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How to choose a computer

Everyone has to buy a new computer sometime. It’s not always easy to decide which one’s for you. Some options are a must-have. Others are just too expensive. So how do you choose the right one? Here’s a list of the most important options, and what they mean for you.

Hard Drive

Having lots of hard drive space is valuable, but most computers now come with plenty of space for the average user. Around 200 gigabytes is usually more than enough. If you have a huge music collection, lots of big pictures, a bunch of movies or a combination of those things, then you may want a bit more space. Consider looking into SSDs as well. They are usually much smaller than standard drives, and more expensive per gigabyte, but they are much faster as well. A SSD will be more reliable and they also use less power.

RAM

This is one of the most important factors when it comes to the speed of your system. For most people, three to four GB is enough, but a little extra never hurts. One thing to remember is that a 32-bit processor can only handle four GB. If you want more, you’ll have to go with a 64-bit system. If you plan on gaming, video editing or doing any other intense tasks, then you will definitely want a fair amount of RAM. It will keep your system efficient and help it last longer.

Processor Speed

Your processor is another big part of your computer’s speed. For the most basic needs, a 2GHz processor would be fast enough, but a little bit more speed can make a big difference. A 2.3GHz or faster processor will make your computer much zippier, and will help it remain usable for a bit longer. Also consider the number of cores when you compare processors. Most dual core processors will perform much better than processors with just one core. Some computers, mostly desktops, even have quad core processors, but these are only needed for extreme computing.

Graphics

Many computers now come with integrated graphics controllers. These are usable, but they don’t perform nearly as well as dedicated graphics cards. If you plan on gaming, even a little bit or watching any high quality videos, then you will probably want a dedicated graphics card. A 512 MB card is big enough for most people, but more intense gamers might want a 1GB card.

Wireless

Unless you have a desktop that will be hard wired to your internet connection, then you will want some sort of wireless. For just Wi-Fi, you’ll probably want a wireless N card. This is the newer, faster standard, but you could make do with an older, wireless b/g card if you needed to. If you’ll be travelling a lot, then a broadband card might also be worth looking into. They can be expensive because they require a monthly payment, but they’re quite useful for many people.

Of course, there are lots of other things that you need to consider when buying a computer, like comfort and weight, for laptops, but this list includes the most important things. This guide will help you know what you really need, and what you don’t.

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