Last Updated on October 4, 2016
Buying a computer, whether you need an average-sized laptop for home or you are looking for a business workstation, is not always an easy task.
With the prices of most computer brands being more competitive than ever, and with the fast-evolving computer hardware and software, you must dedicate some time to doing research and comparing specs and brands to ensure that you make the right choice.
Failing to do so may lead you to blow your money on a machine that may not cope with your computing demands within a few months or spend too much money on an expensive system you are bound to under-utilize.
Are you in Miami? I am going to show you how and where you can go about finding the right machine for you and save money and time in the process.
Table of Contents
- 1 Step 1: Brainstorm what your ideal computer should have based on intended use
- 2 First stop: Desktop vs. Laptop or my new favorite All-In-Ones
- 3 Step 2: Know the processor type and speed, RAM, and hard drive to buy
- 4 Step 3: Check the peripherals you need
- 5 Step 4: Operating systems Mac OS or Windows 10?
- 6 Step 5: Where to buy your computer
Step 1: Brainstorm what your ideal computer should have based on intended use
Computers come in all shape and size, and you should begin to narrow down the hundreds of option on the market by determining what kind of computer will serve you the best.
Make a list of the reasons why you need a new computer, listing beside each item what computer feature, software or hardware, is must to that use.
For instance, if you need a computer to use at home, school or office, portability, weight, screen size, the number of USB ports, Wireless capabilities, etc.
First stop: Desktop vs. Laptop or my new favorite All-In-Ones
The simplest choice you have to make that will have the greatest impact on the type, and overall cost of the computer you buy is whether you need a desktop computer or a laptop.
Most desktops boast of similar performance specs as laptops, but they are a little bit cheaper. Most buyers choose desktops for gaming or resource heavy design applications.
Desktop computers are also an excellent choice if you expect to upgrade your graphics cards, hard drives for extra storage or external displays.
If you are shopping for a desktop computer and you are looking to get a Mac, you can pick up a good-looking all-in-one iMac from Apple Store.
The most important considerations when shopping for a desktop are the form factor (size of the casing), display monitor size, processing power and RAM, and dedicated graphics capacity.
Step 2: Know the processor type and speed, RAM, and hard drive to buy
Whether you wish to purchase a laptop or a desktop, you must pay close attention to the processor, RAM, and hard drive specifications.
The speed of the processor, which is the brain’ of a computer, is measured in gigahertz (GHz). The higher this value, the faster the machine, hence the more tasks it can process the same time.
Most computer processors today come with several cores or the number of virtual processors inside the one physical processor.
Unless you are on a tight budget, try to stay away from low-end processors like Intel Celeron, Pentium, AMD A4 and look for more compelling alternatives like the Intel Core i3, i5, i7, AMD A6, or A8 which will provide you a lot smoother user experience.
The RAM (Memory)
Apply the same principle of finding the right processor to determine the amount of working memory (RAM) your computer should have. Computers today come with RAM that ranges between 4GB and 16GB.
A computer with 4GB RAM will be cheaper and enough for most office application, but if you can, shoot for 8GB memory which will handle a higher number of tasks and applications much more comfortably.
Computers with powerful processors are often matched with larger amounts of RAM to make it easy for customers to choose those that meet their performance requirements.
The HDD (Hard Drive Storage)
As far as computer hard drives go, the biggest choice you have to make is between the older SATA technology which is cheaper but slower and the newer SSD which is more expensive.
If you can afford it, we recommend that you buy a computer with an SSD (Solid State Drive). The right size of the hard disk is dependent on the amount of data you have to store.
Gamers and digital artists who deal with computer graphics may require drives larger than 500GB, but a 250GB is sufficient for most average computer users and small businesses.
The GPU (graphics card)
Since Intel and AMD started baking a highly capable graphics processor into their CPUs picking, any previously recommended processors will be plenty enough to run your office applications, stream your media or even do some light gaming.
If you want to run the latest games on high frame rate or would like to emerge yourself into the new Virtual Reality experience like the Oculus Rift, you’ll need a high-end dedicated graphics card which can get pretty expensive.
Step 3: Check the peripherals you need
Because of the peripherals, your computer needs are largely specific to your needs, you should think about whether you need them, and how many if you do.
While you can buy most peripherals separately, it would save you time and even money when you order them at the same time in one place.
USB is still king.
The good thing is that most peripherals—from mice and keyboards to printers—are pretty standard and can plug into the most computers’ USB ports.
Perhaps what you will need to pay close attention to is whether the computer has the older USB 2.0 and 3.0 or the newer USB type C ports and which type your peripheral needs to connect to the computer.
If you’re going to use your machine for entertainment, you may want to consider buying one with an HDMI output to connect to your TV, Hi-Fi system, or any other home entertainment system.
To connect to wireless networks, your computer of choice must have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options, or in the case of a desktop, you can buy a plug-in Wi-Fi dongle.
Memory Card Slot
Finally, most people today care about an SD slot that can come in handy when transferring files between the computer and a camera or handheld devices such as smartphones nd tablets.
Step 4: Operating systems Mac OS or Windows 10?
The rule of thumb when selecting the right operating system for your computer is to stick with what you are familiar with. Adjusting to a new operating system may require a little training and some time to get used to.
Do you need your computer to be an easy-to-use system that simplifies all the essential things for you? Then you should check out Mac OS. Apple computers come with all the necessary applications a typical user may need right out of the box.
Microsoft still rules the business word; some legacy business applications may only work on Windows for example. And if you love your native Microsoft Office applications Windows 10 is the way to go.
It is worth pointing out that not all software and hardware peripherals are available to every OS. If you need a particular peripheral or software program, it is best first to find out whether it is available on your operating system of choice before making a purchase.
Step 5: Where to buy your computer
As with any expensive investment, one of the most important things you must do when buying a new computer is to be patient. Computing technology has evolved fast over the past couple of years, and if you purchase a computer today, you may miss a newer one that releases tomorrow that may even cost the same price with better features.
Once you settle on a type or brand of computer to buy, check its refresh cycle because most manufacturers release newer improved models around the same time every year. Shortly before or during the launch of a new model, older models may be sold at discounted prices.
By correctly timing your purchase, you can save money on these older models, or you can buy the newer model with the latest technologies.
If you are buying an Apple laptop, you have the option to choose from MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro and if you are going for a desktop computer, you get to choose from iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini. The best place to buy these machines is the Apple Store on Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.
Shoppers looking for a Windows laptops and desktops have a wide variety of computer types, sizes, colors, brands, capabilities, and prices to choose from in Miami.
Once you make up your mind what specs and brands you want, you should take the time to compare deals offered by different shops, using the popular retailers BestBuy and TigerDirect as your baseline.
Remember, you can always ask a salesperson to give you a good deal on your computer of choice; Even if you do not get a price bump down, you may save money on necessary accessories and peripherals such as mice and keyboards, monitors, and flash drives.
If you are looking to upgrade your office computers or setting up your new business, we are more than happy to help you with your computer purchase. Just drop us a line or give us a call (305-741-4601).
There are many great options for shoppers looking to buy computers, especially in such a competitive and highly technologically advanced city as Miami.
Manufacturers have made available almost every type of computer you would need. In fact, if you do not find what you want, most retailers allow you to assemble a rig with hardware and software tailored to your needs and budget.
This short guide should help you make the right purchase decision when shopping for a computer in Miami. Thank You for reading and please let us know if you have any questions or comments.