June 2021

How to Shop for a Good Inexpensive Computer

By Luigi Oppido

Everybody today wants a fast computer, but not many people want to pay for it. How do you find a good quality computer without breaking the bank? For example, you can go to the big box stores, check out their inventory and sometimes you’ll see a great deal. But that great deal might not be exactly what it says. A lot of the big box stores try to draw you in with cheap computers that have an inadequate hard drive space for storage, or even processors that can’t do the most basic tasks on todays operating systems. How do you know?

Lets break down the machine in a different way

Your computer is a team consisting of about five team members. Your processor, your RAM, your hard drive, your bus, and sometimes your graphics card (depending on how its built, moving on!). If any one of these team members (just like in a real team) is not doing their part in the team, the computer will not function properly. The bus is probably the one thing you didn’t recognize. The system bus are the streets that allow the signals to go in between all the other components. The bus speed is the speed limit that is allowed to be traveled on those roads. So, if you have a very fast processor a very fast set of RAM and a slow bus that will be your limiting factor and that will set the speed for your computer.

  • Any weak link in the chain will be the speed of the machine. Your machine will only be as good as your weakest component.
  • Standard specs right now are as follows for a decent useable future-ready machine. 
    A multi core processor (if Intel at least and I5 or I7, the higher the number the better)
  • A minimum of 4 GB of RAM but 8 GB is recommended
  • At least a 500 GB hard drive or 1 Terabyte hard drive (which translates to 1000 GB). When looking at processors there is a generational gap when they are manufacturered, and right now we are in the 11th generation of processors. If you go below a ninth or eighth generation processor on a discount computer, you will not be a happy user.

Deals are everywhere, but a standard machine should cost you about $450 for a decent, working machine. With these specs, that machine will also have some room to be usable in the future. It’s not only good now but should have strength for the future if you follow the specs above. 
Watch out for super sales! Watch out for Black Friday deals! Watch out for computers that look like they’re way too cheap for what you’re getting. Most likely you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for.

 Luigi Oppido | Owner/Technician | Pleasure Point Computers | 1824 Soquel Ave. STE-B |Santa Cruz, Ca 95062 |Phone: (831) 464-2220 |[email protected] | PleasurePointComputers.com Listen to the Computer Man Show! Every Tuesday night from 6 to 7 PM on 90.7 FM KSQD, and KSQD.org. Send your questions to [email protected] and we’ll get them answered!

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