February 2021

Is a Cheaper Computer Really Better?

By Luigi Oppido

As the new year comes, and we close off whatever you wanna call 2020, deals abound for new computers with all new technology and brand new software. How do you know when a deal is a deal? Computers break down into four or five basic components. Processor, ram, storage, video card, and if a laptop, screen type. Without getting into each item and diving into the history of computing here’s a brief synopsis of each item:

The better the processor, the faster click-to-completion. Meaning, if I want to double-click on a program, how long does it take for it to launch, and allow me to use it.

Workers in the warehouse. They allow the movement of data and temporary storage of things from the processor to screen.
Storage (hard drive, HDD/SSD)
This is your garage space. This is where everything lives including the operating system, programs, and your personal data.

Video card (GPU)
This is your graphics processing unit. As of today, even the lowest quality GPUs that come out as standard features on computers and laptops are pretty good. If you’re a gamer, then you need to look at your specific game and see what the best specs for your particular application would be and match that to this device.

Laptop screen type
This can run the gamut and also cost a lot of money depending on what you’re getting. Size also equals cost. The new MacBooks have retina screens which include a high pixel per inch ratio which cost more, but looks fantastic. If you don’t know what that, is you probably don’t need to spend more on a screen.
Lately I’ve been seeing amazing deals at some of our local electronics stores for machines that seem too good to be true. When looking into the specs, I find that the storage on the machines is less than an updated current version of Windows (the operating system). Meaning, if I were to purchase this computer and install all the current updates up to today, that machine would not have enough garage space to store all the data that I would need to put onto it. It would possibly freeze and stop functioning. That doesn’t count any software I want to install, or any of my data, pictures, videos, etc. So by buying this machine, I am setting myself up for failure because there’s nowhere to go. 

What to get? 
Processor: at least intel i3 or equivalent 
Ram: 4 gigabytes (gb) preferably 8gb
Storage: at least 128gb at minimum. I usually got for 1 terabyte which is 1024gb.
Video card: check the machine for an HDMI port, if it has one on the side, you’re good.
Screen type: look at the letters on the icons. Fuzzy? Clear? If it’s good to you, it’ll do!

Of course this is a brief run through of computers, but with these basic parameters you should stay away from the pitfalls of the dreaded sale and the doomed machine.

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