With so many types and models of computers to choose from, it is often quite intimidating to buy a new computer, especially if you do not have the knowledge of experienced computer users. Here's a quick run-down of what to look for when you buy a computer.
What Will You Use It For?
Some people think that really powerful computers are all the craze, and end up with a really powerful computer that they cannot maximize. Before you buy a computer, think of what you're going to use it for. A really powerful computer with all the trimmings is underutilized if all you do is type. Here are some of the kinds of computers that are available to you:
* Entry-level computers are the basic, most affordable computer packages that fit most budgets. Entry-level computers contain the essential components needed to make a computer work, in tune with the latest technology available for consumers on a budget. Almost all entry-level computers on the market today can accomplish most of the tasks required of them, at a fraction of the cost of high-end computers.
* Mid-level computers. If you're going to buy your first computer, you might as well buy a mid-level computer that combines powerful specifications with affordable parts. Mid-level computers can be easily upgraded to powerful machines.
* Multimedia and gaming computers are the top-tier computers used by designers and hardcore computer enthusiasts. Computers like these are equipped with really powerful, top-of-the-line parts and components that make the most intensive of computing jobs and tasks a breeze, like video editing and playing the most sophisticated games. Multimedia and gaming computers, though, are the most expensive ones on the market.
Crunching the Numbers
When you buy a computer, you may be confused with all the numbers presented to you by the sales attendant. While higher values generally mean a more powerful computer, you may end up with so much power and speed that you cannot maximize and utilize efficiently. Before buying a computer, focus on the following important parts and values:
* Random access memory (RAM). RAM is a module used to store data, and plays a very important role in the speed and performance of your computer. Most RAM modules today enter the market at 1GB to accommodate pressing needs in new programs and operating systems. Higher RAM values can help you multi-task and run programs quicker and easier, although you may end up wasting a lot of money if you only use your computer for basic tasks like typing papers and playing simple games.
* Processor speed. With all the talk about "hyperthreading" technology and giga-speed processors, it's important to remember that a fast processor should always be bundled with a considerably big amount of RAM. Multi-core processors do not necessarily mean faster computing; the multi-core processing technology available today is useful for many CPU-intensive programs and processes like virus scans and high-end multimedia processes.
* Video. Some budget computers come with integrated video cards, although it's still best to buy a computer with a separate video card built to work well with your CPU and RAM specs. A separate video card adds more sharpness and definition to your images provided that you buy a good computer monitor.
* Disk space. There's no such thing as "too much free space," especially if you like to collect music, videos, or if you make a lot of files. The bigger the hard disk space that there is in the computer, the better. You can divide a really large hard disk into partitions to make organizing files easier.
All computers grow obsolete eventually. With the current pace of technology, parts grow more powerful and more advanced, and the powerful computer you're buying may very well be an entry-level model in a few months. Unless your needs and tasks really consider the latest requirements in computing technology, there's no need to keep up with the trends as long as your computer suits your needs just fine. You may need to upgrade, though, especially if you anticipate new programs, needs, and uses for your computer. It is generally cheaper to upgrade an older computer - as long as it still complies with the minimum industry standards - than to buy a new one.