Laptops and desktop computers have fallen considerably in price since they became widely available. Big box retailers can sell cheap machines for pennies on the dollar and have a clientele who typically value price above quality. This can spell disaster for the user in the long term, and ultimately their initial value computer becomes an overpriced paperweight. Based on my experience with sub-par laptops and desktops, I have outlined some of the things most value shoppers don’t consider when they are making their purchase, and why you should consider them when creating your computer budget.
Speed and Storage
One element most low cost computers can’t compare to pricier machines is speed. Many value computers have a slow processor that is close to being out of date or already is out of date. This means that the more files you start saving on your computer, the slower it becomes. I went from having an expensive laptop to one that was more budget friendly and noticed a huge lack of speed in my computer. What was worse, as I added basic programs like word processing and art programs, it slowed even further. Gaming, and even web browsing, requires a speedy machine, otherwise you will be waiting awhile to do even basic tasks.
Another difference between expensive and budget computers is storage. A budget computer will typically have less storage space than a more expensive machine. Think of it like a storage space you put furniture in, a smaller space costs less, but you can store much less and have to get creative. Some computers that are more costly can store millions of songs, photos and videos, versus thousands that budget computers can store. With my budget computer, I have relied on an external hard drive to store most of my media because it simply doesn’t have enough space. Consider what you will need to store on your computer and whether or not more space is a necessity.
Poor Graphics and Sound
A budget computer will not have a powerful graphics or sound card, meaning your screen will not have the best images and the sound will not be high quality. My higher cost laptop had an excellent speaker system and a graphics card that could handle most games. My budget laptop has a very quiet speaker, and often freezes and has screen lag when playing a game or video. If you like to listen to music on your computer, or even video chat, you need to have a computer that has some power. Though the price may seem worth it, when you’re using your computer day to day, you will notice the difference in the quality.
A value computer simply will not stand the test of time like a machine that is built to last. Budget laptops use cheaper plastics to create the components and often lower quality screens. A sturdy computer has a tougher build, a clearer screen resolution, and even has a better keyboard. My budget computer had keys sticking a little over two months after purchase. My prior laptop lasted nearly seven years before I experienced major issues. I purchased that computer after the motherboard on my first budget computer was spent after just seven months, and found the investment to be well worth it.
The price tag of a computer may seem like sticker shock, but understanding the value in paying a bit more for a machine can be worth it. Consider what you will be doing on the computer, how much storage you need, and how long you want to have the machine last. Making an educated decision will help you find a computer that will truly be worth every penny.