When it comes to computers, not everyone is the same. In fact, what I want from my PC and what you want from yours could be entirely different things. But it can be hard if you aren’t sure what you need when it comes to computers, but you are in the market for a new machine – especially if you don’t want to spend too much on a system that you are never going to get full use out of, this article should serve as a guide on what kind of PC you need, and save you some hassle cutting through the number of different machines on the market!
When it comes to PC use, browsing the internet is a pretty popular pastime – in fact for some, it’s the only pastime. The good news is that if your only concern is to use your computer as an internet browsing hub for looking at social media, the occasional Netflix binge, and a music player then you really aren’t going to have to spend a lot of money to get what you want.
You can get yourself a Notebook and expect to get out of that exactly what you need, a reliable lightweight laptop that serves as a brilliant little PC you are going to make the most out of. As long as you keep an eye on battery life, you are going to get a lot of use out of your Notebook, and you can’t go wrong with something like the Acer Aspire 3 or the Asus Vivobook Flip. Both of these are brilliant options, come in at a low, and will perform exactly as you need them to.
You don’t need to be married to a laptop or laptop-hybrid format though – if you are only concerned with internet browsing and the basics of using a PC, then a tablet could be more than enough for what you need as well. Whilst it isn’t necessarily a PC, they will still serve your purpose well, have optimized apps that perform perfectly for their chosen, and will often come equipped with a healthy battery life (that sometimes outstrips actual laptops).
Ok, so if you are thinking of getting yourself a PC with the express purpose of working on it, then you are probably looking for something dependable, not too, and packing a lot of storage space.
So, you have two options really. If you are looking for something exclusively for home use, then you can always build your own PC and save on a lot of costs when it comes to comparing your build with a prebuilt one, especially if you are looking to use a PC with lots of storage. You can forgo the graphics card and intense processor for something steadier with a more reliable processor, and enjoy an at-home desktop that isn’t going to let you down in a long while.
Alternatively, though, a lot of people prefer to use a laptop when it comes to working. You are going to have a lot more flexibility when it comes to taking your workaround, moving from office to home, to potential client meetings seamlessly, and you are going to be able to do everything you would be able to with a PC, albeit with a built-in keyboard and trackpad.
That being said, there are plenty of different options out there when it comes to choosing a laptop fit for work. If you look at different options from Dell, even Microsoft themselves, you are going to find different laptops capable of handling your workload and the different apps you use daily to do the work itself.
Ok, there are going to be a lot of people looking to get a PC so that they can enter the world of PC gaming, but won’t know where to start because they are coming from the world of consoles, where everything is just plug and play, with no real setup or build process to think of.
To save you some time though, I will be recommending that if you want to get into PC gaming, you should be looking to build yourself a proper gaming PC. Now, if (like the example I gave just before) you are new to PC gaming, and possibly turned away by the idea of building your own PC, then I should say straight away that it’s much easier than you might think, and that in the long run are going to save yourself money whilst learning a new skill as you build the PC itself. Not a bad thing by any means.
Now, when it comes to PC gaming and building your own rig there are three things that should stick out to you when it comes to choosing your hardware. The first of these is your CPU – you need to make sure that whatever processor you choose to put in your PC is both powerful and compatible with the other parts in the PC you are planning to build. Your main two options are AMD and Intel – make sure to explore both of them before you make your final choice.
Then you have to think about your GPU or graphics card. There are lots of different options out there, all at different price points, but the rule of thumb is that half of your PC building budget needs to be dedicated to the graphics card. If you want to know why its because the graphics card is going to power all the games you play on your PC. Pretty important stuff.
And then there is the internal memory of the PC. This is the third most important thing when it comes to building your PC and we can split it into two different categories – RAM, and accrual internal storage. Both of these things are going to have a huge impact on the way that both your games run, and how many games you can actually store on your PC.
That was a really brief run-through of what you need to build your own gaming PC – but it’s the bones of it. So, what if you don’t want to build your own PC, but still want to get into PC gaming?
Well, there are prebuilt gaming PC options out there for you to choose from, but you have to be aware that they are often more expensive versions of PCs you can build yourself. It’s pretty simple maths – add labor onto the total cost of all the parts, and then think about the fact that companies want to make a profit. So, as far as gaming desktops are concerned, there are prebuilt options available, but building your own is definitely the better option.
And yes – there are gaming laptops available. They are cool and super portable (if moving around for localized gaming parties is important to you) and they are often great for more than just gaming – more on that later. But, bear in mind that a gaming laptop is often more expansive than a prebuilt due to its being smaller, and they aren’t as easy to modify or customize. Otherwise, sure the option is there – but you can often get more out of a desktop PC, with a longer upgrade path attached.
Alright, if you are looking for a great PC that you can work with on editing videos and other long forms of visual media, then you are going to be looking for a PC with a similar spec to a gaming PC, albeit with a few key differences.
Again, you might want to look into the possibility of building your own PC – it can be a lot cheaper, and it means you can pick out the parts yourself (AMD chips work better when it comes to non-gaming processing). However, a lot of the time a prebuilt will do just fine when it comes to computers dedicated to video editing. The Microsoft Surface Studio 2 for example is one of the best video editing workstations available to buy right now, and outside of the (obvious) competition, it’s the best Microsoft based PC for video editing on the market right now.
Plus, its mobile, making it a great device to use if your work requires you to edit on the go. And, remember before when I mentioned that gaming laptops were good for more than just gaming? Well, thanks to their increased processing and graphics power they are also really solid machines to work on when it comes to media editing. Not a bad option to go for if you are thinking about video editing AND getting into some other hobbies on the side.
Basically, the same advice from the video editing section applies here: You are best off going for the Microsoft Surface Studio 2, or a laptop with similar specifications if you are solely focussed on music editing alone and need to be traveling as you work on your mixes.
However. I know that a lot of people out there are interested in using a PC as a home recording studio is going to want a lot more from their PC than a laptop might be able to provide.
So, if you are planning on using your PC to record on as well as edit music, then you should definitely be looking into a desktop build. And, whilst you might not be needing a super powerful gaming PC, look into the likes of Dell’s XPS series, or the HP Pavillion line – keep an eye out for top-notch processors, and a high number of inputs to support various interface’s and MIDI devices, because I’m sure you will be needing them.
Now, before you dive too deep into this section you have to ask yourself what you mean by ‘watching a movie’. Are you talking about watching Netflix on a laptop in bed? Because if so, any of the machines I ran through in the first section are going to be fit for your purpose.
An HTPC is a brilliant little piece of kit that works in a similar way to a firestick, or a Chromecast in that it transforms your regular TV into a smart TV – but with a little extra. Thanks to the fact that it is, in fact, a PC rather than just a stick, you will also be able to use its hard drive to playback whatever movies you have bought to download, or even attach a blue ray drive to play physical media if you haven’t got any other way of playing it.
Like I mentioned before, you can of course build your own HTPC, but unless you are planning to use your HTPC for things like gaming as well on a big screen, then you are just as well buying yourself a prebuilt option. There are plenty to choose from as well, and if you are hoping to keep your living room clean then you can always go for a small form factor HTPC like the Intel NUC Mini PC – small, offers a lot and it will definitely give you the home cinema feel that you are going for.
These are the main types of PC we can imagine you might be looking for right now, and our best suggestions on what to use for each different purpose you have in mind. However, we know that we don’t know everything – so if you are looking for a PC for a specific task, and haven’t got a clue where to start, just leave a comment below and we will try our best to answer your question and add the suggestion into our list!