Computers are a must-have in any home office today. They are an integral part in the operation of most, if not all, businesses – whether bookkeeping, landscaping or web design business.
However, choosing the right computer systems can be a tough decision given the wide variety of models, brands and features in the market today. Should you choose a PC or Mac? Should you choose a desktop, notebook or laptop? How much memory do you want for your computer? What kind of processing power do you need in your computer? Will you be working heavily with graphics? And the list goes on and on.
Since I run several websites and blogs, choosing the right computer system is particularly important to me. I love the portability of laptops, but for the bulk of my work, I love to do it in a desktop system.
From being in the online business for more than 12 years – and going through a lot of computers in the process– there are several factors that I look for in my computers:
I want my computer to be fast loading.
I bought over a year ago a very compact Sony VAIO notebook computer, which I use for my late-night work. It is so small that it fits in my nightstand perfectly. It’s a top-of-the-line notebook costing about $2,500 with all the bells and whistles I want. Plus, it fits into most of my purses, and it is light enough to be carried everywhere I go (in case I could squeeze in a few minutes of work).
Unfortunately, it loads sooooo slow. In one train ride from Virginia to Washington D.C., it took one train stop (about 6-8 minutes) before the computer opened to the login screen. It took another stop (about 6-8 minutes) before the computer was up and running with my mobile broadband. It took me almost 15 minutes for the computer to open, which is a big waste of time.
So when I buy a computer system today, I always check the load time of the computer before buying.
I want my computer to handle my multi-tasking.
It drives my husband crazy to see me do a lot of things when I am in the computer. I always open a lot of programs at the same time — the email client, an average of 5 browsers (both work related and my entertainment sites), Tweetdeck, maybe one or two Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and HTML authoring software. Most of the time, my computer freezes up and I need to reboot again. Multitasking is a must for me, and I need my computer system to be able to handle that.
I want my computer to handle videos and multimedia.
I’m not a gamer and I don’t spend a lot of time on Youtube hunting for the next viral video. But videos have become an important way to market a business given the increasing habit of online video watching and the continued popularity of Youtube. I want my computer system to allow me to watch a 3-minute video in 3 minutes – not 15 minutes later because my computer crash or the streaming gets so slow.
I want a quiet and cool computer.
I had a fully loaded Dell XPS system that I purchased for about $2,300. It was a top-of-the line system and it showed – it was fast; it is able to withstand my multitasking and seldom crashes. Alas, the cooling fan system was faulty. Thus, it was noisy and emitted a lot of heat, making the home office hotter than it should.
A good cooling feature is not something that I initially looked for when purchasing a computer. But after my experience with this particular computer (the XPS conked out last year, and I was just glad to get rid of it), I now know to check the cooling system capability of the computer before purchasing.
If you are thinking of buying your own computer system, make a list first of the features that are important to you. This will help you become a more informed customer when doing computer shopping.
I am currently test driving this two-monitor Lenovo A63 desktop computer, and I just love it! It is fast, able to tolerate my multitasking well, and doesn’t waste my time as it loads. Plus, this baby made me realize that I need two computer screens — I can have my work on one screen (be it a Word document or Dreamweaver) and my other tasks on the other hand (email, Tweetdeck or Facebook page, and even the occasional TMZ or EW.com). It just made me concentrate better and minimized the distraction caused by the constant clicking of the other tabs to check what’s happening with my email or Twitter.
Share with us the features that are important to you when buying a computer system.