Choosing a new computer isn’t easy. A quick look on Amazon, Currys, John Lewis websites and you’ll find hundereds of PCs and laptops to choose from. With such a choice it isn’t easy to work out which one is going to suit your needs best.

We are going to assume that you just need a computer for browsing the internet, online shopping, sending emails, some office work such as Word and Excel. If you are a gamer or professional photographer or film person then we will be writing a separate guide for you soon.

Regardless of whether you want a laptop or a desktop computer there are 3 things I look at:

  • CPU / Processor
  • RAM
  • Type and amount of storage

Step 1 – CPU / Processor

This is the brains of your computer and there’s 2 manufacturers – Intel and AMD. Whilst both have a wide range of CPUs there’s only a few I will ever consider:

Intel – i3, i5 or i7

AMD – Ryzen 3, 5 or 7

If you go for one of these you are guaranteed to have a well performing computer.

Step 2 – RAM

As a bare minimum you want 4GB of RAM and ideally I would go for 8GB. And that’s all there is to say.

Step 3 – Storage

There are two types of hard drives:

Hard disk drives (HDD) – mechanical disks which use rotating disks and magnetic storage.

Solid State Drives (SSD) – have no moving parts, are much faster and use flash storage similar to USB thumb drives.

Ideally I prefer computers which come with a SSD drive. Whilst the storage capacity is less than traditional hard drive (HDD) the speed difference is massive and worth every penny!

However, don’t go for a 128GB SSD. This is just too small because by the time you’ve installed some programs and your personal files there won’t be much space left. As a minimum choose one with at least 240GB.

If you do have thousands and thousands of photos then you might need to consider getting a computer with a 1TB HDD or you might find one with a combination of a SSD and HDD.

Finding the best deals

I recommend you go to PC World or John Lewis website and head to the relevant laptop or Desktop PC section and then order the search results by price. On PC World you will need to jump straight to page 4 before you start seeing results which match the minimum specifications I have outlined above.

 From the listings page you can quickly see the 3 main specs I outline above. Remember if it hasn’t one of the Intel or AMD cpu’s I mention or if it only has a 128GB SSD then disregard it and move onto the next item.

From the screenshot above I have put a red rectangle around the ACER Aspire 5A515 laptop as it meets the minimum specification with an AMD Ryzen 3, 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

What else to consider

Whilst the above features are very important there are other factors you have to consider. Choosing between a laptop and desktop is an easy one but there are other things to consider such as laptop screen size and its resolution.

Whether you go for a 11″, or a 15″ laptop is up to you. Once you’ve found a few laptops you like go down to your local store and try them out for size.

There’s not much to differentiate between desktop PCs. Some are small and some are big. Some are silver and some are black. If the specification is good then the only thing left to check is the monitor connections. If you are buying a new monitor then making sure it’s connections match those on the PC will be straightforward. If you are using an existing monitor make sure it’s ports match those on the new PC. A new PC might only come with HDMI output so your monitor would need to have the same unless you also purchase an adapter.

How Maidenhead Computer Services can help

If you need more advice on choosing a new computer or need to know what specification to go for if you are a gamer or photo editor then give us a call on 01628 298 820 or fill in the form below and we will get back to you.

We can also help you with setting up your new computer. We can transfer files and documents from your old computer to the new computer as well as setup printers, install anti-virus software and backup software.

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