Since computers play such an important role in our day lives, buying the right one will pay dividends over the years of its ownership. This guide should help educate you on some important considerations to make the right choice. Disclaimer: if you have a tech friend, he can likely help you out better than any guide can simply by discussing your particular needs and circumstances, which this guide cannot possibly fully account for.
Purchasing a computer for home or business can be a costly decision. While buying, one should first consider how the computer will be used. Next, hardware and budget come into the consideration. Depending on the budget and the expected typical computer usage tasks, an appropriate model can be arrived at. For example, if one is buying a computer to play games then configuration should be such that a computer can deliver on performance; this would require a computer with a better video card than is typical.
Several types of computers are available in the market ranging from palmtops to laptops, although desktops have been the favorite in terms of quantity made to date. Consider the following when buying any type of computer:
- Financial Plan and Utility: decide the maximum budget available to purchase the computer. If the budget allows for a better-than-average computer, consider that anything spent beyond the average computer cost will typically offer diminishing returns; this is because the top-of-the-line models offer marginal performance for a lot more.
- Hard Drive and Memory: Size of the Hardisk is crucial factor while purchasing a pc as it affects the storage capacity; this is typically important to those who install a large number of video games and download movies. RAM affects the processing speed of the computer and is a consideration to be taken into account for performance systems. RAM has size and performance characteristics to consider. A number like “4GB” means four Gigabytes of ram, whereas “DDR3 1600″ is an indication of the speed. Both increased RAM and speed can help with gaming, but the speed is more important for gaming, whereas the size is generally more important for multitasking.
- Computer Peripherals: selecting the shape and size of the computer is a part of the hardware. Nowadays, wide screen monitors are preferred and give a trendy look too. Buying a CPU with extra bays offers the facility of expanding the computer capability by adding additional drives and ports. If your computer will be used for movies, go with a widescreen.
- Security and Model Reliability: High quality anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are required to help keep computer safe from these malicious programs. These products are often provided on free trial basis with a new computer. Free ones like Avast are also available for a one-year license with registration. Don’t put too much wait into the antivirus solution since this is usually purchased separately.
Factors to consider when choosing between purchasing a desktop computer vs a laptop:
- Price: With a limited budget, select a PC which is affordable and fulfills the requirements. As a general rule, a laptop computer costs nearly twice that of a desktop computer of the same performance characteristics. This is why desktop computers are preferred by gamers on a budget.
- Fixture: repair and replacement of laptop computer is more expensive than a desktop PC, and usually more difficult, requiring a computer repair technician, since the parts are less accessible and disassembly can be more complex.
- Excessive heating: laptops often overheat easier than desktops because they typically have a single, small vent that collects dust. This dust can be cleaned out, but the process is not as easy as it is with a desktop.
- Prone to damage: since laptops move more, things like laptop hinges break, and lcd screens need replacement – which can be more difficult than with desktop computers.
Netbooks (aka mini notebooks or ultraportable) are little, light-weight, portable laptop computers used primarily for web access. They look like miniature laptops, and generally do not serve as “desktop replacements” like some laptops do. Instead they offer a baseline set of functionality and are expected to complement the ownership of a full computer or laptop. They are designed for basic tasks such as surfing the net and word processing. Netbooks usually have 7-10 inches screen or at most 12 inches.
- tiny and lightweight; portable; the screen size of these tiny computers generally range from 8-9 inches.
- price: they are a cheap way to get wireless Internet connectivity
- they often have built-in webcams
- they are useful for checking e-mailing, and surfing the web on the go
- tasks such as online gaming, video editing etc are difficult to perform and require more power and screen size than a netbook offers
- expect the same programs to take longer to run on a netbook than they would on a laptop
- the small screen can make it difficult to browse certain websites or use some software
Features which distinguish Windows 7 starter from what you’d find on a traditional laptop:
- It consists of “Peek” which helps show and hides the desktop.
- It allows anchoring window on the side of the desktop and helps stack 2 adjacent windows.
- Booting of the system is as fast as it just takes 50 sec for the final tray icon to appear.
- It provides better stability and helps installed applications to run smoothly.
This guide was written to arm you with the general differences between desktop computers, laptops, and netbooks, as well as a basic introduction to choosing a computer with the right components. If you have any doubt, ask a tech friend. This guide may have a few errors (please report them in the comments – thanks!)