Before You Buy…Keep These Facts in Mind
For most people buying a new PC, it’s either because their old PC is just too slow to keep up anymore, or something horrible just happened to their last one. Some people may be getting ready to buy their first computer, whether it be for school, or they just feel it’s finally time to enter to the digital world.
No matter which scenario you find yourself in, keep in mind that computers (and other technology products) aren’t the same as they used to be. Even if this is going to be your first PC, these changes are important to know and understand.
Buy What You Need, Not What You Think You Want
It’s important to understand the difference between what you want in a new PC compared to what you may actually need in a new PC. Buying a PC is an investment, and a very volatile one as well. We all know technology changes fast. Keep in mind that your needs may change over the life of your computer as well. It’s very important to ask yourself some questions before rushing to the store or using that dangerous “1-Click” button on Amazon.com.
Read more about the difference of what you may want in a new PC compared to what you may really need in a PC in the article Buy What You Need.
Windows PCs come in many different shapes, sizes, and designs. With the adoption of touch screens, some very creative designs have been developed by all major computer manufacturers. No longer is there just a choice between a desktop and a laptop: there are entirely new devices such as All in One Desktops, Windows tablets, hybrids and convertible 2-in-1s, Ultrabooks powered by Intel Core processors, and many more choices when it comes to traditional desktops and laptops.
Explore some of the many new options and styles of Windows PC in the article Form Factors.
Don’t Waste Your Money on Tech That You May Never Use
There are so many options when it comes to buying a new Windows PC. Not just with what kind or form factor, but its capabilities and hardware specifications (“specs” in geek-speak). It’s best to put a decent amount of thought into how you plan on using your new Windows PC (and not just how you may have used your old one or first thought of how you’d use your first PC). To help you navigate through the seemingly endless sea of options for computers, I’ve created a category system that may help. There’s no need to buy a PC with all these bells and whistles that you may never need. It’s important not to over-buy, but you may also regret buying a PC that doesn’t match your needs, either.
I’ve listed and explained 4 basic categories of PCs (and PC users). Decide which category best suits your needs by reading PC Categories for All Users.
Brief overview of CPUs and Memory (and how they help to categorize a PC)
After debating and eventually deciding on which category of PC would best suit you, it’s time to look at what specs you can expect in your chose category. The main specs of a Windows PC are its CPU (or processor), its memory (RAM), and storage capacity. There are certainly many other specs for any given PC, but that depends on what PC form factor is best for you.
Hopefully when you’ve found the right type of PC you’ve already at least partially decided on some of the other specifications for the PC, such as screen size for the device (or if buying a traditional desktop, the size of the monitor). There’s also the resolution or the quality of the screen to consider, whether or not it’s touch screen, its wireless capabilities including whether or not it supports Bluetooth (a cool technology that allows you to wireless connect other devices with no cables and no little USB receivers) and Wireless Display technologies, such as Miracast or Intel WiDi (Wireless Display). Battery life is also important. Fortunately you shouldn’t need to put much effort into researching all of these other specs as they typically are found in the PC that matches your form factor and category.
With all those specs in mind, let’s take a look at the most important ones: CPUs or Processors and Memory and Storage.
Batteries not included (well, technically yes, but nothing else is)
PCs don’t come with all the necessities like many others did years ago.
It was commonplace for a PC sold years ago (usually desktop tower PCs) to come bundled with almost everything that was needed, including a monitor and cables, sometimes a decent printer, office productivity software such as Microsoft Office or Microsoft Works (now retired), antivirus protection software for the computer, thorough guides and instructions, as well as premium support and a premium warranty offered usually by both the manufacturer and the retailer.
Today most PCs don’t have *any* of the above-mentioned bundled items and services–or just in the form of a trial or limited support. It’s not impossible to still buy a PC today that comes with many such bundled items, but these PCs are usually found on TV shopping channels or catalogs as a limited time promotion (and are often not very good deals upon closer examination).
I strongly suggest you review this comprehensive list of important–yet usually not included with your PC– Accessories and Services.
Ready to Start Shopping?
Hopefully this guide and supporting posts will provide you with a wealth of knowledge (and not overload your circuits) to make an educated decision when you decide to buy a new Windows PC.