DESKTOP BUYING GUIDE

In this buying guide, you will find information on the following:

desktop buying guide

BUYING A DESKTOP

Although laptops are portable, you get more upgrade options with the desktop. They can accommodate more memory (with enough room for expansion), processing chips and larger hard drives. With a desktop, you can also add specialized components, such as an advanced 3D video card for gaming purpose.
Basically, you can customize your desktop the way you want it to be. Here is a list of important features to consider before making your buying decision.

How do you intend to make use of your desktop?

This is one of the important factors you need to think of before you decide on the ideal desktop for you; the kind of user you’ll be.

Light

a light user will use a desktop for minor activities like web surfing, social networking, emailing, etc.

Average

an average user would take it a step further by streaming and storing of movies and music, document creation (word, excel, power point etc.)

Heavy

a heavy user on the other hand would run more programs and multitask, make use of sophisticated graphics, photo editing, video processing etc.

desktop buying guide
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DESKTOP TYPES

Tower Desktops

More often than not, for desktops, you must be used to the regular tower and monitor setup. The tower desktop which is the cabinet-looking type where the power supply, mother board, main storage device, and other components are stacked on top each other will have to be paired with a monitor and so consume a lot of space.

All in one Desktops

All-in-one PC

If you're short on space, or just prefer something a little more aesthetically pleasing. An all in one PC would do. An all in one PC (AIO) integrates the computer case and system components into the monitor so that the entire PC is one unit. They are generally, easier to set up and easier on the eyes than a traditional desktop. All-in-ones come with a keyboard and mouse, and many are also equipped with a touch-screen display.

desktop buying guide
Smart Display

Plug it into a full-fledged desktop and it's a touch-screen monitor. Unplug it, and the Android mobile operating system, battery power and built-in Wi-Fi offer a fully portable, tablet-like experience, great for gaming and apps.

Compact desktop

A good middle-ground solution If you're caught between aesthetic and performance considerations. Essentially a traditional desktop packed into a smaller, slimmer chassis. Some include solid-state drives and/or quiet cooling mechanisms, adding to their ability to hide amidst their surroundings.

Touchscreen

In today’s world, people have become accustomed to using smartphones and tablets and so the touchscreen interface has been designed for monitors to blend in and also aid ease of use. Touchscreen comes standard on desktop PC’s with the latest Windows OS (windows 10), to make using your monitor more intuitive. Although for those used to the traditional approach, it still supports the use of keyboard and mouse.
Discrete/dedicated graphics or not?
Integrated graphics is standard with most PC’s. In other words, the graphic processor is built into the chipset of the main processor which is okay if you’ll be a basic/light user. If you will be needing more imaging power, e.g. for multimedia production, you might want discrete graphics to make the most of your experience.

The Monitor

For the tower and compact desktop models, these are typically sold separately, that is, without a monitor. This gives you the ability to choose the monitor that suits your taste in different ways, ranging from the screen size to flat screen, to touch screen to curved screen etc. and to further ease your buying process, some desktops have been paired with suitable monitors for you in our desktop bundles section at discounted prices

Also you’ll need to decide want you want in a desktop based on the following specific features:

OPERATING SYSTEM

The operating system of your desktop manages all its software and hardware. You might like to refer to it as ‘the heart’ of your system. It lets you interact with your laptop and programs in a visual way.

Basically, there are three common operating systems. Microsoft windows OS, OS X or Mac OS, and google chrome.

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft windows is the most flexible operating system. It appears on many more desktops than the chrome or Mac OS. The latest version of Microsoft's flagship operating system Windows 10, provides a number of improvements over Windows 7 and 8. A revamped Start menu with live tiles and the powerful Cortana digital assistant to aid your navigation. Windows is designed specifically around an intuitive touch-screen interface (though it can be used with a traditional mouse and keyboard), expanding your navigation options. It also features a new task manager, streamlined file management and a suite of built-in apps.

Mac OS

Mac OS is exclusive to Apple’s iMac computers. Overall, the operating system offers similar functionality to Windows 10, but with a different take on the interface that substitutes an apps dock at the bottom of the screen for Microsoft's Start menu and taskbar. Instead of the Cortana digital assistant, Mac users get Siri. They can also perform transactions with Apple Pay, take calls or texts from their phones and unlock their laptops with an Apple Watch etc. Mac OS boasts an elegant and easy-to-use interface to complement Macs' sleek aesthetics and impressive battery life. Macs have historically had fewer issues with viruses and malware.

