10 Questions You Must Ask Yourself before Buying a New PC

Article by George Norman (Cybersecurity Editor)

on 22 Mar 2017

Buying a new computer is no easy thing. It is a big investment and a big decision that you shouldn’t just rush into. That’s why you have to mull things over and ask yourself a few very important questions.

The guide below presents 10 questions that anyone who wants to buy a PC should ask themselves before making a decision. Check it out!

1. Do you actually need a new PC?

Assuming you already have a PC, the question you must ask yourself is why do you want to get a new one? Is it because you simply must have a new PC, or is it because your old one is so woefully underpowered that it is a pain to use? If it’s the first option, then you might want to put off buying a new PC. If it’s the latter, then you really should get a new PC! Oh, and please make sure to responsibly dispose of your old one.

2. What are you going to do with your new PC?

If you’re going to do basic stuff like surf the web, listen to some music, and watch a video from time to time, you don’t need a powerful PC. But if you’re going to do something that requires a lot of power, like playing video games on ultra high settings, then you need a PC that’s packed with powerful hardware. Just keep in mind that all this powerful hardware doesn’t come cheap.

3. Where are you going to use your new PC?

The term PC, which stands for "personal computer," refers to several types of devices.

The classic desktop computer that most people are familiar with.

Laptops, which are built with portability in mind.

Tablets, which are even easier to carry around.

2-in-1 devices, which are a hybrid between a laptop and a tablet.

And all-in-one devices, which incorporate everything into the monitor. It’s like having a classic desktop, but you don’t have a tower to worry about.

Where do you plan to use your new PC? If you want to sit at a desk, you might want to get a classic desktop, a laptop, or an all-in-one PC. If you require mobility because you’re always on the go, you might want to get a laptop, tablet, or 2-in-1 device.

4. What sort of form factor appeals to you?

As mentioned above, a PC could be a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet, a 2-in-1 or an all-in-one device. In design terminology, this is a known as "form factor." And the question that arises is what sort of form factor appeals to you? Functionality and portability aside, the simple truth of the matter is that you want to buy something that looks good, something that you can look at and say "my new PC sure looks great."

5. How much money can you afford to spend?

Prices vary depending on several factors: what type of PC you want to get, what sort of hardware the PC has, and whether you want to get a new, refurbished or used PC.

A brand new all-in-one PC like the HP ENVY Curved AIO 34 presented below, will set you back close to two grand.

Pricing for the HP Spectre, which was the thinnest laptop in the world at one point, starts at $1,170.

The ASUS Zenbook Flip 2-in-1 is priced at around $500.

I could go on and list some more PCs, but I thing you get the point.

Getting back to question number 2, you have to ask yourself "what am I going to do with my new PC?" The thing is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a powerful PC if you’re going to use it for simple tasks. And on the other side of the spectrum, you can’t expect a powerful PC to be cheap, now can you? As mentioned above, powerful hardware doesn’t come cheap. And speaking about hardware…

6. Do you know what to look for?

Do you know what sort of processor you want for your PC, how much memory you’re going to need, how much storage space will be enough, and so on? If you don’t, then get to know your technology, because what’s "under the hood" makes all the difference.

Chances are that a cheap PC won’t have the best specs and while its underwhelming performance may be okay for now, what are you going to do a year or two years from now? That’s one other thing that you must take into consideration. Faster and more powerful hardware is released every year. System requirements constantly go up. A cheap, low-spec PC won’t break the bank now, but it will become obsolete in the very near future. A powerful PC will cost more, but you’ll be able to use it for longer.

7. What about the peripherals?

Let’s assume that you’re going to get a classic desktop computer. In most cases, you’ll only get the tower, a.k.a. the case that holds all the hardware components. You’ll also need a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. That’s another expense that you’re going to have to take into consideration.

In some cases, the manufacturer will throw in a keyboard and mouse. But, from my own personal experience, I can tell you that you’ll get a lousy mouse and keyboard that you’re going to have to replace anyway.

8. Can you do it yourself?

One way of cutting down costs is to do things yourself. Instead of buying a readymade desktop computer, you could buy all the individual parts and build it yourself. Instead of replacing an older PC that’s starting to show it’s age, you could upgrade it by fitting it with better hardware – a new processor, a new graphics card, a larger hard disk or SSD. Instead of calling a friend or paying a specialist to service your PC, you could clean it yourself. The more things you can do by yourself, the less money you’ll spend.

9. Do you want to install Windows yourself?

Some PCs don’t come with Windows, while others have the operating system preinstalled. A tech-head who knows what he’s doing and wants to set things up a certain way, will want to install the operating system himself. Someone who wants to dive right in and start using a newly purchased PC will like that the operating system is preinstalled.

10. Will an iPad or Android tablet suffice?

Here's a personal example. The wife kept telling me that she wants a new laptop, because she got it stuck in her head that she needs a laptop. After I thought about it, I realized that she doesn't need a laptop, she just needs something to browse the web and go on Facebook. So I got her an Android tablet instead.

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