Desktop Computer Buying Guide
Choosing the Right Computer Operating System (OS)
When it comes to computers, the operating system is the foundation upon which all other features rely. It often influences which software applications or application versions will work or won't, how often updates must be installed to keep your computer safe or current, and other important day to day basics.
For many everyday users, the two most common choices when it comes to desktop computer operating systems are either Microsoft Windows or Mac Operating System (also known as Mac OS). One of the first choices when shopping for a new personal computer (pc), will often be choosing one of these two, which are often pre-installed on new computers.
Microsoft Operating System
- Microsoft's OS, Windows 10 offers you more flexibility in price, hardware, and software.
- Windows 10 is easy for a beginner to use, offers ease of collaboration for businesses, and allows installation of a lot of external applications and games.
- You'll find Windows installed on the vast majority of brands on the market including HP, Dell, ASUS and many others.
Apple Operating System
- iMacs run Apple's MacOS (formerly known as OS X).
- Mac OS is safe from most viruses and spyware. It offers brand-value and great functionality.
- MacOS includes a wealth of built-in utilities and apps including a great video editor, a streaming music service, music composition app and a full productivity suite.
Shop By OS and Brand
What Computer Processing Speed Do You Need?
Another basic choice computer shoppers face is deciding between a wide variety of computer processor brands and speeds.
Here are quick details on some of the most common processor speed options for new desktop computers
|Common Intel Processor Speeds||AMD Processor Speeds|
|Core™ i9: Speed matters. This speed monster offers best performance even for the toughest of tasks||For gaming, AMD Ryzen 3/5/7 processors get your desktop ready with top performance|
|Core™ i7 and Core™ i5: This mid-level powerful processor helps you work smarter and more efficiently|
|Core™ i3: Intel's entry-level processor helps you manage your daily tasks|
How Much Memory (RAM) Do You Need?
Memory or RAM helps your processor run programs. Most desktops come with 8GB RAM (lower-end everyday desktops) or 16GB RAM (higher-end models).
Choose a model that lets you expand the RAM if you think you might need more memory later.
Shop By RAM Capacity
Home Much Internal Storage Do You Need for Your Computer?
A Hard Drive can be compared to a backpack. The bigger the backpack, the more you can store in it. The bigger the Hard Drive, the more space you have to save documents, pictures, programs, etc.
There are three types of Hard Drives: Hard Disk Drives (HDD), Solid-State Drives (SSD), and Hybrid Drives.
Hard Disk Drives (HDD)
If affordable is what you are looking for, then an HDD is for you.
This is the most common storage device used in traditional towers.
HDD drives rely on a spinning disk measured in Revolutions Per Minute (RPMs) to permanently store material.
Hard drive sizes are measured in gigabytes and terabytes, and commonly range from 250GB to more than 1TB.
Solid-State Drives (SSD)
Solid-State Drives (SSDs) are a newer storage technology, and boost your computer’s performance.
SSDs don’t have any moving components.
They use a series of interconnected flash memory chips to store information.
They cost significantly more than traditional hard drives.
Hybrid drives are priced reasonably and provide the advantage of both the HDD and the SSD.
They combine a hard drive with solid-state’s memory and boost the speed and performance significantly.
Do you need a dedicated Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)?
A Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), or graphics card, is responsible for the images you see on your screen. This hardware is usually integrated with your computer chip.
Integrated graphics are adequate enough to handle general computing tasks. However, for high-graphic demand tasks such as video production, gaming, or photo-editing, you'll probably want a dedicated graphics card.
When shopping for a desktop computer, remember to consider the additional set up time, cost and space needed for accessories. For desktop computers this may include basics like a mouse, keyboard, a surge protector, or an additional monitor or two. Depending on your workspace you may also want a riser for your monitor arrangement, or other add ons. Keep these in mind while figuring out your total budget.