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Your Ultimate Desktop Computer Buying Guide — Everything You Need to Consider

1 September 2023

Your Ultimate Desktop Computer Buying Guide — Everything You Need to Consider

 

In the age of technology, the choice between various computing devices can be overwhelming. While laptops and tablets have gained immense popularity due to their portability, the trusty desktop computer remains an essential choice for many. The sheer power, customisation options and performance that desktop computers offer make them a staple for professionals, gamers and anyone seeking a robust computing experience. 

 

In this guide, we'll walk you through the key considerations when buying a desktop computer, ensuring you make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and preferences.

Why should you choose a desktop computer?

 

The choice to invest in a desktop computer boils down to several significant advantages. Unlike their portable counterparts, desktops come with enhanced processing power and cooling capabilities, making them ideal for resource-intensive tasks such as video editing, 3D rendering and gaming. Additionally, desktop computers offer greater upgradability, allowing you to swap out components like the graphics card, RAM and storage to keep up with evolving technology.

What can a desktop computer do that a laptop can’t?

 

While laptops have come a long way in recent years and are very powerful, there are still some situations where a desktop PC will give you an edge. We’ve already covered off raw power, cooling and upgradability, so here are a few more reasons to go down the desktop road:

Dual monitors and multi-screen setups

Desktops can easily support multiple monitors, making them ideal for tasks that require extensive multitasking or for professionals who need a larger workspace for video editing, coding or graphic design. A laptop’s limited ports can make this far more challenging. 

Customisation and personalisation

Want to show your true colours? Desktops allow for extensive customisation, both in terms of hardware and aesthetics. You can choose different cases, lighting setups and cooling solutions to create a unique look and feel for your system.

Extended peripheral support

Desktops often have more USB ports and a wider range of connectivity options, making them better suited for connecting multiple peripherals like external hard drives, printers and specialised input devices.

Longer lifespan

Like many pieces of technology, you get what you pay for with a PC — it’s a long-term investment. Desktops tend to last longer than laptops for a host of reasons. Since individual components can be upgraded or replaced, you can extend the useful life of a desktop system by adapting it to new software and hardware demands. Unless you’re super tech-savvy, upgrading a laptop is much trickier. 

Cost-effectiveness

In general, desktops offer more bang for your buck compared to laptops. You can get higher specifications at a lower cost, making them a budget-friendly option for those who don't require portability.

Gaming performance

While there are some seriously slick gaming laptops out there, they can’t really hold a candle to high-end gaming desktops in terms of performance. A gaming PC can accommodate more powerful graphics cards and offer better cooling, leading to improved frame rates and visual quality.

Home theatre and entertainment

In another example of how PCs can make your dollar stretch further, they can be turned into media centres for home entertainment setups. You can connect them to large TVs or projectors to enjoy movies, streaming and gaming on a bigger screen.

Types of desktop computers

Whether you want something sleek and stylish or big and bold with bulk operating power, there’s a type of desktop computer to suit. We’ve broken it down into four broad categories for you to consider:

Tower

The traditional tower desktop is a popular choice due to its spacious design, which allows for easy customisation and expansion. Towers can accommodate multiple hard drives, graphics cards and ample cooling solutions, making them ideal for power users and gamers who demand peak performance.

Compact/Mini PCs/NUCs

Compact desktops (also known as Mini PCs or NUCs) strike a balance between performance and size. They are smaller than towers but still offer a good amount of power. These are suitable for those with limited space or those who prefer a more streamlined setup.

All-in-one

All-in-one (AIO) desktops integrate the computer components into the monitor, resulting in a sleek and clutter-free setup. They are great for users who want a space-saving design without compromising too much on performance.

Windows, OS X or Linux – which operating system is for you?

 

The choice of operating system (OS) can significantly impact your computing experience. Let's explore the options:

Windows

Windows is the most widely used OS, offering a vast software library and compatibility with a wide range of hardware. It's user-friendly and suitable for various tasks, from gaming and entertainment to office work and creative projects.

OS X

macOS, exclusively available on Apple computers, is known for its sleek design, user-friendly interface and seamless integration with other Apple devices. It's favoured by creative professionals for its robust multimedia capabilities.

Linux

Linux comes in various distributions (distros), each with its own features and user interface. It's known for its customisation options, security and stability. Linux is popular among developers, IT professionals and privacy-conscious users.

PC features you need to consider

How you plan to use your PC will have a huge effect on some of the crucial features you need to consider. Whether you’re a gamer, designer or nine-to-five WFH warrior, we’ve thought of all the extra things to keep in mind when creating your ideal setup.

CPU

The central processing unit (CPU) is the brain of your computer. The choice of CPU depends on your intended usage. For tasks like web browsing and office work, a mid-range CPU will suffice. Gamers and content creators, however, might prefer a high-performance CPU to handle demanding applications.

Hard drive, memory and storage space

The hard drive and memory (RAM) impact your computer's speed and multitasking capabilities. Consider a Solid State Drive (SSD) for faster data access, and opt for at least 8GB of RAM for smooth multitasking. Additionally, ensure ample storage space for your files, applications and media.

Monitor

Your monitor is your window into the digital world. Consider factors such as size, resolution, refresh rate and panel type. Gamers might prioritise high refresh rates, while graphic designers and photographers seek colour accuracy- see our Monitor for Photo Editing Guide for more information.

Graphics card

A dedicated graphics card is crucial for gaming, video editing and graphic-intensive tasks. Entry-level cards are suitable for casual users, while avid gamers and professionals should invest in high-performance models.

Connections

Ensure your desktop has the necessary ports for your peripherals and devices. USB, HDMI, DisplayPort and audio jacks are common connections. Additionally, consider future connectivity needs like USB-C and Thunderbolt.

Trust the PC experts

 

Choosing the perfect desktop computer involves understanding your needs, preferences and the capabilities of the different options available. Whether you're a gamer, a creative professional or simply someone who values performance and customisation, a desktop computer offers a world of possibilities. By considering factors such as the type of desktop, operating system, hardware components and connectivity options, you can confidently invest in a desktop computer that will cater to your computing requirements for years to come.

 

Feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Whether you want to build your dream PC from scratch or are looking for an all-in-one option that suits your needs, Mwave has everything you need. You can give our friendly team a call on 1300 727 446 or jump on the live chat on our website.

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