The Ultimate Guide to Picking a New Computer

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Decide what is right for you based on budget, needs, and accessibility.

The time has come for you to upgrade your dinosaur of a computer for the next best thing, but picking a new computer can be a major challenge. There are so many options available! From a PC to a Mac to a Chromebook and more, the choices seem limitless.

1. Laptop or Desktop

One of the first decisions you need to make is what type of computer do you want or need? If you are looking for mobility, then a laptop is the best option for easy portability. Laptops are more flexible due to how compact they are, and you can take advantage of their size for travel events.

Desktop computers are not as portable but offer more options for graphic-intensive applications such as computer gaming, video editing, or animation rendering. Buying a desktop computer also means you will need to purchase a display to plug into it to see anything, but it also allows for customization of the screen size. There are all-in-one computers such as Dell All-in-One or an Apple iMac, which have the display built directly into the unit. Desktops also tend to have more ports than laptops, therefore it is easy to connect a bunch of peripherals (e.g. printers, external storage, speakers, microphone, etc.).

Other things to keep in mind when deciding between a laptop and a desktop computer include upfront costs, noise and cooling, and peripherals. You should expect a laptop to cost a little more than a desktop because you are buying the display, battery, and input mechanisms at the same time, but there are great budget laptop options available.

2. System Choices: Mac, Windows, or Chrome?

There are three major types of operating systems that are in this market: Mac, Windows, or Chrome. Whichever one you choose will most likely be based on personal preference, but there are a few things to keep in mind when making your decision.

The best way to make a sound decision is to try out all of the systems to see which works best for you. Some programs are known to work better than others on Windows rather than Mac, but Mac computers tend to have more convenient features available such as iMessage. Mac computers also tend to be a little safer from malware and hackers, but the system is more expensive than that of Windows or Chrome.

Gamers tend to be more favorable towards Windows systems because it has a more developed gaming ecosystem, making the gaming experience more enjoyable. If you are a serious gamer, this is something that you may want to consider.

Of the three systems, Chrome is the easiest to use and maintain. It requires minimal setup and is generally maintenance-free. Its light system requires fewer hardware sources and does not need high-powered processors and memory and large storage space. It was developed for the most basic of computer users and is extremely budget-friendly, but it is not the best option requiring high powered software and fast internet connection.

3. Power and Performance

Depending on what you want to do, performance may be the most important factor for you. You at least want a dual-core processor, but a quad-core will give you a noticeable performance increase.

If you are someone who needs more power for photo or video editing or are a serious gamer, then you will want to look for a computer that has at least a six-core (or better) processor. When it comes to system memory or RAM, you want to make sure you have enough, and not too much more. Most people only need a capacity of 8GB to 16GB, including heavy gamers. Anything more than 32GB is only needed based on the amount of video editing you would be doing and the software you want to use. For more in-depth buying information, check out this guide on how to choose a CPU.

4. Storage The size of a hard drive determines how many programs and files you can fit on it. Typically a computer with around 500GB of space is a good starting point, but a computer like the Chromebook has the option for cloud storage. Those with a lot of games and movies may want to consider a secondary drive with a terabyte or two of additional space.

5. Wireless Features

Most laptops have integrated wireless networking features that allow you to log on to the internet at broadband speeds when in range of a Wi-Fi network anywhere in the world. Most current laptops have 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) technology offering a 30% to 60% speed boost over the older 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) technology.

Bluetooth allows phone syncing easier and even adds support for headsets and headphones, allowing you to roam freely while on a voice call or listening to music. Any desktop you choose should also offer Wi-Fi 5 or 6 wireless networking capability or come with an integrated ethernet card, which enables connection to the internet through an Ethernet cable.

Securranty offers device coverage for any type of computer you deem is best suited for your needs. Coverage includes options for all electrical and mechanical failures that may occur during your everyday use such as blank screen, hard drive failure, manufacturer defects, and more. If you choose to purchase a Lost or Theft warranty or coverage for Accidental Damage, you are protected against anything that may happen like having your computer stolen or caught in the rain. For more information, visit our Warranties page.

For more information about computers you may be interested in, visit any one of these websites: - Apple: https://www.apple.com/ - Chrome: https://www.google.com/chromebook/shop/ - Windows: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows - https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/choosing-the-right-pc/ - https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/computers/buying-guide/index.htm