Choosing a computer can be a daunting task, especially considering the ever-changing technology, but there are some tips that can help to make the process easier. Research is one of the best investments when choosing a computer, especially with lesser-known brands. Another important tip is to always read and understand all of the specifications of a computer, because some models might exclude a feature expected to be rather standard. One also should ensure that the operating system and peripherals included with the computer are what is anticipated, because the fine print may show that a computer comes with an older-than-expected version of software or not include devices shown in the picture or store display.
One tip for choosing a computer is to know which operating system is desired. The operating system can actually determine which computers can be purchased, because certain software will only operate with proprietary hardware. Likewise, that same hardware might not behave properly or easily if an operating system is changed later.
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When choosing a computer, another tip is to know whether a laptop or desktop is required. A laptop has a small footprint and can be carried anywhere, but it can be very difficult — if not impossible — to upgrade. A desktop system is expandable and very powerful but lacks mobility and requires separate peripheral hardware such as a monitor, keyboard and mouse. A laptop is equivalent to a desktop for casual use, but more intense use — such as running business application suites, programming or online gaming — a desktop will perform much better in the long run.
The numbers presented representing system resources also should be considered when choosing a computer. A larger number is not always as significant as the right number. Hard drive sizes, random access memory (RAM) amounts and processor speeds increase regularly. A large hard drive might be nice to have but should not be the only reason a computer is chosen. Likewise, for just checking emails or browsing the Internet, an excessive amount of RAM is often not required.
It can be valuable to look at the software bundled with a system when choosing a computer. Software that can be very expensive if purchased separately can be practically free if it comes installed as part of a computer system. Similarly, there can be a great amount of cost savings on a desktop computer if it is purchased with a monitor, printer or other peripherals as part of a package.
Finally, many refurbished computers are just as effective as new ones. Several components inside computers are produced by only a few manufacturers, meaning that just because a computer does not have a brand name on the case does not necessarily mean it does not have the exact same vital components inside. An important distinction to make when choosing a computer that has been refurbished is that they often do not include any extra features or software, instead offering an inexpensive and functional computer.