7 Replies
Dave Neuweiler

Hello Amanda ... there are an awful lot of choices out there, and everyone is sure to have a favorite brand and an idea of machine specifications -- both of which will have an impact on price. With that in mind, I'll jot a few notes about what I look for in a desktop work machine.

Processor speed: the higher the better. Certainly nothing les than 2 GHz; the higher the speed, the higher the price.

Processor brand/type: No preference between the two big players (Intel and AMD). You'll se a lot of specs like "dual core" and quad core." The more cores, the better the machine will be able to run multiple programs at the same time.

Operating System: Windows 7 for me -- it may not be as fancy as Windows 8, but it works. You can find machines that come pre-loaded with both Windows 7 and Windows 8, and you choose the one you want.

Hard Drive: size really matters here, because over the years, you'll accumulate a lot of files taking up lots of space. So again, the bigger the better. I'd suggest a minimum size of 500 GB. (One additional note here ... with a desktop machine, there are often empty expansion bays so that you can add a second hard drive for additional storage space later on. Empty expansion bays are a plus.)  

Memory: the more memory, the better the machine will perform. I'd suggest a minimum of 4 GB to start with this caveat -- look at the specs will say how much memory there is, as well as what the maximum memory can be. It'll usually say, "expandable to ..." It's good to have the option to add memory later.

CD/DVD Drive: Look for a drive that'll be able to burn CDs/DVDs. Most will, but just check.

USB Ports: The more the better. As an intangible, I like to have a couple on the front of the machine as well as a few spares on the back (your keyboard, mouse, possible your speakers will all use a USB port. Having a few extra will help if you say, add an external hard drive for backups.

What else? Unlike your laptop, there's no system battery, so if there's a power failure while you're working, the machine stops right there -- with the potential to lose work. I'd suggest that you budget $50-$60 for an uninterruptable power supply (UPS).

Monitor? The largest you can afford that'll fit your workspace.

Finally, shop around, and check out "bundled" systems where a monitor and/or printer might be thrown into the deal. And in my opinion, don't be afraid of buying "last year's" model, as long as the specs are okay. You can save a lot of money that way.

I hope this helps!

 

 

Steve Flowers

If you haven't experienced a computer running a solid state drive, once you do you'll never want to go back:)  Programs will launch instantly and a restart can take as little as 15 seconds. 

SSD as a primary drive have declined in price significantly. You can pick up a 240GB SSD drive for around $100. Pair this with a fast physical drive 7200 RPM or better and you have the best of two worlds. SSD to run your applications and OS and high capacity drive for video and working files.

Talia Taylor

Hey Marti, 

I came across a review for the HP  ENVY 15.6"x360 1080p laptop on YouTube. It was really good. I watched it before visiting this discussion, and Dave's suggestions (minus the CD/DVD drive) mirrors a lot of what was mentioned in the YouTube video - which was recorded this year.

 

If you are near a Costco, they are selling them at a $200 discount for around $599. 

Personally, I am looking to transition from a MAC to a Windows based computer primarily for compatibility with Articulate360. The HP Envy is something I would definitely purchase due to its processor. At my previous job, I worked with an Intel i5Core processor and was able to have Articulate, PowerPoint, Excel and Captivate open all at the same time. Talk about usability. From my understanding, the HP Envy has a similar processor and is meant to be more of a primary laptop for desktop use. For me, that is the downside, because I am looking for something I can tote around and not weigh me down (with a newborn on the way). But this seems like it may be a good option for you. Good luck! 

Talia Taylor

I accidentally hit the "report" button in my reply, so I am reposting just in case it gets removed. 

 

Hey Marti, 

I came across a review for the HP  ENVY 15.6"x360 1080p laptop on YouTube. It was really good. I watched it before visiting this discussion, and Dave's suggestions (minus the CD/DVD drive) mirrors a lot of what was mentioned in the YouTube video - which was recorded this year.

 

If you are near a Costco, they are selling them at a $200 discount for around $599. 

Personally, I am looking to transition from a MAC to a Windows based computer primarily for compatibility with Articulate360. The HP Envy is something I would definitely purchase due to its processor. At my previous job, I worked with an Intel i5Core processor and was able to have Articulate, PowerPoint, Excel and Captivate open all at the same time. Talk about usability. From my understanding, the HP Envy has a similar processor and is meant to be more of a primary laptop for desktop use. For me, that is the downside, because I am looking for something I can tote around and not weigh me down (with a newborn on the way). But this seems like it may be a good option for you. Good luck!