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Buying The Right Computer For You

Updated on June 29, 2015

A Modern Desktop Computer

A Modern Desktop Computer
A Modern Desktop Computer

Choosing The Right Computer For Your Purpose

There was once a time when choosing a personal computer was simple. In 1982 the only real choice was the first IBM personal computer, however since then we have increased the choices available exponentially. The power of the PC has doubled in every single year since then and the capabilities of the devices have grown in all sorts of directions we had not envisioned back then.

This lens is designed to explain all the things that you now need to know in order to make the right choices when buying a computer so that it is the right match for the tasks you wish to perform.

Desktop Computers from Amazon

The main solution for avid gamers and those who wish to provide server access. However did you know that laptops are now as reliable if not more so than desktops? The other main advantage of the faster turning and larger hard drive has also now been diminished by the advent of wireless networking hard drives. In fact the laptop now accounts for 80% of all computer sales.

The latest development in this area is the touch screen all in ones, which have some of the advantages of a tablet built in to a screen containing the cpu. The all in one is often a great solution for those wishing to merge their TV and computer systems, which appears to be one direction that future technologies may take.

There are a Lot of Confusing Terms

Here is a List of the Main Ones And a Brief Explanation of Each

IT - Information Technology

RAM - Random Access Memory, is used to store data taken from the hard drive or input device just prior to processing or storing/saving it back to a storage device or media.

ROM - Read Only Memory

CD - Compact Disk, an early form of ROM it replaced floppy and compact disks.

DVD - Digital Video Disk, the more commonly used digital media or storage a form of ROM which is also capable of being WORM.

WORM - Write once read many the term used for DVD's that can be written to once and then used as archival storage.

Memory - The most annoying part of a computer, this is where data is held temporarily while the computer is working on it. If you do not save files regularly and the power goes out you will lose everything that is stored here. If there is a brief power spike data held here may become corrupted one of the major causes of computer performance issues. Please note that PC's and Mac's are equally susceptible to these issues.

PC - Personal Computer.

Mac - A derivative of MacIntosh the makers of Apple computers used to denote their products generally.

IBM - International Business Machines, the makers of the first commercially successful PC or at least first to be taken up in significant quantities

Apple - The brand name given to MacIntosh computers and now the trading name for the group as a whole.

USB - Universal System Bus, one of the sockets into which devices can be plugged to communicate with your computer, as the name implies it was designed for pretty much any device and the USB cable effectively acts as a bus to carry your data.

The Things to Consider When Buying a Computer

1. What will it be used for?

2. Does it need to be portable?

3. Are there any visual issues that need to be addressed?

4. How data heavy are my applications going to be?

5. Do I need it to work anywhere or just specific locations? Leads to need for Ethernet, Wifi or 3G.

6. Do I need peripheral devices?

7. What else may I want to connect to the computer?

8. What are my printing requirements?

9. Will my uses change over time?

10. How often am I prepared to upgrade?

11. What is my price range? Did I include tax and the peripherals I need?

12. How easy will it be to clean?

Statistical Poll of Buying Intentions

What Type of Computer do You Intend to Buy Next?

See results

All in One Computers from Amazon

All in one computers have the cpu built into the screen like a tablet computer, but usually it is based on laptop technology. It seems likely that these will preserve the popularity of the desk top concept for a while, with their strength in combining TV will th a computer system. Touch screen technology is the main distinguishing feature here.

Laptop Computers from Amazon

Currently the number one selling computer due to the size and quality of the graphics capabilities. High end laptops can now out perform desktops and are jjust as reliable as well as being fully portable and a lot easier to keep clean. These machines are top for business on the go, students and households with limited space. There are great accessories to make them even easier to use.

Netbook Computers From Amazon

Netbook computers were initially only good for the ocaissional use on vacation etc. To check emails, but are now getting more powerful and the latest ones can run business applications and games. They are still not up to the level of the best laptops but they are a viable alternative if you need real portability, and they are very popular for teens and students that want to use them in class.

Tablet Computers From Amazon

Tablets in general have been slow go take off, the notable exception being the ipad from Apple. However I and others think they will be the future, this lens for example has been largely put together using my Blackberry playbook. The Playbook is in fact better in many respects than the ipad, but remains unrecognised for its advantages. It is smaller and therefore more portable, has a better resolution screen, plays PS3 files better and has a longer run time off each charge.

The main downside has been the smaller number of applications written for the Playbook, but OS2 added the ability to run android applications so the gap with the ipad will close with time.

E Readers from Amazon

Ereaders are led by the amazing Amazon Kindle, which was the first portable computer to allow you to carry a whole library of books with you at a weight and size of just one paperback, a small one at that. The latest trend is for Ereader applications to be included on tablets, netbooks, and laptops too, so you may wish to consider whether the extra features of a tablet are worth the small price difference in those cases where you may not be able to afford both.

