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Desktop Computer Buying Guide
Desktop computers aren’t all about big, bulky monitors anymore. These days, you can get hold of a great slim-line, compact desktop computer that will look great in your office or bedroom.
Because there’s so many different types of computing devices out there, we’ve put together this guide to help you decide if a desktop is really what you want.
If you you’re thinking of getting a tablet or a laptop, you can take a look at our tablet buying guide or ourlaptop buying guide to help you decide. Or check out our full range of desktop computers here.
Choosing Processing Power
The power of your computer processor is very important for the performance of your desktop computer. More complicated programs will need bigger processors, but if you only really use it for browsing the internet, you might be able to get a more affordable smaller processor.
- Single core processors are great for basic tasks, like writing documents, browsing the internal and dealing with emails
- Dual core processors are able to run multiple applications at once, like watching videos and music
- Quad core processors are excellent if you game a lot on your PC, or you use complex programs such as music mixing suites
Choosing Desktop Memory
Contrary to what many people think, computer memory isn’t the same as storage. Storage space is about how many programs, data, files and documents you can store on your computer, whereas desktop memory, or RAM, is about the smooth running of your computer.
The higher the RAM, the quicker your computer will run – especially when it’s got lots of programs open at once.
- RAM handles the information needed to run your computer
- - Is measured in gigabytes (GB), up to 8GB
Choosing a Hard Drive
This is the storage space of your computer – it’s where all your files are stored, and can be accessed easily. The size is measured in gigabytes, or terabytes (for really, really big memory space).
- 500 GB will store about 100,000 photos, 38 hours of video or about 125,000 songs
- 1 TB will store 300,000 photos, 1000 hours of video or 17,000 hours of music!
Choosing a Desktop Screen
Your monitor is a big part of your desktop computer purchase – this is where you see all the action. You can choose all sorts of different monitors for your computer, from LED to LCD –view our full range of monitors here.
- Anti-reflective screens have no glare or reflection
- Touch-screen displays lets you interact with what’s on your screen with your fingertip
Screen sizes can range all the way up to 23” – perfect for high definition gaming.
Choosing a Disc Drive
Thought it was as simple as picking a CD-ROM drive? They’re not the only disc drives you’ll come across when picking a desktop. Depending on your needs, you might want to think about whether your desktop should have any of the following:
CD-ROM: This will read your standard CDs, including computer programs, and will play music.
- CD-RW: This is meant to be used to record over blank CDs, but can also read them.
- DVD-ROM: This allows for the playing of films
- DVD-RW: A bit like the CD-RW, this drive is meant to record over blank DVDs.
- BD-ROM: For the playing of high definition video and data, and can play CDs and DVDs too.
As a rule, if you want to use your computer for high-definition gaming and running complex programs, pick the specifications at the top of each scale. If you just want a standard family computer, however, consider the more affordable specifications at the lower end of the scale.
Still not sure what kind of device you want? Check out our simple which device tool.
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