Holiday Computer Shopping? Read this Before Buying a New Computer!


Holiday Computer Shopping? Buying a new computer is a lot like ordering a pizza… you think it’s a fairly simple task until you realize how many choices you need to make.

But if your existing machine is so old that it can barely run solitaire, you’re probably due for an upgrade.

The good news is two-fold: there are many new exciting developments in the computer space, and there are many deals to be had over Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the in-between leading up to the holidays.

Aside from figuring out your budget of course, the following is a question you might want to ask yourself to help decide what’s right for you.

What will I use it for?

How you plan on using your new computer should dictate what machine you buy.

If you only want a computer for light tasks — such as web browsing, reading email, and checking on social media — then you could go with modest specifications (specs). Only having one to three things open at a time on the computer. Then look for the following specs at a maximum:

Price Range: $200 – $450

Computer Will Last: 2 – 3 years
Computer Type: PC or Chromebook
Processor: AMD, Intel I3 or Intel i5
Ram / Memory: 4 gig
Hard Drive: 500 gb (HDD or SSD)

If you want a computer that works a bit harder and can run 4 to 6 things at a time, can do some light gaming, will be used by more than one family member, and store lots and lots of Family photos and videos. Then look for the following specs at a maximum:

Price Range: $500 – $750

Computer Will Last: 4 – 5 years
Computer Type: PC
Processor: Intel i5
Ram / Memory: 8 gig
Hard Drive: 1 TB (HDD or SSD preferred)
Graphics: NVIDIA graphics

On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re looking for a machine that can handle high-end computer games, virtual reality or video editing, you’ll need to invest in a faster processor, better graphics capabilities, and more RAM (system memory)

Price Range: $750 – $1,500

Computer Will Last: 5 – 7 years
Computer Type: PC or MAC
Processor: Intel i7
Ram / Memory: 16 gig
Hard Drive: 1 TB (HDD or SSD preferred)
Graphics: NVIDIA graphics

What if I want to custom build my computer?

Well, here are some links to the best build guides out there:

  1. Budget: $400
    1. https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/QWv6Mp/budget-homeoffice-build
  2. Entry: $525-$600
    1. AMD: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/PB6MnQ/entry-level-amd-gaming-build
    2. Intel: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/J4V323/entry-level-intel-gaming-build
  3. Modest: $850-$950
    1. AMD: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/qzLrxr/modest-amd-gaming-build
    2. Intel: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/K9dnTW/modest-intel-gaming-build
  4. Great: $950-$1,050
    1. AMD: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/vydnTW/great-amd-gaming-build
    2. Intel: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/XrQzK8/great-intel-gaming-build
  5. Excellent: $1,050-$1,350
    1. AMD: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/cnBD4D/excellent-amd-gamingstreaming-build
    2. Intel: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/s4V323/excellent-intel-gamingstreaming-build
  6. Enthusiast: $1,300-$1,600
    1. AMD: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/yPTwrH/enthusiast-amd-gamingstreaming-build
    2. Intel: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/dV9TwP/enthusiast-intel-gamingstreaming-build
  7. Top of the Line: $2,150 – $2,500
    1. AMD: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/pwv6Mp/glorious-amd-gamingstreaming-build
    2. Intel: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/tfZxFT/glorious-intel-gamingstreaming-build

That said, I like to say while Holiday Computer Shopping, purchasing a computer should be like buying kids clothes: go a little bigger than you need today, so you can grow into it for longer-term savings. You don’t want to have “buyer’s remorse” by picking something underpowered, only to replace it in a year from now.

When it comes to storage, more and more laptops have a solid-state drive (SSD) instead of a hard disk drive (HDD), which makes these laptops thinner, lighter, faster and more energy efficient. Like the flash memory in your smartphone, SSDs are also less prone to damage because there are no moving parts.

Stick with a brand you’ve had a good experience with, or ones your friends and family highly recommend (and critics, too).

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call us.