Advice on Buying a New Computer
Photography: Manu Mohan, manumohan.com
What To Look For
Desktop computers come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The important features, however, are hidden away inside. When buying a computer, the average user will want to consider the modem, hard drive, processors and memory of their chosen desktop. An Intel Processor will be the most efficient, and comes with most computer brands. The Intel Core 2 Duo Processor is a wise choice. Make sure your computer has at least 2 gigabytes of RAM. If you're willing to spend more money, buying 3 to 4 gigabytes gives your computer more memory to run better and handle several applications running at one time. The hard drive of your computer should be between 250 and 500 gigabytes for daily use, and rise to 750 or above for gaming, video editing, and other higher end uses.
Finally, the screen size should be considered along with the graphics cards. If you plan to play games or watch a lot of videos on your computer, find a screen size large enough for you to see comfortably. A 17- to 19-inch LCD screen should be sufficient, but 19- to 21-inches are available as well. A 128-megabyte graphics card will work for standard users. Check that the computer has a DVD burner as well for watching and burning movies.
Buying a new computer without a warranty is a common pitfall. Extended warranties are available, along with theft and accident insurance. Insurance for a desktop must be purchased separately from an insurance company. This protects against your computer being stolen or destroyed in a fire. The extended warranty means if the computer breaks, they can fix it for you for free in most cases. Decide if you think this is necessary. If your computer is used constantly, it may be wise to invest in these extra precautions. If not, a standard warranty will work.
Where To Buy
Today most desktop computers can be customized and bought online. Electronic stores such as Best Buy offer desktops and accessories, and can work with you to customize the features you need. Avoid buying a desktop from any store offering extremely cheap deals. These computers are slow and will break long before they should. They also are limited and often do not feature the best in technology. Never buy a computer that has no warranty. With computers, you get what you pay for.
A high-end gaming computer can go for around $1,500 depending on what additions you make to it. For average family use, a desktop can be purchased in the $500 to $600 range. You may choose to upgrade some features, but you can still have a nice computer for under $1,000. Keep in mind the price of additional software, such as Microsoft Office, and the price of insurance or extended warranties if needed.
Check the technical support available before purchasing a desktop. If the company has no online or phone support, you will have a hard time ever getting any problem fixed. Ask if the store you're buying it from has free tech support, or call up the online tech support for the computer company and see how friendly and helpful they are. Bad tech support is never a good sign.