It can be difficult to decide on a big purchase like this, but there are a few hard and fast rules you should be aware of.


PC or Laptop? Laptops will give you more portabilty of course, but the keyboard and screen positions are fixed. You will need a separate keyboard/mouse/screen to enable you to move things around.

Gaming, Home or Business? Gaming PCs will have a dedicated graphics card for extra video speed. Business machines will be duller looking but are much the same as home machines.


Processor? You would want a quad-core processor ideally and as much as you can afford. You can upgrade RAM, storage, USB devices but you can’t do anything with a poor processor, so make sure you pick a good one. Check your speed here: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php 4000+ is good.

RAM? Between 4GB and 12GB for Windows 7 and 10. You can always upgrade later.

Storage? Anything over 500GB is great, you can always upgrade later.

Graphics? Dedicated graphics like NVIDIA or ATI would be useful for CAD, graphics, drawing, movie-editing, 3D apps.

Screen size? 24″ is now the norm for PCs, 15.6 for laptops. On laptops, you can go smaller if you want more battery life or bigger if you want to run specific apps like CAD.

iiyama Prolite E2483HS

SSD Hard Drive? You can always upgrade the hard drive in a PC or laptop from the standard HDD to SSD (flash drive) which will massively boost the boot-up time and general performance, and they are now at a price we can afford! You’ll probably need some help from an IT guy.


Price? You can buy a laptop for less than £300 these days, but it will probably be a Intel Celeron or AMD A6 processor. You will find these very poor in terms of performance and everything will be lagging behind, to your eternal frustration. Intel don’t actually make Celerons, they are basically normal spec processors that have failed the test to be called an Core-i7 or what-not, but rather than chuck them away they are sold on as “budget” machines. Buyer beware!

All-in-One? The alternative way is to buy an all-in-one PC. They look great in your lounge but they are same as a laptop in terms of upgradability.