Tips on buying a computer

Here are a few tips for buying a Personal Computer(PC). The good news is that computer prices have dropped a lot over the past few years, making it accessible for common man.

Processors (CPUs)

The most reliable processors AMD and Intel. Dual core processors are faster, most of the new computers nowdays are dual core. Processor speeds are measured in gigahertz (GHz).  2.0 GHz should be adequate for normal user who use PC for web surfing, email and word processing.

Memory (RAM)

Don't confuse RAM(Random Access Memory) with hard drive (file storage) space. RAM is the temporary working memory that your computer uses to perform calculations and manipulate files. When you open a document, it is copied from the hard drive into RAM. As you and your word processor work on the file, the modified copy exists only in RAM. When you save the file, it is copied from RAM back to the hard drive, or permanent storage. And as with CPU power, the more RAM you have, the better your computer will perform. A minimum of 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM is recommended, performance will be better if you go for 2 or 4 GB.

Hard Drives

Hard drives really boil down to size and speed. The larger the drive and the faster, the better the performance and capacity. 250 GB can be enough for normal user. Go for more if you store much pictures and videos . Drive speeds are measured in rpm. Better the rpm, the contents are accessed faster. 

Optical Drives (CD/DVD/Blu-ray)

Most systems sold now feature DVD burners, even the budget systems. It is best to make sure that you get a multiformat DVD burner that can support both the +R/RW and -R/RW formats. Speeds should be at least 16x for the recordable speed. Blu-ray is an option for those wanting to use their PC for the high definition video format.

Extrenal Connectors

Many peripherals nowadays use external interfaces to connect to PC. Check what type of external ports are available on the computer for use with future peripherals. Look for systems that have both USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 or FireWire ports. At least four USB 2.0 connectors and one FireWire ports are recommended. Also look for media card readers that support various different flash memory cards to use with your digital camera/ MP3 player/ Mobile phone.


LCD monitors are better compared to traditional CRT monitors for their reduced size and power consumption. The real issue is more about size and cost of the LCDs. For a Desktop computer 17 " monitors are preferable, while for a laptop you can opt for 15 " to make it easy to carry.


The Operating System (OS) is essential to operate a computer. Most common is Microsoft Windows. But a Windows is so costly (aware that it is illegal to use pirated software ). But Windows is not the only option you have. Linux based systems are free. Any person can charge a Linux OS free on internet (Try on and install on his computer.


Also pay attention to the optional softwares that comes with the computer. You may need an office program like MS Office (which includes Word, Excel) and an anti-virus. Again you have a free option in Open Office program which is completely free ( See on ). AVG is a free anti-virus program.


I summarise my recommendations in a nutshell as follows:

  • Look for a Windows based PC if you are comparively new to computers, other wise try Linux, the free option.
  • Pay attention to the office sotware. Either MS Office of OpenOffice (free.
  • Anti-virus software.
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz or better.
  • RAM memory: 1 GB or better.
  • Hard Drive: 250 GB or better.
  • Monitor: 17-inch or larger(for Desktop) LCD.