Buying a New Computer: Getting the Right Tool for the Job

Posted by Bhavesh Joshi On Saturday, July 7, 2012 0 comments
Buying a New ComputerPersonal computer technology has exploded in recent years. In the not too distant past, the process of buying a new computer was a fairly simple, straightforward one. You could buy desktop from a company like Dell, HP, or IBM, or if you were feeling quirky and different, you could buy an Apple iMac. That was about it. There were a handful of options to sort through, but ultimately a home computer was a home computer; the most stressful choice in the process was choosing between a black case and a white one. Things like processing power, hard drive space, RAM, and graphics cards were largely similar across the board, and computers all had a very “one-size-fits-all” vibe.

Nowadays, computer technology has become far more advanced, and far more focused. One does not simply “buy a computer” anymore. The number of available options has grown significantly, as has their functional capabilities. In place of the alternative-less desktop computers from the past are devices like laptops, tablet computers, ultra-books, and net books, all with dramatically different specifications, and dramatically different purposes. With all these new options, the process for buying a computer has become much more complicated, though with the correct approach, you can be sure that what you buy is exactly what you need.

Buying a computer today is much the same process as buying a car. When looking into purchasing a new vehicle, you need a clear understanding of what your needs are. An SUV does a much different job than a truck or a small sedan. If you’ve got a family of six, a two-seater sports car would be a complete waste. If you live alone in a crowded, urban city with narrow streets like San Francisco, buying a large SUV would be insane. Buying a computer works in the same way. If you do not clearly understand what your needs are, you will end up with a product that is entirely inefficient for your situation (and often far more complicated and expensive).

The first question to ask yourself is where you want your computer to be. If you need something for a home office that has no need to be moved, a desktop computer will suffice. If you’re a person on the go, you’ll want something more mobile like a laptop, or ultra-book. Modern laptops carry much of the same level of capability found in a desktop, condensed into a small space and protected against things like drops, being stepped on, or the weather. If you need something even smaller and more mobile, tablet PCs might be the answer, though their operating capabilities are lesser than their most robust brethren.

With your mobility needs sorted out, the next, and most important, question to answer is what kinds of things you plan on doing with your new computer. A desktop computer is the most robust option, capable of handling the most stressful functions, like creating and editing videos or music, or web and graphic design, though most people have no real need for this level of capability. Laptops have similar levels of functionality at the top of the line, though simpler versions are generally designed to handle less stressful programs and perform fewer tasks. Small laptops like ultra-books, netbooks, or Google’s Chromebook, have much less functionality when compared to desktops, but still handle the kinds of tasks that most people will ever need in a computer.

Personal ComputerFor most people, high end computers are relatively useless (be it a desktop or a laptop), like purchasing a race car to drive to the store. The vast majority of people only need a computer to handle relatively simple functions: browse the Internet, send emails, and watch videos. These tasks do not require high end processors or graphics cards, and purchasing a computer that has those things would be a tremendous waste of money. Unless you have a specific need for a computer that can handle very large, stressful programs, a simpler computer will cover everything you need to do, and save you hundreds of dollars. It can be easy to be swayed by savvy computer salesmen and fancy packaging, but often times the simpler, less expensive option is the correct one.


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