How do I chose a good budget desktop computer?

Started Nov 14, 2012 | Questions thread
Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 13,458
Re: How do I chose a good budget desktop computer?

I would suggest looking for the following:

1. A large, good-quality IPS display, and comfortable input devices (keyboard, pointing device) to go with it.  These are your interface to the computer, and for what you're doing, will affect the enjoyment of it much more than the small difference between a 2.8 GHz CPU and a 3.6 GHz CPU.  If your preferred budget for computer + monitor is around $1000 or less, that probably indicates that you should look at 24-inch monitors ($250 - $400?) so some money is left for the computer.

2. A broadband Internet connection, in the unlikely event that, as a reader of this graphics-heavy Web site, you don't already have one.

3. A minimum of 4 GB of RAM (preferably 8 GB) to start, with the option to expand to at least 16 GB later.  Too little RAM, too much disk I/O, and system performance suffers.

4. Two or three external hard drives, for rotating backups and backups to be stored off-site.  I do not know how many GBs of music and movie files you need to back up, but based on the size of your photo database (60 GB), you might be able to use 500 GB or 750 GB notebook drives.  I've seen 500 GB external notebook drives selling for only about $60 each.

5. USB 3.0 ports on the computer and on the external backup drives.  A LOT faster than USB 2.0.

6. Recovery disks, if you have the option to get them.

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