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Computer Components: What’s important to have?

computer components

When you start talking about computer components, just about everyone has an idea of what that means.  As computers age, and new purchases are considered, the thought inevitably turns towards what sort of system you should have.  In this post, I’ll help you weed through the clutter, the keywords, and the confusion. Together, we’ll help you determine the best computer components to look at for your next computer.

Question #1: Desktop or Laptop?

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you looking to purchase a new desktop or laptop.  For the purposes of this article, in my opinion a system that is an “all-in-one” with everything contained in the monitor is a desktop unit.

There really isn’t a lot to consider in determining whether to go with a desktop or a laptop.  The obvious answer is whether or not you want to take the system with you on the road.  If you do, then you will want a laptop.  If you don’t, then perhaps look at a desktop.  Keep in mind that the computer components in a laptop verses in a desktop are more tightly configured. As a result, it can be more difficult to increase those things. Additionally, space constraints at your house could also lead you towards the purchase of a laptop.  One other thing to consider in the case of a laptop is the size and weight of the laptop.  For example, if you get a laptop with a big 17″ screen, then that may have some hefty weight to carry around as well. The end result of that is that your big laptop may function more as a desktop.

Question #2: CPU Considerations

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on the latest Intel based processors.  Currently, the ones you can find in most systems are the Intel i3, i5, i6, and i7 processors, each with it’s own various speeds of operation.  What really matters, though, is what you intend to use the computer for.  Are you getting this computer to be a gaming computer, or are you intending it to be strictly for typing letters and creating spreadsheets?  The answers you supply to these questions will guide your decision on how much processor you need.  Also, as you probably know, the newer the processor, the more expensive it will be.  For most people, something in the i5 range will be all you will need.

Question #3: How much RAM?

The more RAM (also known as memory) you have, the better off you will be.  The good thing about RAM (Random-Access Memory) is that it is incredibly inexepensive, and is one component that you can easily add more later — although keep in mind that each motherboard has limitations on how much RAM you can add to it.  For most systems, though, the minimum you will want to have is 8GB of RAM. RAM is important is because the more RAM you have, the more programs can be loaded into that space. That increases the speed of the computer because RAM is faster to read from than traditional hard drives.

Question #4: Traditional Hard Drive or SSD?

Recently, the growing trend has been towards replacing your traditional hard drive with a SSD drive. The biggest differences are that traditional hard drives use disk platters and heads to write the data magnetically, and the platters spin at various RPMs (usually 5400 or 7200 RPM).  With a traditional hard drive, you get more storage capacity, but you really are looking at a piece of equipment that will fail over time because of heat buildup.  With SSD technology, the platters and disk heads are replaced with memory chips, so you have the immediate speed increase from that.  For many people, adding RAM and replacing their existing traditional hard drive with an SSD drive will make it feel like their system is brand new.  SSD prices have been coming down, but generally speaking, you will be looking at a smaller capacity drive when compared to a traditional hard drive.  However, if you can, go with the SSD.  You won’t be disappointed.

Final Tally: The Computer Components to strive for

So, with all of that said and done, here are the computer components you should look for in your next system:

  1. For portability and space considerations, go with a laptop.  For ease of access, though, go with a desktop.
  2. Regarding the CPU, stick with i5 or greater.  Don’t go with an i3 processor because those types of systems have been around a while.
  3. For RAM, start with at least 8GB, but try and determine what your system can accommodate.  Most product sheets will tell you the maximum amount of RAM you can have in your system.
  4. For storage, go with a larger size SSD, perhaps a 500GB SSD or greater.  The greater the space for the SSD though the more it will cost, so keep that in mind.  It also depends on how much you data you have to store as well.  If you have to go with a traditional hard drive, start at 1TB and try to get one that is at least 7200 RPM.

Of course, I’m here to help as well.  If you need me to help price out a system for you, just reach out to me.  I’m at 919-606-6725, or you can email me at  Also, sign up for our newsletter and you will receive a special coupon to use on your next service.  Just fill in the information below!

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