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Desktops Buying Guide

Though there are the many skeptics of the world who insist that the era of desktop computing will soon be over, those of us who use these machines each day are well aware that there is no technology that can replace the function of a full-sized desktop system. However, a lot of changes are being made in the ways that desktops are designed, and it can be very hard to know how to go about purchasing a new one.

In this buyer's guide, we'll go over the features to consider as you make a move towards a new and advanced desktop, and we'll consider the most well known and reliable manufacturers too.

Factors to Consider

So, as you begin to prepare to purchase one of the new desktops, you will need to know precisely what to look for in a system to meet your needs. Keep in mind that desktops are often selected because they are less expensive than laptops, can have more power, and can include many more functions than what can be squeezed into a small and portable machine.

Consider that you will have to know precisely what you intend to do with the machine in order to know which factors are the most important, but in general, you will need to choose from the following features:

Processing Speed

There are two ways that computers are viewed, and this is the speed at which they can operate and the size of the memory they offer. The speed is often called the processing speed, and this function is controlled by the CPU. You will have to choose from the different multiple core units (usually from two to five) to meet your needs. Obviously, the more core units in the CPU, the faster the machine. Thus, the machines with an Intel Core i5 are far faster than those at i3. Additionally, the i5 would run cooler and more quietly as well.


After considering how fast you need the machine to be, you then need to determine how much memory or Random Access Memory is needed. This is the memory that runs the software rather than storing information, so the more you have the better the machine can run. A single gigabyte or 1 GB is the absolute minimum acceptable.

Hard Drive

Your hard drive is the memory that stores the files, and you do want a lot of capacity here. The lowest amount that a desktop should offer is around 500GB (and this is where the differences between laptops and desktops really stand out as the laptops just don't have these capabilities).

Optical Drives

Are you going to burn DVDs? Any good desktop should be able to play and to burn DVDs (using the + and - R/RW disks). Some optical drives are also Blu-ray ready too, but you need to have processing speeds and memory capable of displaying these discs too.


The monitor on a modern computer can be as high definition as a great television or as basic as an older type of computer. The way to go is to choose at least a 20 to 24-inch screen (preferably LED), but if you watch a lot of movies, play a lot of games, and use the system for entertainment it is best to upgrade to a 29-inch widescreen or better. You may also want an onboard webcam to cut additional costs later.


All computers need ports if they are to interact with gaming systems and memory devices. You should have USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports - though we would say that USB 3.0 is the only way to go because of speed.


Most desktops should have speakers as part of the package and you will want a good 2.1 system (this has two side speakers and the single subwoofer) if you are looking for the best sound during gaming, music, and video playing. You can get a home theatre quality 5.1 speaker set too, but this usually bumps up the price.

Operating system

Essentially this boils down to two issues - PC or Mac? It is up to you which is the investment for your needs.


There are some brands that come with a higher price tag no matter what, such as the Apple computers. These are known for their reliability, but HP, DELL, and Samsung are also extremely popular desktops that can offer the same performance and the same reliability too.

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