In my line of work, I have a lot of people come to me for advice on buying a new computer. They ask questions like “What should I get?” and “Should I get a laptop or a desktop? My answer for everyone is pretty much the same. “You should get something that’s in your price range (obviously), and if you need portability, go for a laptop. But if you need power, go for a desktop.”

So after someone asked me that the other day, I decided I wanted to write a blog with some computer buying tips.

  1. Do some research online, but don’t completely depend on the reviews and articles you read about a computer.
  2. Go to the store and test computers. You can do this at stores like Best Buy, Target, and Office Max. The reason you need to go test computers is to see which one feels best to you. There is a slim chance you’ll be buying a new computer in six months, so it’s a good idea to makes sure the one you get feels right.
  3. Talk to people about the computer and ask questions. Reading reviews and testing a computer at the store is a big part of the computer buying process, but it’s still a good idea to actually talk to people about the computer. And I don’t really recommend the guys at Best Buy, because they might know something about the computer, but if they don’t they will make an answer up so they don’t look stupid. A good place to talk to people about computers is the chat room at There is a good chance they can answer any questions you may have.
  4. Don’t go for a cheap computer. When you buy a cheap computer, the performance isn’t very good, even with the simplest tasks. I once had someone come to me with a base line Dell Inspiron that they wanted to use for gaming, but they couldn’t because it didn’t perform. Even if you’re only going to be doing simple Web browsing and word processing, I would really recommend upgrading at least one main component in the computer you plan on buying.
  5. Buy online, not in the store. If you buy online, you can customize the computer, and toggle how much it costs by upgrading or downgrading components. If you buy in the store, you basically get what they have in stock. And usually the stores only have base line computers.
  6. As far as Mac and PC go, it’s a good idea to go test each one separately. There are lots of forums and videos online that say one is much better than the other. Really, each has its strong points and its weak points. But when it comes down to it, you need to be the judge of which one is better for you.
  7. Don’t take out a second mortgage to buy a computer. These days, there is a new and advanced computer every couple of months. Therefore, if you spend a bunch of money on a computer, another will come out in a couple months that is better than what you have, and costs less. Even if you plan on waiting a couple years to buy another computer, this is a good rule to follow.

Well, there you have it. The basic computer buying tips. When it comes down to it, you have to be the judge of what is right for you, and how much a computer is worth to you.

Comments always welcome!

My name is Mark Devens. I live in southern Minnesota, where the winters are long and cold, and the summers are just as long but a lot more humid. I love to write. I write everything from poems to tutorials, and enjoy every second I’m doing it. When I’m not writing, I like to work on computers, play with gadgets, and help people with anything they may need help with, tech related or not. I do some fishing, but not a lot. I’m much more of an inside person than an outside person. Since I’m inside so much, I often am very bored, and that’s how I manage to get so much writing in.