These and many others are questions I get all the time from people looking to replace their current computer. Today, we’ll go over some of the basics of buying a new computer and what all those megabytes, gigabytes, RAMs, TBs, etc. all mean to you.
Gigabytes (GB) – A gigabyte is a unit of measure for computer memory. This unit applies to both the RAM (short-term memory) and the hard drive (long-term or storage memory). Essentially, the more gigabytes a computer has, the more information it can “remember.”
Gigahertz (GHz) – This is the speed measurement of your computer’s processor or CPU. The higher the number, the faster the CPU can process data, the faster your computer will be.
Terabytes (TB) – A terabyte is another unit of measure, currently used primarily for hard drives. A terabyte is equal to 1,024 gigabytes.
Dual-core, Quad-core, etc. – This refers to the number of processing cores a CPU has. Basically, to increase computing power, CPU manufacturers stack processors on top of each other to generate greater computing power. Most consumer computers will have dual or quad-core processors although high-performance computers may have hex or octo-core (6 or 8 core) CPUs.
Solid State Drive (SSD) – A solid state drive is a storage device that uses flash memory instead of magnetic platters (as in traditional hard drives) to store data. Because there are no moving parts, SSDs allow significantly faster access to your information, thereby increasing the speed of your computer.
What You Need
Before buying a new computer you should start by evaluating your current and future needs. Do you use your computer for work or play? What kind of work or play? Like buying a car, you need to look at how you plan to use it. If you’re a farmer then a pickup truck would probably be a better choice than a Ferrari, unless of course you race on the weekends.
General Computer Use – Light multi-tasking, simple programs
For most home users, a fairly simple computer will meet your daily needs. The things you typically do with your computer might include surfing the Web, writing emails, typing documents, playing online games (such as Pogo, Gamehouse and Facebook) and saving home photos and videos. A good system to meet these needs will have either a dual-core or quad-core CPU (1.5GHz or better), four gigabytes of RAM and a five hundred gigabyte or one terabyte hard drive. Expect a desktop computer like this to cost around $400 or more (without monitor, printer, etc.), and a laptop/convertible to cost $500 or more.
Office Use – Heavy multi-tasking, demanding programs
For light office work such as email, document writing, etc. a system like that stated above will be sufficient for your needs. If, however, you are working with programs like Photoshop, AutoCAD, Sony Vegas Pro, etc. then a stronger/faster computer will serve you better. Generally you will want a quad-core CPU (2GHz or better) six to eight gigabytes of RAM, a five hundred gigabyte solid state drive or a 1 terabyte hard drive and a professional series (as opposed to gaming) graphics card with one gigabyte or more video RAM. A system like this will generally be a desktop but could also be a laptop. Expect the desktop version to start at $800, and a laptop/convertible to cost $1,000 or more.
Gaming – Hard-core PC gaming
Computers like this are geared towards people who either enjoy playing the latest blockbuster titles like Batman: Arkham Knight, Call of Duty, etc. with the best possible performance or just want bragging rights for the biggest computer on the block. Look for at least a quad, hex or octo-core CPU (3.5GHz or higher), eight to sixteen gigabytes of RAM, two or more solid state drives of five hundred gigabytes or more, a 750 watt power supply or more and one or more gaming graphics cards. Pricing for dedicated gaming computers ranges from $1,000-10,000, depending on configuration.
So now you have a brief introduction to choosing a new computer. Still feeling overwhelmed? Contact us today to discuss your situation and let us configure the best system to meet your needs!
Do you find yourself wishing your current computer was faster? In our next blog post we'll be discussing performance upgrades you can do today to get your system running better than ever!
Do you have a question or topic you’d like us to address? Email and let us know!