We are frequently asked to help our clients source products. Some clients say “order me something”, we have been working with them and generally know if that means get me something for $500 or $1,500. The Internet provides a tool for research. We had a surgeon in the office, she commented that many patients are using Google to provide her with helpful tips to guide their surgery. I am not sure what that means, but I suppose that if Google can help you tell your surgeon what suture to use, it can help you identify a new computer. This article is designed to help you do just that!

Whether you buy a laptop or desktop computer, our recommendations are the same, purchase an i3, i5 or i7 Intel based system using the latest generation of processor. Today, that is the eight generation processor. When looking at the processor model number, you know it is an eight generation i5 processor when the model number starts with i5-8, if it’s a seventh generation model number, it starts with i5-7. When buying a new computer, it is rarely pragmatic to buy last year’s processor. The only exception is when buying used from ebay or a similar marketplace. The other components of concern are the hard drive, we have used and recommended solid state hard drives for 5 years, they rarely fail and are much more responsive than their predecessors. Generally speaking, you want a 240GB solid state drive, big is better. Better than bigger, however is a new solid state technology, NVMe offers a five-fold increase in drive performance at little additional cost. The only problem – it’s only offered on higher end units at this time.

You have figured out what processor and storage technology to use, next up is memory or RAM, get a minimum of 8GB DDR4 memory and you will be pleased with your system’s performance. If you are purchasing a laptop, you will need to select a display, it is important that you pick a unit with 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution, anything less will provide a poor viewing experience. Selecting 13, 14, 15 or 17 inch screens is user preference. Do you want a large, heavy screen, a small light screen or something in-between. Unless you purchase a $1,500 Thinkpad X1, you will be making compromises to identify a computer that fits your budget and business needs. Screen size is one of those compromises.

Now, I am going to wrap things up with a few recommendations. We had a client ask about purchasing a netbook from ebay, so I am going to start on the low-end. We use processor speed to determine if a computer is worth saving. In general, we don’t recommend investing in any computer with a Passmark score under 2000. The proposed netbook scored 984, so I wouldn’t recommend spending good money on a device that would likely be discarded and left unused by frustrated users. So I spent a bit of time and built an ebay search that may help you find low end systems: Low end ebay search  When buying from ebay, read the terms and conditions very carefully and make sure to only buy from sellers with good return policies and review histories. If the seller has a good reputation, the product is described as fully functioning and the item can be returned within 30 days, your risk is minimal.

Another source for computers is MicroCenter, they are located in Brentwood, have a large local inventory and reasonable return policies. In many cases, their prices are lower than wholesale distribution. Many times, MicroCenter offers a nice discount on “open box” computers. After looking at the computer these can be an excellent value. Laptop Desktop Search

If you’d like us to “order you something”, we are happy to do that – just let us know.

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