Computers are a necessity nowadays. Every household needs to have one, especially since most of the workforce has shifted to a computer-centric approach to getting tasks done. However, when you know very little about computers, it can be challenging to decide which one is the best for you. In this article, you’re going to learn a few considerations before you decide to commit to one.
Laptop or Desktop
Your first decision hinges on how you intend to use it. If you’re going to be traveling a lot, shopping for laptops is the right choice. But if you’re staying in a single location, a desktop might be preferable. But that’s not the only reason, although it’s an important one. Upgradability is also a concern.
Most laptops are tightly integrated, with proprietary parts and hardware that you quickly can’t replace or upgrade. Thanks to their modular-yet-bulky nature, you can upgrade and repair your desktop. Should you ever plan to build a powerful computer down the line, a desktop is preferable. This is because you can start with entry-level components and slowly save up for premium-end hardware. Although these features also come with ease of use with modularity, a laptop can have a set of specifications you can pick and choose from. At the same time, a desktop will require you to select everything independently. You can go for pre-built desktops or commission a tower desktop specifically built for your needs.
Operating System of Choice
While most people will find Windows serviceable, other operating systems like Mac or Linux are also highly viable. Here’s a quick rundown on their differences and which one suits you best:
- Windows. If you don’t like tinkering with computers and want things to “work,” Windows is the best option. Fortunately, it’s also the most accessible as most pre-built computers and laptops. Most software comes compiled for Windows computers too, so the availability of software is far and wide.
- Mac OS. Mac computers are exclusive to manufactured Apple computers, so there’s no going around it. You have to buy an Apple computer to use Mac OS and its premium software design and efficiency tools. It’s also suitable for artistic and graphical uses. Many manufacturers optimize their drawing tablets, video, and photo manipulation software for this operating system.
- Linux. Often treated as the dark horse of operating systems, Linux is the first choice of many programmers. However, it’s beginning to expand beyond developer use and seeing a significantly growing casual user base. The most notable feature of Linux is that it’s free, and most of the software it uses is also free. So for those looking to both enjoy free and open-source software, Linux is the best operating system for you.
- Chrome OS. Underneath all the software optimization and user-interface improvements is still Linux. Still, Chrome OS offers a vastly different user experience. Primarily based on browser applications, Chrome OS is perfect for those seeking Android’s efficiency but on the laptop’s form factor.
Other Important Consideration
There is more to computers than just the unit and the operating system. You’ll need different modular components for various uses, like for intensive graphical work or if you need a specific input method available. Below is a quick list of other computer parts you need to consider, especially if you have particular use-case scenarios in mind:
- Bluetooth Capability. You might want a computer with good Bluetooth capability. Many people typically use Bluetooth devices like earphones, keyboards, and even mice. Not every computer has Bluetooth capability, so you have to make sure from your vendor.
- Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). If you like playing video games on your computer, then a GPU is vital. A GPU will allow you to maximize the graphical settings of video games and enjoy a smoother experience. GPUs also find a use for graphically intensive tasks, like video editing or image processing.
- CPU. You can’t build a computer without a CPU, but you can’t just use any CPU. Suppose you’re going to be doing high-intensity programs like video editing software and number-crunching calculations. In that case, you want a strong and reliable CPU. Nowadays, 3 GHz is the regular base point of many CPUs, but you might want one that can hit 4 GHz.
- Peripherals. Do you need a wide monitor or prefer using multiple monitors? How about a mechanical keyboard? You might also need a sound card if you do audio manipulation. Often, there are task-specific peripherals that you can use for your computer, so make sure to know what you need.
You might feel bombarded by the endless options in the market. But that’s a good thing. There’s always something out there for you at different price points and different capabilities. Just make sure to consider what you need it for and, most importantly, if your budget calls for it.