Unless you happen to be someone who is vastly interested in the machinations of PCs and computers, buying a computer is going to be a potentially involved decision and one that will require some prior knowledge. I know when I was buying my last computer, I asked a friend of mine who is particularly knowledgeable when it comes to all things tech and found that he was able to steer me in the right direction for my needs. Every person is going to need slightly different things from their computer and from their technological equipment, so make sure you consider things like how much you’re going to be using your computer and what you’re going to be using it for. Nowadays, it’s easy to look at computers online and to make a purchase from the comfort of your own home. To make this process easier, I have created a list of some of the key factors that you need to take into consideration before you buy a computer.

Also see: Factors to consider when purchasing a mobile

Factor One: Do you buy a desktop PC or a laptop?

When you’re buying a computer, you have to think about whether you’re going to need to be transporting your computer around, or if you’re just going to use it at home. The general thing to note here is that the laptop and the desktop version both have the same host of specs, the desktop is always going to be cheaper – simply as you pay for the smaller housing. The ability to cram a lot of performance into a small package is what you pay for with laptops. If you’re planning on having a steady workstation that you’re using and don’t need to be running around and whipping out your laptop all the time, then it makes sense to save some money and get a desktop computer. An additional benefit of getting a desktop computer is that it’s easy to keep it cool as there is more room in the device for a large fan. This will enhance the lifetime of your device.

Factor Two: Know the processor and know what it does

The processor is basically the brains of the machine. If you want a machine that is going to boot up in no time, you need to get the strongest processor that your budget allows you to get. The processor is measured in the number of ‘cores’ and the speed (which will be identified in GHz or Gigahertz) of the unit. The speed of the chip is going to tell you how much data it can process in a certain amount of time, so basically it’s the bigger the number the better. The number of cores work to function as a multiplier as the processor itself is actually a lot of cores that each are able to run at the speed listed. As an example, a single-core 2GHz processor is going to be a lot slower than say, a four-core 2GHz processor. More cores equals better multi-tasking because each core can be working on a different thing within the machine.

Factor Three: Know your RAM

Just as the cores affect the speed, the amount of Random Access Memory (RAM) in a computer is going to affect how much multitasking can happen and how fast it’s going to be. RAM is basically a small and super-fast kind of memory.

Factor Four: Hard drive power

Computers need storage and while this is something that RAM does, most of the memory sits on your hard drive. You have a few different options, but what it comes down to is how you’re going to use your computer.

Hopefully this will be helpful to you when you’re considering buying a new computer – and one last tip is to ask the salesperson (or the online store) to give you a deal. Even if they don’t reduce the price, they may throw in a keyboard or a mouse into the deal. Ask and you may be pleasantly surprised.