Great price great deal right?
As you shop for a new computer keep in mind that a great price is not always a great deal. A lot of stores will sell a new model with old technology inside. What I mean by this is a store will put a $300 price tag on a really nice looking laptop, but if you look at the specs you will see things like a single core processor, DDR/DDR2 Ram instead of DDR3, or a small or slow hard drive. Some of you know what I am talking about and for some this may seem a little foreign. I will go into further detail throughout this article.
Lets talk a little about some of the components inside a computer and why each is important.
There are many types of ram. The latest is the DDR3 memory. They are designed to be faster and more efficient. You will see many new computers with DDR2 memory. You might even find a few with DDR, especially in used computers. There are limitations with the older style ram. They are slower and can utilize less data. As technology and software evolves the need for faster and larger memory modules increases. You will do just fine with DDR2, but honestly, if you’re buying new you are going to want to invest in the best that you can find. Get the DDR3’s
Your video card or video adapter renders the display on your computer. Some are more advanced than others. A gamer, graphics designer, or video producer will need the high-end video card. Most new desktop computers will have the video integrated into the motherboard and have an expansion slot to upgrade later. With a laptop you get what you get. A lot of new laptops come with a decent video processor. If you need the higher end graphics, look for computers that emphasize great graphics and video performance or purchase a desktop with an expansion slot and put in a high-end card.
Hard Drive (HDD)
Hard drive speed is important. Most new computers offer a 5400 RPM hard drive. Look for the 7200 RPM. You will notice the difference in performance. In some laptops you find hard drives with free fall sensors. A free fall sensor is a must have for a laptop user. Eventually you will drop your laptop. The sensor will do a lot to protect your hard drive from damage in a fall. As for size, most new computers come with large hard drives. I think most people will do fine with 320 GB or larger. If you need the extra space go with a Terabyte hard drive. You can also buy an external hard drive for more space or you can add one internally in most desktops and some laptops.
It really frustrates me to see a person buy a new computer with a single core processor. Better processors have been out long enough. I wish they would stop making/selling single core processors. They can barely keep up with the newer operating systems and software. Too often I see someone so excited to buy that new computer and after they load all of their software it is as slow as their old computer. Stay away from single core! Dual core processors and higher are faster, smarter and more efficient. You will have less lag and a very noticeable performance advantage. Some new computers have triple, quad and even eight core processors.
Most netbooks and other lightweight computing devices will have a single core processor. They also will have a limited operating system that is designed for the lack of hardware performance. These devices are not intended for power users.
I know price is not a component but it is just as important. There are many different ways to get a great deal. If you look around enough you will find the same computer for different prices. I have seen hundreds of dollars of a difference in price on the same computers. Always compare prices.
Refurbished, returned, and scratch and dent computers can be found very cheap and usually with the same warranties as the shelf computers. You can find these online at places like Dell.com or throughout the listings on Best Buy or other websites. There is nothing wrong with these computers but most people tend to stay away from them because they are think that a shelf computer is better. They are the same. All of them are inspected and any hardware faults are corrected before they are sold. I have recommended a lot refurbished computers to a lot of customers and they work just fine. Some people used the money they saved to add more ram or upgrade to a better video card.
Seasonal sales are a great time to find a good computer. Again, always look past the price tag and into the specs. Seasonal sales are a great time for manufacturers to clean house and make room for the next product. They will try anything to sell the old to make room for the new.
You should not base your choice on any specific brand. Instead look at what you are getting on the inside. Yes, some brands look cooler, but what isn’t cool is spending a lot of money unnecessarily.
Picking out a computer can be a little intimidating at first, but if you take your time and look around you will find a good one. If you need help, take the time to stop by your local computer tech shop and ask for help. I know a lot of techs who will sit down with you and go through the sales ads and listings to help you find the right PC.