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How to Determine the Best Computer for You


Finding the right new computer for you is important. Once you have decided to buy a new computer, there are a few more factors to take into consideration. Would you want for your computer to travel with you? Will you be playing video games or just browsing the internet and checking email? Do you want to watch movies on your device? We'll walk you through these steps and help determine the best computer for you.

Two Main Types of Computers

The two main types of computers are portable devices and desktops. There are many portable devices that are small enough to take with you where ever you go. Desktops are large machines which make them stationary.

If you are looking to take your computer with you, then we recommend getting a laptop or tablet. Ultrabooks and netbooks are options as well.

Laptop - These are the most basic portable computers as they come with pretty much everything. Laptops start at about $400 and upwards of $1,500. The differences in price varies on how well you would like your laptop to perform.

Tablet - Tablets are very compact and portable computers. They are lightweight, have a touchscreen, and run on a special mini-operating system. You download small programs, called apps, that can be used for work or gaming. Great for browsing the web while watching tv too. The keyboard is on the screen and you can tap the keys. Tablet pricing falls between $300 and $900 depending on the brand, speed, and how much storage you would prefer.

Ultrabook - Ultrabooks are basically the slim and lighter version of a laptop. They cost a lot more, starting at $600 and as high as $1,800. It takes a lot more precision to manufacture these computers, thus the higher price, but better portability with a nice screen and physical keyboard. They also come with DVD and Blu-Ray players just like the laptops.

Netbook - Small version of a laptop with a smaller screen and physical keyboard, yet light and easy to carry around. Netbooks run the full version of an operating system, like Windows, while maintaining a small profile. They are great for browsing the web and checking email. They lack in terms of performance for almost anything else and they do not come with a CD or DVD drive. However, they are the least expensive and most portable computer between $200 and $400.

Tower Desktop - Most typical computer as it has the options to upgrade over time. You will have to get a monitor, mouse, and keyboard (if you don't have them already). Desktops start as low as $400 and can range over $1,200 depending on how much power you are looking for in a computer. Desktops can be upgraded with new chosen parts easily.

All-In-One - These computers are basically all the parts of a desktop and monitor in one. Most come with a touchscreen nowadays, but will also include a mouse and keyboard. This makes it easy to keep everything together sitting on your desk. Typical prices start at $600 to $1,000 and up.

So, What's the Best Computer for You?

Well, if you are like any typical user that just wants to browse the web and occasionally check email, then a desktop or all-in-one will be satisfactory. Having a large screen helps to easily read text and desktops are rather inexpensive. Unless you prefer relaxing with your computer on the couch while watching TV, then a tablet or netbook will best suit your needs. Higher priced computers let you do more such as playing video games, graphic designing, editing movies, and more.

Remember, desktops are more powerful and have the ability to upgrade over time while being more affordable. Parts can be easily installed in a desktopfor upgrading unlike all-in-ones which are more difficult and portable computers which are very limited or even impossible.

If you are looking for a computer that you want to bring with you while traveling, taking care of business, attending school, you'll want a laptop or ultrabook. If you will be doing light tasks and browsing the internet in front of the TV, then we recommend a tablet or netbook. However, either of these don't compare to the power of a fully-fledged laptop or desktop computer. Tablets and netbooks are more of a convenience if anything else.

Disk Space is Good to Have

Your files are usually saved on your computer's hard drive. Pictures, documents, and music files generally don't take up much space. However, your collection will grow over time and ensuring that you have enough disk space is essential. We recommend desktops, laptops, and ultrabooks have at least 500GB. You can always add or upgrade to a larger drive in the future if ever needed.

We always recommend solid-state drives. SSDs are way faster than a traditional hard drive and consume less power. SSDs are becoming very popular in ultrabooks and tablets. The hard drive in laptops and netbooks can be replaced with an SSD to make your computer perform faster. Also, they can be installed as a primary drive in a desktop while having the traditional hard drive as a secondary drive for extra disk space and/or backup.

Tablets come with less disk space, but most users will find 32GB to be economical. If you are going to take a lot of pictures and video or storing movies on your tablet, we recommend at least 64GB. Some tablets support a SD Card which will give your tablet additional disk space up to 32GB in most standard models.

Also, backups are critical to have! We recommend using an external or internal hard drive that is at least the same size GB as your internal hard drive GB or double (e.g. 500GB internal hard drive, use 500GB or 1TB hard drive for backup). We also recommend using the software Acronis which will backup your whole computer to your backup drive. If anything bad happens to your main hard drive, which is most likely to happen at some point, a new hard drive can be put in and your data will be restored from your backup to your new hard drive. You can pick up when you last did a backup which can be automatically scheduled.

How Much Memory Should You Get?

While your disk space determines how many files you can store on your computer, your random access memory (RAM) determines the performance of your computer when you run multiple programs at the same time. Some programs likes movie editors, video games, and graphic design require a lot more RAM. However, browsing the internet, checking your email, and watching movies don't require a lot of RAM.

Most users will be satisfied with at least 4GB of RAM. A person who plays video games or edits movies will require at least 8GB of RAM or more which is on the high end. As for tablets, many people do not get an option for RAM as it isn't that important, but recommend at least 1GB, if not 2GB of RAM for performance.

The Speed and Power of a Processor

Simply put... faster the better. When it comes to computer processors, CPU speed is key to fast computer. The more processing cores and the higher the speed measured in gigahertz (GHz), the better! The more core processors a CPU has, the faster it can perform computations. The faster the speed, GHz, the faster those cores can work.

We recommend all our users to get at least a dual-core processor. They will give you everything that you need to browse the internet and watch movies smoothly. If you are willing to pay a little more, then an Intel core i3 is minimum for best satisfaction for home and also for business. Video editors and gamers will want to have at least a quad-core or six-core processor. In terms of GHz speed, most users will want at least 2.5GHz for good performance in desktops, laptops, and all-in-ones. Most good tablets have either at least a 2GHz dual-core or quad-core processor.

Ready for a New Computer?

You should have a better idea now that you know the main types of computers and their components. If you need any further assistance in choosing a new computer, Alpha Computer Experience computer repair in Bolingbrook, IL will be able to help. Call or email us with your inquiry.


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