1. Are you Apple or Windows?
The first and most important thing to consider is which operating system you want to go for. This largely comes down to personal preference, but here are the advantages of both:
- The Office suite that many of us are used to – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – is built to run on Windows PCs.
- There’s a huge range of Windows PCs available and it’s easier to upgrade or switch components than with a Mac.
- Windows PCs are cheaper than Macs for a similar spec. If your priority is power on a budget, go for a Windows machine.
- The latest Windows 10 update has some pretty cool new features.
- There’s no getting around it: Apple products look beautiful.
- Macs are renowned for their excellent build quality.
- Historically, Macs have been less likely to be targeted by viruses and hackers.
- If you already have an iPhone or iPad, you may want to stick with Apple products so you can sync files and applications between them.
2. How much desk space do you have?
Student halls aren’t known for being spacious. If yours is on the small side, you might want to consider an all-in-one desktop.
With all-in-ones, the components are built into the monitor, so you don’t have to find space for a bulky tower. They’re easy to set up – just plug in the power lead, mouse and keyboard and you’re ready to go – and easier to transport.
If you love good design, the Apple iMac has a stylish, space-saving design and great performance.
3. What subject are you studying?
If you’re mainly writing essays and catching up on social media, you won’t need as much computer power as gamers or creatives who use power-hungry design software.
The main spec to look at is the processor, which is like your PC’s brain. Match your needs to the right Intel Core processor:
- Everyday essay writing and web browsing – Intel Core i3
- Design subjects that use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop – Intel Core i5
- Multitaskers who want to stream Spotify, work in Excel and chat online – Intel Core i5
- Video editors, spreadsheet masters and creative power users – Intel Core i7
4. Are you annoyed by slow computers?
The last thing you want when you’re facing a tight deadline is a whirring wheel on your screen and a noise akin to a jumbo jet taking off. Which is why you’ll want to consider a computer with a solid-state drive (SSD).
“What you’ll notice straight away is just how quick it starts up,” says YouTuber Ash Tailor. “You’ll notice this speed immediately when copying files, loading programs and much more.”
As well as being quicker to load applications, SSDs are also much quieter than hard disk drives (HDD) and run cooler. But, they’re more expensive.
With the latest processor, plenty of storage space and easy Wi-Fi connectivity, try the HP 24-f0015na for an all-in-one Windows PC you can rely on for speed.
5. Do you have a huge iTunes archive?
Lots of people have fully moved over to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music for listening to music. But if you’ve still got a big archive of MP3s, videos and thousands of photos, you’ll need to think about storage.
You’ve got two options:
- Get a PC with a large HDD. This is where desktops have an advantage over laptops – you get more storage for your money.
- Buy an external hard drive to store large files and backup your computer.
Some desktops come with a fast SSD and a large HDD, giving you the best of both worlds.
Don’t rule out the desktop – find your perfect desktop PC now
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