Tech guide: What to look out for when buying a computer for business
If you’re looking for a new computer for your home office or small business, then it’s easy to be overwhelmed when you take a look at the specifications of the computers available. Often these run in to several pages, and it can seem like a different language. Many people simply end up going for one which fits their budget and has decent reviews. But what does all that spec stuff mean? And can you be bothered to google it all? Our two-minute tech guide is here to help!
You basically have three types of computer to choose from: A laptop computer, an all-in-one computer or a desktop computer.
A laptop is the portable computer the whole world uses. An all-in-one is where the computer and components are all in a single unit (like in the photo below), and a desktop computer is the traditional one where you have a tower and a separate monitor.
Remember that a powerful and reliable computer can greatly increase productivity and the good news is that to get a computer which will really help your business, there are only a few things you really need to take in to account. Understand these and you’ll be able to make the right decision, quickly.
Easy guide to tech stuff: CPU
The central processing unit (CPU) is the powerful chip in your computer. The speed of the CPU influences how fast your computer performs. This is measured in Gigahertz (GHz). In simple terms, this means that the higher the speed the faster your computer will be – although speed increases won’t be as high as they would if you add more memory (RAM) or an SSD (Sold State Drive). This stores data on your computer.
The terms ‘dual core or ‘quad core’ CPUs are basically two or four CPUs in one. They give you extra performance when multi-tasking.
Short cut: Go for a CPU which is dual core or more, which has a speed of 2.5GHz minimum.
Easy guide to tech stuff: Memory
Random access memory (RAM) is where your computer stores files for quick access. When you open a document, it’s copied from the hard drive to the RAM. When you then click ‘save’ it goes back from the RAM to the hard drive. Buy as much RAM as you can within your budget.
Short cut: Get a minimum 4GB of RAM. Better still 8GB. Or even 16 if you can afford it.
Easy guide to tech stuff: Hard Drive Storage
The hard drive is where all your file and documents are permanently stored. HD storage is measured in gigabytes (GB). Many computers now use solid state drives (SSDs) instead of a hard drive. SSDs have no moving parts. They are faster and last longer. Generally, it’s better to go for a smaller SSD than a large HD.
Short cut: A minimum of 250GB is fine. Or one terabyte (TB) if you anticipate storing lots of video files.
Easy guide to tech stuff: Ports and connections
Make sure your computer has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless connections. And the more ports and connectivity options the better. USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and HDMI ports are the most popular. USB type-C ports are a bonus.
Short cut: The more ports the merrier.
Easy guide to tech stuff: Monitors
Larger monitors mean you scroll less and are much easier on your eyes – so go as big as you can. If you’re going for a laptop computer, then you’re limited to the size of monitor, obviously. For resolution go for HD (1,920 x 1,080) or Ultra HD.
Depending on your needs, you might want to have a system where you use two monitors side by side.
Short cut: HD or ultra HD with a screen size as big as possible. Go for a minimum or 21 inches for a desktop computer monitor.