How to simply shop for a computer to fit your needs and budget

So, how do you find, and price, a new computer system (or laptop) that will be within your budget and fit your requirements without understanding and being up to date with the newest technologies? You might think that it is difficult task. How do you go about deciding on the processor type/speed, or how many gigabytes of RAM or how big your hard disk drive needs to be to suit your needs? The key to tactfully buying a computer for personnel or business use is to understand your budget, and then to work on buying the most computer you can for that amount.

This strategy serves two purposes. First, it makes sure that the system you buy will last you a long as possible based on the amount of funds available. Secondly, it insures that the system you purchase will perform the tasks you require it to. Now, I know it sounds over simplified, but the reality it is. You only have a specific budget for the system you are going to purchase the easiest logic to follow is to get the “biggest bang for the buck”.

Now on to a few simple rules to help those non-technical of us out there figure out how to buy a computer system. These rules will work well for you, because they are simple and allow you to get the most for your money. It does not matter if you are buying a desktop, laptop, PC, or Apple computer system.

Before we get to the rules though I must put out a quick disclaimer; these rules will only cover how to specify core components of the computer to fit your needs. They will not cover all countless options that are out there like monitor size, super performing graphics cards, or blue ray DVD ROMs. All those components will come into the price comparison shopping you will do. What is most important about the system you are buying is how it will function for the work you intend to use it for. Buying a system based on that
requirement will force us to look at four main categories, Processor Speed, Physical Memory (RAM), Hard Disk Speed, Graphics Memory.

Now back to the rules:

Rule 1: Processor speed, CPU, isn’t as important as it used to be, UNLESS you are performing intensive graphics intensive work or playing graphic intensive games. The higher the megahertz and the greater the number of processor cores the better performing the system will be.

Rule 2: The more physical memory, RAM, you can get for your budget the better off you will be.

Rule 3: Hard Disk Speed, measured in RPMs, is the key for better performance. The size of the Hard Disk is almost irrelevant since external drives are now so cheap. The speed to at which your internal hard drive operates is going to affect how your system performs.

Rule 4: Just like physical memory, RAM, the more Graphic’s memory you have the better your system will perform when access graphics, which is almost all the time now.

That’s it, very simple right? Your budget will determine what you can and cannot get out of all of those available options. But, to make sure you are getting the “biggest bang for the buck”, when you buy a new computer system you need to make sure that you simply buy the option that has the best processor speed with the most amount of cores, that has the largest amounts of graphics and physical memory, and has the quickest internal hard disk speeds.

To keep it simple, find the few systems you are interested in buying, compare the CPU, RAM, Graphics Memory, Hard Disk Drive speed, and then weigh in the other options to make your pick based on the budget you have. Buy the highest performing one you can for the money, since it will perform better over a longer period of time then one that is under powered.

Hope that helps take some of the technical complexities out of buying your next computer.