When you intend to purchase a laptop or a computer system, there are two vital questions that you should first ask:
- Who will use it?
- How will it be used?
Who Will Use It?
There are several options depending on who will use it. It might be for a child, a student, an employee or an adult who is a skilled computer user. While there will be some overlap between users, who will use it will determine several things about the computer, such as how sturdy it should be, the type of programs loaded, and the amount and type of security needed.
How Will It Be Used?
Computers are used in a variety of settings. Schools have computers for students, businesses for their employees. These computers are dedicated to specific tasks and are often workstations for servers. Therefore, the individual computers are often less powerful than the ideal home computer.
Home computers are often used in a variety of ways. For example, a student might use his or her computer to study fro an important exam. For this task, Internet access is often helpful, but the computer needs little more than a good word processing program or perhaps a whiteboard program for math or geometry. Later in the evening, that same student might log into a computer game such as World Of Warcraft. For these activities, a computer with greater capacity is needed.
When deciding on purchasing a new system, you need to look at a few things:
- Make sure it’s fitted with an SSD. This will be your most noticeable upgrade, they are 5 to 10 times faster than your traditional hard disk drive, and now are really affordable. The faster your storage device can read and write, the quicker it will load your operating system and programs.
- Depending on your needs, try to have at least 8GB RAM minimum. As time goes on applications will get more complex and so would the requirements for RAM.
- GPU. Generally speaking you would be fine using the on-board graphics your system will come with for basic operations such as YouTube, emails, surfing the internet and Microsoft word.
For example, if you require a gaming PC, check out the system requirements for the game you would like to own or play. E.g. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, a graphics intense war game, you would need:
OS: Windows 10, 64 bit
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD Ryzen R5 1600X
RAM: 12 gigabytes system memory
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970/Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 or AMD Radeon R9 390/ AMD Radeon RX 580 – DirectX 12.0 compatible system
SSD: 175 gigabytes storage available (which probably means the drive needs to be a terabyte)
Now, that’s a powerful computer. Where would you buy such a monster and how much would it cost? A brand new Alienware Aurora starts at a little under $2,800, keyboard and mouse not included.
Fortunately, most of us don’t need that much power. You can obtain a decent multipurpose laptop at around $1,400. If you simply need a good word processing machine, you can purchase a decent laptop or even a tower at around $800. Add a cloud storage solution such as Dropbox or one drive, and you can use that same machine to write text documents for several years.