Getting a new computer is a lot like ordering pizza: You might think it’s fairly simple until you realize the many choices you need to make. Aside from figuring out your budget, here are a few pointers to help decide the right system right for you.

What you plan on using your new computer for should dictate the kind of system to buy.

For those who need a computer only for light tasks – reading email, web browsing and updating social media – you can easily go with modest specifications that come with a modest price. Something with an Intel Celeron or Pentium and 2-4 GB of RAM should be more than sufficient.

At the other extreme, for those looking for a machine to handle high-end computer games, video editing and so on, you’ll need to invest in the fastest processor, the best in graphics and as much RAM as possible. An Intel Core i7 combined with NVIDIA graphics, and 16GB or 32GB of RAM should be up to the task.

 

Concerning storage, more and more laptops come with solid-state drives (SSD) instead of traditional hard disk drives (HDD), which makes the laptops thinner, lighter, faster and more energy efficient. SSDs are much like the flash memory in your smartphones and less prone to damage due to lack of moving parts.

Most of all, you shouldn’t fall prey to “buyer’s remorse” by picking something underpowered, only to regret it a year or so later.

It’s better to stick with front-line brands that you’ve had good experience with before or ones that experienced friends and family recommend.

The Operating System

You’ve got three main contenders: Windows, Mac, and Linux. This choice too ties into your usage requirements, especially in the case of software that only works with a specific operating system (OS).

If you’re not sure about the OS or would like a change, know that each OS has its advantages. Otherwise, it’s better to stick with the operating system you’re most experienced with.

Windows 10 is the most common choice around. It comes with equipment from all the biggest computer brands – such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. Or you can go with Surface-branded PCs from Microsoft.

It’s easy and familiar to use, works well with most softwares and hardwares out there. The latest Windows 10 offers multiple ways to interface with your content, a keyboard, trackpad or mouse; fingertips on a touchscreen or using a stylus on the screen for finer precision or even by using voice control with the Cortana assistant.

Apple’s Mac family is another popular pick. As Apple itself manufacturers Macs – like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro – quality is generally better and comes built with premium components. Though Macs cost relatively more, they tend to last longer on average, when compared to other brands with comparable specs. Apple also includes many of its popular software for free on its app store.

For those who prefer the DIY ethos, it’s better to go for Linux that comes in a multitude of flavors. Newbies can go with Ubuntu that’s highly customizable. The open source movement is very robust, and IT solutions are only a Google search away!

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