Should I Buy a New Computer?
At Affordable Computer Repairs and Service, we try to get your broken or faulty computer up and running again but sometimes, despite our best efforts, the repair is no longer possible or economically viable. In these cases, we often get asked which is the best computer to buy and in particular the following questions:
- What do you recommend I get now? I just don’t like Windows 10!!
- Which brand do you recommend I buy?
- Should I switch to Apple and get a MacBook Pro or iMac?
- What do you think of an all-in-one desktop?
- Do you think I would be better off with a laptop?
- Should I get a custom-built computer or buy “off-the-shelf”?
To address some of these commonly asked questions and help you decide which is the best computer to buy, we suggest you consider what type of computer will meet your needs, expectations, and budget. There is no point spending thousands of dollars if all you intend doing is surfing the internet or accessing your email.
The decision-making process may seem simple enough until you undertake the process
Perhaps the first thing to decide is what type of computer do you need? A desktop or a laptop/ notebook? A laptop will give you flexibility as it’s portable and space-efficient, but at the expense of screen size, processing power, a relatively insufficient number of USB ports, and now more often than not, the lack of a DVD or optical drive.
Do You Need a Computer?
Only you can answer this question. Let’s suppose your current desktop or laptop fails to start the next time you power it on. What would you do? Could you survive by just using your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet? Could you get by for a day, a week, a month, or not at all? Maybe you are in the fortunate position of no longer using or needing to use an old-style desktop or laptop/notebook computer, as you don’t need to compose, edit or print documents, spreadsheets or presentations, prepare your end-of-month accounts, undertake photo or video editing, or play higher-end video/ computer games.
But if you aren’t in that fortunate position, you may want to pause for a moment and consider the flexibility that a computer – whether it’s a desktop or laptop – offers in the productivity or gaming stakes.
Apple Mac or Microsoft Windows (…. or open-source Linux)?
So which one is better, faster, more reliable, more stable – a Windows computer or an Apple Mac? These are not unreasonable questions to ask, but perhaps not the most relevant things to focus on when deciding which is the best computer to buy. You should first consider whether you are a current Mac or Windows user, and if you decide to make the switch, how will you navigate the different menus, layouts and settings between the two. Also, a MacOS will read the files you import from a FAT32, ExFAT or NTFS partition, but your Windows operating system won’t be able to read a Mac HSF+ partition and you will need to copy those files to hard drive formatted in FAT32 or ExFAT.
The problems of stability and reliability of the MS Windows operating system, especially Windows 10 in recent times, has prompted many users when considering which is the best computer to buy to make the switch to Apple. Conversely, the replacement cost of an Apple MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or iMac – and the proprietary nature of both the system design and individual components (making it either very expensive or near-impossible to repair, especially on most post-2012 models) – has seen many users abandon the Apple brand and switch to a computer running Windows.
So does paying a premium purchase price for an Apple Mac guarantee a quality product and an above-average service life? It can and often does, but there’s no guarantee. On the flip side, a less expensive Windows computer may not have the same level of quality found on the Mac, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t last as long.
You do have a third option, and that’s to choose to go and install one of the many varieties of the open-source Linux operating system and replace the existing Windows operating system currently running on your computer. Whether you choose Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Red Hat, or another of the many other distributions available, Linux is very much one for the enthusiast – for the time being at least.
Which is the Best Computer to Buy – A Desktop or Laptop?
If you have the available space in your home or office, and you don’t need the flexibility or mobility that a laptop/notebook offers, then a desktop is an ideal choice. All-in-One designs like the Apple iMac have continued to be popular and there is an increasing number of similar designs for Windows-based computers from manufacturers like Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer, and ASUS. The advantages are a neat package with an integrated screen design (currently ranging from around 21 inches to 27 inches), many with full high definition (FHD) IPS quality displays. Of course, these have their downsides as well, with the cost and availability of replacement parts being a major factor.
Traditional desktop computer designs consisting of a tower case, a separate monitor, speakers, etc, are still popular, especially amongst gamers or those people who need powerful audio and video editing suites. Custom-built computers offer a wide range of options and configurations but can be pricey when compared to some of the established brands.
Laptops or notebooks are other viable options, but they can present you with some serious short-comings if all you want is a compact desktop replacement.
How Much Should you Spend and What Should You Look For?
Our rule of thumb when deciding which is the best computer to buy is to only spend what you are prepared to spend again in 3 to 4 years on a typical Windows computer, or 5 to 6 years for a comparable Apple Mac. If you can get a longer trouble-free service life than that, then that’s great. Be aware, however, that it isn’t always hardware failure that will drive your next computer purchase, but hardware obsolescence. Both Microsoft and Apple are pushing newer versions of their respective systems which make ever-greater demands on hardware. The typical life-cycle of an operating system – be it Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS – is shrinking, whilst the official support for older operating systems is gradually being wound back.
When buying a new Mac, your choices are a little more straight-forward (some might say a little more limited). Nevertheless, your new stock-standard Mac is well configured to run the MacOS. The only thing you need to ensure is that it is configured the way you need it before you place an order and pay your money. Upgrading the hard drive/ storage, RAM, etc may get very expensive if you decide to do it down the track. For example, if buying a new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, ensure that a 128 or 256 GB SSD/flash drive is sufficient to meet your needs.
To run Windows 10 successfully, we recommend that choose to buy a computer with the 64-bit Professional version of the operating system, a minimum 8 GB of RAM, a minimum 500 GB (for laptops) or 1 TB (for desktops) of hard drive space, and an Intel Core i5 processor (or equivalent AMD CPU). Make sure it comes with enough USB ports for your particular needs and don’t assume that it comes with a DVD or optical drive – many new laptops have a woeful number of USB ports and don’t include the option of a DVD drive.
For further information and helpful advice on which computer to buy, contact us at Affordable Computer Repairs and Service on 3397 1215 or 0409 974 707.