If you are planning to buy a computer, here are some important features that you should be aware of. First of all, you will need to decide whether you want to buy a laptop or a desktop computer. There are pros and cons to both types. If you need to use your computer while on the go a lot, then laptop is an ideal choice. On the other hand, if your computer usage is mostly at home then you can go with a desktop. But keep in mind that desktop computer will require you to buy a monitor as well. On the positive side, you have the option of having a bigger screen than a laptop.
Alright, moving on to the specific hardware features:
Processor: Look for a dual core or higher processor. The speed can range from 1.8 GHz or higher. The higher the MHz, the faster the computer will be with a dual core processor. Dual core at 1.8 GHz means that you get a processor that runs at twice the speed of 1.8 GHz. So, it’s 1.8 GHz x 1.8 GHz. Dual core computers process data much faster than a regular single core processor. You can either choose Intel or AMD processors. Some latest processors include Intel’s Core i3, i5 and i7. Core i3 and i5 have dual cores while i7 has Dual and Quad Core versions. AMD’s latest processors include Phenom, Tuiron, Athlon, Sempron, etc.
Harddrive: Look for anything at or higher than 250 GB. The bigger the hard drive you have the more you can store. So, if you need to save a lot of videos, games, applications, etc, then anything at or above 250 GB is a good choice. Current laptops and desktops commonly come with 500 GB or higher hard drives.
Memory: If you are selecting a system that runs Windows 7 or Vista then consider having system memory (RAM) of 2 GB or higher. The more memory you have the less bogdown the computer will get.
Wireless Connection: For desktops, having the wireless feature is less common. But you can buy a wireless adapter for $10 to $15 and make your desktop wireless. However, laptops usually have built in wireless features. Consider having Wifi N adapter built in to the laptop. Wireless N is the latest and has the strongest signal.
Video Card: If you plan to make videos, watch HD movies or play heavy games then you must have a dedicated video card. Consider having a video card which has atleast 512 mb of dedicated memory. You will get computers that have shared video memory cards but those are not good enough for most modern games. If you don’t plan to play games or make videos then shared video memory is fine.
Other Essential Features:
- Look whether the computer has an Ethernet card built in. Ethernet allows you to connect high speed Internet modem to the computer.
- A computer with 6 or more USB ports will make it easier to connect USB wired devices.
- DVD writer is essential for creating backups and multimedia CDs/DVDs.
- A good sound card will output great quality audio.
- If buying a laptop, see if the keyboard is designed as the standard keyboard. Some laptops have unfriendly keyboard layout with unnecessary keys placed specially near the left side where Shift key is located.
- Laptops should have a built in webcam, microphone and preferably bluetooth.
- A 1 year warranty is good to have.