Whether you're looking for your very first computer or are just upgrading to a newer machine, buying a computer can feel overwhelming. With so many options to choose from, it's tough to know if you're getting the right computer at the best price.
There are many different types of computers you may have heard of, such as desktops, laptops, and tablets. But before you start shopping, you'll need to think carefully about the kinds of things you want to do with your computer.
For example, if you only need something for email and light web browsing, you'll probably buy a very different computer from someone who does a lot of video editing or PC gaming. You should also think about where you want to use your computer because it will have a big impact on the type you buy.
These prices are based mostly on the internal components of the computer, such as the amount of hard-drive space, memory, processing power, and so on, which are called the specifications (or specs for short). These internal components are also a big part of the reason computers can become outdated or obsolete after only a few years. As manufacturers continue to create faster processors and larger hard drives, a computer that costs $1,000 today might only cost $500 in a few years.
So, very generally, we recommend spending between $300-$800 on a new computer, depending on your needs and budget. And if you really don't have much to spend, we'd still suggest buying a machine with even slightly higher specs than the absolute cheapest model. A computer with more hard drive space, more memory, and faster processors will be a much better deal in the long run.
We recommend only purchasing computers from a well-known manufacturer, such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Toshiba, or Samsung. While store brands will be less expensive, they're also much less reliable and will likely become obsolete much sooner than a name-brand computer.
So far, we've been mostly talking about computers that run the Windows operating system, which is the most common OS for PCs. But in addition to tablets and smartphones like the iPad and iPhone, Apple sells desktop and laptop computers, which use the OS X operating system.
They're well-made machines, but they're also very expensive, especially compared to some of the computers above. Because they don't use Windows, you probably won't be able to install any existing Windows software you already own. And because even the cheapest Apple laptop will cost at least $1,000, we'd only recommend purchasing an Apple computer if it's well within your budget.
If you're trying to save money, you might consider buying a used or refurbished computer instead of a new one. Refurbished computers are machines that originally had some kind of defect but that have been restored to working condition; they're often available with the same internal components as new machines, but for much less money. Just make sure the seller offers some kind of warranty so you can return the computer if it doesn't work.
You can also buy previously used computers, but you'll want to be cautious when doing so. Whether you're buying it from a friend or a site like eBay or Craigslist, it's much more difficult to guarantee everything will be in good working condition. And it's even less likely you'll get your money back if it stops working.
One other thing to note: If you're buying a computer that's already a few years old, just remember that it will probably go out of date much sooner than a new machine. If you decide to buy used, we'd only recommend buying a used machine that's less than two years old and still in good working condition.
When choosing a PC, memory is just as important as the processor. RAM, or random access memory, is what your computer uses to store data temporarily. The more RAM your computer has, the more things it can keep in memory at once, making it run faster.
The operating system is the software that runs your computer. The two most popular operating systems are Windows and macOS. Windows is more popular for PC gaming, while macOS is preferred for creative activities like video editing and graphic design.
This article was co-authored by Gonzalo Martinez. Gonzalo Martinez is the President of CleverTech, a tech repair business in San Jose, California founded in 2014. CleverTech LLC specializes in repairing Apple products. CleverTech pursues environmental responsibility by recycling aluminum, display assemblies, and the micro components on motherboards to reuse for future repairs. On average, they save 2 lbs - 3 lbs more electronic waste daily than the average computer repair store.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 92% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 331,689 times.
The choice in PC types and styles has exploded in the early 21st century, and buying a new computer is a different experience than it was even a decade ago. Computers used to be desktops or laptops, period, but the computer world has changed dramatically with the increasing popularity of tablets, touchscreen laptops, and hybrid devices and just about every computer manufacturer now gives you a choice between hybrid tablet computers, convertible laptops, or desktops and seemingly every possible combination in between -- and sometimes in multiple colors, even. As a result, you have many angles to consider when researching your new computer and then finding the one you want at a reasonable price.
Whether you want the uncluttered design of an all-in-one computer, the compact size of a mini PC or a gaming desktop that can handle the latest titles with ease, we've got you covered. Be it Windows or Mac, these are the best desktop computers we've reviewed.
The redesigned chassis is easy to access, offers plenty of ports and has enough ventilation that even after gaming in 4K for hours, I noticed only a mild hum and a pleasant warmth emanating from the PC. Since the computer weighs up to 35 pounds, it's a bit hefty to move around (watch those fins) or plop on a desk. But if your desk can accommodate it, the space-age design and customizable RGB lighting are sure to turn heads.
The updated Surface Studio 2 gets beefier processing and graphics hardware, switches to all-solid-state drives for storage, and gets an even better version of the PixelSense display that offers enhanced brightness and contrast. It's one of the best all-in-one computers we've seen, and our top pick for media creators and artists.
Finding the right computer is mostly about form and function: What do you want it to look like, and what do you want it to do In our roundup of the best desktop computers, we look at a free different styles of computer, each offering unique designs and tailored to specific use cases.
Standard PC towers are often the most affordable desktop option, as well as the most basic. With simple designs and plenty of configuration options, a basic desktop tower is still the best option for cost-effective computing power. And thanks to the flexibility of the design you can outfit these standard computers for everything from basic web browsing and media streaming to incredibly demanding uses such as gaming and animation.
All-in-one desktops, as the name suggests, provide a combination of PC and monitor in the same device. These all-in-one designs give you a powerful desktop without the bulk of a tower or the tangle of cables that come with a separate monitor. The best all-in-one computers range from budget-friendly systems to high-powered workstations, so check out our in-depth reviews of the best all-in-one computers.
Mini PCs take a very different approach, leveraging the tiny components used in laptops and tablets to provide a desktop experience that fits in the palm of your hand or into a pocket. These pint-sized or smaller desktop computers can be easily stashed out of sight or incorporated into less traditional arrangements, such as into a home theater system for streaming movies. Whether it's a small box on your desk or a stick PC in your pocket, our reviews layout the features and performance of the best mini PCs.
Once you know what type of computer you want to get, it's a question of what you want to do with it. While any of the systems on the list above can be used for web browsing and basic productivity uses like typing up documents or putting together a PowerPoint presentation, different use cases have slightly different demands.
As we evaluate and review all sorts of computers, we run a series of standardized tests to measure how each machine performs, what uses it's best suited to, and what sort of capability you get for the price.
Most importantly, we spend a ton of time simply using each desktop computer for everyday activities. We watch movies, do work, play games, and blast music on the speakers, all to get a better sense of which ones are worth your money.
Snazzy, innovative laptop designs are constantly evolving. Smartphones are ubiquitous and astonishingly capable. So where does that leave that '80s relic, the desktop PC There are still plenty for sale, and innovation never stops in the desktop market, especially among small-form-factor and all-in-one models. But many shoppers seem to consider desktops an anachronism, heading straight to the laptop aisle for their next computer purchase.
That's not always the right move. Desktops aren't facing extinction, and they're doing anything but standing still. For consumers and businesses alike, these are the most cost-effective and customizable desktop computers for 2023, as shown by our favorite examples from recent reviews. Check them out, then read on to learn everything you need to know about finding the best desktop for you. 59ce067264