Which computer should you buy?
I have done a few small posts regarding hardware recommendations. We get asked all the time, “what do you recommend.” In this blog I plan on diving in a little deeper. I will break this down into sections, that way you can just scroll to the specific hardware component you are interested in. This is designed to better help you pick out a decent computer from a big box retailer. If you really want a high quality computer with quality parts and a full one year warrant contact us.
First a quad core processor is the minimum we recommend for a processor. We recommend a quad core as opposed to a dual core. Most dual cores are fine for everyday use. The problem is that over time we have seen programs gain the ability to do more and more things. With the new programs ability to do more things it requires more processing power. I would suggest spending the money to have the extra two cores in case there is a multi-threaded workload you want to tackle in the future.
Now let’s dive into Random Access Memory (RAM). The best analogy to my knowledge is the desk analogy when it comes to ram. Think of the top of a desk and you have papers laid out across it. In this example think of the papers as webpages. You can only put so many papers on the desk that you can see clearly. Now your computer could keep opening web pages but if they wont all fit on the desk it will begin to slow the computer down. Let’s imagine you threw way more pages on the desk and everything is cluttered. It would take a while to find a specific page you want. That’s what happens when you don’t have a big enough desk i.e. enough ram. That’s why sometimes when you add more ram the computer feels faster. You are expanding the size of the desk to clearly see more pages. We usually recommend 8GB of ram at least. Depending on the programs you run you may need more.
Hard Drive (HDD) (SSD):
Let’s go back to the desk reference again. If you have too many pages on your desk, you’ll have to put some away in the drawers of the desk. The drawers are the hard drive. There are numerous different kinds of hard drives. HDD, SSD, M.2 SSD, M.2 Nvme, M.2 through PCIE. The list goes on. I will only dive into Solid State Drives (SSD) and Hard Disk Drives (HDD) for this post. The hard drive stores all the computer programs even your operating system (Windows, linux, and mac). It stores everything on your computer. First let’s start with speed. HDD come in two different speeds 5400rpm 7200rpm. Obviously the faster rpm the quicker it will open programs. I have tested numerous HDD’s at 7200 and seen speeds of 140-160 MB/s. The normal Sata III SSD will read and write with speeds of 550 MB/s. Therefore, I often tell people if you want a real speed increase upgrade to an SSD. Next is size and price. The HDD is extremely cheap storage. You can get a WD blue HDD with 1TB of space for around $40-$50. The current cheapest SSD at 500GB is around $100. If money is a factor go with a HDD of at least 1TB. If money is not a contributing factor or you want the quickest program loading for a decent price a 500GB SSD would be it. Be warned however if you start using an SSD you will not go back to a HDD. The difference in speed is very noticeable. SSD are also great for laptops because they use less power than the traditional HDD.
These are the main components you should be focused on. If you are wanting to utilize a graphically intensive program, then Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) will come into play. I will not jump into the details to picking a GPU in this blog. I will tackle that issue in a separate blog all together. There are a lot of variables to consider in picking a GPU. Along with these components I would suggest wi-fi capability, and Bluetooth. The rest is all about your needs. I hope this helps some of you in purchasing a decent computer. If you have any questions or need help feel free to contact Tech Nerds at 641-426-2865.