Desktop Computers: The Basics
Desktop computers are practically essential. This staple allows you to work from home, play games, or simply surf the web. The market is saturated with options, so it might feel like a challenge to find the right desktop for you. DealNews is here to help you find the best desktop deals for you!
Basic Desktop Terminology
When shopping for your next desktop computer, it may help to understand these basic terms:
Computer Case : This is what comes to mind when you think of a desktop computer versus a laptop computer. The computer case is what holds all of the PC hardware . These come in different shapes and sizes — you’re not stuck with an oversized box under your desk!
- Tower: Your classic desktop. This case style is where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck. Beyond price, the other benefit of a tower PC is the ability to customize and repair your computer more easily.
- All-in-One: A more streamlined option, All-in-One PCs have the computer built into the monitor. This case style has some limitations, such as difficult repairs and a lack of customization options.
- Mini PC and PC Stick - These “desktop” computers are highly portable; all you need is a display with an HDMI port, and an input device . But what you gain in portability is often forfeited in performance.
- Monitor : Desktop machines house the computer. But, unless you purchase an All-in-One, you’ll want to be sure to purchase a monitor to display your PC.
- Processor (CPU) : A computer’s processor is like its brain; it performs the basic computing operations. This small piece of hardware is critical to performance, so it’s worth some research. Check out this article by Digital Trends for more information on processors.
- Storage (SSD or HDD) : Storage, as you might guess, is how much space your computer has to save data. Typically, the more storage you have the better. However, more storage is going to cost you more money, so consider how you’ll be using your computer before breaking the bank on this spec. Abt recommends starting with at least 500 GB of storage space.
- Memory (RAM) : If storage is the long term memory of your computer, RAM is the short-term memory that enables your computer to shift from program to program seamlessly . Memory is very important for how smoothly your computer runs, so this spec is very important to consider.
After you browse our desktop computer deals, it’s time for you to consider accessories to compliment your new PC. We recommend you look into these additions:
- Monitor : Your desktop computer won’t be doing you much good without a monitor to plug into. You can find package deals that include monitors, but sometimes your peripherals are a la carte. There are plenty of displays to choose from; check out our deal page for monitors to help you find the right one for your setup.
- Speakers : You can find great speakers at a low price if you know where to search. We post deals from eBay, Best Buy, Abt, Walmart and more to help you find great quality sound at an affordable rate.
- Keyboard : Keyboards seem pretty straightforward, but as with most technology and hardware, companies have developed a variety of keyboards to fit their users’ needs. For example, gamers may look into keyboards with mechanical switches that can provide instant tactile feedback. People with multiple devices may want a bluetooth keyboard they can pair with everything. Whatever your need, there is no question that you should start at DealNews for this essential accessory.
- Mouse : A quality mouse or trackpad is just as important as a keyboard. Looking for a reasonably priced wireless mouse with a charge that lasts? Or a mouse with tons of programmable buttons for multitasking? We’ve got these deals and more!
- Webcam : Webcams have become work-from-home essentials.If your monitor doesn’t already include a webcam (or if you need to upgrade), this purchase is a no-brainer.
- Surge protector : You wouldn’t open your windows during a rainstorm, so why would you leave your computer vulnerable to preventable damage? Surge protectors offer more than just additional outlets; they keep your devices safe from spikes in power. Check out this article on CNET for more info.
- External storage : If you decided to spare a little money on your desktop by opting for minimal memory, an external hard drive is certainly a worthy purchase. Even if you have a lot of storage available, external hard drives are great to backup your computer or just to carry large files between machines.
- Monitor Stand : This accessory is very optional, but helpful nonetheless. We spend a lot of time at our desk, and ill-positioned screens can cause issues like neck strain and bad posture. A simple stand may do the trick, or consider a wall-mountable arm for more options.
- Wrist Support : Also in line with ergonomics, wrist supports for your keyboard and mouse are worthwhile additions to any computer setup. A wrist rest can save you from painful conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Microphone : Most internal microphones aren’t the best quality - if you plan to do any recording or participate in many virtual meetings, an external microphone is a good purchase.
5 Easy Ways to Care for Your Computer
No desktop deal will ever be as worthwhile as caring for your purchase. That’s why we found you these five recommendations from Finchum’s Computer Services to help keep your device healthy and running longer:
Install Antivirus Software
Antivirus protection is an absolute essential for any computer. There’s plenty of freeware that comes with stamps of approval from CNET , or you can opt for paid software for a few extra features.
Update Your Drivers
Drivers keep your hardware and software running smoothly. They can be a pain to track down, but these updates keep your computer running smoothly. Plus, they can patch security issues.
Use a Surge Protector
Too much energy flooding into your computer can fry your machine. You can easily fix this issue by purchasing and using a quality surge protector.
Run Maintenance Programs
Most maintenance can be scheduled; if you find yourself frequently clicking the “ask me later” button, maybe consider scheduling these maintenance tasks during hours you’re not typically logged in on.
Maintain a Firewall
Many antivirus and security suites will include a firewall. If your software does not include it, check out these recommended programs from CNET .
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Frequently Asked Questions
Should I use wired or wireless internet?
A wired ethernet connection is typically faster than your WiFi connection, but How-To Geek notes the gap in speeds is narrowing. Having a desktop computer will likely make sticking to ethernet an easier choice — not every desktop is built with a WiFi adapter. Plus, there are other ways to boost your internet speed .
Why do I need to update my software?
Does anyone like seeing the notification that your computer requires an update? Many people postpone these updates indefinitely, as they don’t want to wait to use their PC when they turn it on. Of course these days, most OS updates happen automatically, and they come often — so there’s less to download every time.
If you still have the bad habit of putting off updates, Norton Security outlines five reasons why you should be clicking “yes” every time:
Updates can enhance user experience.
Many updates address bugs you may or may not have been aware of, in addition to adding new features to your program or device.
Updates often have security patches.
Most updates you see include security patches to repair any vulnerabilities in the program.
Updates can help protect your data.
As mentioned before, many updates work on securing the program or software from attacks — this, in turn, also protects data, whether it’s personal files or login information.
Updates can protect others, too.
Your updates can also protect other networked systems, by not allowing your software to be the gate a malicious attacker gets through.
Updates keep you… up to date.
You’ll never miss out on the latest system improvements if you go through with your updates when you’re able.
A Georgia girl with three years of experience in IP Law and grounded in understanding marketing and consumer motives. When she's not working with the fabulous staff of DealNews, you can find her whining at rowing practice and browsing the Hot Deals on the site.