Windows, Mac, or Linux? How much RAM do you need? Do you know your way around processors? Don’t pick out your next computer without having a look at Focus-IT’s thoughts on the blog.
Desktop or Laptop
More and more consumers are choosing laptops as their primary computer for obvious reasons: portability and energy efficiency.
Don’t count out the desktop. The benefits include a smaller price tag and longer lifetime, as parts are easier to replace as requirements for computers evolve.
For basic needs, you may even consider a tablet, as they can handle the workload of emailing, watching videos, surfing the web, creation of documents, and many things a basic computer is used for. If you can adjust to the small screen size, this may be the route for you.
In general, the bigger the number, the better. For basic web-surfing, a dual core processor should be just fine. If you’re expecting to run multiple programs at once, consider shelling out the dough to add more.
Every operating system has its own set of recommendations with respect to amount of RAM, which we encourage you to look up. In general, 2-4GB will serve the basic web-surfer well, while a minimum of 8GB is recommended for video-editing and gamers. Every program you are currently running on your computer is loaded into you RAM. If you find yourself with multiple programs and browsers open at the end of the day, you may want to spring for more, as more the merrier, and you retain the option to purchase more RAM in the future if you find that your current resources aren’t cutting the mustard.
If you have insufficient RAM, Windows loads programs running in the background into a reserved section of your hard drive known as the page file. The more RAM you have, the less Windows will have to move programs to your page file as you switch between active programs. RAM functions at a much higher speed than your hard drive, so moving your programs to the page file greatly lowers your computer’s performance.
Hard drives are your computer’s internal storage. Your programs, preferences, and operating system are stored in this command center, or ‘brain’ of the computer. The more applications and media you plan on using, the larger hard drive you will need. Some people choose to expand their space with the use of external drives which can be transported independently of the rest of the computer to a different machine.
For those who don’t need as much space, solid-state drives are faster, with solid-state drives becoming more and more inexpensive. Solid state hybrid drives are also a choice, offering the space of a disk based hard drive, with a small solid state section giving you increased speeds on frequently accessed data.
Lets talk peripherals. How many USB ports will you need? USB ports are necessary for USB drives, your mouse, and data-transfers. If you frequently transfer data to your machine, consider looking into high speed USB ports.
HDMIs are the portal to entertainment, as this is needed to connect computers to televisions.
Are you a photography buff? SD slots are handy ways to insert cards with images, and advanced users are able to speed up their computer with them.
Other peripherals include DVD drives, built-in WiFi receivers (useful if you find yourself frequently connecting to a bunch of different Wi-Fis), Bluetooth receivers for the ultimate wireless experience, and the like.
Die-hard fans of either camp will argue to the death over whether a PC or Mac is reigns supreme. The truth is that Macs and PCs run most types of software that the average user will need. That said, there are differences that remain in that Macs are typically more intuitive machines with a premium price tag, while Windows machines offer the customization options that our engineers here at FIT crave, as well as improved compatibility with major business products, and give PC gamers a greater selection.
And Linux? If you don’t know what Linux is, skip it.
Integrated graphics share your computer’s memory, and sometimes the processor as well; dedicated cards have their own processor. As is the frequent rule, the higher the number, the better. Creative types and media-buffs will want to go with the higher number, while PC gamers rely on dedicated graphics cards with larger amounts of memory and faster processors for maximum enjoyment. Additionally, if you are looking at viewing HD video on a display above 1080p (like all those 4k displays that are coming out), you may want to look at a dedicated graphics card as well.