage
  • 128 GB SSD and above
  • Min 128 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD
  • Min 128 GB SSD and 500 GB HDD. Could be lower
  • Min 128 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD
  • 128 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD
Display
  • IPS | Matte finish
  • IPS | Glossy finish
  • TN – For competitive gaming
  • TN / VA for casual gaming Glossy
  • IPS | Glossy finish
  • IPS | Glossy finish
Examples
Apple MacBook Pro 13

Dell XPS9560

Acer Predator 17

MSI GT72S Dell XPS – 15


Programming Writing (writers) Home Office College
Main concern
  • Processing power
  • Storage
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Storage
Multimedia Storage
  • Storage
  • Speed
  • Storage
  • Portability
  • Battery life
  • Storage
  • Multimedia
Processor
  • Core i5 and above (depending on language)
  • Hyper-threading
  • Multiple cores
  • Pentium upwards. Ideally Core i3
  • Core i3 upwards
  • Core i3 upwards
  • Core i3 upwards (depending on major)
RAM
  • 4 – 16 GB depending on language
  • 2 GB or more. Ideally 4 GB
  • 4 – 8 GB
  • 4 – 8 GB
  • 4 – 8 GB
Graphics
  • Integrated
  • Integrated
  • Integrated
  • Integrated
  • Integrated/ dedicated
Internal Storage
  • 1 TB HDD
  • SSD optional
  • 500GB -1 TB HDD
  • SSD optional
  • 500GB -1 TB HDD
  • SSD optional
  • 500GB -1 TB HDD
  • SSD optional
  • 500GB -1 TB HDD
  • SSD optional
Examples
Toshiba Portege Asus K501UW Acer Aspire E 15 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Samsung Light Titan

See also:

Edwin M

Professionally a Mechanical Engineer and a Tech Nerd at heart, Edwin is above all a passionate hobby guitar player and proud gospel music listener. He writes reviews of gadgets he would love to buy and recommend.