PC Rangers Express, Inc.

            Buying a new computer

            Last updated 7/17/2017

            Picking out a laptop in the sea of options can be tricky. Here's my tips to limit the choices and find one:

            Information/Decisions to put together (print this to help)

            Existing amount of stored data
            (Right click c: drive on current computer and see used space)
                                                                            
            Size of Screen
            (15" average, 13" small, 17" big)

            Do you want touch screen or 2-in-1 tablet?
            (Yes / No)


            Apple

            If you're Apple, your decision is much easier.
            Desktop then iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, Mac mini
            Laptop then Macbook Air (small/portable), Macbook Pro (as beefy/workhorse portable as you can get)

            Chromebook

            You want cheap and all your need is the Chrome web browser a Chromebook is a cheap, simple option that eliminates all the problems of full PC's/Macs. You'll be calling me a lot less, but you can't "install xxx program". 

            Neither of those, you'll be going with windows

            Windows recommendations in order of priority:

            1. Intel processor. Bigger the i number, the faster it'll be.
            2. SSD (Solid State Disk)
            3. RAM 4GB minimum, 8GB ok. If you like to keep lots of programs/browser tabs open at once get more RAM (16+ GB)

            Reducing your choices to a select few

            If you want something right away/see it first go to your local Electronics Retail store and look at what they have (Microcenter/Fry's/Best Buy/Staples/Walmart etc).

            Websites for selecting computers: www.microcenter.com or www.newegg.com 

            When you're limiting your choices work thru the selection in this order
            1. Look for the screen size you want
            2. Do you want 2 in 1 (foldable)/touch/tablet style/light and thin look for that
            3. Require Intel CPU
            4. Require SSD of size desired and bigger. If you need lots of space, you'll probably get 2 storage drives, one for the OS and one for saving data. 
            5. Do you want a full keyboard with numberpad, require that
            6. Need discreet graphics (nVidia/ATI) require that
            7. Battery Life
            8. Look at the keyboard layout (where are your arrows/home/end/page up/down etc)
            Pick one from what's left :)

            If the list reduces to nothing, start eliminating items.

            You can buy cheaper at the start and upgrade to SSD, but call David in advance to confirm you can actually upgrade it to SSD

            Additional Details

            SSD size
            Sizes are usually 128GB, 256GB, 500GB, 1TB (keep doubling).
            Once you have how much data you currently have take the total data and double it. Make sure how much data you have will never exceed 90% total size of SSD (SSD's work differently and if you fill them greater than 90% full the SSD speed will reduce SIGNIFICANTLY)

            Do I accumulate lots of Pictures/videos/music I store locally? You will need big SSD, or may have to go with hybrid or regular HDD.

            SSD Types
            When looking at SSD's they connect in 2 fundamental ways: SATA (slow - 400-500MB/s), or PCIe/NVMe (fast 1000-1500+MB/s). If you want fast, you'll always see either PCIe or NVMe associated with the SSD because it'll be more expensive but it's a selling point.


            Speed
            Drive Type
            Slow but big and cheap
            100-200MB
            HDD or Hard Disk Drive
            Ok
            400-600MB
            SATA SSD
            Super Fast But more expensive
            1000-1600MB
            PCIe/NVMe SSD

            Understanding Intel Processor Naming Convention
            i3-6700 vs i7-4570
            • the i_ is the number of cores. More cores = faster. eg. i3 is slower than i7
            • After the - the thousands means what family/generation it is. as of 2019 the latest family is 8000/9000. So a i3-3xxx is older processor than i3-6xxx. The last 3 digits are for specific speeds/features, don't sweat that too much.
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