It isn’t fair, but buying a computer is just plain easier for some than it is for others. Those who’ve purchased and used a computer in the past already have an idea of what they need in a new computer. But those who are new to the computer world could get lost in the myriad of choices available.
The short answer to “What should I buy?” is “The best.” Of course that answer is extremely subjective because “the best” to one person is certainly different to another. Our definition of “the best” is the fastest and the biggest, but even that leaves the computer newbie confused. Here’s a quick rundown of what the computer novice should do and why.
1. Buy a computer that includes basic peripherals. Every computer can be broken down into four major components: CPU unit, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. For the novice, it’s best to buy a computer that has all of these components included so that when it’s taken home, assembling the computer is a simple matter of plugging things in where they belong. Save the individual purchases of these components for those who have more experience.
2. Decide what you’ll use the computer for. If you want to use your computer for cruising the web, sending email, or performing simple word-processing or spreadsheet tasks, a computer with the basic components that we just described should suffice. If you want to use a computer to help with a career in multimedia however, you’re going to need to accessorize your system with a scanner, printer, digital camera, tablet, or digicam for example. If you want a computer to help with a career in music, you will need a quality microphone and set of speakers.
3. Create a budget and stick to it. How much can you afford to spend on a new computer? Although the prices of computers are decreasing, they can still create a hefty expense especially if you need additional peripherals described above. In addition, you’ll need to figure in costs for maintenance, servicing, and insuring.
4. Start comparison shopping and look for the “fastest and biggest.” By “fastest and biggest,” we mean the computer with the fastest processor, the fastest modem, the biggest memory, and the biggest hard drive capacity. Even if you think that you’ll never need the amount of speed or space available on the market today, it’s important to have in the event that you truly do need that much in the future. Having such a large reserve will cut down on costs when the time comes to upgrade for more than what you may settle for in a computer that offers less.
5. Stick with the better-known brands. Venturing off the beaten path with lessor-known brands is again, an adventure for those who have more experience with computers. Although those better-known brands may be a tad bit more expensive, the computer novice will appreciate the comfort in purchasing a computer from a business that has a long record of building quality products, and that has the funds available for fulfilling returns, trades, servicing, and warranties.
6. Select a store. Having an idea of what you want in a computer and what kind of computer that you want, your only task left is to select the place in which you want to buy it. There are a number of places available including computer store outlets, online stores, auction sites, used computer stores, or your friendly neighborhood yard sale. For the computer novice, we recommend buying a computer from a physical store. In a physical store, you have the opportunity to see the computer of interest in person and ask questions. New computer buyers also have access to store warranties, returns, trades, and services.
These suggestions should give the computer newbie a great start in selecting a quality computer for the first time and they apply to either Windows computers or Apple Macintosh computers. After making these decisions and finally selecting one that fits your needs, you can then venture into the fascinating world of software – a world that is just as grand as the world of hardware![bt]