If you're buying a new PC or laptop for the first time in a while, then you may need to look out for a few things. Buying online from "Build your own PC" websites can seem like a daunting task if you're not used to them but you should also be aware when buying in store.
If you've never used a "build your own PC" site, then you may be confused on where to start. Often buyers only look at the total price for the PC and not the individual prices for the parts. This could mean your £950 processor gets blown up by your £50 power supply. Many in-store retailers pull this trick. By showing that a PC or laptop has the latest i5 or i7 processor, they can cut down on the equally important parts, such as the graphics card or storage. You must remember that the computer can only go as fast as its slowest part.
When looking for a computer online remember to look at all the specifications. You must also remember that RAM (Random access memory) (The memory that is used for faster processing) is often called "memory" and the hard disk (HDD) or solid state drive (SSD) (the storage capacity of the computer for software, pictures etc.) is often called "storage". The RAM, or "memory" will often be in the range of around 4-16GB. The more memory in the RAM, the faster the processes. Storage can differ between HDDs and SSDs. HDDs are now very large for their price, often around 500GB to over 1TB. SSDs are much faster than HDDs as they have no moving parts (hence the "solid state" name). Because they are much faster, it means that the capacity is more limited for the cost. You'll more likely see SSDs in the 100GB to 500GB range.
Obviously, the RAM and the storage capacity of a computer are only a few of the parts. If you are buying a laptop you should be aware that some companies (such as Apple and Acer) pack everything in so it cannot be changed around. Laptops are notorious for being "all in one" packages anyway. Some companies will allow you to easily change the battery, RAM and HDD/SSD but not any other components. Tower computers also often come in "all in one" setups. Be aware of the kind of tower you are buying as you may not be able to customise it as much as you'd like. "Build your own PC" sites often provide you with highly customisable PCs if that is what you are looking for.
Many "Build your own PC" sites will start with a base computer and let you change it from there. If you do not know exactly what you want, do some research on what kind of software you'll be using and what it's requirements are. If you want a PC for your office, then an all in one is probably the cheaper and easier option. But if you are looking for a high-power machine for CAD or gaming then a custom PC is probably the better option. Custom PCs are also more easily upgradeable, should the parts ever become obsolete. When customising a PC to buy online, be sure to look up each part if you are unfamiliar with them, to make sure they are right for you. Many sites have a helpline that you can call up if you are unsure when building your PC, others have good Q and As along with forums.
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