I never really chose my own PC. I always enlisted the help of my techie friends and I remember brining along one engineer, one computer scientist and my best friend when I decided to get George (my PC circa 2005). They ended up debating on what to get for me since they each had their opinion on my PC use. It was stressful (haha), so after that incident I decided to just go for the branded desktops/laptops.
I oftentimes experienced outgrowing my new toy only after a year since I'd always experience the "Hourglass Syndrome" (the hourglass icon comes out everytime your PC works on processing the latest command you input). It's oftentimes frustrating especially when I work on several things at the same time.
I was glad I attended the Intel workshop on "How to Choose the Right PC". I finally understood how to translate the capacity of the PC to my needs. Here's some basic things you need to understand about your PC:
1. Processor/CPU (central processing unit) is the most important part of any computer since it controls everything your computer does. At this day and age we need our CPUs to think faster because we multi-task a lot. If you do heavy stuff like video editing and playing extreme games it would be better to get a processor with higher capacity.
2. Gigahertz (or clock speed) is the rate or speed the processor executes a task. Processors nowadays though are more efficient so Intel said not to compare computers based on clock speeds.
3. RAM is your computer's short term memory. Your computer uses RAM to process what you are doing real-time (i.e. writing an email, editing a photo or browsing a website). Intel says that 2GB RAM is ideal for everyday users. This can be easily upgraded later on.
4. Graphics is the component in your computer that allows you to view images on your screen. Remember that you should get the right balance between your processor, the graphics requirements and your needs.
5. Hard Drive is the easiest component to understand. It's where you store all your apps and data in your computer. Most of my documents and spreadsheets are on the cloud, but I use up a lot of space for my images and videos. Having 160 gigabytes capacity is a good starting point and you can always purchase an external USB 2.0 hard drive.
Based on the workshop I realized that the most important aspect in choosing the right PC for you is to choose the right processor. Intel has a couple of new processors out and here's how they segmented them:
1. Intel Core i3 is for "The Dabbler". The Dabbler is someone who watches videos, listens to music and play games (Plants vs. Zombies!) at the highest possible quality, but he/she wouldn't do any video editing. I think this is the processor best matched for my Mom, non-tech bloggers and those who don't plan on doing video blogging, and for those who would just use their PC essentially to surf the net and do occasional voice chat sessions.
2. Intel Core i5 is for "The Gadgeteer". This processor is for people who have other gadgets that they sync to their PC/laptop and who multi-task a lot. I think I can live with this processor since I do some video editing and lay-outs as well. I don't do hard core coding or CAD editing, but I do multi-task a lot so I guess this would suffice.
3. Intel Core i7 (plus plus) is for "The Tech Whisperer". Users at this level wouldn't need to read this post. `Nuff said (LOL).
If you are still confused you can go to the Intel site that would help you choose the right processor. Go here.
Thanks Intel and Strategic Edge! I had a lovely time.
Update: I took the Intel online exam after I published this post and based on my answers the site suggested I get a PC with an Intel Core i7. See? That's why I need help!