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What to look for when shopping for a computer


I thought today would be a good day to touch on computer specs. Well on any day I don’t mind looking at them but I am the person that often gets asked if I have recommendations for new computers; or asked my opinion before someone pulls the trigger on a computer they’ve been eyeing. So I thought I’d share what you should be looking for when deciding on a computer purchase.

Storage

First things, first, making sure the computer has space for saving things.  The OS (operating system) along with other system files from applications will take up space so keep that in mind when looking at laptops or desktops.  You’ll see a lot of computers come with at minimum 128GB but they also have an SSD after the space. That stands for Solid State Drive, these drives are faster and more reliable, as unlike HDD, which have spinning platters in them, they use interconnected flash memory chips to store data. They’re also able to be designed much smaller allowing for more options for the manufacturers when building the computer. 

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Inside of HDD (Photo: Pexels)

SSD is predominantly the standard but you’ll occasionally see cheaper laptops/computers with high storage HDDs in them…cheaper isn’t always better.   For me I’d always recommend 256GB at least for average use, as a lot of people install lots of apps, games, and save ALL the things to their hard drive.  If you can spring for 512GB go for it, but you can always get an external drive to move things off of your computer to store.

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SSD (Photo: Kingston)

Memory

Next up, Memory…please, please don’t skimp on this area. I browse laptops often just to gauge the prices, and really inexpensive laptops..are out here being sold with 4GB of RAM..DON’T fall for it! While of course a laptop can function with just 4GB, I only say this is acceptable for someone who will only be browsing the internet. At minimum your laptop should have 8GB, and honestly for more longevity, go for 16GB. Particularly if you’re a multitasker like I am, you know if you’re running multiple apps (read..too many tabs/windows open lol). RAM stands for Random Access Memory, this is where the computer places data in the short term to quickly access it while it’s being used. Again so it can handle multiple things at once and not get sluggish.

*On PC laptops (Windows) you can upgrade memory to a certain extent depending on the manufacturer, but if you purchase a Mac, you can’t sooo get the maximum you want when you purchase.

CPU (Processor)

The Processor (CPU) works hand in hand with the memory (RAM). It’s the brain of the computer, the more powerful your processor the faster your computer’s brain works.  The speed is measured in GHz but that’s not typically what you see in the product details. You’ll see typically, 1 core, dual core (2), Quad core (4). The more cores you see a system with the higher the price typically, as the processor is more powerful.  I won’t beat you over the head with clock speed, that’s too much lol. But having a good amount of RAM and a low level processor don’t math y’all.

Graphics Card

This is important but most of the time the typical graphics card is ok for the traditional laptop user, if you’re a gamer you want a gaming laptop or desktop as they have higher powered graphics cards to support the more advanced capabilities of the gaming experience.

So are you in the market for a new computer? I’ve got a couple of my recommendations here.

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