What You Need To Know Before Buying Holiday Computer

The computer world is a vast jungle to navigate in this day and age, with advancements in technology making it even more difficult for anyone inexperienced to feel lost in the shuffle.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a computer this holiday season for yourself or a loved one, there are many things to take into account. The good news is that with prices rapidly dropping on computers, you can easily score a decent laptop or desktop for $500 or under.

First and foremost, you should decide which type of computer is right for you. Jumping in blindly is not the way to go. If you’re on the move and need to complete office or schoolwork from multiple locations, a laptop is definitely a great suggestion.

However, you must remember that you will pay considerably less for a desktop computer with the same specs as a laptop, so factoring in portability along with price is crucial. At $1,000 will get you a very powerful desktop system, but the same money will only get you an average laptop.

Lets look at laptops for a minute. Many consumers get sucked into spending a boatload of money for the best computer on the market. Before you do that, think about what you’re going to be using the computer for.

Are you going to be sitting in Barnes and Noble playing the latest online video game or editing HD video with massive external hard drives? If the answer is no than spending more than a $1,000 on a laptop is not essential. A laptop that runs approximately $500 should be able to handle all of your web surfing, Flash animation and desktop applications fluently.

Whether you decide on a laptop or desktop, there are still two major choices you need to decide on. Macs and PCs are the main choices today and each have a unique operating system that essentially handles applications the same, but still functions differently.

Windows has been the most widely used operating system to date, but many users swear by Mac’s OSX to escape the virus ridden interface of Windows. If cost is an issue, and you are knowledgeable in computers, you might want to build your own PC.

That would rule out purchasing a Mac because you cannot buy the parts separately and assemble it on your own. A Mac only comes pre-built, and you’re going to pay more for any Apple product, however, with that extra price comes a very stable operating system with reliable hardware to back it up.

In addition to computer and operating systems, your processor and RAM (random access memory), types are going to be the next crucial option to consider. AMD and Intel both offer reliable processors, but if you’re planning on doing more than just e-mail and Web surfing, go for Intel. They are faster and more efficient when handling larger tasks. A duo core, 2ghz Intel Pentium processor with at least 3 to 4 gigabytes of RAM will assure you a powerful system with practically no limitations — except for gaming.

If you’re a gamer and you want to handle the latest in cutting edge graphics, you’re going to need what I just mentioned above plus a video card that can handle it. On board video just won’t cut it when it comes to this area.

You will need any top of the line PCI Express GeForce card or ATI with at least 512 megabytes of memory for desktop, or 128 megabytes for a laptop, if your planning play video games. Any of these will have you up and running in no time.

In conclusion, whether you decide on a laptop or desktop, Mac or PC, make sure you recognize your needs before hand to make the wisest buying decisions possible. I wish you all a Happy Holiday.