Quick guide on how to choose a new computer

We have already seen the detailed explanation on a previous article, now we propose a summary, a simplification, a quick guide to choose a new computer, convenient for those who are less familiar with these technical details. To be printed and kept in the bag before going to the store for purchase!

To summarize

Desktop / desktop PC or notebook?

  • Fixed PC = powerful, cheap, configurable, it will last me many years BUT I don’t take it with me. Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) recommended.
  • Notebook = less powerful, more expensive, not very configurable, limited screen, limited duration BUT easy to transport.
  • All-in-one = a hybrid between a desktop PC and a notebook.

Windows, Linux or Apple?

  • Windows = more choice, more programs, open system, easier to find information BUT it’s not the latest trend.
  • Linux = highly configurable, great performance BUT only for experts or for those with expert friends.
  • Apple = trendy, good performance, good quality BUT expensive, little choice and has a closed system.

What screen size?

  • PC fixed = the monitor is separate, so I decide it, and change it whenever I want.
  • All-in-one = it’s like a desktop PC, 17″ – 19″ – 21″ or even bigger dimensions BUT I can’t change it (as for the notebook).
  • 17″ notebook = among the largest on the market, comfortable for prolonged use, BUT expensive and inconvenient to carry (in size and weight).
  • Notebook 15-16″ = inexpensive, convenient to carry and standard size BUT not for prolonged use.
  • Notebook <= 14″ = easy transport (notes for the university or for train travel) BUT expensive and not for prolonged use.


(for notebooks only)

  • up to 4 hours = cheap, common in cheap notebooks.
  • 4-8 hours = expensive, common in expensive notebooks.
  • > 8 hours = very expensive, common in very expensive notebooks.

A battery lasts a couple of years, then the replacement costs between 60 and 100 euros (depends on the models).
In some models (eg Apple) it may not be possible to change it. These models are also the thinnest.


  • 1-2 cores = low performance BUT cheap.
  • 3-4 cores = good performance, BUT higher price.
  • > 4 cores = professional performance BUT high price.


  • 4 GB = basic use (basic office use, internet, email, film) BUT cheap.
  • 8 GB = professional use (full time) BUT higher price.
  • >= 16 GB = advanced professional use BUT higher price.

Hard drive

  • SSD = great performance BUT high cost and limited capacity (120-200-500-720 GB).
  • Magnetic = normal performance BUT economic and higher capacity (1-2 TB = 1,000-2,000 GB).

Video card

  • Integrated board = low performance BUT economic.
  • Dedicated card = good performance BUT expensive.
  • Dedicated video game card = excellent performance BUT very expensive.


I hope I have clarified your ideas a little and dispelled old myths, and perhaps helped you make a purchase more suited to your expectations. If you have any doubts or questions write a comment I will try to answer everyone.

And I think now you are ready to make a beautiful gift to your loved ones!

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