New Computer - Yes or No?

I am often asked, "How do I know that this computer is good enough for me?" And the answer may come as a surprise to most people. The truth of the matter is that very rarely do people need to purchase the latest and greatest computer available on the market. In fact, if you are working on a small budget, I more often than not, recommend upgrading the system that you already own.

Determining whether or not to upgrade can be tricky, but it is worth the effort.

  • If your system is less than 3 years old, and was top of the line at the time that you purchased it, it may just need a thorough cleaning. For this task, I recommend using my favorite FREE utilities Malwarebytes, and CCleaner
  • If your system is older than 3 years old, depending on the make and model, a thorough cleaning, Operating System Upgrade and a RAM upgrade may be in order. You will need to determine whether or not you have any open slots for the RAM and determine what type of RAM that is required for your motherboard. I recommend talking to a pro for this information if you aren't certain. Some pros offer free consultations, or will offer consultations for low fees that they will then apply toward the cost of the upgrade.
  • If no additional slots are available, it is time for a new computer.
  • If your system is older than 5 years old, it is time for a new computer.

Now that we have determined that you do indeed need to purchase a new computer, here are some key points to consider in the selection process.

Do I need a desktop or a laptop?

  • Are you often on client site?
  • Are you constantly taking work home with you?
  • Do you travel for work?
  • Do you need to be able to make presentations in places other than your main office location?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then I would recommend going with a laptop.

How much Memory / RAM** do I need?

  • Are you working with a lot of graphics or photographs?
  • Do you work with music editing or production?
  • Are you working with multiple programs at the same time? (Example: I currently have MS Word, PhotoShop, PaintShop Pro, Thunderbird, FileZilla, Serif Font Manager, Safari, FireFox, Bluefish, and iTunes running. It is standard for me to have at least these programs up and running, and on occasion a few others.)
  • Do you deal with large files on a regular basis, such as Excel Books with multiple Sheets, or large PDF files?
  • Do you edit or produce videos?

If you answered yes to the above questions, you should consider a system with 6GB or 8GB RAM / Memory installed and make certain that it still has the capability of being upgraded in the future. So, the system should support up to 12 GB of RAM / Memory.

Are you using your computer for the following:

  • Checking / Sending emails
  • Surfing the internet
  • Sharing the occasional family photo
  • Writing papers for homework / work
  • Simple spreadsheet manipulation
  • Social Networking with Facebook / YouTube / Pinterest or others
  • Online Banking

If you answered yes to the above, you should be fine purchasing a system with 4GB of RAM / Memory installed. Again, make certain that the system supports future upgrades. So, the system should support up to 8GB of RAM / Memory.

*Please note that you should NEVER have to pay more than $40.00 to have RAM installed (not including cost of the actual RAM), anyone charging more than $40.00 is raking you over the coals, and I recommend finding someone else.

The price of RAM varies widely depending on the type of RAM required. I would recommend checking prices on both and Also, keep in mind that some RAM must be installed in matching pairs. Much like shoes, the system can't run with just one.

**Memory, or RAM (Random Access Memory), relates to the computer's ability to transfer data. The more RAM/Memory, the faster a system will be able to process calls made by software applications.

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