Desktops http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13569/all en-US How to Buy a New Computer Without Breaking Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-new-computer-without-breaking-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-buy-a-new-computer-without-breaking-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_computer_468739184.jpg" alt="Woman buying a new computer without breaking her budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I needed to replace my nine-year-old laptop, but I had trouble finding the right deal. New high-end systems can be very expensive, although you can get a powerful computer and customize it the way you want. New budget models are less expensive, but often have flimsier construction and may lack desirable features. Used computers are even less expensive, but don&rsquo;t usually come with a warranty and may have damage that you won&rsquo;t discover until after you buy.</p> <p>I kept looking into options to purchase a computer and found the right option for me &mdash; a refurbished laptop. If you are looking to get a computer without breaking your budget, check out these purchasing options and choose the one that's best for you.</p> <h2>Option 1: New computer, high-end model</h2> <p>If you need a lot of computing horsepower, you'll want to look at high-end models. You can get the latest processors and abundant memory. You can also customize your options such as case color, processor type, RAM size, and accessories. You can have it all: a fast new computer with all the features you want, and a warranty. But it'll come at a hefty price.</p> <h3>How to get best deal on a computer that will last</h3> <ul> <li>Look for open box items at the store to save around 5 to 10 percent.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shop back-to-school and winter holiday sales.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check to see if your employer has a purchase discount program with certain computer manufacturers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Follow emerging trends to avoid buying before a significant new feature or operating system is rolled out.</li> </ul> <h2>Option 2: New computer, budget model</h2> <p>You may experience sticker shock after looking at prices for high-end models, but you can move down to the budget models without sacrificing too much. These are new computers, but may include designs and technology that are a few years old. Budget models may have slightly flimsier construction using less expensive materials. Components such as keyboards, screens, speakers, and input devices may be a step down in quality from high-end systems.</p> <h3>How to get best deal on a computer that will last</h3> <ul> <li>Check reviews, and if possible, check out the computer in person. One thing that scared me away from a budget laptop I was considering is that many reviewers said the keyboard was terrible.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Look beyond the specs. The basic specs cover processor, memory, storage size, etc. but don&rsquo;t cover quality and usability issues.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Consider adding RAM or upgrading to a solid state drive to boost performance of a budget computer.</li> </ul> <p>A new budget computer can cost 30 to 50 percent less than a new high-end model, depending on features.</p> <h2>Option 3: Refurbished computer</h2> <p>There are many definitions for what &ldquo;refurbished&rdquo; means, but the general idea is that refurbished computers have been returned to the manufacturer and are then checked out and restored to their original specifications. This may include replacing or repairing damaged or faulty parts and reinstalling the operating system. Some refurbished items have never been used and are essentially new. Others may have some use, but are then restored to new condition.</p> <p>With a refurbished computer, I was able to find a system that had all of the features I wanted at a price I could afford.</p> <h3>How to get best deal on a computer that will last</h3> <ul> <li>Make sure the computer being sold as &ldquo;refurbished&rdquo; is actually refurbished and not just a used computer.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check the warranty period and conditions to make sure you can return the refurbished item if you are not satisfied.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shop around &mdash; deals vary widely from one seller to the next and over time as new refurbished inventory comes in.</li> </ul> <p>I paid nearly 50 percent less for a refurbished computer than for a similar new budget model. The typical savings for refurbished computers is up to 30 percent off.</p> <h2>Option 4: Used computer</h2> <p>If you are looking to minimize your spending on a computer, getting a used computer may be worth the hassle. You can find used computers for sale on Craigslist and eBay. The main concerns with buying a used computer are that they do not typically include a warranty, and you may be getting a computer that does not have original parts due to user upgrades and repairs.</p> <h3>How to get best deal on a computer that will last</h3> <ul> <li>Consider weight and size in addition to processing power, as older computers tend to be bulkier and heavier than newer models with the same processing capability.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Watch out for used laptops with worn out batteries that have almost no battery capacity left.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Try to check out the used computer in person to evaluate its condition for yourself before buying.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If buying online, make sure the seller has a high rating.</li> </ul> <p>A used computer can cost 30 to 50 percent less than a new budget model, depending on features. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-items-you-can-buy-used?