Saturday, November 12, 2011

Guide To Buying A Computer (Part 1 of 5): Types of Computers

Welcome to part 1 of our 5 part guide on buying a new computer. The holidays are fast approaching and with computers being a hot gift, I thought it necessary to put a little something together to give you the information necessary to make an intelligent computer purchase, ask the right questions and maximize the money you plan to spend. 

We’ve broken the guide into 5 parts:

Part 1 - The Different Types of Computer
Part 2 - Hardware Options
Part 3 - Software Options
Part 4 - Warranties
Part 5 - Shopping Tips

Part 1- Types of Computers

The choices seem endless when buying a new computer. Desktop vs. laptop vs. netbook, hard drive space and brand are a few of the factors people consider when they need a new PC. It all comes down to how you’re going to use the computer. Desktops aren’t mobile but allow for future upgrades to increase performance and capacity. Meanwhile, laptops are made to travel with some offering features and capabilities that compare with desktops. The three types of computers to consider are as follows: 

Ideal for people who want the most performance for their money and don’t require the computer be mobile.
  • Ability to upgrade or easily replace certain components which means a desktop is less likely to become obsolete.
  • More performance for the money than laptops and are less costly to repair.
  • Longer life span compared to laptops

  • Can take up a lot of space
  • Not designed for travel

Ideal for people who require they’re computer to be portable.
Using your computer away from your desk has become extremely popular. However, being mobile comes with a price. Laptops commonly have smaller screens and keyboards, less performance for the price, and are limited in their expansion options. Technology has helped bridge the gap between performance and price, but screen and keyboard size are still sacrificed for portability.
  • Laptops are portable.
  • They can handle most things a desktop can Take up less space.
  • Easily stored

  • Higher price when compared to similarly equipped desktops.
  • Can be more expensive to repair.

Ideal for people looking for a portable second computer or teenagers. 
Netbooks have only been on the market for short time and are basically downsized laptops. They’re considerable less expensive than laptops, with a cost between $300 and $400.
  • Lighter, smaller, and less expensive than standard laptops.
  • Ultra portable.
  • Battery life is typically long.

  • Small display, keyboard, and touch pad.
  • Performance is generally slow.
  • Stripped of features you typically expect in a computer. No optical drive (DVD/CD), small hard drive, limited ports to connect external devices.

As I stated above, the best type of computer for you really depends on what you want to do with it.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Computer Buyers Guide: Hardware Options – What are the minimum requirements for good performance

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