Whether you're buying a computer for your daughter starting university, your digital photographer father, or for yourself, there is a desktop computer that will suit your needs. Before you start to oggle super-fast processing speeds and contemplate how much music would fit on a terabyte hard drive, there are two important questions to consider: how much are you able to spend, and what tasks do you plan to do on your computer?

Desktop or Laptop?
In brief, desktop computers offer greater flexibility in design than laptops with price tags that are astonishingly low. Once a laptop is built, its specifications are set and upgrade options are restricted because of space constraints. However, a desktop comes with empty bays which can be efficiently used to upgrade RAM or install a faster chipset. In addition, most upgrades cost less for desktops as compared to laptops.

How Much Computer Do You Need?
One of the first concerns most shoppers are faced with is budget. How much can you realistically afford and do you really need to spend that much? The key is to find a happy medium between your budget and your needs. Also consider how much money you can realistically spend before you go shopping; it will help you steer you in the right direction.

Choosing a layout is a matter of how much desk space you have and how much space you want to save. Keep in mind that slimmer computers are usually more expensive for the same components. Computers with snazzy exteriors also cost more. Don't forget though that monitors will play a part in how much desk space you'll use up. A basic CRT monitor is big and bulky, while a flat screen monitor is slim, sleek, and more expensive.

New, Used, or Refurbished
Most manufacturers offer refurbished computers at decent prices. Generally, buying directly from a company that specializes in such models is better than buying a used computer on EBay. Also consider the upgrade options available for your existing computer before buying a used one. Generally, computers will last about two to three years before they need any repair or revamping.

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