Color E Reader

You can now get a color e reader.

My Personal Computer

I use an Asus laptop just like this one.

About Having Your Say

I am always trying too improve my lenses and the information given, if you have any thoughts, comments or things you would like added or altered in some way please add your comments here. I will endevour to respond and make changes as appropriate. Please remember other people visit the lens so no offensive, rude or disparaging comments will be tolerated. Thank you in advance.

Comments on Buying the Right Computer - Suggestions and Comments

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  • Dressage Husband profile imageAUTHOR

    Stephen J Parkin 

    3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    I assume you mean your first computer? Charles Babbage is widely accepted as the maker of the first computer, and the Joe Lyons coffee shops in London England used the first commercial computer "Leo". I hope your friend recovers and finds a suitable machine in his price range!

  • PaigSr profile image


    3 years ago from State of Confussion

    Looking back the first computer was a Tandy 1000. The second was home made. Its interesting how much you can actually lean and pass on to others. In response to your poll, we are looking at a laptop for our son, and helping a friend looking for a replacement desktop machine. He is looking new with the warranty and walked away from the first place with sticker shock.

  • Dressage Husband profile imageAUTHOR

    Stephen J Parkin 

    5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @delia-delia: I would always recommend using an external hard drive, and if you have more than one computer a networking one. This one hard drive can be set up to back-up all of the computers on the network (often automatically). Then you never need to worry about losing any files if a computer fails. Well maybe not quite never, but very rarely. It is also agood idea to coy your favourite files to USB drives too.

    TV's and computers are both of variable quality and to some extent you get what you pay for, but some manufacturers have better track records than others. Sony are good for both and reliable. Asus, Sony and Acer are good computers, but always but one a little larger than you think you need! You always end up with more on a computer than you think you will, and graphics eat a lot of resources.

  • delia-delia profile image


    5 years ago

    Wish I had this info before. I have always had a hard time making the right choices in computers...I use many images (my art) so have huge files and wonder if I should use an external hard drive...I absolutely hate buying computers or TV's...I always get the lemons ;-(

  • Dressage Husband profile imageAUTHOR

    Stephen J Parkin 

    5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @justramblin: They have been improving just like the cameras and if you do not carry them around too much they work just as well as the desktop. I have not bought a desktop now in over a dozen years.

    The only thing you should know is never use the laptop on your lap unless you have a laptop tray. Material from your clothing will block the cooling fans if you do not use a tray. Then it will overheat and fail.

  • justramblin profile image


    5 years ago

    I have been in the market for a desktop replacement, but now that I've read this, maybe a laptop is better for my needs.. I didn't know that laptops are as reliable as desktops now. You helped make all this less confusing. thanks.

  • Dressage Husband profile imageAUTHOR

    Stephen J Parkin 

    5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @homesweethomebi1: I hope it helps in your next buying experience!

  • homesweethomebi1 profile image


    5 years ago

    Great information. Thank you.

  • tvyps profile image

    Teri Villars 

    5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    Funny, I remember my first computer being the Commodore 64. Ha! Blessed.

  • Dressage Husband profile imageAUTHOR

    Stephen J Parkin 

    5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @ikrave: I am glad to be of help to people, I think in your case your son could probably make you one to order! Lucky you!

  • ikrave profile image


    5 years ago

    This is really great!! It does get confusing sometimes as to what you need to buy. Thank goodness my son builds computers!! Thank you for such a great lens!!

  • Dressage Husband profile imageAUTHOR

    Stephen J Parkin 

    5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @eskecime: Actually English is a strange language desk top is the phrase for where the computer goes. Geeks being somewhat lazy combined the words, so in computer language common usage we have desktop.

    There certainly is more choice than ever and of course no-one but you knows exactly what you need. For most people a computer in the $500 to $600 range would be more than adequate. You really only need to spend more if you plan to keep it for many years, the average is now about 3 to 4 years. After that with the speed of change pretty much anything you buy will appear obsolete compared to what is in the stores.

    New machines have real hifi for use in home theatre systems and HDMI connectivity as well as better wifi capabilities. You may or may not want to pay for all of these added features, but bear in mind like car options you may not realise you want it until a friend arrives using them!

  • eskecime profile image


    5 years ago

    Hey Stephen.

    I like reading your lens. Buying a computer can be hard since there's so much choice available.

    Regarding the quality of the lens, I just think you made a little typo by using "Desk Top". Shouldn't it be "Desktop"?

  • Dressage Husband profile imageAUTHOR

    Stephen J Parkin 

    6 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    @JoshK47: Thank you Josh, I am still working on improving it and rather think it is a never ending task, this lens is aimed at the less technical person and to try to clarify some of the mysteries known only to the techie crowd.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Very nice guide here - sometimes it can be tricky to pick out the right computer for your needs.


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