WOMAN: All right, let’s get started. My guess is that you are all here tonight because you’re confused by the massive amounts of technology available to consumers these days. This is an especially daunting task when trying to find a computer. It’s very difficult to discern what’s necessary and what’s not, isn’t it? Right. Well, why don’t we get on with it, then?
You, you have to know what you are going to be using your computer for. This is your first consideration. Is it a work computer? Just for emails and Internet searching? Are you gaming? Because what you are using it for will determine not only the kind of computer you buy, but also how powerful it should be.
A lot of people pay unnecessary amounts of money for high-powered computers that they just don’t need. If you are doing basic computer functions...word processing, Internet browsing, emails...then really all you need is, um, is a 1.2-gigahertz processor...with maybe three to four gigabytes of memory. The problem is that sales clerks will try to convince you to get the more powerful processor for those few hundred extra pounds.
Of course, if you will be doing a lot of photo or video editing, then you’ll have to pay extra for at least a 1.5-gigahertz processor. Although I’d recommend up to 2.3-gigahertz depending on the amount of programs you’ll be running at one time. Oh, and uh, probably a minimum of 6 gigabytes of memory. And for gaming? Well, that depends on the games. Check with your gaming store about that.
Then there’s storage. Modern technology has made it possible for computers to have ridiculous amounts of hard drive space, and even larger external storage. I went to my sister’s house the other day, and her daughter’s desktop had 560 gigabytes of storage...can you imagine that? Look, I’m not saying that extra storage is bad, but just know what you need. And it does vary. Personally, I don’t store much more than documents and photos, so I have a 250-gigabyte hard drive. But my friend who is a documentary maker has, oh, around 3 terabytes. Well, he has 540 gigabytes on his computer hard drive, and then 3 terabytes of external hard drives.
But the decisions that people seem to struggle with the most is whether to buy a laptop or a desktop. Quite frankly, it’s a personal choice. It used to be that desktops were far more powerful than laptops, so most people needed a desktop. That’s not the case anymore. Laptop capabilities have exploded in recent years. What’s more, the nature of desktops has shifted. Have you noticed that both the monitors and hard drives of desktops have shrunk to basically nothing but card-sized boxes? So the weight of the computer is not so much of a factor anymore.
Basically, it now comes down to mobility. A laptop is by definition meant to go wherever you are. It has a built-in keyboard and tends to be lightweight. And they are getting lighter every year, too. So if you are often traveling, or prefer to work at a café rather than at home, then a laptop is the better choice. But if you’re going to be mainly at home, desktops offer more flexibility with arranging your computer station.
Desktops also allow the option to purchase a very large monitor. People with poor sight, or the elderly who are losing their sight, appreciate monitors that range anywhere from 23 to 48 inches wide. But it’s not just about that. Photographers, for example, want the larger monitors because they can see the photo more clearly. Same goes for filmmakers and editors. So again, it’s about what you’re using it for.
Um...another consideration is what types of programs you’ll be running. Regardless of what the software developers say, some programs really do run better on certain operating systems, regardless of whether it’s on a laptop or desktop. Software designers are usually working with one operating system when they develop programs, so glitches tend to appear when you run it on something different. The best thing to do is research the software you use and find out what operating system it was designed for. Whatever system most of your software works with...that’s what you should, you should get.
I think that’s about it. To reiterate, first make a list of what the computer will be used for. Then figure out where you’ll be using it, and whether mobility is an important factor. Once that’s settled, take inventory of your primary software programs, and you should be good to go.