Q:

What are some tips for purchasing a tower computer?

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Quick Answer

When purchasing a tower computer, spend extra only on features that are actually useful, consider the computer’s general purpose and do research in order to find the best time to buy. While desktops have declined in popularity, they are still typically the most affordable type of computer.

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Full Answer

Considering the computer’s primary purpose can help determine which components to spend more on. Generally, a fast CPU, more RAM and a larger hard drive are beneficial to almost all users, and these features help a computer stay functional for a longer time. On the other hand, a high-end graphics card is typically only useful for gamers or those who work with video editing. Similarly, a Blu-ray drive isn’t worth the extra cash for users who rarely watch movies on their computers.

General users who only need to check email, browse the Internet and perform basic office tasks can typically get by with entry-level and even refurbished computers. These machines have slower processors and less RAM, but they’re completely adequate for most users. Gamers and more serious users typically need to spend more for computers with better 3-D graphics cards and faster processors.

It also pays to research trends and upcoming hardware releases, as these factors can cause prices to drop. Buying a computer just before the release of a new model is never a good idea, as prices on old hardware almost always drop shortly after a new hardware launch.

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