When it comes to buying a computer, the choices can make you dizzy. You not only have to decide between desktop computers and notebooks (also known as laptops), but you need to determine which features will work best for your needs. This is all the more difficult because technology changes so rapidly. Given that most people buy computers infrequently, what may have been state-of-the-art the last time you bought a desktop or laptop is now considered obsolete. Here, then, are some things to consider before purchasing a new computer.
Computer Desktop vs. Notebooks
Not that long ago, no one would consider using notebooks or laptops as their primary computers. After all, when compared with desktops, they didn't have much RAM, had small, less-than-crisp displays, and didn't have features like DVD players and multiple USB ports. Today, though, LCD monitors make notebook displays brighter, and multiple ports make hooking up printers a cakewalk. Because hard drives are so much bigger and RAM is so much greater, it's no longer necessary to worry that software will either overload the hard drive or slow down performance.
But just because notebooks are more powerful, it doesn't mean that they're the right choice for everyone. If, for example, you regularly work from home, you probably want a computer desktop. Bigger displays, traditional keyboards and mice, and more versatility are just some of the advantages of desktops. In addition, many people use have begun choosing computer desktops that can double as media centers. If high quality sound is important to you and your computer will have a dedicated space in your home, you probably want to choose a desktop.
Mac vs. PC Computers
Although Apple is gaining market share with notebooks, when it comes to a computer desktop, PCs still reign supreme. Making the choice between a Mac and a PC really comes down to how you will be using the computer. If you're a creative type who wants to, for example, take photos from your digital camera and create albums and slideshows, a Mac might be the right choice. Similarly, if you're interested in editing home movies or doing work with graphics, Macs rule.
On the other hand, if you or members of your family are avid gamers, you probably want to go with a PC, since most games are Windows-based and not compatible with the Mac operating system. And, while software like Microsoft Office is available for the both the Mac and PC, other software often isn't compatible with Macs.
When you're shopping for a computer desktop, you need to consider which "extras" are important to you. For example, do you need a computer that can burn a DVD? Do you need six USB ports, or will four suffice? Is a built-in webcam a must-have? Can you live without wireless connectivity? Are you willing to pay a little extra for a higher resolution LCD monitor? Is surround sound speaker output an absolute necessity?
Before you make a buying decision, it's important to understand what's available in the market, what kind of operating system you would like, and which features are important to you. When you do, you'll know that you're paying for only what you need, and will end up owning the computer desktop that's perfect for you and your family.