Desktop Computer Buying Guide
With the constant arrival of new specifications, configurations
shapes and sizes itís difficult to decide the best desktop computer
to buy in todayís market. Depending on your budget and
requirements there is likely to be several options available to you.
Hereís a guide to finding the right PC for you.
likely to be using your PC for surfing the internet, uploading holiday
photos, office work and maybe some recreational gaming then
youíll be looking at a price range of anything between £300 and
£800. Look for a dual core chip and a quad core processor,
although desktops with less than this are rare. The minimum
amount of memory youíre likely to need is 4GB and 6 to 8GB of RAM
is pretty standard for a PC in this price range. PCs towards the
lower end of this price range are likely to have integrated graphics
cards although graphics cards in more expensive PCs are likely to
have either 256 or 512MB of video RAM, allowing 3D gaming and
In terms of operations systems, Microsoft
users look at Windows 7 Home Premium and those leaning towards
Apple, Mac OS X Snow Leopard. A DVD-RW drive will allow you to
read and burn music and film from your PC. If youíre wanting to
watch or burn Blu-ray film a BD ROM OR BD-RW is required. Also
make sure your desktop computer comes with at least four USB
ports as well as ones for your mouse and
For home office use, graphics are of little
concern although enough power is required to run several
programmes at once. A dual core processor is likely to suffice for
most office users although for heavy usage, a quad core CPU
wouldnít be a bad investment. Thereís no real need for a graphics
card and all other specifications are roughly the same as the
everyday userís PC.
For the serious gamer a quad or
six core processor and at least 8GB of DDR3 RAM is necessary. A
larger, faster hard drive is required and, most importantly, a good
graphics card. The two main competitors are AMD and Nvidia.
AMDís ATI Radeon 5000 series is currently in the lead being the
fastest on the market and able to support DirectX 11 across three
monitors. The Nvidia GeForce 400 line is arguable as good however
and also able to support DirextX 11. The price range for the gaming
enthusiast is between £1000 and £2500.
editing and watching media, a similar specification to the serious
gamerís computer is required. Again, six or quad core CPU is
needed to edit video and a discrete ATI or Nvidia graphics card with
256MB to 1GB of video memory is useful. If youíre using
Firewire/IEEE 1394 for transferring files between your PC and
camcorder youíll need the right Firewire/IEEE 1393 port. Again for
Blu-ray movies, a BD-RW is needed.