Thinking of buying a new computer? Consider these tips

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 9/10/18

Shopping for a new computer can be a daunting task, but I here are some tips that will hopefully help ease the process:

Don’t go too cheap: Though you can find new computers as low as $250, keep in mind that you tend to get what you pay for. The cheaper the computer, generally the slower the computer will be. Cheaper computers also usually offer less ports and are less likely to be upgradable in the future. A cheap computer may also be slower than your current computer, even though it’s new.

I usually suggest budgeting at least $500 to $600 dollars for a new computer and about $150 additional if you need a new monitor, keyboard, and mouse. If this is out of your price range, I suggest buying a good refurbished computer from a trusted source for $300 or more.

Computers in the price range I mentioned are typically similar across the different brands and models. Pretty much any computer in that range will be fine for anyone doing basic browsing, emailing, simple photo/video editing, and playing simple games. If you plan to do a lot of intensive work on the computer, like play graphic-intense games or regularly edit large videos for instance, you should consider a more expensive and higher performing computer.

Check out local companies: The big box stores like Best Buy or Office Depot might seem like a good place to buy a computer, but I encourage you to check out the small computer businesses as well.

In smaller businesses (like mine) you typically get better customer support, tech support, and warranties, all while helping support your local community. Small computer shops also typically sell refurbished and custom PCs, whereas the big box stores usually don’t.

Consider forgoing the all-in-ones: When shopping you might come across all-in-one computers, where the computer is built into the monitor. Though these may seem convenient, it usually makes repairing and servicing more difficult than traditional PCs, where the tower and monitor are separate. Thus I generally recommend the latter to ease the effort and cost associated with any future repairs.

Get good virus and malware protection: No matter how new a computer is, it still has the same (or even more) chance of becoming infected with viruses and malware. Thus ensure you have good antivirus and antimalware programs installed right away. The basic antivirus built into Windows 10 is typically good enough, but I strongly recommend getting Malwarebytes Antimalware (www.malwarebytes.org).

Properly dispose of your old computer: You don’t want to just throw your old computer out to the curb. I recommend pulling out the hard drive from inside. You should either properly wipe the data off the hard drive or physically damage it so the data cannot be recovered by anyone else who gets a hold of it. Perhaps save the hard drive for when you want to take out some aggression, and then take a hammer and/or drill to it :-) Though the trash trucks will likely take your old computer, it’s environmentally best to drop it off somewhere that will better recycle and dispose of it. Contact your local city or county waste center, or drop it off at a Goodwill.

Get professional help when needed: As I always recommend, get professional advice and help if you aren’t completely sure of what to do. A computer professional can help evaluate any current computer and what work it might take to get it running. They can also discuss the options if it comes to getting a new computer, and then also help properly get rid of your old computer.

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