Most people don’t know exactly what to look for when buying a new computer so we’ve put together a simple guide to highlight the important items to know for the best deal.
If you’re going to be checking out the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals use the following guidelines to get the best computer at the best price!
- Processor or CPU: There are 2 CPU manufacturers, Intel and AMD. Intel is by far the better choice. We highly recommend Intel primarily because it’s the most reliable.
AMD is a much cheaper brand and you’ll save if you find a computer with an AMD, but it’s not worth it! We also recommend sticking with the higher end i-series. There are some really good deals out there on computers with Intel i3 and i5 processors (there is also an i7 and i9). Intel i3 and i5 processors are sufficient for 90% of computer users. You only need a more powerful processor if you are doing high end things like video rendering or processing large amounts of data for long periods of time.
The newest ‘Generation’ of the i-series is the 8th generation. You can tell which generation by the first digit of the processor type. For instance, you’ll see the processor listed as Intel i3-8100. The 8 signifies 8th generation. 7th generation CPU’s are also very good so if you find a great deal on a computer with a 7th generation i-series don’t pass it up!
- RAM or Memory: The memory is not the amount of storage space. That would be the hard drive and we’ll get to that next. The RAM is basically the operating memory and the more you have the more efficiently the computer will run. We recommend you get a computer that has at least 8GB of RAM. This is pretty standard now with most new computers. Also, the standard memory type now is DDR4.
- Hard Drive: The hard drive is what stores your actual data. The standard hard drive size is 1TB which is 1000GB (Gigabytes). Most users have less than 250GB of actual data. Unfortunately, most computer manufacturers use really cheap mechanical hard drives to cut down on cost.
The spinning mechanical drives are slow and will affect the performance of the brand new machine.You really want to look for a good deal on a computer with an SSD (Solid State Drive). This is a very fast hard drive because it has no spinning / moving parts. You’ll pay a little bit more, but the performance increase is significant.
(Additional Reading: Advantages of SSD’s over traditional Hard Drives)
- Brands: We are not too brand specific here at Your Computer Guy. Some people are brand loyal and it’s fine to stick with what you’re comfortable with. A good analogy is Ford and Chevy. Each has great models and terrible models.
As a general rule we really like Dell, ASUS, ACER, and Lenovo. The company with the most issues across many different models would be HP. Some HP’s are great, but generally speaking we see the most issues with this brand and don’t recommend HP computers.
- Where to Buy: We keep a few new laptops and desktops that meet all these specs in our shop. However, if you don’t get one from us, check out these great sources. BJ’s online actually has a great selection of new computers and they always have a good deal.
Of course Amazon is a great source. The only downside is the selection can be overwhelming meaning too much to choose from. Best Buy will often have really good sales on particular models that meet all the specs above. Plus, they have the largest selection in the store so you can physically see many different models in one spot.
- Don’t get stuck on the price:The idea here is to find the best value, not the cheapest computer. If you are looking for a great new computer for $200 or $300 that is not going to happen. The price range for a really good machine is around $500 – $800. You can find a really good computer with a new i-series CPU, 8GB of RAM or more and a solid state hard drive in that price range.
- We Can Help! Many of our clients need new computers, but really don’t want to go out and look for the best deal. We do this all the time. If you don’t want to go out and find the best computer for the money we’ll find it for you. We’ll also bring it to your home or office and set it up. We can transfer all the information from your old computer to your new one too!