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Buying a desktop PC

If you've got your sights set on a new desktop PC, here's what you need to know before heading to the store.

Thinking you might want a laptop PC, Mac laptop, Mac desktop or Chromebook instead? Find out which kind of computer is really for you.


Budget desktop
To find a good budget PC, I jumped on a major computer manufacturer's website. Its least expensive PC is going for around $300. That's an incredibly low price. However, that's not the computer I'd recommend.

The CPU is a little too weak, for starters. At the low-end, you'll see the Intel's Celeron and Atom, and AMD's Sempron. You definitely want the next level up, which means an Intel Pentium G-series or a Core i3 if you can find it.

With AMD, the Athlon II series is still an okay buy. You also may find newer E- or A-series processors. Those will work fine in a budget PC and will offer vastly improved video playback compared to the Athlon.

Another important factor is the RAM. At the budget level, RAM is actually more important than the CPU. Having the right amount will give you noticeable improvements in speed.

You'll want at least 4 gigabytes. Some manufacturers will go higher, but don't bother. You won't get enough extra performance for the price at the budget level.

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