Tips on Buying a Computer System

By Nikes Alviz

One cannot deny that computers nowadays are part of our daily living. Computers are essential to businesses, military, government, schools, and even at home. They are widely used around the globe by people of different classes, which may include but not limited to executives, military personnel, researchers, professors, students and even common people at home. Computers promote us to do our work conveniently and efficiently. These machines  allow us to multitask, create documents, edit videos and photos, watch movies, play a videogame, and browse the internet. Computers really hold infinite possibilities.

Although computers are readily available on the market, the most common problem for consumers is the dilemma on what kind of computer they need to buy. Computers are not cheap therefore most people want to get the most out of their hard earned money.

Here are some tips and guidelines on how to choose the right computer with specifications compatible with your needs.

1. Determine your budget. You should know first the main function or your computer. Will it be for home use only? Will it be mainly for Internet browsing? Will it be for photo and video editing? Will it be mainly for gaming? These are the most common questions you need to answer for yourself in order to determine your needed budget for your computer. A computer for home use and daily internet browsing usually cost at an average of 550 USD (25,000 PHP). But computers built for video editing and gaming costs a lot more ranging from 800 USD (37,000 PHP) up to 1500 USD (70,000 PHP) for enthusiasts.

2. Laptop or Desktop? This is the most common dilemma of consumers. Desktop computers are appropriate to people who usually works most of the time at home, people who needs their computer turned on for a long period and people who need powerful

Desktop
Desktop
Laptop
Laptop

computing needs like video and photo editing, workstations and gaming. Laptop computers are smaller, more compact version of desktop computers. Laptops are suitable for people who are always on the go, for teaching and presentation purposes and for people who works usually outside their home.

3. Invest on a reliable power supply unit (PSU). Most consumers neglect this piece of hardware of a computer and suffer consequences in the end. Generic power supply unit are cheaper (11 USD or 500 php) but they lack most of the important features a

PSU
PSU
PSU
PSU

PSU should have. Generic PSUs have lower peak wattage than what is declared; therefore, it will not provide enough juice to power the most critical components of the system resulting in faster wear and tear of the components. They also lack power surge protection, sleeved wires, static proof cases, and efficient cooling capabilities.  Branded power supply units are more expensive (54 USD or 2,500 php) but are durable and a lot reliable than generic PSU. Good brands of PSU are HEC, Gigabyte, and Thermaltake. By investing on a good power supply, you can save a lot more.

4. But at least 2gb of RAM. This will make your computer run faster and execute programs efficiently. A minimum of 1gb of ram is

RAM
RAM

acceptable but most software nowadays are power hungry and needs a lot of memory. A 2gb ram is more than enough for daily computing and even for gaming.

5. Single Core, Dual Core or Quad Core. For daily computing, with mixed simple

Dual Core
Dual Core

gaming and editing, single core processors are suitable for your needs. For midstream gaming, photo editing and simple multitasking, dual core processor is the choice. However, when you require a lot of processing power like serious video and photo editing, graphics rendering, and serious multitasking, quad core processors will definitely help.

6. Buy a separate decent and reliable graphics card for gaming. There are many types of graphics card available on the market intended for specific needs, there are budget cards (less than 100 USD or less than 4,000 php) for simple gaming, midstream cards (250 USD or 11,500 php) to provide decent graphics on modern games, and high-end cards (400 USD or 18,500 php) for hardcore gamers who needs maximum performance.

7. LCD or CRT Display. CRT (Cathode-ray Tube) monitors are larger, bulky, generate a lot of heat and use more electricity than

LCD
LCD

LCD panels. But CRT provides the best color and contrast than LCD panels. LCD panels are slim, cool and power efficient, but less accurate in terms of color and contrast. The choice between the two is usually according to user preference, but theoretically, CRT are better for gaming, LCD are suitable for people with limited space at home and needs a less power hungry display.

8. Choose a CPU casing based mainly on functionality and aesthetics second

CPU
CPU

only. Choose a CPU case with a lot of room inside so that you can easily manage wiring, arrange devices properly and provide good airflow. Good airflow means cooler system. A cluttered, unorganized CPU disrupts airflow, which causes heat to build up inside the CPU case. The more the heat, the more your devices are prone to overheating. Overheating causes your computer to turn off suddenly and can interrupt work, and worse, destroy the system.

