Saturday, May 20, 2017

Computer or Laptop Buying Guide for Dummies

HP 22-b016 All-In-One Desktop (Intel Pentium J3710, 4Gb Ram, 1Tb Hdd) With Windows 10
If you're planning on buying a computer or a laptop for yourself or as a gift, the first thing to consider is the person. Are they computer savvy or computer illiterate? There are different criteria for each situation. If you're purchasing for someone who knows computers, you'll want to look at something with enough power and functions to satisfy their needs. If you're going to buy a computer for someone that is a novice in front of the keyboard, you'll want to keep it simple and common.


Before I continue, I would strongly suggest that you don't purchase a used computer. Yes, there are plenty of pre-owned systems that will provide exactly what you need, but there are also a lot of used computers out there with hidden problems waiting to be discovered. Stick with a new system and give the gift of a new system with a good warranty and customer support. I would also recommend staying away from buying a Mac unless the recipient is already familiar with it. Not that there's anything wrong with a Mac, but a PC is better from a market saturation point of view. There are a lot more resources for PCs than Macs.

Dell OptiPlex Desktop (Intel Core2Duo 2.0GHz CPU, 160GB, 4GB Memory, Windows Professional 32-Bit) w/ 19in LCD Monitor (brands may vary) (Certified Refurbished)


The most important things on a laptop or a computer


Laptop Poin2 Chromebook 11 (11.6-Inch, 4GB, 16GB eMMC, Purple Black) LT0101-02USLets start with the easiest things first. Are you looking for a laptop, desktop or tower system? If you're buying this computer or laptop for someone on the go, like a college student then I would suggest a laptop. If the recipient will be using it for their home or office, then I would go with a desktop or tower. If they have a lot of desk space, go with a desktop computer. If things are a little cramped, opt for a tower. Before you buy anything, you could even take some measurements to ensure you buy something that will fit the space available.


HP 8100 Tower Computer Intel i5 3.2GHz Processor 8GB Memory 1TB HDD Genuine Windows 10 Professional (Certified Refurbished)

It has looks, but does it have brains? After deciding on form, you'll need to wade in and decide on function. The brain of any computer is called the central processing unit (CPU). Just like the brains in our heads, the more powerful the CPU the more things it can do and the faster it can do them. There are a number of different types of CPUs, really too many to get into so we'll concentrate on the kind of power you want. In the world of computers, power equates to speed. If you want to run average programs at an average speed, don't choose any CPU less than 1 GHz (Gigahertz). The fastest retail CPU right now is around 4 GHz but isn't worth the tremendous amount of money it costs unless you're running NASA from your loft. If you're looking for something fast but economical, stick to the 1.5-2.5 range.

LAPTOP ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6" Ruggedized and Water Resistant Design with 180 Degree (Intel Celeron 4 GB, 16GB eMMC, Dark Blue)


Next up is memory. Like the CPU, there are a lot of different kinds of memory. If you're purchasing a new computer (and you should be), then just like the CPU, you'll want to be more concerned with numbers than names. Memory is measured in MB of RAM, or Megabytes of Random Access Memory. Modern systems usually come with 512 MB RAM. The more memory your computer has, the more it can do at once, so you'll want to use 512 as a baseline. Consider getting 1 GB MB or more if you want to run some of today's bigger and more demanding programs. Luckily, memory is easy and fairly inexpensive to upgrade on your own so even if you can't get the memory you want now, you can always get it later on.

Faster it's better!


LAPTOP Poin2 Chromebook 11 (11.6-Inch, 4GB, 16GB eMMC, Purple Black) LT0101-02US

Okay, so now you've got the fastest computer on the block! Now you need a place to store all the work you've zipped through. You're going to need a hard drive, sometimes called a hard disk. Again, like the CPU and memory, there are a number of different types of hard drives. Like everything else inside a computer, speed and capacity are the key. The inside of a disk drive spins. The faster it spins, the quicker stored information can be accessed. This speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). Slower hard drives run at around 5400 RPM and faster ones can race along in excess of 7200 RPM. Now that you know about speed, let's talk size. In this instance, size does matter! Hard drive size is measured in GB, similar to memory. Sizes range anywhere from a fraction of a GB to several hundred GB. With the amount of work computers do today, don't bother with anything less than 30-40 GB. Always aim for more size than you need. Just like your kitchen cabinets and garage, your hard drive will fill up pretty quickly.

Desktop Computer Dell Inspiron 24 3000 Series All-In-One (Intel Core i3, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD)

Alright! It looks like things are shaping up nicely. You've got speed, power and space. Everything you need to hit the ground running, right? Well, not quite yet. You need a CD drive to install programs onto your computer. There are a couple of different types of CD drives out there. This is one of the times you'll need to pay attention to names as well as numbers. If you're a novice, this could get a little confusing so read carefully. A CD drive can do a lot of things. They can record information and music (CD-R). They can also re-record on the same disk over and over, like erasing a cassette tape and recording on it again (CD-RW). They can even be used to play movies and use really powerful programs (CD-DVD). You can get a computer with a drive that does any one of these things or you can buy one that does all of them. It may cost you a few extra dollars, but getting one that does everything will save a lot of headache and heartache in the future. Remember how I mentioned speed earlier? CD drives are measured in X speed. For example 24X is nice, but 64X is much better.

Laptop Apple A1181 Macbook MB403LL 13.3 Inch Laptop (2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile, 2 GB SDRAM, 120GB HDD, Mac OS x 10.7 Lion), White

Unless you're purchasing a bare bones system, any new computer will come with a sound card and video card. Today, even the most basic cards available will be powerful enough to tackle most applications. If you want to buy a system with upgraded sound or video cards, I recommend talking to the salesperson at the store and explaining what you want. Keep in mind that the better the component, the more expensive it can be. Some of the better cards sound cards can cost as much as $300, while top-end video cards can set you back a cool $400.

If you want to connect to the Internet, you'll need a modem. A modem is a piece of equipment that allows one computer to talk to talk to another, surf the Internet and even receive faxes. The good news here is that pretty much any computer on the market had a 56k modem, which is the fastest modem that uses a phone line. Better still, most computers can use their cable TV and get even faster access to the web.

Acer Aspire Desktop, 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7400, 8GB DDR4, 2TB HDD, Windows 10 Home, TC-780-AMZKi5 Computer

The last thing you want to look at is the monitor (pardon the pun). The bigger monitor you get the better. The quality of a monitor is measured by its dot pitch. Dot pitch measures the distance between the teeny color cells on the screen that create the picture. The lower the dot pitch, the closer the pixels and the better picture you get. The average dot pitch is .28, anything above that will be a waste of money. Also, unless you're purchasing a laptop computer, you'll need to choose what sort of monitor you want. The big, bulky monitors of 7 or 8 years ago are practically gone. Instead look for a nice flat-screen monitor at least 15", although 17" or even 19" is pretty much the standard.

If you've purchased computers before, you probably found this information of minimal use. On the other hand, if you've never bought a computer until now, all this information may have overloaded you. If that's the case, I have some final tips that will set everything straight. Look for a big named computer like Gateway or Dell. You can find dealerships in most cities and on the Internet. You can have a system custom built or purchase one already built. Even the base models will be powerful enough for just about anything out there. Set your budget and stick to it. If you're a shrewd shopper, you can find a great low-end system for around $300. At $500, you can get a really nice system, while a top of the line computer will cost around $1600. If you're looking at a laptop, add 20-30%. Whatever brand and level of computer you choose, do your research and make sure you get everything you want at a price you're comfortable with. Thanks for these valuable information provided by Mark Murphy, but also please check more ideas about this subject - desktop computer buying guide.

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