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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

8 things you need to know before replacing your computer

Jul 31, 2019 11:00AM ● By Adam Cochran

Back-to-School season is typically the best time to get the best deal on a computer, even if you aren’t the one going back to school. If you have been waiting to replace an old computer, here are a few tips:

1) Don’t ask the salesperson or your kids/grandkids for their suggestions.

These people know a lot about computers and technology, but they will likely recommend the machine they would buy for themselves. You are perfectly capable of picking out the right machine, even if you know very little about computers.

2) Be honest about what you are going to do with your new computer.

The most powerful computers on the shelf are powerful enough to create digital animation and play video games. Don’t buy a machine that will do everything you WANT to do with it. Buy a machine that will do everything you NEED to do with it.

3) Ignore the processor and focus on the RAM (memory).

Any computer you buy will be powerful enough for the Internet, email, digital photo management, document creation, etc. The processor is essentially the engine to your computer and RAM is the steering and suspension. RAM speeds up the computer’s reaction time and ability to stay stable as you move from task to task.

4) The size of the hard drive (storage) is generally irrelevant.

Any hard drive over 500GB is probably going to be large enough to hold everything you create for at least five years. If you keep a lot of videos on your computer, you can fill up the empty space a little quicker. External hard drives cost less than $100. Don’t spend a lot more on a computer if the only advantage is storage.

5) Computers with SSDs generally run faster.

A solid state drive (SSD) is a hard drive storage device without any moving parts. Typically you get a little less storage for your money, but what you lose in capacity, you gain in speed. I would rather have a 500GB SSD than a traditional 2TB hard drive in my machine. This is especially true if it’s a laptop or all-in-one computer.

6) Brand doesn’t matter.

Every brand has its lemons. There is a difference between Apple and other brands, but that difference is more than price. If you are comparing Dell to HP to Lenovo to Asus, etc., it’s important to know that all of these machines purchase their parts from the same original equipment manufacturers.

7) Stay away from the bargain basement.

Expensive computers generally go obsolete around the same time as inexpensive computers, but buying the cheapest machine you can find is always a bad idea.

8) Never buy a used computer.

As a general rule, you can always put a good computer to use. If someone is selling a used one, there is always a reason.

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