What computer should I buy?

Blog Author: Aaron Smith | September 13th, 2013

This post is courtesy of Correct Field Technician Derek Tse

 

As an IT guy, a common question I hear all the time is “what computer should I buy?” This is a valid question, it is hard to know what is good and?even harder to know what you need when there are so many?components?that are advertise.

The first thing I say is “What will you use the computer for?” Knowing what the computer is used for, will help to match a suitable computer for the person and their workload. Budget does come in play but it should be after confirming the task it will be used for,?this is especially important for businesses.

So here is a quick run-down of the main components that you need to be aware of…

CPU

The CPU is the brains for your computer, it process all the information from your programs.

Intel is the main competitor in this space with their i series in 3?category…

  • i3 series – this is the low-end range, good for internet, light media and word processing.
  • i5 series – this is the mid-range, everyday internet/media and office productivity like word and spreadsheet processing.
  • i7 series – this is the high-end range, intensive graphic/media processing and office productivity like database processing.

RAM

RAM is the memory space that your computer will need. Think of it as a workspace or desk, the big the area, the more room to work with.

Majority of the computers these days will have usually a?minimum?of 4GB, here are some guideline below…

  • For the?low-end range, 4GB would be?sufficient.
  • For the mid-range, 8GB is a good starting point, would not suggest to go below.
  • For high end range, 8GB onward depending on the software, recommendation is 16GB as a start.

HDD

This is your storage area of the computer, the analogy I have for this is the bookshelf. The bigger the bookshelf, the more books you can fit.

Typically this not really an issue as the storage capacity for new computers are usually in the 500GB -1TB range but it is well worth considering if you do not have a central storage location.

In recent times, there is a new storage technology called Solid State Drive or SSD, the beauty of this technology is…

  • Speed – amazingly fast, you can boot your system and programs in seconds not minutes.
  • Noise & Durability – quiet as there are no moving parts, because of this you data is safe from drops and shakes.
  • Power – SSD will draw less power which increase battery life for laptops.

Now, the downside which needs to be factored in…

  • Storage – the drive are small in size, you are looking at the usual 128GB, 256GB, 512GB at 1TB but it does come at a cost with price.
  • Price – it is very, very expensive, for 512GB drive you are looking at AUD$499. With that price, you could purchase roughly 4x 1TB drives.

Operating System

This is the software that talks to all of the hardware and give you an interface to work on. There are many OS software to install but I will?concentrate?on Microsoft Windows.

The question that you will need to ask is ‘will this computer be used at work or home?’ The reason why is that Microsoft have different version of Windows for the home and business. Easiest way to know which 1 you will need is…

  • Professional is for business/corporate usage.
  • Home is for everything else outside of business usage.

Another thing that you will need to be aware is 32bit and 64bit, this come into play with the RAM. If you have more than 4GB, you must have the 64bit version to utilise all of your memory or else Windows will only see and use a maximum of 4Gb. A major question for businesses is “will your Line Of Business (LOB) software work on 64bit system?” Check with your developers to ensure that you are covered.

In Summary…

Buying a new computer can be a daunting task but hopefully with the information parted, you will be able to understand and make a decision for you next purchase.

As always, all this will be depended on what you want to do. So check all your software and find the highest recommended specification to use as a guideline.

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