Computers are, for lack of a better way to say it, all over the place. There’s a computer to fit any budget, any design taste, and certainly any need. If it’s been a few years since you’ve picked up a new computer, you might be surprised how much the game has changed. Tablet PCs have taken the market by storm, energy consumption has gotten startlingly efficient, and pre-built desktops have been slowly on their way out. Somewhere out there, there’s a computer that’s perfect for you. This guide is here to help you decide how much money you’re going to have to spend on a PC to get exactly what you need, at a fair price. There are really two key steps to the process of buying a new PC.
Step One: What’s Your Budget?
When buying a new PC, determining your budget should always be the first thing you consider. Instead of asking the question “how much should I spend on a computer?” you should really ask yourself “how much do I want to spend?” Typically, the cheapest new computers around are going to be $300-$400 laptops and desktops, at least as of this writing. You can, however, get even cheaper PCs if you look in the refurbished market. If you’re really on a budget and don’t mind not having a brand-new PC, refurbished is a great way to get more for your money. Generally, the kind of PC you can get will be determined by your budget. Take a look:
- $200-$500: Budget Desktop/Laptop, or most 7″ tablet PCs
- $500-700: Home Media Desktop/Laptop, or most 10″ tablet PCs
- $700+: Gaming or Graphic Design Desktop/Laptop
Step Two: What do You Need Your PC to do?
While this isn’t always true, the more money you spend on a PC, the faster it will be. Budget PCs usually have the bare essentials, and are pretty slow compared to gaming or home media PCs, but they offer an advantage in price. If all you want to do is type up a paper or two, and browse the internet, a budget PC is a fine choice that you’ll get years of use out of. If you’re a gamer, keep in mind that gaming is one of the most intensive things you can do on a PC. A decent pre-made gaming PC could set you back anything up to $2,000. Many gamers choose to build their own desktops as a result of this, which can cut costs in half pretty easily.
There are a few additional things to consider, such as if you’ll need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse (usually with a pre-built PC, a keyboard and mouse are provided), and if you need any additional software. That being said, hopefully you feel a little more prepared to face the computer market as it exists today. There are a variety of choices out there, and one of them fits both your budget and need. One final tip: watch for sales. You can save hundreds if you have a little patience.