Let us show you, in simple terms, how to buy a computer.
Buying a computer can be a daunting task. There are dozens of stores, hundreds of advertisements, and thousands of models to choose from. Intel, AMD, Apple. Windows, Linux, and Mac. Single processors, double processors, and dual cores.
The first thing to consider when shopping for a computer is your reason for needing, or wanting, a computer. Is your primary purpose to browse the Internet? Are you going to write the next Harry Potter? Or will you be doing graphical design?
Different uses require different hardware and software, the two things that, together, make a computer do things. So this is where we’ll start: Hardware and software.
The most fundamental question to answer is: PC or Mac? There are many reasons to buy either; most of the time it boils down to what you’ve been exposed to. If you’re a “Mac guy” then you’ll want investigate the latest offerings from Apple. However, if all you’ve ever used is a PC, I’d suggest that maybe you’ll want to keep using one. PC’s are typically much more affordable as well with Dell coupons and other major manufacturers offering online discounts to help reduce the costs associated with buying a new computer.
However, that line has been blurred a bit in the past few months. Windows will run on a Mac, now, because Macs now use an Intel CPU.
There is no longer a fundamental reason to have to choose between a Mac or a PC.
Here are some pros for considering a Mac:
- Can use either Windows or Mac Operating Systems
- Perform just as well, if not better, with Windows than a PC
- Come with lots of useful software out-of-the-box
- To a computer newbie, Macs are easier to learn
Here are some cons for considering an Apple computer:
- They are generally more expensive
- They don’t have as much 3rd-party software support as a PC
- It’s a little more difficult to find a reputable repair shop, simply because Macs make up less than 10% of the Personal Computer population
So, those general considerations aside in your quest to buy a computer, let’s focus on utility. That is to say, which computer type is best for specific uses?
PCs are best for:
- Business (think accounting, personal finance, spreadsheets)
- General uses like the Internet, Word Processing, and Microsoft Office applications
Macs are best for:
- Graphic Arts (think Photoshop, photography, and art)
- General uses (see above)
You’ll note that general use is listed in both the PC and Mac lists. This is because both perform equally well in terms of Internet access and use and word processing.
For help on specific components when buying a computer, you’ll want to check out these pages:
What CPU Should I Choose?
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