Buying a computer appropriate to your needs is very important. Not only you get the most out of your money, but also you will be more productive because you chose the right component of the computer that fits your needs.

N.B. As promised, this is the second of Sir Nikes’ Guest posting here in my blog. Thanks again, for the very informative article.

21 thoughts on “Tips on Buying a Computer System

  1. And for keyboards, what do you recommend, Jen? It's been a while since I heard you complained about your uncooperative keyboard. Is there by any chance you've a state of the art keyboard now, designed by some whiz kids in Silicon Valley?

    Aba, interesting you've come aboard Intense Debates comment platform, too. Ahehehe

  2. He he he, Jan, your radar is super dynamic, how did you know? lol..this whiz kid can fix anything as long as it concerns computers. and it's amazing things he can come up with. That's why my keypads are stable now, insanity occurs very rarely…lol…

    I am loving intense debates.

  3. @Allen

    Thanks! I'll be doing my best to write informative articles based on what i learned and experienced in computers.

    @sir Jan

    Sir, for keyboards, if you have the budget, logitech keyboards are the best, they are very durable, stylish and have additional functions like media keys and shortcuts depending on the model. I own a Logitech G15 gaming keyboard (the keyboard displayed on the first picture of the desktop in this aricle) and it is serving me quite well. If tight on the budget, A4 Tech keyboards are good, reliable and also durable keyboards.

  4. Nikes,
    You have a good knowledge about computers and some great advises given. 🙂 I'm glad Jena invited you to guest post. Guess I should say this is a timely post since my laptop has been 'dragging' itself to work all these whiles due to my heavy usage. lol.. I'm always stuck at #2, but clearly I shall go for a desktop system. Spot on with the tip to choose a pc system that has room for improvements. We all know how fast technology shifts, it's better to be prepared.

    *hugs* to Jena and best wishes! 🙂

    • hi ching, yes, it is advisable to choose a pc system that is reliable yet powerful. Desktop systems offers both. Although some laptops can do this and that, give it a year or two and it is already outdated. Unlike desktops that you can easily upgrade whenever you want or needed to.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  5. This is timely for me. I have a VERY old Dell that is giving up the ghost, and my personal desktop which I built myself is dying, too. I think we're going to end up going the laptop route, but with a docking station and a large HD monitor.

    • That's a good idea. If you are going to buy an HD monitor, try considering your laptop's video memory if it can accommodate the high resolution capacity of the HD monitor. High resolution displays need high video memory. Also, consider LED HD monitors, they are clearer, brighter and color accurate than LCD monitors.

      • Nikes, that's a good point to remember. I will make it a point to compare the video memory… I've also heard of docking stations that can drive video with built-in processing. Do you have any experience with that?

  6. Hi Ma'am Jena,

    It's a relief and at the same time I felt flattered that you like the review knowing that I attempted to review a professional WRITER. I review your site out from my heart and not only for Kaye and Pehpot's Blogversary Contest.

    Ma'am are you from Philippines? I'm just curious:)

  7. Very nice post. I specially like tip #3. A reliable PSU with enough juice should figure in your system design. It should not merely be an afterthought. But sadly, you are correct in saying that this is the most often neglected component.

    In addition to a desktop and a laptop, a netbook is also another viable option. This is specially true for writers and bloggers who need mobility (think: poolside :D) more than the raw power of desktops but shy away from the price of most quality laptops. While they look similar to laptops, they use a different type of processor and supporting chipset. They are also cheaper.

    Finally, you also have the option of choosing between a 32 and a 64-bit processor, be they singe or multi-core. If you do graphics design, video editing, computer drafting and 3D Modelling, you can really breath more easily if you have a 64-bit processor running a 64-bit Version of Windows.

    • Those are very good pointers Luke, but I can only nod because I am one of those mentally-challenged when it comes to computers. I'm learning slowly through sir Nikes articles. Thanks for the additional pointers. I'm sure you both understand each other perfectly…sir Nikes will react to your comment for sure.

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