The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses operate. Offices have had to shut down temporarily, and employees were forced to work remotely. Even with vaccines rolling out this year, employers expect that around 2 out of 5 workers will continue to work from home by the end of 2021. With telework seemingly here to stay, you would need the right computer to remain productive even outside the office. If you’re shopping for the best work-from-home computer, we list down a few considerations you need to note.
1 Set a budget
The first order of business is to decide how much you’re willing to spend on your computer. Price ranges vary, depending on if you’re buying an entry-level machine or a heavy-duty one that’s meant to handle multiple memory-intensive tasks. Setting a price range will help keep you on track. This also rules out computers that you either can’t afford or those that skimp on quality to save on price.
If you’re on a tight budget, consider shopping second-hand. You can sometimes find excellent bargains if you know where to look, like Facebook groups or Instagram shops. Additionally, there’s unparalleled customization today when it comes to computer builds — so you can save plenty of money if you take the time to create your rig. Do note that when shopping through secondhand stores, a good rule of thumb always asks the reason for selling to avoid any unwanted complications in the future.
2 Think about your computer’s function
One good way to narrow down your options is by thinking about what function your new computer will serve. Will you use it for editing videos and graphics, or will you simply be opening documents and answering e-mails for work? Desktop computers and laptops available on the market nowadays are designed to cater to different types of buyers. For instance, the MSI Aegis RS 10TH-060US is a powerful gaming desktop.
It can double as an office computer for engineers and programmers who need a reliable workhorse of a machine. Plus, it’s packed with the latest Intel Core i9 processor to deliver the smoothest performance, no matter what you’re doing. Meanwhile, the MSI Modern 14 is a good option for the average office worker, as it carries the standard CPU and RAM specs most modern laptops need to operate. There are indeed plenty of options for computers today, so choose one with the specifications that suit your line of work.
3 Check out the individual components
A computer’s price and function are tied to its components. Here’s a quick rundown of the usual computer specifications you see on listings and what they mean. Keep these in mind while you go shopping:
- RAM – RAM or random access memory is your computer’s “workspace.” Every time you open an application or document, you use up RAM to temporarily store that data. Thus, it partially determines how fast your computer can perform multiple tasks. With that said, more RAM isn’t always better, and how much you need depends on the work you do. Memory-intensive apps like Photoshop will call for much more RAM than simply opening word documents. If you need more RAM than the built-in amount, you can always upgrade by buying more RAM modules.
- GPU – You will typically only need to look at the graphics processing unit (GPU) or graphics card of a computer if your work heavily involves video or photo editing. The GPU is responsible for taking data from your processor and rendering it into the images you see on your monitor. While a typical computer can get by on just the power of its CPU, having a powerful GPU can help for specific tasks — such as if you need to preview videos smoothly while rendering.
- CPU – The processor or CPU is the most critical component of your computer that connects and instructs how the other parts “communicate” with each other. When choosing a processor, it’s generally wise to go with the latest model, whether from Intel or Ryzen. But once again, this will depend on your work needs since older processors are no slouch for performance either. Previous-gen CPUs might be a better option if you’re trying to save money.
4 Look at how much space you have
With specifications and performance held equal, desktops are usually much cheaper than their laptop counterparts. This is good news for remote workers, as you don’t need the portability of a laptop at present. Of course, if you want space, you’d need to pay for the compactness and portability that a laptop provides.
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