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Microsoft Surface device showcasing its screen and detachable keyboard

April 16, 2024

What to look for in a new computer

Purchasing a new computer can be as daunting as it is exciting. With technology rapidly evolving, knowing what to look for when buying a computer is crucial for making a wise investment. Learn about the essential hardware and features to consider when buying a new computer.

What do you need from your computer?

Whether you're a gamer with a need for speed, a professional juggling deadlines, a student curating knowledge, or a creative painting in pixels, identifying how you use your computer is the first step in prioritizing the features that matter most to you. Gamers, for example, should hunt for a machine with a powerful GPU and a display that refreshes quickly, ensuring fluid graphics and seamless gameplay. Professionals and creatives alike need a reliable workhorse, where a potent CPU and ample RAM assist with multitasking.

What hardware and qualities should you look for in a new computer?

When looking for a computer, selecting a device with appropriate hardware is the first step to ensure your computer suits your needs. Consider these components when looking for a new computer:

Memory (RAM)

Random Access Memory, or RAM, is the cornerstone of multitasking efficiency. When you have sufficient RAM, your computer is responsive and able to run multiple applications seamlessly. Invest in a computer with at least 8GB of RAM. If you have high performance needs, such as gaming, video editing, and other intensive tasks, consider a laptop with 16GB of RAM.

Processor (CPU)

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of your computer that determines your system's overall efficiency and capability. It responds to instructions from a program or application and then executes the function. When shopping for a new computer, seek out current-generation processors that are capable of handling the latest software and applications. Moreover, CPUs that boast higher clock speeds and multiple cores are particularly vital for users engaged in demanding tasks, ensuring smooth operation under heavy loads.

Storage devices

When evaluating storage devices, you can choose between hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). SSDs provide a superior experience with their rapid access speeds, transforming boot times and file access into mere moments. Starting with a 256GB SSD is advisable for most users, striking a balance between speed and capacity. However, if you manage large files or extensive media libraries, incorporate an HDD alongside an SSD to get ample space for bulk storage without sacrificing the benefits of SSD speed for your primary applications.

Graphics card (GPU)

If your digital realm is filled with games and video editing, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is a critical component. A high-quality GPU not only delivers smoother visuals onscreen but also adeptly handles the demands of video rendering and 3D applications to ensure a fluid and immersive experience.

Build quality and design

The durability and design of a computer are not just about aesthetics but also about longevity and comfort. Opting for materials like aluminum can offer both resilience and a premium feel, while a design that marries form with function ensures the computer is as practical as it is pleasing to the eye.

Battery life

For those requiring mobility, battery life is a key consideration. Look for laptops that offer 8+ hours of use on a single charge, coupled with fast-charging capabilities, to keep you powered throughout the day.

Display quality

Your computer's display is your window to the digital world. High-resolution screens (at least full HD) ensure crisp, clear images, while IPS technology broadens viewing angles and enhances color accuracy, making every view a delight.

Consider Surface devices when buying a new computer

If you're at the final stages of your decision, Surface Pro 9 and Surface Laptop 5 are great options. Surface Pro 9 is equipped with 12th Gen Intel® Core processors, offers a variety of RAM options, and lasts up to 15.5 hours¹ with typical device usage. Surface Laptop 5 is powered by the 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i5/i7 processors, offers sleek design, and a battery that lasts up to 18 hours1 with typical device usage. Once you’ve settled on a Surface device, consider Surface accessories² to enhance productivity and performance.

In searching for a new computer, whether for gaming, professional tasks, creative endeavors, or academic pursuits, understanding your specific needs is paramount. From the processing power to a quality display, every component matters when it’s time to purchase a new computer. Get help choosing a Microsoft Surface device that best fits your wants and needs.

  • [1] Battery life varies significantly based on device configuration, usage, network and feature configuration, signal strength, settings, and other factors. Learn more about Surface battery performance for details.
  • [2] Chargers, software, accessories, and devices sold separately. Availability may vary by market.

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