A question I get asked regularly, and rightly so. If I’m worth my salt then I should be able to give you the right answer. Problem is that there are hundreds or different computer configurations and hundreds of types of users. So my answer usually turns into some more questions, which I have broken down into a few sections:
- What are you going to use it for?
- How much RAM?
- What processor?
- Playing games or using it for graphic intense programs
- Laptop or desktop?
- If laptop what size?
- Screen size
- Is an extended warranty worth it?
What are you going to use it for?
It’s usually the first question I ask. Are you going to use it for business, playing games or personal use. Knowing this will help you make a better deceision.
How much RAM?
At this point of writing I would recommend between 4 and 8GB of RAM. If your operating system is going to be 32bit then you wil be limited to a maximum of 4GB of RAM. Unless you superficially require a 32bit Windows operating system I would purchase a 64bit operating system. Virtually all PC systems are 64bit, so if you want to get the most of your hardware then purchase a 64bit operating system.
The only current processors I would recommend would be the Intel iCore processors. At the entry level is the i3 processor, followed by the mid-range i5 and ending in the top range, the i7. Where budget permits purchase an i7 processor, otherwise for general use the i5 has more than sufficient power. If you are on a real budget and you use your computer for light processing then the i3 will do.
Playing games or using it graphic intense programs?
If your computer is going to be used to play games or graphic intense programs like Auto CAD or video editing, then you should get a dedicated graphics card with 1GB or more of RAM.
Laptop or desktop?
If you are going to be mobile and need to have your computer with you, then obviously a laptop would be better. If you computer stays in one place then go for a desktop, you’ll get more bang for your buck and they are generally easier to get repaired compared to laptops.
If a laptop, what size?
The general rule of the smaller and powerful the laptop the more expensive it will be. Find one that would meets your requirements best.
In my view, bigger is better unless you constricted on space. For laptop generally the largest screen size you can get is 17″ but it will be a large heavy laptop. 13 to 15 inches are my personal choice for a laptop screen size.
Is an extended warranty worth it?
Based of my experience in IT for the last 9 years, I would highly recommend you get an extended warranty. The number of times I have seen user’s $1200 investment break soon after a year is gone has made me come to recommend them. Look at it this way; You spend around $1200 for a good laptop. For an extra $150 you can protect your investment for another 2 years. Sounds wort it to me. If it does break out of warranrty you could easily pay more than 3 times your warranty purchase price.
I hope this has given you some good advise on your next computer purchase. And remember, if in doubt it’s always a good idea to ask a techie not a sales person for advise on what to buy.
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