Looking for a new computer but not sure what to buy? Follow these tips to help you make the right choice. If you are unsure or a little confused, come into our shop. We will give you free advice on the computer that is best suited for you.
How are you going to use the computer?
The first thing to understand is what programs and purposes are you going to use?
- Email and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, etc.)
- Work – word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, internet access
- Gaming – what level of gaming?
- Home entertainment – streaming movies, playing music
- Music production
- Creating art
Each of these overall uses require different specifications for your computer. Make sure the computer you buy has the specifications required for the desired software you are going to run.
Once you have decided on the use, determine the software that will allow you to perform those functions. Go to the the software site and look up the hardware specifications required for the software. The software manufacturer will almost always have the specs listed somewhere on their site. With the specs in hand, you can then shop for a computer that has the requirements you will need.
PC or Mac?
Macs and PCs have different operating systems. So if you are going from one platform to the other expect a small learning curve. But generally once you have the used the system for a while that learning curve goes away.
In general Macs are better for music and art, PCs are better for business and gaming. Macs generally are a bit more expensive, but are designed for music production programs like Logic, Pro Tools and others. They are also well suited to run the Adobe suite if you are into graphic arts or creating movies.
PCs can also run the above programs but will require a lot of upgrades. An inexpensive PC is very well suited for browsing the internet, getting email, and social media apps. Business apps generally are better suited to run on PCs, but with the online versions of Office Suites, that line is getting more blurred.
If you are into gaming, PC is the way to go. Gaming computers require a lot of high end graphics, processors, video cards, sound cards, etc. But these upgrades are all available to PCs.
Laptop or Desktop?
Do you want to be mobile and take your computer with you? Whether it’s moving around your house or traveling, a laptop is a good choice. Laptops have restrictions but if you want to do work, browse the internet, check email, keep up with social media, a laptop is a good choice.
For gaming or home entertainment, you may want to choose a desktop. First, it is almost impossible to get the power you need for gaming on a laptop. For home entertainment, you probably will not be moving the computer very far from your big screen TV or sound system. Although with Bluetooth capabilities and WiFi options, a laptop may be able to handle the task.
For art and music production, a desktop may be a better choice simply because these applications are easier to use with a larger higher resolution monitor. Also with music, you will need to connect external hardware such as input devices, keyboards, guitars, etc.
New, Refurbished, Off the Shelf, or Custom Built?
What is your budget? Gaming computers are almost always custom built. We put together a lot of gaming systems built to the specifications of the users and the games they will be playing. Gaming computers run more, but the best way to get the system you want is to have it built for you.
For internet, email, and social media, buying an inexpensive refurbished computer will generally suit your needs. HCS Tech usually has several refurbished computers to suit your needs.
Buying new at a big box store is a good option if you have the budget. However, be prepared to tell the sales clerk how you are going to use the computer and have them tell you why the one they want to sell you is right for you.