It’s that time of year again and Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. This year Black Friday will fall on November 29th and Cyber Monday will be on December 2nd. With these two massive shopping days coming up so quick many of us are wondering what we should buy this year. If you’re in the market for a new computer this is probably your best chance to get a good deal, and we’re here to help you find the right one!
Have an Idea of What You Want
Black Friday can be a very overwhelming experience with all the different deals going on at one time. It can be hard to stay focused and shop efficiently, especially with all the people crowding the store. That’s why having a plan, or at least knowing what you’re looking for, can be very beneficial in this situation. You won’t know a lot of the exact deals that will be happening that day, but we can give you a list of things to keep an eye out for, as well as some recommendations.
What Specifications should I look for in a Computer?
These days you want some decent specs in your computer to keep from having to upgrade every year or two. Luckily, these days you can get a computer with decent specs for a good price that won’t break the bank. At the end of the day the specs you choose should ultimately be based on your specific needs. Having that been said we still have some basic recommendations for you to consider when shopping for a computer.
To start, laptops keep getting better and better at keeping up with their desktop counterparts. In our opinion, a laptop is usually the best choice for a few reasons:
- It’s portable making it perfect for school or work
- Saves money on purchasing peripherals (e.g., mouse, keyboard, monitor, etc..)
- Doesn’t require its own permanent spot in your home
- It doesn’t always need a power source
Aside from that desktops are still always an option and come with their own benefits as well.
- Desktops are often more powerful than laptops
- You get to pick your keyboard and monitor based on what you want/need
- Easier to upgrade over time
- Overall superior for gaming
- More options for customization
Regardless of which you choose there are still some basic specs to keep an eye out for when computer shopping.
- Solid State Drive at least 250 GB (learn more about SSDs here)
- 8 GB of RAM (16 is preferable, but 8 will get the job done)
- i5 Processor or if you can afford it get the i7
- As far as storage goes, a 250 GB SSD should be enough for you basic needs, but if you need more, it's good to have a HDD as well with another 250 - 512 GB of storage
What If I Need a Computer for Gaming?
If you’re looking to get a new computer specifically for gaming purposes your specs will be a little different. Gaming tends to be a lot more demanding than other day to day computer activities. Also, it is important to note that games are getting better and better over time, and thus will demand more from your computer. Therefore, it is important to keep future upgrades in mind when buying a gaming computer.
Gaming Laptop or Gaming Desktop?
Gaming laptops have come a long way, and today you can get one that is every bit as powerful as its desktop counterpart. Keeping that in mind there are still some big differences between the two.
The major drawbacks for gaming laptops are as follows:
- More expensive on average
- Portable, but the battery usually dies pretty fast when gaming
- Difficult to make future upgrades
- Not as ergonomically friendly
In comparison, desktops are usually less expensive because you always have the option of building it yourself. Gaming laptops let you choose some features upon purchase, but overall you’re stuck with what they offer. On the other hand, you can pick out every component of a desktop and put it together, or bring it into The Computer Guild, and we’ll happily build it for you.
Besides being able to effectively manage cost, desktops are much easier to upgrade, as well as more ergonomically friendly. When we say ergonomically friendly, we mean it's literally more comfortable to sit at a desk and game. The keyboard and monitor can be moved around as needed to give you the most comfortable position when gaming. Desktops also have a constant power supply, but obviously, they are not portable.
Whether you choose a gaming laptop or desktop you should consider these specs (or better):
- Solid State Drive to keep your operating system and favorite games on 250 GB (500+ GB preferably)
- Hard Disk Drive for additional storage 500+ GB (1 TB preferably)
- 16 GB RAM
- i5 Processor for laptop or desktop or i7 if you can afford it (Ryzen 5 2600 or better just for desktop)
- Gtx 1650, Gtx 1660 super, or a better graphics card
These specs will allow you to run games at an optimal level for a while without having to upgrade anytime soon. It’s likely that the only upgrade you would need to make in the immediate future would be for an extra hard drive to have more storage.
Can I Get Away With a $300 Computer?
At the end of the day when it comes to computer shopping, you’re going to get what you pay for. If you spend $300 or less on a computer it will likely be a slow machine that will only last you a few years before needing to be replaced. You can save yourself time and money by getting a good solid computer right from the get go. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are your best chances to get something a little better, for less. Expect to spend anywhere from $700 - $900 if you want a good computer that’s going to last. Again, what you buy should ultimately depend on your personal needs, but that price range is a good place to start.