How to buy the best family PC
Want a great family desktop PC? Here we offer tips, focusing on build quality and design, pre-installed software and processing power.
Looking for a computer that will be good for the whole family? Something that’s going to be good for the kids to do their assignments on and still be powerful enough for a bit of light gaming?
There are some simple things to consider when choosing a good family PC:
How much space do you have?
Where will you be putting your family PC? If you’re limited in terms of space, you may find an all-in-one is a better option than a traditional desktop tower model.
All-in-one PCs contain all the components inside the monitor, so there’s no need for the extra box. The only additional space you need is a spot to put the keyboard and mouse.
Another option would be to look at a small form factor PC. These come in much smaller boxes than tower systems and can be about the size of a games console. You can also upgrade many of these mini PCs, although you won’t have the same flexibility as with a full tower system.
How powerful do you need it to be?
How powerful your system needs to be will depend on what you’ll be using it for.
The three most important areas to consider here are processor, RAM and hard drive size.
The processor is your computer’s brain and affects how quickly it can do things. More powerful processors can handle complex tasks better.
- Everyday computing: If you just want to browse the web and stream Netflix, work in Office applications and email, then a dual core processor like the Intel Core i3 will be fine
- Advanced multitasking: If you like to do all of these things at the same time, as well as basic photo editing, you want something faster such as an Intel Core i5.
- Video editing and serious gaming: If you plan to do intensive video editing or serious gaming you want a powerful quad core processer such as the Intel Core i7
RAM is your computer’s short term memory. The more RAM it has, the more files it can load at once.
For a family PC, 4GB RAM would be the minimum we’d recommend. More advanced users should consider 8GB or more.
The hard drive is your computer’s long term memory. It’s where you’ll store all your files and programs.
The amount of storage space you’ll need will depend on the type of work you’re doing. Tasks such as video editing or music production are likely to take up lots more space than essay writing. You’ll also want to consider all the other things you might want to store on your system, such as music, photos, games and movies.
At the very minimum, we would suggest 500GB storage space for a family PC. Most users would probably be best considering around 1TB.
Does it have all the software you need included?
Family PCs will often come with some software included. At the very least you should get Microsoft Windows, but you may receive additional packages such as trial versions of Microsoft Office, internet security software or other programs.
If the software that comes with the computer is a trial version, this normally means you will have to pay for the full version when the trial expires. This is normally a month after you first register it.
What can you connect to it?
It’s likely that you’ll need to connect a number of devices to your family PC, from printers and speakers to smartphones and digital cameras.
The majority of devices run by USB these days, and most PCs will feature several USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. Think about the number of devices you want connected all the time and make sure the system you choose has enough connections.
In addition, you may want to make sure the computer also has an HDMI port, which makes things very easy when connecting a monitor.
Family PCs to consider:
Family PC on a budget: ASUS K31ADE Desktop PC
Space saving PC: Lenovo C40 all-in-one PC
Higher-end PC – Lenovo B50
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