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Back-to-School Items You Can Buy Used</a>)</p> <h2>Option 5: Tuneup your current computer</h2> <p>If the problem you are trying to solve is that your computer is slow, you may be able to resolve this by tuning up or upgrading your current computer. I kept my old computer running for years by running tuneup software to scan for malware and optimize its performance. There are inexpensive upgrades you can install yourself, such as adding RAM or a bigger hard drive. And sometimes a clean install of the operating system can bring an older computer back to life. But don&rsquo;t pour too much money into upgrading an old computer. The best you can hope for is to extend its life by a few years. Tuning-up your current computer can cost 80 percent less than buying a new budget model, depending on features.</p> <p>No matter what computer you choose, it will be likely be outdated within a few years due to advances in technology. Keeping this in mind, look at what you need from a computer over the next few years and get the best deal you can find on one that has everything you need.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-buy-a-new-computer-without-breaking-your-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Buy%2520a%2520New%2520Computer%2520Without%2520Breaking%2520Your%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Buy%20a%20New%20Computer%20Without%20Breaking%20Your%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Buy%20a%20New%20Computer%20Without%20Breaking%20Your%20Budget.jpg" alt="How to Buy a New Computer Without Breaking Your Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-new-computer-without-breaking-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-travel-cable-organizers">The 5 Best Travel Cable Organizers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tech-add-ons-that-can-save-travelers-time-and-money">4 Tech Add-Ons That Can Save Travelers Time and Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-waterproof-laptop-cases">The 5 Best Waterproof Laptop Cases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances">4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Refurbished Appliances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-voice-recorders">The 5 Best Voice Recorders</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology back-to-school buy used computer shopping Desktops laptops new computer refurbished computers shopping tips tech gadgets Mon, 14 Aug 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2001656 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Buy a Desktop Computer http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-desktop-computer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-buy-a-desktop-computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/61487774_566eb4ac6b_z.jpg" alt="desktop computer" title="desktop computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you're in the market for a new computer? What&rsquo;s it going to be? Mac or Windows? Blu-ray or regular DVD? Touch-screen monitor or standard mouse? With technology advancing so quickly and new features coming so fast, it&rsquo;s becoming harder and harder to know what to buy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-buy-a-desktop-computer">Why You Should Buy a Desktop Computer</a>)</p> <p>My advice to you is to treat this like you&rsquo;d shop for a suit or a dress: find the one that fits your body as comfortable as you can and ignore the rest.&nbsp;Some of us need to do advanced things like video processing, while others just need a machine that runs an Internet Browser and Microsoft Word. It&rsquo;s all about buying what&rsquo;s right for you.</p> <h3>Desktop Features That matter</h3> <p>These are the features you want to pay the most attention to when picking out your system.</p> <p><strong>Processor&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>This is the brains behind the whole operation. The processor determines how fast you will get stuff done on your computer and, to a large extent, how long it will last until your next upgrade. Buying the fastest processor you can afford is always good advice here. If you want to save some money, find the fastest processor and take one step down from there. It&rsquo;ll save you some money and you&rsquo;ll still get great performance.</p> <p><strong>RAM&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The more RAM you have, the less bogged down your system will get. But RAM is easy to upgrade, so don&rsquo;t break the bank trying to fill up your computer with RAM. Instead, make sure the maximum amount of RAM it can be upgraded to is way up there (10+ GB of RAM). Then look for special deals on RAM and add as you go along.</p> <p><strong>Operating System</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mac vs. Windows...the eternal question. What&rsquo;s it going to be? Are you ready to make a switch or do you want to stick with what you&rsquo;re used to? If you are a novice you may want to consider spending more to get a Mac. For all the power users out there...you don&rsquo;t need me to tell you what to do.</p> <p><strong>Hard Drive Capacity</strong></p> <p>Like RAM, hard drives are easy to buy separately and replace/add as you go along. But they're also relatively cheap to add when you're buying your desktop -- if you're not the type who likes to open up the machine and fiddle with things. Think about all the photos and videos you want to store and go ahead and get as much as you can handle budget-wise.</p> <h3>Desktop Features That Are Just Hype</h3> <p>Leave out these bells and whistles that aren't useful.</p> <p><strong>Touch Screens</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p>They make for great commercials, but the mouse is still the best way to navigate through the software programs on a computer. While we&rsquo;re all getting used to using touchscreens on our cell phones and tablets, this is one thing you can do without. Especially if it costs more.</p> <p><strong>3D&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Some computer makers are trying to jump on the 3D hype bandwagon, but it&rsquo;s so early on in the technology that there&rsquo;s no sense jumping in when we don&rsquo;t really know how it will all play out.