How To Buy the Perfect Desktop Computer

Apr 15, 2019

What kind of computer do you need? What kind of computer do you want? While these are two similar, but very separate questions, they can be hard to answer without knowing how a computer works and how much everything costs. You don't need a crash course in how computers work quite yet. While you don't have to put everything together like a professional, you can think about your computer needs while putting everything in a shopping cart the same way you buy groceries.

Computer parts and full computer prices vary based on multiple factors. If you want to buy today’s computers at today’s prices to be prepared for today’s challenges, it’s worth understanding how to hunt through the computer design world’s many markets.Here are a few steps to follow that will take you to the computer you need, the computer you want, and plenty of reasonable computers that fit both needs.Here are a few steps to follow that will take you to the computer you need, the computer you want, and plenty of reasonable computers that fit both needs.

The 4 Steps

  1. Set Your Budget
  2. Look Up Recommended System Specifications
  3. Compare Prices Per Part
  4. Compare Pre Built Machine Value

The Steps Explained

Before buying anything, set a limit for yourself. Setting a maximum spending limit will protect you from impulsive buys and pushy sales at the same time. The budget can shape and mold so many parts of your planning. If nothing else, it prevents you from slipping into multiple "just in case" purchases for the sake of future-proofing your computer. That is especially important since being prepared for the future of computing is not set in stone. Components break, new ways of computing that aren't tied to raw power are released, and massive price drops can make your big purchase seem ridiculous in a matter of months.

Every professional program will come with a minimum and recommended set of specifications. The minimum covers the lowest amount of computing resources needed to run at basic settings, while recommended specifications will deliver the creator's intended experience. Never buy a computer for the minimum recommendations, as you will have a poor computer experience and potentially burn out the computer sooner than expected as it struggles to deliver what you need. Windows 10 for example has fairly simple specs to try to be able to work for everyone. 

In addition to an operating system like Windows 10, you still need to run different programs. One big test of computing power is gaming. Even if you're not a gamer, the main point is that the gaming industry needs to provide both an amazing experience and an accessible experience for most of its users. This means that many games strike a balance between needing a good computer, while making itself accessible to a wide variety of people. The specs on many games can give a good indication on what a higher end computer is using.

Were those specifications a lot to take in? Don't spend too much time memorizing each one or their intent. It's time to treat them like boxes in the grocery cart. Each component of your computer has its own micro-industry. For professionals and geeks, there are entire communities surrounded not just the best processors or video cards, but the right device for a specific purpose or budget level. The next part can be time-consuming, but simple: look up each system requirements item and jot down the price.Add them up and you have the total cost--minus shipping, handling, and tax depending on where you shop--to build the computer yourself.

Most computer stores have a great supply of pre-built computers from major brands and growing custom designers.For many people, the idea of building a custom computer is too far off the beaten trail. Still, knowing how much your parts should cost before applying a brand can help.Buying a whole computer from a major brand goes beyond convenience. If you're not a technician, you will want a warranty that covers the entire computer in case any part of the system fails. Troubleshooting on your own for each small tech issue can be avoided if you purchase a computer and stay within warranty. Keep in mind that you can move a bit higher than the recommended specifications when it comes to pre-built computers, but never below. Buying a system with slightly more power will give a better experience, but buying less than recommended will mean buying upgrades or a new system sooner than expected.

Purchasing a new computer isn't complicated when you look at everything like groceries in a grocery cart. As long as you don't have to put it together, you're just comparing power and price for each item. Contact a computer design expert to talk about today's best tech, the best tech for your budget, and how to pair the right parts to your work and hobbies.

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