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You are Ready to Buy a New Computer - Which Computer to Buy?

3 Simple 'Easy to Understand' Steps to Buying a New Computer

Make a Better and More Informed Decision on your New Computer Purchase, even if you don't understand the Technology!

Unless you are a computer enthusiast or you work in the Information Technology field, most people find it almost impossible to understand the confusing world of computer jargon. Let alone make an important decision involving hundreds of hard earned dollars on the purchase of a new computer.

In this article we attempt to break through the technical barrier, to give you simple straight forward steps to help you understand what you need to know, and what to look for before buying a new computer.

We focus on the most common needs most people have for computers, and do not cover high end gaming PC's and purpose built business computers. So, if you need a computer that will let you surf the internet comfortably, run Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, etc.), then read on, this article is for you.

Step 1 - Decide if you need Desktop Computer or a Notebook (Laptop) computer?

If you have a need to move your computer around your house frequently; or you want the ability to surf the internet in the comfort of your own lounge; or you need to take it with you on holidays or business trips - then a Notebook (also known as Laptop) computer would be your ideal choice. Notebooks are easy to move around, they take up much less space, and you can pack it away easily when you are not using it.

Conversely, if you no need what so ever for mobility, and have a nice desk right ready for you with plenty of space, then you will be better off with a desktop tower computer, with a nice large LCD screen, with a keyboard and mouse.

To better inform you of the good aspects and the not so good aspects of each, here we have a short list of advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of a Notebook: Mobility - can take it anywhere, Runs on Battery, Keyboard Mouse and Monitor all in one, Less Desk Space, Built-in Wireless Networking

Disadvantages of Notebook: Smaller Screen Size, Replacement Parts More Expensive, some Models may not have Separate Numeric Keypad, Limited Options for Upgrading, if Monitor or Keyboard faults, then Notebook becomes Unusable

Advantages of a Desktop Tower: Customised Build to any Specification, the Higher Specification Desktop, Monitor, Keyboard and Mouse tend to be Cheaper than the equivalent in notebooks, Can Easily Upgrade any Components, if Monitor or Keyboard faults, easily replaceable and inexpensive

Disadvantages of Desktop Tower: Takes up lots of Desk Space, Not Easily Movable, Unless Custom-made, Most Desktop Towers Don't include Wireless Networking

Just one further consideration, if have decided a notebook is for you, then there are very tiny notebooks available, often referred to as 'Netbooks'. Please be aware the Netbooks are computers in their own right, but all parts are cut down in size and also capacity. Things to note in comparison to notebooks, netbooks have the following limitations: the keyboard is smaller; the hard drive is smaller; the processor is slower; the screen is small and does now show as much at once, so you need to move scroll bars to move the screen around to see everything more than the normal computer. Also most do not come with an optical drive (DVD burner), this can be a big draw bag. But on the plus side, they are nice and light to carry around.

After reading this step, and considering your needs, you should now know whether a desktop tower computer or a notebook computer will better suit your needs.

Step 2 - Consider What Parts Need to be Inside Your New Computer?

Whether you buy a notebook, or a desktop tower - this section is equally important. To start we will try to give an explanation in plain and simple English as to what the main parts are on all computers that you need to know. We will then give you guide on how to identify what to look for in each of the main computer components and software to assist you in your decision making.



Central Proccessing Unit (CPU). This is the Brains of the computer, the decision maker. The bigger the Brain (CPU), the faster the computer can potentially work. There are many different types of Processors, the Intel brand being the most popular. In order of the slowest to fastest ranges of Intel processors, they are: Celeron, Pentium, Core2Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7.

We recommend you choose an Intel Core2Duo processor as a minimum, and if budget allows any of the Core i processors would be an excellent choice.




Random Access Memory - (RAM) (Also commonly referred to as Memory) is needed by the brain of the computer. Memory helps the brain of your computer with its decision making. Computer instructions are stored in Memory for quick access by the brain, in order for the brain to decide what it has to do next. The more amount of Memory in a computer, the more computer instructions can be stored in memory for quick access by the brain, and the more memory installed in a computer, the faster the computer can potentially run.

We recommend a minimum of 4Gb of RAM when purchasing a new computer.




Hard Disk Drive (HDD) - This is the device which keeps all of your data files (documents, photo's, video's, music). The Hard Drive also stores all of the Software Programs you install onto your computer (Microsoft Office, Games, Anti-Virus Software), and most importantly, the Hard Drive stores the Operating System (XP, Vista, Windows 7). The larger the hard drive, the more information (files/documents/photos etc.) you can store on it. However a larger hard drive does not equate to a faster performing computer. Hard Drives are measured in size by Gigabytes (Gb) and Terabytes (Tb). One Terabyte equals 1000 Gigabytes. Currently computers come with 320gb or more.

