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A question I get over and over again is, “What should I be looking for when buying a new computer?” Purchasing a new computer is something that does require some thought and I am always happy to help with that decision.

Here is the answer I usually give…

First, if the Windows 10 computer is shiny (glossy) and has a low sales price tag, there’s a very good chance that the processor is past its prime, underpowered, containing a cheap hard drive and cheap graphics. I haven’t met a person yet that has been thrilled after the first day or two of purchasing one of these types.

Next, decide what you’re going to use the computer for:

  • Is it just web surfing? In this case, you may be satisfied with a Google Chromebook.
    Word documents and Excel?
  • Do you want to watch TV or movies?
  • Are you a gamer? This will require a lot of processing speed, more memory and better graphics.

Here are a few things to look for in a Windows 10 computer:

  • 4 core (or more processor) Intel i5 or I7 processor.
  • 4 core (or more processor) AMD processor is fine and about ($100) cheaper than an Intel one for approximately the same speed. AMD has many more versions than Intel. Search Google with the AMD processor model number to see the specifications.
  • Minimum of 8 GB of RAM (random access memory). The more memory, the less chance of things getting bogged down.
  • Solid state drive (SSD). In the past, I would say a fast, regular hard disk drive or a hybrid. Not anymore. The reliability of solid state drives have been proven and the speed is easily 10 X the speed of a regular hard drive.

As for the the size of the hard drive, bigger is not always necessary. Both Microsoft and Google have online document and picture storage in the Cloud. If you don’t take a lot of pictures, or keep a lot of documents, a small drive may be fine.

Whether for business or personal stuff a continuous backup such as Carbonite for small locations, or Kaseya Unified Business or should be considered.

All three major online storage locations – Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and iCloud – have lost client’s data at one point or another. If you read the fine print when signing up for these services, they all specifically state they are not responsible for your data. For example, this past weekend iCloud went down for some users. Click Here to read the article.

If this happened to you, would you panic, or be prepared? That’s why having backup software installed is essential.

Additional costs to consider:

  • Antivirus/malware/Rogue website/ rogue search protection (i.e. Webroot, Bitdefender, Norton, McAfee)
  • An Office suite: Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), Google GSuite, LibreOffice
  • Additional monitors
  • The time it takes to transfer your data.
  • The time it takes to install old programs, or install new ones.

Chromebooks and Apple computers

The basic hardware specifications are the same for Chromebooks and Apple computers. There are a few benefits to choosing a Chromebook or Apple computer.

With Chromebook, each time the computer is started, Chrome is refreshed Additional antivirus is not needed. GSuite and online storage comes with Chromebook. Apps are used instead of programs. Chromebooks take a little bit to get used if you are a Windows or Mac user.

With Apple, if you have other Apple products, the layout of each is very similar between each system so there’s less of a learning curve. Apple products are usually the most expensive. But you can easily sync data (calendar, documents, mail, etc.) between your iPhone, iPad, and Macbook.

I hope this information helps you make better choices when it comes to purchasing a computer or upgrading your current systems.

All the best and stay well,
Jim Nay

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