During this ongoing Covid-19 crisis we have been inundated with requests for computer and laptop updates/repairs as well as our opinion on which specification machines are best, why and if we can supply them.
The answer is yes, we can build and supply to any requested specification of laptop or desktop pc including accessories. The answer however to which specification is best is a more complicated question.
As we all know, components and technology are both ever changing but here are our recommendations and suggestions currently in what to look for.
£300 – £500
An entry level laptop/desktop is designed to carry out the very basic tasks such as internet browsing, reviewing, and sending of emails and perhaps using Office to complete school assignments or work documents.
A processor such as the AMD Ryzen 3 or the Intel i3 would be a good start for a processor (CPU) and is commonly known as the brains of the computer, processing the data supplied by the various components such as the SSD (hard drive) and RAM (memory).
4GB of Memory (RAM) would be a minimum requirement for a Windows 10 machine. This would easily run the windows operating system and allow you to do the basic tasks as set out in the intro. We would however suggest 8GB if your budget can allow it as Windows 10 takes approx. 4GB to run so there is very little capacity left for other programs. RAM is a fast-temporary memory storage for tasks that are needed that moment or very soon after so will be continually used.
A hard drive to store the data and boot your windows 10 machine would be needed and we would suggest a minimum of a 128GB SSD. This 128GB SSD would be enough space to boot your machine quickly while keeping enough space free for basic files and programs to be stored. You can always add on an external larger HDD if more space is required for very little investment.
Only basic onboard graphics are required for this level of machine and would be included within the unit as standard. It runs by sharing the onboard CPU memory to process any graphics requirements.
£500 – £1,000
A mid-range laptop/desktop is designed to carry out the very basic tasks as well as more system intensive processes. It will be more than capable of handling multiple programs being used concurrently to include basic editing programs and true entry level gaming. Being a mid-range system, it will benefit from increased future proofing as the components will have a longer shelf life due to the increased power and size. This type of system should have a lifespan of approx. 3-4 years before the need to upgrade.
A processor such as the AMD Ryzen 5 or the Intel i5 would be a good start for a processor (CPU) and is commonly known as the brains of the computer , processing the data supplied by the various components such as the SSD (hard drive) and RAM (memory). These processors are a vast improvement over the entry level units.
8GB of Memory would be a minimum requirement for a Windows 10 machine, for this level of setup. 8GB will allow the system to run smoothly and process the ongoing activities quickly, allowing for problematic free usage.
A hard drive to store the data and boot your windows 10 machine would be needed and we would suggest a minimum of a 256GB / 512GB SSD. These larger SSD’s although just as fast as smaller units will hold more data. With an improved machine you would expect that higher storage is required and as such looking for these higher storage SSD’s is advisable. You of course can still add on an external larger HDD if more space is required for very little investment.
At this level of spend you will begin to find machines with dedicated graphics cards. These graphic cards are capable of playing higher resolution games, rendering photos quicker and allow the system to process anything that is visual in a more efficient manner. By using the GPU and not replying on sharing the CPU and RAM to process graphics each component can do what it is designed to do at the best of its ability.
Top of the Range
£1,000 –£scary money
Higher end laptops are generally purchased by enthusiastic gamers or people involved in high level editing. A good mid-range computer can generally carry out all the tasks that are needed by the day to day user but a high-end computer specialises in handling labour intensive programs with ease. These systems are usually future proofed for many years depending on the exact setup purchased and there are numerous configurations available.
Spend although can be as low as approx. £1000 can increase to and beyond a few thousand. To create a good high end laptop/desktop all the components need to complement each other. This does apply to other lower level laptops but there is little point purchasing a top specification machine with a high end graphics card but a CPU that cannot run the games/software the user would want the graphics card to render. Without the correct balance the setup will be limited to its lowest performing component.
A processor such as the AMD Ryzen 7 or the Intel i7 is regarded as the minimum for a top end setup for a processor (CPU). These processors can be found within all grades of high-end machines and can work with the top end of components.
16BG/32GBGB of Memory is highly advised for these types of systems so that all components can operate at the highest level.
A hard drive to store the data and boot your windows 10 machine would be needed and we would suggest a minimum of a 1TBB SSD. These larger SSD’s although just as fast as smaller units will hold more data and files can be written quicker. A NVMe style SSD has far superior read/write speeds and would be a highly desirable feature in any high end set up.
Top end graphics cards can range hugely in price from products such as the GTX to the newer RTX cards. Spend in this arena really comes down to the user’s needs (or wants). Visually the effects of a top end graphics card are stunning but so can the price with some cards like the RTX 2060.
Things to make sure are included within your choice of machine regardless of entry level;
- SSD’s, these are the newer version of hard drives and offer a huge increase in speed over their predecessors.
- Wifi capability/requirements, if the purchasing a desktop
- USB-C 3.1 if possible so that all modern tech can be connected (such as newer mobile phones)
- Good battery lifespan and large enough screen for your needs if a laptop
NB: Opinions and Prices Correct as of July 2020