For most of us, a smartphone may be the preferred device, today, as it fulfils most of our needs. However, there are certain tasks that only a full-fledged computer can perform properly. Working on excel sheets, content creation, gaming – are just a few. Truth is, every major and minor task can be done better with a computer. There are numerous approaches and choices to be made when getting yourself a new computer and this article aims to demystify the process. This festival season is a good time to buy your home computer when retailers and e-commerce platforms offer the latest models at competitive prices. Here’s a list of points to peruse through before you make your choice!
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Desktop or laptop?
If you need to compute on the go or use it at different locations, you are better served with a laptop. The same goes for the freedom of moving it anywhere within the four walls of your home because even though there are compact PC configurations, they’re not built to be moved around.
On the other hand, if you’re going to use the computer at a fixed spot, a desktop PC is the best option for you, mainly because you’ll get a better configuration for the same price. Also, laptops aren’t known to be customisation-friendly, whereas, for a desktop, you can start with the basic and tweak the components over the years to build your dream PC.
Pro-Tip: If you feel you need a desktop as well as a basic device for on-the-go browsing and word-processing, get an entry-level ultra-cheap laptop. Getting two devices will cost about the same as a high-end laptop with a configuration similar to a desktop PC.
Choosing the right laptop
If you’ve decided to go the laptop route, then the decision making is all the more vital for you since laptops aren’t upgradeable if you get one with the wrong specs. For starters, you need to decide if you want to go for Windows or macOS as an operating system. If you choose the latter, Apple’s range of Macbooks offers multiple options from lightweight to professional grade. Chromebooks are also an attractive third option if all you seek is basic browsing, word processing, and similar lightweight activities.
For buying a Windows laptop, the process is slightly lengthier. First, you need to decide on the exterior physical attributes like the screen size, and whether you want a 2-in-1 convertible laptop (i.e. one that turns into a tablet as well). Remember, a big laptop is not ideal for carrying around and the more current the processor is, the more battery efficient it will be. Another important factor to note is the brand’s reputation for support since laptops are harder to fix by yourself if something goes wrong.
[Also Read: How to Use Technology for Eco-Friendly Living]
Getting a desktop
One of the first things you’ll have to pick is the form factor - and that depends on how much space you have at your disposal and what your expectations are. Here’s a quick rundown of the different options available:
• Mini PCs and Compute Sticks: Size ranges from a USB stick to cake box. These devices are not powerful but rather space-efficient. You need to attach a monitor, keyboard, and mouse separately. Pricing can range from a few thousand to a lakh.
• All-in-One desktops: Attach a mini-PC to a display, and package it with a keyboard and a mouse. What you get is an all-in-one desktop. These can range from affordable at ?20k to high-end models around ?1 lakh. For those into the Apple ecosystem, the iMac range is a popular option, especially among design enthusiasts.
• DIY Desktop: Pick and choose your components and plonk them in a case (cabinet). In terms of price-to-performance, this is your best option. However, if you have decided to go the DIY way, make sure that you have basic knowledge about the different components that go into a rig such as CPU, motherboard, etc. We’ll show you how to go about that in the next section but rest assured while it sounds complicated, it’s not. Still, for those who want to play safe, you also get pre-assembled options from multiple brands.
Building a desktop
If you’ve decided to go the DIY route, the process involves picking the components for your PC. There are a couple of things you need to consider.
• Compatibility: Just spending a lot won’t guarantee that all your components will work with each other. For instance, if you get a motherboard and CPU with incompatible sockets, your machine will end up collecting dust until you get the right components. To avoid such situations, use an online tool like PC Part Picker’s System Builder. This tool in particular highlights compatibility issues and even guides you on how to fix them.
• Pre-designed builds: Instead of going the component picking route, you can also check for a build that has already been planned, especially for a particular use case. For instance, looking for an “entry-level gaming PC build” or “mid-range video-editing rig” on search engines will give you multiple options to pick from.
• Assembling the components: Once you’ve settled on a configuration through either of the above methods and procured the components, all that is left is assembling the actual system. If you’ve never done this before then it might seem like a daunting task. However, much like learning any other skills in today’s day and age, online tutorials would be the way to go.
Regardless of whether you’ve chosen to build your desktop or gone for a preconfigured build, at this point, you’ll have to start making purchases. If the price points are a concern at the moment, you can stretch your budget up to an extent with a credit card. Axis Bank offers some great options, some of which have specific benefits for online shopping. You also have the option to pay it off via EMIs, which will help reduce the burden on your monthly budget. Besides, you can also earn reward points on your credit card spends.
Use the Credit Card EMI Calculator to figure out the duration and the monthly instalments you’re comfortable with respect to your transaction size.
You could also invest in some accessories for your system, like a laptop bag, a computer cleaning kit and even additional peripherals like external speakers, projector and more.
Disclaimer: This article has been authored by Siddharth Parwatay, a Mumbai based independent tech-journalist, editor, and content-creator. Axis Bank doesn't influence any views of the author in any way. Axis Bank and/or the author shall not be responsible for any direct / indirect loss or liability incurred by the reader for taking any financial decisions based on the contents and information. Please consult your financial advisor before making any financial decision.