Buying That 2022 Computer
The premise of this series was to hopefully make it easier for anyone looking to buy a new PC. Because the process is usually made difficult with all of the variables presented, in the example below, I am only going to use a single 15” laptop computer but the same reasoning will hold for other PC purchases.
The price can be different based on the following factors:
- Which Retailer is selling it?
- Is it New vs Refurbished?
- What is the brand of the PC?
- Is it on sale or soon will be?
- What is the difference in the components (CPU, GPU, SSD, Monitor resolution, Etc…)?
Items 1 through 4 are easy to figure out:
- Shop around for the best retailer price, purchase the same computer at the lower-priced retailer.
- If a computer is being sold as New and Refurbished, I will always purchase the refurbished if it offers the same Warranty and features at a much lower price.
- PC brands can be a personal preference based on past customer service. That offers a degree of comfort that may be worth a slight price increase.
- If the same PC is on sale, it is a no brainer
That leaves us with the most confusing issues when trying to decide if computer A is better than Computer B and if the price difference is worth it.
CPU User Benchmark
There is actually a viable solution to Number 5 and that is by using the functions offered in the CPU User Benchmark website.
The site has no affiliation with any of the PC or component manufacturers. It makes zero money based on the decision you make. It is only a place where you can enter the information you want. It will help you understand the true worth of a component in question or an entire PC for that matter. It is also a great place to compare an AMD Ryzen series CPU vs an Intel Core series.
You may build a virtual PC and have the benchmark portion of the program rate it against thousands of other builds that already exist. I use it extensively when asked by my clients to help them in deciding a new PC Purchase.
Why The Price Difference
Great question! There is not always a clear answer. On a site like Amazon, it can be one vendor vs another, but often it is a dizzying array of component choices a buyer has to make. If a retailer is selling a 15” laptop for $549 vs another for $788 and yet another for $239, you must make decisions based on the experience you might not have. However, you now can plug them into the User Benchmark site and compare their true value. They even give you average component prices.
Clock speed and Cores Count have one of the largest effects on a PC. It is also one of the hardest components to switch out. That is why I always recommend buying the best CPU you can afford except for buying a CPU that has features you or your software can’t use. It might be cool to own a 12-core CPU, but it is costly and unlikely to benefit your computer’s performance. Besides, the higher-priced chips normally require higher-priced motherboards and graphic cards to support the chip’s performance.
Memory and Storage
Don’t stress about the memory or storage when buying a PC if the price is right. You can always upgrade them at third-party sellers at significantly lower prices than when bundled in a unit price.
If you bought a 4GB PC and want to know the price of a future upgrade, just plug in your PC name and series, places like Crucial and CDW will give you a price for memory custom to your PC. I think you will find it about half the cost.
Once again, storage on places like Amazon can be ordered to fit your computer. I just checked a Dell PC where the storage upgrade to a 512GB SSD was $288.00. Amazon was selling the exact same brand with 1TB of storage for $112.00.
One great thing about video cards is that you can purchase them long after your PC purchase, giving you time to save and get a good one. Video cards with 8GB can run well over $500.
For the average user, a CPU with integrated graphics will probably be enough. If the IG coupled with your CPU is insufficient, you can always disable them and purchase a discreet Video Card that will offer much improved graphic displays. Unlike gaming video cards, a good off-brand video card will only run about $100 and will still be better than your IG.
Buying a PC off the rack can be confusing and hopefully, with the tools mentioned above, you can take your time and pick the PC that exactly fits your needs.
I did want to mention that Dell, Lenovo, and HP offer varying military discounts.
See other articles in this series:
- Purchasing Your 2022 Computer
- Purchasing Your 2022 Computer – CPUs
- Purchasing Your 2022 Computer – The CPU – Part 2
- Purchasing Your 2022 Computer – Memory
- Purchasing Your 2022 Computer – Storage
- Purchasing That 2022 Computer – Final Installment ⬅ You are here