What to Look for in a Computer

Purchasing a new computer can sometimes be daunting.  The sales person at most local computer stores thinks of how to make the biggest commission, not about what would work best for you as a user.  It is better to know what you want before you go into a computer store.

Knowing if you want a laptop or desktop is important; most users today use laptops when they need to type a lot. A tablet or a desktop might be a cheaper option.  There are utilities available that allow you to transfer data on your devices, i.e., “drop box.”  Regardless of the type of system, pay attention to:

  1. RAM: how much?
  2. Hard drive: speed  (higher number than 7200 is better); size is normally not important today.
  3. USB access: most accessories today connect via USB or wireless.

Knowing what type of operating system you want is important. If you have old software, make sure it’s compatible. It may be better to not use the latest and greatest because of the number of bugs that are found. This happened when Microsoft brought out Windows ME and soon after came out with Windows XP.  The newer software was better, but Microsoft came out with Windows 8 only to have the world say Windows 7 is the most stable of the two.

  1. Windows 7 or 8:  (32 or 64 bit)
  2. Home or Professional version: Laptops and shared PC of more than 3 users should use professional.

With Microsoft and Google competing for you to use their free products, you may not need to purchase office applications.  When making the decision to buy software, think about this:

  • Is it more cost effective to just buy the application you need, i.e., Microsoft Word?
  • Most free online applications require Internet access.

Regardless of what you purchase, remember that the technology world is ever changing.  It will be better to spend less on your hardware or software knowing that in two or three years it may be obsolete.