ANDY:  The holiday shopping season is upon us with Black Friday coming this week.  I’m seeing more and more advertisements for “Great PC Deals” both at the big box stores and on line.  Are these all really “Great PC Deals”?

CHARLIE:  We shop for PCs and laptops for our clients on a daily basis and, from our experiences, it appears that some are and some aren’t.  You have to look closely at the specs for the device and the price.  I will say that I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal that says that sales of laptops and PCs is still increasing but the lightweight top-of-the-line segment is increasing more than others.

ANDY:  OK, but maybe I don’t need a top-of-the-line, thin and light laptop.

CHARLIE:  You’ve hit on the first thing that we try to clarify when a client says they need a machine:   What are you going to use the machine for?  Are you only going to surf the web and get your email or do you have some programs that you regularly run on your unit?  Is this unit going to be used in a school setting or in a business setting or as a game machine?  Get this clear in your mind so you can look at machines in your market segment.

ANDY:  Good point.  So I’ve done that.  Now I’m looking at machines.  What am I supposed to be looking for?

CHARLIE:  First I have to say if you are only going to be surfing the web and getting your email or if the machine is going to be used in a school setting consider a Chromebook.  They are inexpensive and they don’t get viruses.

If you are looking for a laptop or a PC we have 3 areas that we specifically look at:  Processor, RAM and Storage.

ANDY:  Sounds reasonable.  Let’s talk Processors.

CHARLIE:   Operating Systems and programs continue to get more complex and require more resources.  We are currently recommending Intel I5 or better processors. These seem to perform well now and should work well in the future.  AMD came out with the Ryzen which has had good reviews.  We haven’t had a chance to test it yet so I’ll give the Ryzen processors a maybe.  Earlier AMD processors are a NO.

ANDY:  OK, next we have RAM or memory.

CHARLIE:  As before, you want plenty of resources to have good performance now and into the future.  We recommend 8 to 16 GB of RAM on a system.

ANDY:  And next we have Storage.  What is Storage?

CHARLIE:  Normally you would say Hard Disk Drive but storage can be a hard drive or a Solid State Drive or SSD. You may see lots of systems out there with Terabyte drives that are very low priced.  What we have seen is that most people don’t use more than 150 GB of space on their HDD.  We also find that most of these large drives are running at 5400 rpm which can really slow the response time of a system.

We would strongly suggest that if you are buying a PC or a laptop you look for a unit with a 256 GB or larger SSD.  The system will perform much better than a system with a HDD.

I must caution you that I said PC or laptop.  Chromebooks with 32 GB SSD’s are OK because all your data files are saved in the cloud.  32 GB SSD’s do not work in Windows based laptops because there is not enough space on them for Windows updates to run and this can cause some real problems for you.

ANDY:  And I assume that PC Applications does sell Chromebooks, PCs and laptops.

CHARLIE:  Yes.  We sell professional grade laptops from HP and other major companies.  We also have limited access to quality refurbished systems at very reasonable prices.

ANDY:  And if someone has further questions about PC specifications or would like to get a system proposal from you how do they contact you?

CHARLIE:  We would be happy to work with people and businesses to get them setup with quality performance systems.  They can go to our web site for more details about what we do and our contact information.

For computers of renown, just call Charlie Brown