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Computer Shopping? A checklist to help you find the right one for you

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

I'm the go-to person in my circle for tech questions, and one of the most frequent questions that asked is "What are your recommendations for a new computer?" Now of course like all people I have my favorites I lean towards or that I use more often but picking out a new computer or suggesting one I always have people look at these specs....

Are you Mac or PC person?

It's an easy either or question right? But it's a little grey if let's say you want to transition from Windows to a Mac. You're currently reading the blog of someone who had been up until a few years ago, a Windows girl. Anyway, once you answer that, then you can dig more into specs.

What are you going to be using the computer for?

For most of the people that ask me about a new computer, they aren't doing high level coding or playing the latest PC game...but wait does the Sims count? But kidding aside, you need to identify what you'd be using your computer for. Is it going to be your go to for ALL THE THINGS; email, business, games, surfing the web. Is it going to be just for business, just for playing around? Is it going to be for the household; so you and the homework assignments for the kids?

Specs to look at...

  1. Memory - The amount of RAM in the computer, typically most low priced laptops come with about 4GB of RAM, I recommend at least 8GB, to give you good performance because depending on what you're running on the laptop certain programs use a lot of memory.

  2. Hard drive space - I've seen some laptops that come with a couple hundred GB of storage, which is good, but in the year 2019 even some low priced laptops come with at least 500GB of storage. Good rule of thumb, your laptop shouldn't have less storage than your smartphone, there are iPhones that come with 256GB, so your computer that you're working from should have more than that. Particularly because applications, and the operating system are using up some of your storage space and if you're someone who has lots of pictures or video files you will need it.

  3. Processor - now this isn't one alot of people really look at but it makes a difference, it's how your computer processes things, it's the CPU the brain. Most home laptops/computers have at minimum an i3 processor (Intel is the processor in practically every computer so don't worry about that). To keep this simple, the bigger the number after the "i" in the processor name the better...but that also impacts the cost too. Higher performing computers have an i5 or an i7.

  4. Screen Size - 11" is compact, good for you if you're going to have the laptop with you on the go constantly, and want to be able to carry it and it's not a burden. 13" is a good median it's not too small, and it's not a brick. 15" in my mind is for someone who low-key still wants a desktop but doesn't want the bulk that comes with it. This is also for people who want the laptop with the full number keypad.

This last one isn't necessarily a spec but...WARRANTY!!!

Make sure you have one on whatever you decide to go with, sure it adds to the total, but better to have it so when something goes wrong you're not unexpectedly coming out of pocket to fix something annnnd you don't have to find someone to do the work.

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