When making a decision on which computer to buy, consider drives of 500Gb or greater.



Optical Drive (DVD Drive, Blu-Ray Drive) - This is the drive where you slot in CD's, DVD's, or Blu-Ray Disks. The DVD drive is still the most common optical drive which comes standard in just about every computer. A DVD is perfect for most computer users, however, if you do have a nice large LCD screen with High Definition (HD) capability, you may want to consider the Blu-Ray Drive, as this will play movies in full HD (higher quality video). It is also important to note that CD's, DVD's and Blu-Ray Disks can be used to store you data files.

Unless you need to play Full HD movies, choose a computer with a DVD optical drive.



Operating System (OS) - The Operating System provides the ability for each of your computer components to communicate and work together (CPU, RAM, HDD, Optical Drive, Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse and more). It is the basic framework or structure which is needed first, before you can install any software on your Hard Drive. An Operating system comes with an extensive set of programs, which allow you to do things like browse your internet, play your music, watch videos and create documents. What is not included in your Operating System is Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power Point etc), or an Internet Security Software (Anti-Virus). However many manufacturers will provide a time limited trial of both Office and Security software, however they will run out in a matter of a few weeks.

We recommend Windows 7 Home Premium for home computers, further we recommend the 64 Bit version over the 32Bit.




Office Software - Office Software comprises a bundle of different types of software which are typically used for creating documents (letters), slide shows (pictures which show one after the other), and mathematical spreadsheets (for calculating columns of numbers). The most common Office Package is Microsoft Office, which include Word, Excel and Power Point.  If you have a need to create these types of documents, or you have children at school age, then you most certainly will benefit from using an Office software.


We recommend Microsoft Office Home and Student edition.



Internet Security Software - Everyone who connects their computer to the internet needs to have good quality software to protect their computer from virus's, and other nasty internet hazards. There are many good quality Internet Security packages, including Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security, Norton's Internet Security, CA Internet Security, McAfee Internet Security and many, many more.

We recommend any of the above mentioned security packages, Trend Micro is particularly good.


Step 3 -Now you know the Specifications you Need- How to Select a Computer

Now that you know what the main parts are to your computer, and now have better knowledge on what you need to look for. It's time to start looking.


For Notebooks, it's a good idea to only look at well-known brand names, such as Toshiba, HP, Acer, Gateway, Asus, Lenovo, Fujitsu and others. Visit your local computer shop with a list of the components your need (as discussed in Step 2), and ask them to assist you with selecting a list of suitable notebooks and ask them to print out the specifications on each model selected. Rather than deciding then and there on the spot, it is a good idea to take the list home with you. From this list, compare on each laptop, the type of CPU, the amount of RAM, the size of the Hard Drive, the Optical Drive, and Operating System. If you find more than one notebook with your ideal specifications for your budget, then look at other differentiating features, such as the amount of Warranty, the Size of the Screen, does it have a Separate Numeric Keypad? After considering everything, you should be able to come to an informed decision on which notebook is best for you and your budget.

If you are local to the Redland's in Queensland pop in to see us at 257 South Street, Cleveland - and we will certainly help you with a short list of notebooks to choose from. Alternatively you may want to browse through some of the notebooks we advertise on our website here ,  or email your questions: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For Desktop Computers, it's a good idea to get them custom built by your trusted local computer shop, one that you know first-hand to have excellent after-sales service. Having a local expert to help you will assist you enormously with answering all your questions, and making your decision much easier and more informed. Have your list of specifications ready, and advise what types of activities you need your computer for, suggest to them your list of components - as selected from above. You should be then provided with a quote for the computer desktop tower, perhaps with a few options to consider as well. Also remember if you are requiring a new monitor, keyboard and mouse, ask them to package together a good deal for you.  If you are in Australia, and would like some quoting on a customised computer desktop tower, or on suitable brand name notebooks, just call us on 07 3821 6200 and ask for Jenny, or just email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or you can browse our website.

We hope this has been an informative article, and that is will assist you with your new computer purchase. If you would like to follow our Face Book page, were we present these types of articles and other items of common interest, please join up, by clicking on the following link, and click on the 'Like' button:  "A Class PC Service" Facebook Link


Buyer Beware:

The Cheapest Computer is Not Always the Best Deal

Look for Retailler with Excellent Before and After Sales Service

Purchasing A New Computer Online, Generally Does Not Come with After Sales Service

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This webpage and other documents provided pursuant are for informational purposes only. The information type should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of the Supplier. The Supplier cannot guarantee the accuracy of information presented. The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document.
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