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A Guide to Choosing Your First Computer

Updated on March 14, 2019
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Zack is a research addict who has dabbled in digital art, and freelance work.

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When you want to buy a new computer, it can be frustrating at first. You don’t want to spend ages looking through them all, but you also don’t want to chance having to go back too soon because you overextended your new machine. Luckily, there are a few ways to help you narrow down this confusing array of choices.

First, you need to determine the purpose of your new computer. There are three main categories that computers tend to fall into which are gaming, home and business computers. These categories not only helps you find what you do need, but narrows down what you don’t need as well, which could save you some money. It sounds obvious, but you don’t need a high-powered gaming computer if all you want to do is check e-mails and write documents. A computer for each of these purposes has different specifications, which you can look at below.

Gaming Computer

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For serious gamers, you need a serious computer. Gaming requires a computer that can handle all the graphics of a game, and in most cases a good gaming computer will cost quite a bit of money. If you're not into gaming, I'd suggest to just skip ahead to the next section. A desktop would be best in the gaming category, since you can build one up just the way you like it. It's also easier to upgrade an existing desktop, for example, if you need a new graphics card for the latest game titles, or maybe more RAM(random access memory) and overheating is be solved easier. A laptop is far more prone to overheating, especially when you're running a high-quality game that requires a lot of processing power. Luckily, there are higher-end gaming laptops that are better designed to keep the overall temperature down. It's good to keep in mind that with a gaming computer you can pretty much do any task with ease, but remember they don't come cheap.

Home Computer

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This will vary slightly depending on what you want it for. Checking cinema times, browsing Facebook, and using e-mail would only need an entry-level notebook, which is small, light and has great battery life, but no optical drive(some laptops do still come with an optical drive). If it’s going to be doubling as the family entertainment system, you’ll need something a little more capable to handle HD(high definition) viewing, but a notebook should cover this, if you don’t mind the relatively small screen(it's worth noting that you can always connect your notebook to a television with a HDMI port). It will also need a lot of storage space if you plan to store any music, or movies on the device. Most notebooks, however, do come with 500GB storage, or maybe even 1000GB(1 terabyte) if you're lucky. You always have the option to purchase an external hard drive to add to your storage space. You can get a good entry-level notebook for only a few hundred bucks that will handle simple tasks with ease. These tasks could range anywhere from editing a document to watching an episode of your favorite series.

Business Computer

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Again, depending on your work, the kind of computer you’ll need will vary a lot. I will, however, suggest a mid-range notebook for business so that you can easily work from anywhere you want. The range of work extends from writing documents, to website design, to high-quality video editing. For any heavy-duty software like the latter, you’ll need a powerful CPU(central processing unit), lots of memory(RAM), and a large, fast hard drive. It’ll be less expensive than a gaming computer though, as you won’t really need the same type of graphics card. To transfer a lot of data, you’ll need a fast port – USB 3.0 is ideal; and to switch between multiple tasks, the more RAM, the better. So in conclusion you'll need a computer with low graphic capabilites(except if your work involves rendering graphics), but enough RAM, and processing power to multi-task to your heart's content.

Hopefully this guide has given you a few pointers on what you need to look out for in a computer before you buy an overpowered, or underpowered one. Just remember to balance your requirements with your budget, and don’t get anything you don’t need!

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© 2019 Zack Woll

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