There are many things that make up a computer, such as RAM, the CPU, the motherboard, the HDD. Have I lost anyone yet? These are just a few of the components that make up a computer and allow users to do what they want. However, many people are oblivious to what actually makes a computer run, and many times a big name retailer like BestBuy takes advantage of their honest customers. If a person should walk up to a BestBuy technology employee they could very easily sell a person a pile of junk. I have seen it happen too many times. If you don’t know anything about what is being purchased then how can a person know if they are getting what they paid for? This is a simple article that is meant teach and guide a person through their first computer purchase.

There are a few things that one needs to know about computers before deciding to buy one:

  1. What kind of computer or laptop are you in the market for?

    • This is one of the most important topics. You need to know what you want from a computer before you pay for it. If you are a student then you don’t need to dish out $2,000 dollars for a gaming computer when all you’ll be running is Microsoft Office and Facebook. At the end of this article is a list of price ranges and functions of computers that are available for purchase.

  2. How much you are willing to pay for it.

    • If you’re on a budget and are tight on cash, it is a good idea to know how much you are willing, or able, to spend on a computer. If you want a gaming laptop but you only have $400 then you will be unable to locate a laptop to fit your needs. While there are deals on computers and desktops it is exceedingly rare to find a quality gaming laptop under $900.

  3. Where or who you will be purchasing it from.

    • There are several places in which you can buy a computer from. BestBuy, Office Depot/Max, Walmart, and small business owners are all possible locations and there are even more out there than these.

    • However, many of these stores carry items that are worth less than what you are paying for them. Many people don’t know what the terminology is for computers and many of the employees in the major retail stores find it easy to manipulate their customers into paying for a pile of electronic garbage.

    • Many times the best place to purchase a computer or laptop from is a small, “mom-and-pop,” store. Often times these people are incredibly nice and helpful and often have a drive to see their customers satisfied. They usually aren’t worried too much about sales figures and can easily adapt a payment plan to your financial needs. These shops also tend to give their own personal opinions about certain laptops, manufactures, desktops, and, the best thing, they can help you build your own custom computer at a cheap price.

Often times you will look at a computer on a store shelf and wonder what a Core i5 processor is. Here are some basic terms that everyone needs to know when looking for a computer.

  • Processor: The latest generation of processors, or CPUs, out on the market are the Core i3, i5, i7 series. The processor is the “brain” of the computer and it is where all the decision-making and “thinking” happens. When looking at this you’ll need to, either, have access to the Internet or a really good memory. The model of a processor says a lot about what it can do, such as the Core i5-3230M. This model says that it is a dual core processor which essentially means that it has two processors in one, this means that it can run twice as fast as a computer with a single core processor. Special attention needs to be given to this field because this can determine the overall quality of the laptop that you’re going to purchase.

  • RAM: The amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) that the computer in question has can determine the speed at which your computer can run programs or applications. RAM works in close conjunction with the processor of a computer; in fact, RAM determines the maximum speed at which your computer can run. The more RAM a computer has the quicker it will run anything you ask it to. From games, to word documents, and movies. The normal amount of RAM is 4 Gbs to 6 Gbs. This also depends on what type of computer you want, if you’re a gamer then you will want a computer that has more RAM, usually eight to twelve gigabytes. For anything else four to six will suffice.

  • Graphics Card: This card determines how good your games, pictures, and videos will look. This also has an impact on how smoothly your games and such will run. The graphics card works in concert with both RAM and the computer’s processor to give the best visual presentation that the card can muster. This isn’t as big of a field to worry about because only gamers should worry about what kind of card they are buying, seeing as how a gamer will want the best resolution possible from their computer. Usually the integrated graphics chip (included with a computer straight out of the box) is enough to run anything related to schoolwork, office work, or casual users.

  • Hard Drives: Many hard disk drives (HDD) are being replaced by solid state drives (SSD) which are faster and more reliable than HDD but are also more expensive. Many people have the misconception that a larger HDD is better because it can store more information on it, however, this is incorrect. Most people overlook the fact that as that 1 TB drive begins to fill up with movies, games, music, word processing files, and anything else that a person uses, that HDD begins to slow down and eventually will fail and that person will lose all the information that they have on that drive. With SSDs, the amount of storage you have is reduced but it is faster and is less likely to fail. A 128 Gb SSD will often be enough for most users. Very few people in this world can fill up a 1TB drive without it failing on them. If a person must buy a HDD then a person should only shoot for one that is at max a 500 Gb. Most often gamers are the ones that will spend major money on a SSD because of its speed and reliability.

Hundreds of other factors play into how well a computer can or will run but many of those things are knowledge that very few people know, most of those people being people who have been in the computer field for many years. Many times people will develop an affinity for a certain brand of computers such as Dell, or Hp or, Toshiba, but no matter which one a person prefers the same fact remains the same, a computer must appeal to a person for them to even look at it.

This article is meant to provide a small overview of what a computer should have in it and most of this is based on my experience from three years of employment in the computer industry. Anyone is welcome to debate me or to completely ignore my suggestions. My only goal in this article is to help someone make their next computer purchase.

Computer Type Computer Cost Recommended
Processor
Recommended
RAM
Graphics Card
Needed?
Gaming $900-$1200 Must be Quad
Core or Above
8-12 Gbs Yes
School $400-$600 Dual to Quad
Core
4-6 Gbs No
Office $500-$800 Dual to Quad
Core
4-8Gbs No
Server Don’t Ask A ridiculously
Powerful one
32-64 Gbs No
Balance $700-$1000 Dual to Quad
Core
4-12 Gbs Optional

 

 

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