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Computers have become part of our everyday lives, and getting by without them is impossible. Computers come in all shapes and sizes, mostly depending on the user’s specialization or needs.
Most of them can perform the essential tasks, like playing music or surfing the internet, but if you want more productivity, you will have to make some serious considerations on which one offers the most value. Making these considerations require that you know what to look for, and why you need to make certain choices. Below are some tips to help you get started and hopefully guide you to get a computer that meets all your needs.
Selecting the best computer
Put your needs into perspective
The first step in ensuring that you get a perfect computer is making sure that you fully understand your needs. Make sure that you know what you will be doing with the computer, including other interests that you might want to pursue in the future. For instance, if you are in college, the computer should be able to write and edit documents, portable so that you can go with it to the library, or even powerful enough to carry out complex scientific simulations.
What you will notice is that there is a computer for every need, and the good thing is that you can always get one that can handle a plethora of tasks without a hassle. Once you have all the information on what tasks you will be executing, use the following factors to make an informed choice.
Factors to consider
The processor is the brain of a computer; every command that you ask the computer to execute has to be interpreted by the processor, then coordinate with the other parts of the computer to return an appropriate result. This is why you need to take enough time deciding which processor is right for you. There are different processors to choose from, and the criteria for selection is frequently based on the processing speed and a number of cores. The faster the processing speed, and the number of cores, the more powerful the computer will be.
If you intend to do some light office work, play some movies, music and light games, then getting a computer with at least a dual-core processor is a good idea. However, if you want to be on the safe side, and ensure that your PC can execute any task that you throw at it, it is best you invest in a powerful processor. There are many processors to select from, with manufacturers such as Intel and AMD dominating the market. Just make sure that you get a processor that is about 2 GHZ, and has at least three cores, remember; the more the speed and cores, the more powerful the computer.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
If you have been using computers, or at least have basic knowledge, then you must have come across the term RAM. The ram of equipment, which is an acronym for Random Access Memory, is the part of a computer, where an instance of a program is loaded onto so that the user can interact with it and have tasks executed.
You have to select a computer with good RAM because it plays a huge role when it comes to determining the performance of your computer. For instance, if you want to use heavy software like video editing programs, high-end games, and even efficiently multi-task several programs at once, then you need to have a computer with enough RAM. For a basic computer, you can get away with 2GB of RAM, but if you want the best performance, we recommend that you get at least 8GB. Good news is that most computers have extra RAM slots, and you can add more RAM when you need it.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
The resolution of a computer matters a lot, especially in the contemporary computational environment. These days, you get movies, pictures, and games in HD, and to ensure that you enjoy the clarity, you have to get a computer with proper image processing capabilities. Most image processing needs can be done using the CPU (Central Processing Unit – the processor discussed earlier), or invest in a GPU (Graphical Processing Unit). A GPU can either be an integrated graphics chip on your computer’s motherboard or a separate physical graphics card that you buy and manually install.
A GPU takes over all tasks that need image processing and allow the CPU to work on other tasks. Using concurrency, GPU’s make image processing easier and more efficient. Especially if you will be using your computer for gaming, make sure to get one with a modern GPU. You can also invest in an aftermarket one; with brilliant products like NVidia and Radeon, you can never go wrong.
Storage is an important factor that you should carefully consider when buying a computer. Explained, the bigger the storage on your computer, the more data you will be able to save on it. Therefore, if you are looking to save a lot of movies, music, games and documents, then you better get the biggest storage that you can afford. Good news is that you can get an external hard disk to increase the amount of storage space you have.
Another important factor to consider when it comes to storage is whether you to go for a mechanical drive (a.k.a HHD) or a solid state drive (SSD). When selecting between these two, it all comes down to speed requirements and how much you are willing to spend. SSD’s are much faster than HHD, given that they have no moving parts.
The configuration that most people prefer these days is to use an SSD as their primary drive, where the Operating System is installed, and add an HHD for regular file storage. If you have the money, the better choice would be to invest in SSDs as they make computers faster and more efficient. However, you can always count of the good old HHD to deliver acceptable performance and get the job done.
You need to seriously consider the connectivity your computer of choice has to offer. It is important to understand that as a single unit, a computer has a limit to what it can do. This is why we have so many peripherals that can be used to increase performance and get other functionality. For instance, if you are getting a new notebook, chances are it will not have an inbuilt DVD reader. To get that functionality, you will have to invest in an external DVD. Hence you will need to have a USB port to use it. Most companies have a target market with every device that they make, hence having different configurations for every computer that they make in regards to connectivity. However, there are some connectivity options that you should have, they include;
- USB Type A & C (Make sure it has at least one USB 3.0 port)
- 3.5 mm audio & mic jack
These are the most common connection types that every primary computer should have. Most modern computers do not avail some of these features, like the newest MacBook not having a USB type A port. Make sure that you make your selection based on what you needs.
Size and portability
When it comes to the size and portability of a computer, it all comes down to either a laptop or a desktop. This is one of the factors that depends on what you intend to do with the computer. With most laptops easily matching the computational power of most desktops, it is easier to go for a laptop. Laptops are more convenient in that you can carry them to any given location, and using their battery, use them to get work done.
However, if you are looking for a computer that is easy to customize, and has better scalability, then you opt to go for a desktop. With desktops, you can add far more peripherals compared to a laptop, and even change most of its parts. If you are into fields that require immense computational power, like video and animation editing, game rendering, etc. then, you should get a desktop.
For laptops, the power consumption is not a very useful factor given that they all use almost the same power. But when it comes to desktops, power consumption makes a difference. Depending on the Power Supply Unit (PSU) on your computer, you will either spend a lot or less on your electric bills. Just make sure that you take your time to select a computer with a PSU that you can afford to maintain.
Last but not least, make sure that if you buy a laptop, which comes with a decent webcam. Webcams are very important for video chatting with apps like Skype. Especially for people that use the internet to communicate with clients, having a computer/laptop with a decent camera will help you make more progress. Cameras are usually rated based on Megapixel and picture quality. To be on the safe side, just make sure that you get one labeled HD.