In the market for a new computer?  We’ve made it easy by gearing you up with the options you should consider before plunking down your hard-earned cash.  Read on for some great tips.

Desktop or Laptop?

Your use of the computer will make this choice a fairly simple one. If you have a set workspace and aren’t likely to deter from it or need to work elsewhere, a desktop is your better option. If, however, you work from a variety of locations or plan to work while on vacation or work trips, a laptop is for you.  One thing to keep in mind; as long as you’re comparing apples to apples when it comes to their performance specifications, a desktop is typically the cheaper option.  A desktop also typically enjoys a longer lifespan since it stays relatively cool compared to the often hardworking fan of a laptop.

The Processor

This is where a lot of us get that glazed over expression in our eyes.  Let’s make it simple.  Your computer will come equipped with a number (in GHz).  The bigger the number, the faster your computer is able to process data.  If you have a need for speed, consider a higher number.  You’ll also have to consider how many programs you regularly operate at one time. If you’re not typically using more than one program at any given time, you’ll likely make out fine with a computer that operates using only one or two cores.  More programs?  Opt for more cores.

Stored Data

If most of your data will be stored right on the hard drive and you won’t be opting for external hard drives for storage, you’ll want to make sure you have enough capacity.  Lots of storage requirements means more gigabytes or even terabytes for those that need it.

The Extras

Computers come with many options and depending on your specific use, you’ll want to take a look at several.  Using a lot of USB cables may mean you want several USB ports. (Think about whether or not you’ll need ports for your mouse – a wireless mouse still needs a port available – a keyboard, an external hard drive, or even a phone charger.) Maybe you’ll be using DVD’s and you need to ensure the computer has a DVD drive.  You may also need an HDMI port if you want to connect to your TV for movies.  An SD slot is important for those who need to download their pictures from their camera, and a built in WIFI receiver is important to keep your WIFI establishment simple and cable free.  Ditto with Bluetooth, which can help with wireless headsets, speakers, and other cool wireless paraphernalia.

You know what you want, but is there a “right time” to buy?  Well, that partly depends on what you’re looking for.  We know that technology improves every minute, so the computer that you buy today is already outdated in a very short period of time.  Check refresh cycles on the products that you like best, and either hit the time right to get a good deal on a brand new older model or get in right away on the newest model to hit store shelves.