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  • Best Desktop Computer Buying Guide
Technology Articles > Computers > Desktops > Best Desktop Computer Buying Guide

Finding a desktop computer can be incredibly stressful and time-consuming. There are many options to consider, many brands, and the computers can be very expensive. If you make the wrong choice, it will last you for many years. These are not the ingredients for an easy, stress free decision process.

While there is no one solution for everyone when buying a desktop computer, there are a number of guiding principles that will help you when buying a computer. First, some self-awareness is needed. What do you need your computer for? Do you really need the most powerful computer and you can buy at Best Buy? Or will a less powerful computer work? What is your budget?

These are all incredibly important questions to ask yourself before buying a desktop computer.

What do you need?

The question "What do I need?" Is very different from the question "What do I want?" It is by no means a bad thing to ask yourself what you want rather than what you need. However, do not conflate your needs and your wants when buying a computer.

After all, do you really need the highest graphics card quality if you never play graphics intensive video games or compile videos? Probably not. Do you need the highest horsepower CPU available if all you're going to do is browse the web? Absolutely not. Such a computer would be a waste of money and resources.


Keep in mind that you will likely need to buy your own accessories when you buy a desktop computer. Many desktop computers do not come with a mouse, keyboard, or monitor right out-of-the-box.

However, it may not be as easy as simply using your old computer accessories with your new desktop computer. Many of the connections that were used in older computers are now obsolete, as manufacturers have switched to USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt connections. Check with your retailer to see if they will supply you with any compatible accessories at a special rate when you buy your computer.


In many ways, consumers are fortunate that the desktop computer industry has become fairly commoditize. The elements of choice between brands has been mitigated. However, there are many specifications of computers that are constantly changing. Computers are becoming more powerful every month.

Don't think too much about brand when buying your computer. Since the brands have been commoditized, the difference between a Dell and a comparable HP desktop computer is not too noticeable. Besides price, when making a brand decision, consider a few things:

* Warranty. Which brand offers you a better warranty? Go with that brand, all things being equal. A warranty, especially with sensitive electronics such as hard drives or other components in desktop computers, is incredibly valuable.

* Support. If one brand offers better support than another brand, consider going with that brand instead.

* Package deals. Sometimes, computer manufacturers offer package deals -- particularly around holidays. These package deals allow you to buy accessories, MP3 players, or other useful components.

A desktop computer can be an excellent central hub for your computing -- particularly if you have a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Just make sure you buy the right computer for your needs, and you will be fine during the complex and sometimes stressful computer buying process.