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New Computer Buying Guide


Thinking of Buying a new Computer?

At Nucleus Computer Services, we frequently field questions from clients in the market for a new computer.  Because of this, we decided to write an article which would cover some of the most common questions.

Hardware Recommendations:


Hard Drive

At a minimum, you should select a 500 GB hard drive, because it should provide sufficient storage for your files. Also, we strongly recommend that you go with a solid state drive. These drives are faster and more reliable than traditional SATA ones. If you are going to own the new computer for 3-5 years, a solid state drive’s extra cost is well worth the performance boost.

New Computer Hard Drive

Memory (RAM)

At a minimum, Nucleus recommends 8 GB of RAM memory. Most PCs and Macs come with this amount. RAM is different from hard drive space. It can be thought of in terms of humans’ short-term memory or a place where you can work on current items. If you are going to run a lot of programs or open many web pages at the same time or use memory intensive programs like Quickbooks, your performance will improve with more RAM.

New Computer Memory


A processor is essentially the “brain” of the computer. It receives inputs from the RAM, translates it and transmits it to other computer parts.  It performs calculations, actions and runs programs. The better the processor, the quicker your computer will be.

Because of their greater performance and reliability, Nucleus recommends that you select Intel over AMD processors.  Also, we recommend at least an i5 processor. Intel offers a range of processors based on capability and speed: i3, i5 and i7.

New Computer Processor

Software Recommendations:

When buying a new computer, you will also have to make some software choices. If you already have a MS Office subscription, you should be able to transfer this to a new computer. If you do not, you will need to decide between an Office 2019 standalone version or an Office 365 (O365) subscription.

With the standalone version, you would pay a one-time fee ($249.99 for Home and Business 2019) and install programs like Outlook, Word and Excel. Office 365 offers a suite of software and services for a monthly subscription. For instance, O365 Business Premium includes Office 2019 for 5 devices, email, 1TB of cloud storage and other features for about $13/month.

New Computer Software

To protect your PC or Mac from virus attacks, you should consider anti-virus software.  Typically, Nucleus recommends Webroot.  While it is great at protecting your device, Webroot is not a resource hog like Norton or McAfee.

Other Considerations:

If you are working in a specific industry or going to be using certain programs, you might want to consider additional features.  For example, a Graphic/Interior Designer or Architect would be better suited with a Mac.  If you are using a program which relies heavily on displaying detailed images like AutoCAD, Photoshop and others, you should probably upgrade your video card.  Otherwise, you run into display issues, like slowness and even computer crashes.

If you are buying a laptop and going to be carrying it with you a lot, you should consider its size and weight.  The average laptop weighs about 4-5 pounds with a screen size of 15.6 inches.  Although we like Dell computers, their laptops tend to weigh more.  If you’re going to be travelling, we recommend Lenovo, Asus and LG laptops for their lightweight design.