Congratulations on your decision to buy a new Desktop PC! Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the choices there are for new desktop. We help you breakdown the selection process to five easy steps.
Step 1: Choose Your Processor Type
The single most important factor in the cost and performance of your computer is the processor.
In your search you’ll find that there are two main manufacturers: Intel and AMD. Intel processors are more well known, and slightly more expensive, than their AMD equivalent. But both are good choices.
You’ll also see the terms dual-core, quad-core, and six-core everywhere. This can make the decision seem a little more complicated. Simply put though, the more cores, the more tasks you can perform simultaneously.
Next you need to consider the processing speed. Processor speeds are measured in gigahertz (GHz) and the higher the number, the faster the processor.
The number of cores plus the processor speed determines how fast your computer will be. If you only want to check e-mail, manage your personal finances, and perform other simple functions, you can save money by going with a dual-core processor with a slower processing speed.
However, if you plan to have multiple applications open at once, look for a quad-core or greater with a faster processor. For gaming or multimedia applications like photo/video editing, you will want at least quad-core machine and the fastest processor that fits your budget.
ComputerGeeks2Go recommends that you buy the latest quad-core or six-core machines with the fastest processor you can afford. This will prolong the use of your PC and avoid having to replace it every year. Choosing a slower model may seem like a good money-saving tip but it means you need to upgrade sooner.
Step 2: Hard Drives
The hard drive provides the permanent storage space for your computer’s programs and frequently-used data. Most hard drives today are rated in gigabytes (GB). Programs, images, music files, and data take up a lot of space on your hard drive, so make sure you start with plenty of room.
If you do happen to fill it up, there are options such as external plug in hard drives (which are cheap and plentiful) as well as cloud storage.
Step 3: Memory
Random Access Memory (RAM) is the working memory in your PC. After the processor, RAM is the next biggest factor in your computer’s speed.
As your computer operates, it uses RAM to process programs and information. If you start to fill up available memory, the computer will automatically move the less used parts of memory to your hard drive. This is called paging.
Paging is very slow so it’s better to have more memory to reduce or eliminate paging. The more memory you have, the faster you’ll be able to load, print, and download your files.
Modern operating systems can use nearly 2 Gigabytes (GB) of RAM before doing anything else. To play games or surf the Internet you’ll want to start with at least 4GB of RAM.
Many budget systems will only have 2GB RAM. You may be told this is all you need but in reality your machine will slow down with excessive paging.
ComputerGeeks2Go recommends upgrading to 6GB or even 8GB of RAM if you multi-task or work with large files.
Step 4: Add a Monitor
Once you’ve chosen the perfect PC, it’s time to add a monitor. The monitor is the most visible part of your computer, so you’ll want one that has the screen size you need and the style you want. Monitor pricing has dropped considerably in the past few years so you should be able to get a nice monitor for low cost.
ComputerGeeks2go recommends getting at least a 20″ monitor if you do a lot of typing or reading.
Step 5: Graphics
You’ll see many systems advertise things like “512MB shared system memory.” While graphics cards that use shared memory are not bad, be aware that this is using your computer’s RAM and you’re losing that from your total system memory, which we discussed in Step 3.
Many modern video games require more and more from graphics cards. As a result, 1GB of memory is becoming increasingly common. If you choose a machine that uses shared graphics memory, look for a video card yourself and upgrade as soon as possible.
Let us help
Still not sure what to get? Click on the box at the top of the page to see a good example of a powerful, yet affordable, six-core desktop. If you have questions about how to select a desktop computer, call us at 1-888-863-3033 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you pick out the right computer for you.
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