Do I need a new computer?

One of the most popular questions I get asked is “Do I need a new computer?” I usually answer with the statement “Does your computer do everything that you need it to”. Most people reply with problems like “it runs slow” or “it takes forever for it to startup”. Some of these things can be easily fixed with a tune-up from a computer professional. Keep in mind though, even a good computer professional can only speed up a computer as fast as its capabilities. If you have a computer that is 5-7 years old, it’s probably time to upgrade. Today’s internet is built for new computers. If you have an older model think of it as a slow car on a fast highway.

When you shop for a new computer you will be confused and overwhelmed if you don’t know what to look for. I’m going to break down the most important things that you need to know. These tips will work for both PC or Mac computers.

First, you will have to decide on speed. There are basically two companies that you will see: Intel or AMD. Think of these like Coke or Pepsi, they have different names but are basically the same product. In the Intel world, you will see three main choices: Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7. Ignore all other Intel processors, they will work but will be painfully slow for multi-tasking. Back to the main three, think of them as bronze, silver or gold, with the i7 being the gold. If you can afford an i5, or i7 processor do it, you won’t be disappointed. In the AMD world, you want to look for their newest chip the Ryzen. You will see numbers from 5-9. Anything in this range will work fine. Once again avoid all other AMD processors, you will struggle with speed and multi-tasking.

Next is RAM. This is the kind of memory that allows you to multi-task without waiting for your computer to catch up. You will see numbers from 4-32GB. I would recommend anything from 8 up. Basically, get as much as your budget allows. Although most computers can be upgraded with more RAM later, it’s just easier to get what you need when you buy it.

Next is the hard drive. The newest computers have SSHD (solid state hard drives). Think of these like big camera cards. They have no moving parts, so they are super-fast. If you want a fast computer this is the way to go. The startup time is seconds compared to minutes. Most SSHD computers come in GB (gigabyte) sizes of 128, 256, or 512. If you are storing lots of photos or videos, you may want to get a more traditional hard drive. Most traditional hard drive computers start with 1TB (1,000 gigabytes) of storage. These will work great for normal use, just not as fast as an SSHD.

Next time you shop for a new computer, keep these things in mind. Hopefully, you won’t be as intimidated when you see all of the options available. If you follow my tips, you will be happy with your final purchase. Happy computer shopping!

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