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Back To School Computer Shopping – New Windows Based Computer Pricing & Features

How much does a new Windows based computer cost?
What computer should I buy?
What is the most I should pay for a used computer?

Locally you can buy a new brand name Windows 10 desktop computer with 8GB Ram & 1TB harddrive with a 2-year warranty for $600 or less. The same price or a bit more will get you a brand name laptop with the same features.  The computers above are without monitor.  I do not recommend “All-In-One” computers where monitor & computer are in one unit – they are too hard to diagnose & service when you have problems

National brand computers provide online & phone support not found locally & at any hour of the day. Established local computer stores can build a custom computer & can give personalized service.

As important as what brand of computer you buy is buying the right features!

Recommended minimum features for any new computer are:

RAM – 8GB. 16GB or 32GB for heavy business or graphics use.  New computers with RAM amounts of 3, 6, or 12GB are oddball configurations!  Please be careful – if you see 2GB on a new device, it is a tablet & not a computer – even if it has a keyboard!  Tablets can be very useful for business or home, but will not substitute if you need a full-featured laptop!

HARDDRIVE – 1TB is what most new desktops & many laptops come with & is more than enough for most home & business uses

VIDEO CONNECTION(S) – Most people are used to a VGA video connection from their desktop or laptop.  VGA connectors & cables usually are Blue.  After VGA, came DVI video connectors which are usually White.  DisplayPort was on some computers, but mostly in larger business situations.  For most small business & home computer users, the next video connection was & is HDMI(High Definition Multimedia Interface).  HDMI is what your recent flat screen TV’s use for cable, satellite, DVD, etc.

HDMI connectors can be Standard, Mini, or Micro formats –

Many computers are coming with an HDMI connectors as a video option. Some desktops & laptops are now shipped with HDMI as their primary/only external video connector. Many new computer monitors & TV’s offer HDMI as one of the connection options. An HDMI connection is one way you can add multiple external monitors to your computer.

The reason you need to know is two-fold – you need to know what video out connector options your new computer has & you need to be prepared to connect to HDMI & other video connectors when presenting from your computer & connecting to projectors or other screens/monitors. You could also display pictures & video from your recent summer vacation from your computer or camera on your large-screen TV. With HDMI, you might also be able to connect to newer TVs in a hotel room while traveling & use it as a 2nd or larger screen!

I have a laptop that I have connected two large external monitors – one VGA & one by HDMI.  I also have a full size keyboard & external mouse connected – just like a desktop computer would have!

DVD DRIVE – Most are now DVD/CD writers. The main choice here is ability to write Blue-Ray DVD’s if that is desired.  Many laptops no longer include DVD drives, so look carefully if you need to use or watch DVD’s!

USB C – USB-C is the new style USB connector that should plug in the first time because it is symmetrical & should make connections much easier.  USB-C may soon arrive on some new computers, tablets, & smartphones.I have included a couple links:

“What Is USB-C? An Explainer”

“USB Type-C: One cable to connect them all”

WINDOWS VERSION – Windows 10 is standard at nearly all retail stores.  Windows 7 is still available on certain name-brand websites. Windows 7 support will continue through sometime in 2020.  Businesses & home power users will want to look for Pro/Business version of Windows for better networking & management options.

Businesses may also want longer manufacturer warranty & on-site warranty options.

I would recommend not paying over $250 for a used computer with new computer pricing being so low. Minimum recommended RAM on a used computer is 4GB.

I hope this helps answer questions on computer buying & features.

If you buy the right features now, you will be happier with your computer purchase now & for a longer time into the future!

If you have more specific questions or would like help with your computer purchase for business or home, please contact me.

About the Author:

Ray Bowyer, Computer Consultant lives & works in the Boise, Idaho area & provides computer desktop & laptop repair, training, problem solving, computer networking, & virus removal for Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell & other Treasure Valley Idaho area small businesses, home offices & home computer users. Phone: (208) 631-7527. Email: . Mailing Address: 1740 E. Fairview Ave., # 305, Meridian, ID 83642. Computer Repair & Services - Boise Idaho - Meridian Idaho. "Reducing computer frustration one problem at a time by providing computer TLC(Technical Loving Care)!"

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