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If you are looking for a new computer, you have many choices. Should you buy a desktop or a laptop? Maybe a tablet is really what you need? Would you prefer a desktop or laptop plus a tablet? Or are you wondering what all in one desktop should you buy? What is the best all in one computer for working from home? Do you need powerful computing for heavy-duty work or playing graphic-intense games? Or do you just need a device to surf the internet, email, and use some light applications? Maybe some happy medium between both spectrums?
In terms of value for computing power, desktops provide the most power for each dollar spent. There are also different types of desktops to consider.
There are full size PCs with towers that need to sit under or beside a desk. These are the most powerful computers with the flexibility to add more computing power and memory in their towers. The ability to open the PC tower and install, upgrade, or add parts makes this possible for do-it-yourselfers. Some aficionados even build their own customized desktop towers. Full size desktops are reminiscent of the first home computers before laptops were created.
However, these days with ever-increasing computing power in smaller forms, laptops have enough computing power to rival prior generation desktops. This leaves room for today’s desktops to hold significantly even more power.
Desktops also include compact models, also called mini PCs, small desktops, or compact computers. Some top compact desktops can sit on a desk, like the Apple models.
For full-size and compact desktops, the typical purchase excludes a monitor and peripherals like a mouse and keyboard.
There are also all in one desktop computers which integrate the computer with the monitor. Self-servicing these models will be challenging unless you really know what you are doing, as the computer and monitor are integrated into a single piece of hardware. What you gain in sleekness, design aesthetics, and space-saving is offset by lack of flexibility. For example, you cannot simply change to a larger monitor if desired because you are locked into the size you purchased for the entire unit. They also tend to be more expensive than the combined cost of a desktop and monitor.
Laptops have become the most popular option today because their computing power has increased over time to rival desktops. Yet they are portable and convenient without the need for peripherals like a keyboard and a mouse, since they are innately part of every laptop. Laptops also come with built-in webcams, while desktops do not. Some laptops also incorporate touchscreen technology like a tablet or smartphone.
If you look at office work environments, most employees are issued laptops today. This indicates companies are comfortable enough with the computing power in laptops that they will not hamper an employee’s ability to do a job effectively. That is a ringing endorsement!
The advantages of laptops are clear in their practical use. They can perform heavy computations and have the memory capacity to run multiple applications simultaneously. Laptops are portable to bring anywhere. They have the flexibility to connect peripherals. Attaching a larger, wider screen monitor or multiple monitors can make it easier on your eyes or for presentations. Connecting a separate keyboard with a number pad can make typing faster and more accurate. Using a mouse may help you work more efficiently if a trackpad is not comfortable for you. And peripherals are available in wireless form.
You could also stream videos and project them onto your TV or another monitor. You could watch shows and movies from your laptop. If you opt to attach a monitor, be sure to choose. a top rated quality monitor, not a cheap one, and a large enough screen size. Your eyes will thank you.
The laptop is indeed the most flexible of your computing options. Whether you are looking for the best affordable laptops, the top rated laptops, or the best laptops for programming, there is a wide range of choices depending on computing power, memory capacity, and brand.
Tablets are another option and sits in the space between a laptop and a smartphone.
For the most part, the tablet experience is closer to having a very large smartphone than using a laptop. Most everyone would prefer the best tablets for reading over a smartphone. You can purchase tablets that perform practically all the functions your smartphone can.
Typing on a tablet is akin to typing on a smartphone, a virtual keyboard appears on the screen. You can attach peripherals to some tablets, so using a more user-friendly keyboard and mouse is possible. It boils down to personal preference. Generally, younger generations today have become so adept in using virtual keyboards, touchscreens, and trackpads that these are their preferences. Hence, some manufacturers make best tablets for students.
However, as they merge into the work environment, they may begin to appreciate the efficiency of separate peripherals. There are situations though where tablets for work or school are more useful due to their portability. Some appropriately sized budget tablets with good storage may be best suited for daily use in environments where risk of damage is high.
There are hybrids available today that bridge the gap between laptops and tablets. These models typically allow physically detaching the screen from a laptop whereby the screen now turns into a tablet.
PC or Mac
Another choice you will face is whether to purchase a PC or a Mac.
If your ecosystem contains mostly Apple products like an iPhone and/or an iPad, then a Mac will pair with these devices. This allows you to access native Apple applications like iMessaging, FaceTime, iPhotos, etc. from different devices by using your AppleID and leveraging iCloud services.
However, you should weigh this benefit against some lost features of any applications you may heavily rely upon. For example, if you are a heavy spreadsheet user, Microsoft Excel is most likely your best friend. It is filled with endless features accumulated over the past few decades. If you want to use Excel on a Mac, you will have to purchase Microsoft Office 365 for Mac. You may find that certain functionalities that you rely on when using Excel on a PC may be missing on a Mac.
You may also find that certain application features developed by other software companies will be developed for a PC first and may not be available for a Mac yet.
Computing Power, Memory, and Storage
When researching computing power, remember that multi-core processors can process more data at the same time.
And more memory will prevent a computer from slowing down or freezing if running multiple large applications. A minimum of 8 gigabytes (GB) of random access memory (RAM) is recommended. RAM is your computer’s short-term memory and helps handle multiple applications simultaneously.
For internal storage, 256GB is a good starting point. This is your hard drive capacity. Get more if you plan to store many documents, including photos and videos, on your hard drive. However, if cloud storage is used, then less internal storage is needed. An external backup drive that plugs into your computer can also be used for extra storage capacity.
Solid state hard drives (SSD) help a computer start up faster, install programs faster, and scan for viruses faster than conventional hard drives. SSDs contain no moving parts and are, therefore, more durable. However, they are more expensive, so you get less storage capacity per dollar.
For serious gamers or video editors, discrete graphics cards are better than integrated ones.
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