Buying a desktop computer

What is the best desktop computer to buy?

That’s a hard question to answer but if you look at the basics it is probably easier to answer in a generic sense.


For basic tasks like e-mail, browsing the internet or using a Word
processor there are certain components which will give you the
best value. Here are the big 4.

Processor (CPU): 

Intel’s newest i3 and i5 processors have very good performance
for the price. Intel’s i3-2100 or i5-2300 should be your minimum.
AMD processors compete well. If you are multitasking AMD is
equivalent to Intel but running single applications the Intel chip is slightly faster.

The one exception is AMD’s A6 and A8 processors, they are very good for integrated graphics (playing computer games).

Memory (RAM):

You need at least 4 GB of RAM, especially for Win 7. More is not useful for.

Hard Drive:

Most hard drives are efficient and reasonably quick. Try to find one that spins at 7200 RPM or more and a cache memory of at least 2MB or better still 8MB. Cache is the storage before it writes to the disk


Buy the biggest you can afford. At the time of writing a 24″ LCD is around the $200 mark.


There are other peripherals you may need to look for...

Motherboard: Not generally a problem as they generally come with the type of Processor.

CD/DVD-Writer/player:  Plenty of good quality players around and generally fairly standard in speed and performance.

USB Ports: More the better. Just about everything is connected via a USB these days. The standard has changed so try to get a USB 3, it’s faster, but you need a USB 3 device to get the speed. USB 2 devices are compatible with USB 3.

Graphic Card:  On cheaper models these are built into the motherboard. If you play a lot of computer games, especially on-line you need a separate card.

Sound Card: as with the graphics card, on cheaper models these are built into the motherboard. If you want good quality sound and/or do recordings you need a separate card.

Speaker: External speakers are a must option if you want better sound quality.

Keyboard & Mouse:

These generally come with the Computer and unless you are fussy the cheap ones are fine. You may want to consider “Cord or Cordless”.


Modem/Router:  Most people don’t use an inbuilt modem but prefer an external
Router so they can use more than one computer on their system, using the router Wi-Fi setup.

Warranty: Usually 12 months is standard, see if you can get more for nothing.

Anti Virus: Usually there is one loaded but only for about 3 months. They are hoping you just extend the coverage when the time expires. Most of the top ones are very good, just check what you want for the money you are prepared to pay. Try the free ones on the internet. I use 2 and have never had a problem.