Chrome OS

Also exclusive like the MAC OS, it is featured in the Chromebox line of desktop computers. Google's OS is simple and secure, but limited. The user interface looks a lot like Windows with an application menu, a desktop and the ability to drag windows around. This OS runs custom apps and cloud-based programs rather than traditional software. It's great for surfing the Web, keeping up with your e-mail and social networks, and sharing your photos with friends and family, rather than more data-intensive tasks like video editing and hardcore gaming. The main app you use is the Chrome browser.

FreeDOS

When a laptop is said to be FreeDOS, this means that it has a free operating system for IBM PC compatible computers. Unlike MS-DOS, FreeDOS is composed of Free Software and open-source software, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Therefore, its base distribution does not require license fees or royalties and creation of custom distributions is permitted. A typical example of an open source operating system is LINUX.

LINUX

The Linux open source operating system, or Linux OS, is a freely distributable, cross-platform operating system based on Unix that can be installed on desktops. Linux is distributed under an open source license and enables you do the following,

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others.
desktop buying guide

PROCESSORS

From the beginning of this guide, we likened the operating system to the heart. In the same light, the processor is more like the brain of the computer. It works in combination with system memory. Most desktops feature either an Intel® or AMD processor.

Intel® Processors

Intel's processors are at the heart of every modern iMac and a majority of Windows desktop. Most prevalent are Intel's Core ™ series of multicore processors:

  • Core i7: Intel's top-of-the-line consumer processor. The choice of "power users" like hardcore gamers, graphic designers, photographers and videographers. It excels at serious multitasking and high-demand multimedia creation for projects in 3D or high definition. Models with numbers that end in HQ or K use higher wattage and have four cores, allowing for even faster gaming and productivity.
  • Core i5: Mid-grade Core processor and one of the most common Intel processors currently in use. The best combination of price and performance. Powerful enough for most computing tasks, and multitasks well.
  • Core i3: The entry-level Core processor, more than adequate for everyday e-mail, Internet and productivity tasks. It's also fine for common activities like listening to music.

In value-priced desktops, you'll also see Intel's Pentium® and Celeron® processors. These are adequate for basic e-mail, Internet and productivity tasks, but their speed and multitasking capabilities are limited relative to those of the Core family.

AMD Processors

AMD has two categories of processors that are most common:
FX and A-Series: Like Intel's Core chips, these processors include a graphics processor built into the same chip. In order from top-of-the-line to entry level, they include:

  • FX: exclusive powerhouse for serious gaming and heavy multitasking
  • A10: AMD's flagship chip, with blazing quad-core speed and exceptional graphics performance
  • A8: Improved graphics performance enables immersive 3D gaming in HD
  • A6: Smoother video streaming and enhanced photo quality
  • A4: Responsive performance for music, photos and video
E-Series

Similar to Intel's Celeron and Pentium processors, these are value-oriented chips with limited speed and multitasking capabilities. They're appropriate for basic computing tasks like e-mail, Web surfing and word processing.

desktop buying guide

RAM (Memory)

Random-access memory (RAM), is important because it helps your processor tackle multiple tasks at once. A minimum of 2GB is required for basic computing, but 6GB or more is recommended if you're into graphics and advanced photo or video editing. Most desktops have 4GB–12GB pre-installed, and some have up to 32GB. If you think you might need more memory later, choose a model that lets you expand the RAM.

desktop buying guide

INTERNAL STORAGE

Traditional hard disk drives offer larger storage capacities, but generate heat and noise. Alternatively, solid state drives (also known as SSDs or flash storage) are much faster, cooler and quieter than hard drives — but they're also much more expensive per GB, so typically provide less storage space. To enjoy the best of your desktop you can go for Hybrid drives that combine the large space of the hard disk drives and the speed of the solid state drives. In the end it all depends on how much would be stored on your desktop.

desktop buying guide

PORTS & CONNECTIVITY

Desktops typically provide several options not only for staying connected to the Internet but to other devices as well. Common ports you are likely to find on a desktop are;

  • USB 2.0: Connects external drives, gaming controllers, smartphones, MP3 players and other accessories.
  • USB 3.0: Transfers data faster than USB 2.0, but only when used with USB 3.0 devices.
  • USB Type-C: Provides blazing speeds and versatile power, featuring connectors with identical ends that plug in upside down or right-side up. Adapters allow for video as well as backward compatibility.
  • Thunderbolt: Ultra-high bandwidth for fast data transfer between devices featuring a Thunderbolt or Mini Display Port connection. (iMac’s)
  • HDMI: Connect a projector or display HD media on your flat-screen TV.
  • Media-card slots: Transfer photos from your digital camera or camcorder.
desktop buying guide
NOW THAT YOU KNOW BETTER!
You can choose better,
from our collection of desktop computers