What computer should I buy?

As someone that works with computers for  living, this is a question I hear all the time. “It’s time for me to get a new computer, what should I get?” My answer is ALWAYS the same. “Depends” (and not the adult diapers). There are many factors that go into this decision, For this discussion we are going to omit tablets and focus mainly on computers. Tablets will be a discussion we have at a later time. As far as computers go, here are the questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. How am I going to use it? Some people want to compartmentalize their life and keep the computer in the “computer room” or others want something they can take with them and sit on the porch on a nice day. (providing you have wireless access and we can talk about that later)
  2. What are you planning to do with it? The new computers, laptops and desktops have a myriad of strengths and weaknesses, and based on these needs this will depend on what you need to buy.
  3. Do I want a Windows device or an Apple?

So let’s start with the first question. DO you want the device to be mobile? That will be the first question to narrow your search. For most people a cheap netbook and by cheap I mean <$300.00 will be fine. Most people that want a computer are looking for something they can use to write some documents with a word processor, read their email, and use the internet. That is about the extent of what you will get out of these devices. They are not equipped with a lot of processing power so anything more “intense” that tat will not give you an enjoyable computing experience. You will spend most of your time waiting for something to happen. They are not made to do something as intense as rendering video and creating the next  Lord of the Rings. That being said, there are other laptops that do have more horsepower that can render video, and such but the prices increase for every addition that you add to it. For example, to have a bunch of programs open, and being able to switch between them requires RAM. (quick rule of thumb – more RAM better performance). That being said for video editing processors are the major requirement. Editing the video is fairly easy on the processor, but compiling the video to output it to DVD or YouTube will require one form of compression or another. That pretty much covers laptops in general.

On to desktop computers, the same rules that apply to laptops also apply to desktops as far as memory, and processors. (You will notice I haven’t addressed Hard drives here as most new computers come with more sufficient hard drive space than you will need) (Special note: Video editors that want to keep all of the RAW footage they shoot will most likely need a HUGE external drive and raw video takes up a lot of space.) That being said, back to desktops. Most standard desktops that you can get at Best Buy or Walmart will do the job the STANDARD user is looking for. The reason I put standard that way is almost every computer user has a different expectation of their computer. For example, an “off the shelf” desktop from Walmart will do all of the normal things that an average user would want to do. Now that being said, most hardcore gamers would giggle at the thought of buying an of the shelf computer because they would have to install a larger, faster video card, for enhanced graphics for their games.

Now do you understand what I mean when I say that “What computer should I get” is a very tough question?

Now for the last question, “Should I get a Windows or Apple machine?” Once again, this is based on many variables. One is what are you going to do with it. The second is are you willing to spend the additional money that Apple equipment costs.

I have always said Windows is for business, while Apple is for creativity. I can’t give you an unbiased answer. I have certifications in both Microsoft and Apple. I switched to Apple a few years ago and I enjoy the quality of their software and hardware,

I hope this helps, if you have any other questions feel free to leave them in the comments.

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