Despite what the tech mags keep telling us, the desktop computer isn’t dead! In fact, the noble desktop lives on as the chosen tool of graphic designers, PC gamers, small businesses, and everyday people alike.
But buying a desktop means investing in more than a brand name. A desktop is like a friend you trust with your work, data, and precious free time. So before heading online or to the store, here are five important things to consider before purchasing your next desktop computer.
Consider the Purpose
Before you even start browsing for computer models, sit down and think about the primary reason you’re buying a desktop. Will you use it for gaming? Writing? Graphic design? Schoolwork? All of the above? This is an important consideration because your reasons for buying a desktop will inform everything that comes after, from operating system to hardware specifications.
Choose Your OS
Now that you’ve determined the reason for choosing a desktop, it’s time to pick your operating system (assuming you don’t already have any strong preferences in this direction).
Historically speaking, Macs have been the machines of choice for designers of every stripe. That isn’t to say that you can’t use Photoshop or InDesign every bit as well on a Windows machine, but some users prefer Apple’s closed ecosystem and emphasis on ease of use.
If you’re a hardcore gamer, you probably already know that Windows is better suited to gaming. If home office work or writing is your thing, both platforms offer an office suite (or you can roll with a free alternative). There’s certainly no better or worse OS — it all comes down to what you’re most comfortable with and enjoy using.
Plan Out Your Setup
One of the biggest advantages of buying a desktop computer? A multiple monitor setup. No mobile computing experience can match the joy of working with two, three, or even four monitors like a comic book supervillain. Whether you’re creating a more productive home office setup or are simply used to dual screens, multiple monitors can help you enjoy your desktop experience all the more. Just make sure to shop carefully for a machine with enough video outputs to handle your ideal monitor setup.
Decide on Hardware
Now it’s time to start thinking about hardware, which will impact your price point. The more RAM, the more powerful the CPU, the higher the price. Of course, you can cut this cost quite a bit by shopping for open-box or refurbished desktop computers.
If you’ll only be using your desktop for web browsing and word processing, you won’t need a beefy machine — a low-end all-in-one machine should do the trick. Graphic design work will require a machine with lots of memory, and a good gaming rig will benefit from a top-end CPU, lots of memory, and all the frills you can afford.
Consider Peripherals and Space
Finally, you should give some thought to what peripherals you want. A DVD writer or Blu-Ray player could come in handy if you plan to produce or watch a lot of media from your computer. Many desktops come with built-in card readers for transferring and backing up data. These things can add to the final cost of the machine, so if you’re choosing between models and you don’t need that DVD writer or second hard drive bay, this item might be the tiebreaker.
You should also think about whether you want a tower, mini-tower, or all-in-one (which combines the computer and monitor into one unit). All-in-ones are a great space saver if your desktop space is at a premium, but may lack some of the flexibility of a tower. This is a lesser important factor to keep in mind, as it mainly comes down to aesthetics.
And that’s it! Armed with this knowledge, you can go forth and buy the best desktop computer for your needs. And if you’re ready to start looking, check out BLINQ’s selection of desktop computers, and browse brands like Dell, Lenovo, HP and more to find your perfect machine.
What questions do you have when it comes to buying a desktop? Or, do you prefer laptops or tablets? Let me know in the comments!