Mom, Dad, I need you to buy me a computer for school. What?! What happened to textbooks? Schools are requiring computers to complete classwork, homework, and research. We are often asked what computer is best for this purpose, so we decided to write about it.
When deciding to buy a new computer for school, or for any purpose really, the question you should ask is, what am I going to use it for? Some common answers are:
- browsing the internet
- specific applications
For points 1 and 2, the specifications are not demanding. You can get by with a stock computer from any local computer sales store. However, we’d still recommend that the processor be an Intel Core i5 or i7. The RAM (or memory) used for browsing the internet will depend on how many browser tabs or windows you have open at one time. The more tabs or windows you anticipate opening the more RAM you should have in your computer. We’d recommend at least 8GB.
A computer used for specific applications will need to meet the requirements of the vendor who made the application. All vendors will list minimum and recommended system requirements. You should review those requirements for each and any application you plan on using before buying the new computer. Just as with browser tabs and windows, the more applications you run at one time the more RAM you should have in the computer.
The last component that should be considered when buying a new computer is the hard drive type and size. You have two choices for type: traditional spinning drives (often referred to as SATA) or Solid State Drive (often referred to as SSD). We’d almost always recommend SSD drives because the performance is much better versus traditional spinning drives. The size of the hard drive all depends on how much data you plan to save on your computer. If you’re using the computer to browse the internet and/or use email, then the size of your hard drive doesn’t need to be large. However, if you are saving images or video (which are the largest file size consumers) then you should get a larger hard drive.
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