Computers: What To Buy

We’re going to get slightly off topic here but it’s a question I see a lot. Computers are a very important part of peoples lives and are not going anywhere. If you are looking for a new computer you may not be entirely sure what to look for. As someone who has been in the tech field for several years, I wanted to offer my suggestions.

What Kind of Computer
One of the first things to decide is what kind of computer should you get. I would split this up into 3 categories; Desktop, Laptop and Chromebook. I don’t want to confuse any one so I will mention that Chromebooks are a a type of laptop but they have a different use case which is why I have separated them here.

Chromebooks are your cheapest option but also the most limited on what you can do with them. If you already have a Google account and are using the Google apps (Docs, Sheets, Drive, etc.) then a Chromebook would work great for you, if not maybe look at laptops.

Laptops come in a large variety of performance and price. I would only suggest a laptop if you need to be moving around a lot and you won’t be sitting in one place for very long while using a computer. If you can afford it, most often I will suggest a laptop as a secondary machine.

Desktop computers can be very expensive or very cheap depending on how you obtain them. If you know someone that knows how to build custom PCs, it’s worth working with them to find deals on computer parts that are efficient enough for your needs. If you don’t know anyone that can build PCs, buying a pre-built at Best Buy or Walmart will do just fine.

Cost of a Computer
Cost of all computers can range from a couple hundred bucks to tens of thousands of dollars. Typically people want to spend as little as possible and I always remind them that computers aren’t as expensive as they think in a yearly overview. I would recommend Chromebooks between the $300-$500 which would put them at around $60-$100 per year considering they usually last 5 years*. Laptops can last a bit longer and most people can expect about 8 years* from a standard laptop. I recommend spending a minimum of $500-$750 on a laptop putting the yearly cost to $63-$94. Desktop computers have the ability to do much more so anything in the laptop price range, you are better of just buying a laptop. For a desktop purchase, I’d recommend $1,000-$1,200 a yearly estimate is a little difficult to calculate for desktop computers. For a rule of thumb, I’d say desktops will last at least 10 years* putting your yearly cost at $100-$120.

* Computer lifespan will heavily vary from person to person and manufacture to manufacture. These numbers are from my own experiences and what I’ve heard/seen from family and friends. The yearly costs do not take into account performance changes as time goes on. If you want to extend your computers lifetime, Laptops and Desktops often offer the ability to upgrade parts like RAM and Storage. This will increase the cost of the machine as well as your yearly estimate, but can also lead to drastic performance improvements and lifespans.

What Do I Have?
As someone in the tech industry, I have a slightly more advanced set-up than most people would need. I currently use one of three computers depending on the need at the time. Currently, I am writing this post on my 2019 MacBook Pro as I didn’t want to get out of bed the morning that I wrote this. I will typically have this laptop with me everywhere I go, either on me or in my truck. My other 2 computers are custom built, one is a bit more powerful than the other while the other has additional screens making certain productivity work a little easier.They both are used quite often for different things. The only other device that I have is a Synology NAS. This isn’t really a computer but it’s worth noting as it’s a main part of my storage system and allows me to access files from any of my computers while home.

There you have it, that’s my thoughts on new computers. I find computers to be a great investment and will continue to follow the trends allowing me to stay up to date with tech. Who knows, maybe if something crazy happens in the future, I’ll talk about it again on this blog.

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