</p> <h3>Special Features to Consider</h3> <p>Getting the right desktop for <em>you</em> is the most important consideration. Before you go shopping, think about what you're using it for, and how long you're expecting to keep the machine for.</p> <p><strong>Customer Support&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>If you know how to update your BIOS and change the boot order of your devices on a computer, then this won&rsquo;t be a feature you care about &mdash; you can probably handle most issues that you&rsquo;ll encounter. For everyone else, you want to make sure you&rsquo;re taken care of after you buy a computer. Issues will come up and they can be very frustrating. Knowing you can just pick up the phone and get help is kind of a big deal, so pay attention to the length and quality (read what people are saying) of the warranty, as well as the overall quality of the machine.</p> <p><strong>Differentiators</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is where the personalization comes into play. What are you going to use this computer for? If it&rsquo;s editing large photos and videos, you&rsquo;ll need certain software and lots of RAM. If you&rsquo;re a gamer, you&rsquo;re going to want a monster video card. Pay attention to what you&rsquo;ll be using it for and buy accordingly. Don&rsquo;t fall into the temptation that you need to have it all! You will be wasting your money &mdash; just buy according to your usage.</p> <h3>Best Time to Buy</h3> <p>I like to keep an eye on the machine I want and hold out for a few weeks until I find a coupon or it goes on sale. You can usually find great deals in July and August, right before the newest models hit the shelves, and in November during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.</p> <p>See our shopping calendar for more tips on the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar" title="Buying Calendar">best time to buy anything</a> and our other buying guides.</p> <h3>Recommended Desktops</h3> <p><strong>Best PC:</strong> Build your own Dell (<a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10774518">Dell.com</a>). Remember what I said about buying a computer that fits you and your needs? Dell is a world-class company with great customer support that allows you to build your own machine with a wide variety of components. I&rsquo;ve built two machines with them and have absolutely no complaints. You can build a very good system for around $500.</p> <p><strong>Best Mac:</strong> <a href="http://www.apple.com/imac/">iMac</a> ($1,199). The whole machine is built into the monitor and no other desktop looks like it. Combine that with a fast processor, tons of RAM, and everything you need to pretty much run any program you&rsquo;d like, and you can&rsquo;t go wrong. It&rsquo;s more expensive...but there are reasons for that.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-desktop-computer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-laptop-computer">How to Buy a Laptop Computer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discount-designer-clothing-17-places-to-get-name-brands-for-less">Discount Designer Clothing: 17 Places to Get Name Brands for Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-fabric-softeners">The 5 Best Fabric Softeners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-aaa-batteries">The 5 Best AAA Batteries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-gift-guide-thoughtful-ideas-for-every-list-and-every-budget">Ultimate Gift Guide: Thoughtful Ideas for Every List and Every Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping buying guide computers Desktops Mon, 11 Jul 2011 09:48:29 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 569042 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Desktop or Laptop? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-desktop-or-laptop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-desktop-or-laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3508073681_9ddce95199_z-1.jpg" alt="Old Mac Desktop Computer" title="Desktop or Laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-desktop-or-laptop#comment-490579"><em>CgK</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://twitter.com/#!/ldelangel"><em>@ldelangel</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=666898828"><em>Steve Sforza</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Computers have become a huge part of our day to day lives. &nbsp;I personally am a huge fan of laptops and cannot imagine life without my laptop. However, there are many people who prefer having a desktop computer as opposed to a laptop.</p> <p><strong>Do you have a desktop or laptop computer? </strong>Or do you have both? Which do you prefer and why?</p> <p>Tell us whether you have a desktop computer or a laptop and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Enter 1 of 3 Ways:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below, or</li> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, then &quot;Like&quot; the update mentioning this giveaway (you can comment, as well &mdash; but you don't have to for entry), or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, April 11th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 11th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email, Facebook, and Twitter Direct Message.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us whether you have a desktop computer or a laptop and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-desktop-or-laptop">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-return-gifts-chance-to-win-10">Ask the Readers: Do you Return Gifts? (Chance to Win $10!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-did-you-spend-your-first-paycheck">Ask the Readers: How Did You Spend Your First Paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-is-your-top-question-about-personal-finance">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What is Your Top Question About Personal Finance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-should-kids-get-paid-for-doing-chores">Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers computers Desktops laptops Tue, 05 Apr 2011 11:00:08 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 516978 at http://www.wisebread.com