ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Finding Your Perfect PC

Updated on January 12, 2016
Nightcat profile image

Nightcat is a confirmed computer addict and likes writing articles to help the tech fearful understand computers and related tech.

You can choose a PC however you choose, but a little research goes a long way.
You can choose a PC however you choose, but a little research goes a long way.

No Tech Knowhow Needed

Even if you have been owned by PCs for years, the rules of the game seem to be changing on an almost daily basis. Add to that that no two experts agree on what you do or don’t need, and you can be ready to go back to a pen and paper. Well, there are commonsense steps that will hold up no matter what you are looking for, no tech knowledge needed.

Please keep in mind that you have to do, in the end, what is best for you. Some people pick based on price, others on looks, others on functionality. I’ve even had friends that shop by brand or computer name. All of that is great, provided you know your new PC can do what you need it to.

This is meant to be a fun guide filled with friendly pointers. I’m no computer guru, so don’t expect debates on HDD versus SSD and in fact I did only the barest research on my new laptop and luckily I got a great machine. But since I don’t want you to rely on luck, I’ll include some friendly tips.

I wrote this article thinking more of the folks I know who are convinced they wouldn't know how to turn a PC on and are almost afraid of them. Don't worry, they don't bite. As always all writing and photography are my original work, if borrowed for 'Net use a link back and credit are appreciated. All videos are included for informational purposes only, if you want credit and a link or something removed, please let me know.

It didn't take much research to find my perfect fit, all I did was ask what processor I'd need, and naturally fell in love with this HP.
It didn't take much research to find my perfect fit, all I did was ask what processor I'd need, and naturally fell in love with this HP.

Do Your Homework, It Won't Take Long


I did a terrible job of this recently, and I got lucky to find help in the store, but this is actually the easiest part if you don’t get bogged down in the details. Some sites sell computers based on needs, such as college students, gaming and business which takes the homework out of your hands.

But some sites also have live staff to help you make a selection. You can also call a local store, watch You Tube videos, read articles, the ways to research are endless. At the very least figure out if you want a desktop, laptop or notebook, or tablet. And make sure you know what you are getting.

Ask too if it will fit your lifestyle. While in the old days we put computers in cardboard boxes and moved them about, if you want portable power, say so. Today’s laptops and notebooks can cover my computer needs which used to be high end but are now considered basic.

Buy or Build?

Find A Knowledgeable Staff


It goes without saying, but as big box stores tend to sell everything under the sun and rotate staff, you take your chances when you hit the electronics department, and you may or may not find computer literate staff and a fair selection. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, if you have done your homework, you may be able to get what you need.

But a stop at an electronics store known for computers may be useful. True, they tend to be busy and you will have to wait at times, but the wait can pay off in knowing you are getting help from folks who know computers. My own example? When my computer crashed I took it to Best Buy.

Not knowing if she could be repaired I was initiallly looking at a low end laptop, just in case I had high repair charges. But when I explained my needs to a Geek Squad member he guided me to what I actually needed.

Had he not done so I’d have bought a low end laptop and been completely frustrated with my experience. So make sure to describe what you need. Don’t just guess like I did. (Assuming that in four and a half years computers had vastly improved, was, well, a mistake on my part.) And take notes if you need to. There’s no shame in going home to do more research then returning when you are ready.

As a simple guide, if all you do is what I do, writing, photo editing and streaming movies online, you need less power under the hood than a serious gamer or a person running more intensive programs. If you aren’t sure, ask.

The Immortal Mouse

Accessories seem to last longer than the computers themselves, something to consider when shopping.
Accessories seem to last longer than the computers themselves, something to consider when shopping.

Sales Tend To Loop


OK, you picked up the Sunday paper, flipped to the ads, and oh, my goodness, this week only you can get the Googly Goo 5000 for two hundred bucks, supplies limited, no rainchecks! First, do you have any idea what this beauty does? At the very least, go to the store's website, you can order from there too, and find out more about it. Watch some You Tube videoss. Ideally, you should research several brands across your price range.

The sale will likely loop around again in a few weeks or months, and it is better to wait sometimes. Can’t wait? Make sure before you buy what the store’s policy is on returns. Some give you thirty days, some just give equal exchange, some refuse cash back on electronics. Know what it is before you buy to avoid getting stung.

Three Rules For Buying A New Computer

Figure Out The Real Cost Before You Buy


I’ve worked retail and I can’t tell you how many angry shoppers I’ve dealt with. You wouldn’t expect to buy bread at the store and get meat and cheese thrown in for free (unless they had a crazy promotional sale going on), so please don’t let yourself get shocked when taxes, accident and repair coverage and everything else you add on make your final costs rise.

Let’s say I found a laptop to cover my needs for $100. Taxes would bring the total to 106.00, not bad. But let’s say I want a two year warranty that covers accidents and repairs and it costs $200? Now my total is $306, quite a difference from the $100 I started at, right?

And if I add in a can of compressed air, screen wipes, a cooling tray and messenger bag, my cost rises. Yes, it’s obvious, but isn’t it funny how we get the initial number of $100 stuck in our head, even as we are filling up our shopping carts?

Ah, The Backlit Keyboard

Not just for pretties, it is ideal for working in low light situations.
Not just for pretties, it is ideal for working in low light situations.

Be Realistic

-

Even the most expensive and well kept computer won’t last forever. Breaking down the cost over the expected lifespan (four to five years is a good range in my experience) can help you see if the cost is worth it to you. And since there’s no way of knowing how long yours will last, try going with both a low and high end estimate.

Three years out of a $300 computer works out to $100 a year, less than renting one, right? Make it the whole five years and dips down to $60 per year Naturally, if you get a warranty you can be covered for several of those years, though it does raise your per year cost.

Overall, with a little planning, knowing what your uses will be, and what type of machine you are happy with, you should be well on your way to finding the perfect PC for your budget.

Comments or Questions?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)