Norman from MN. writes:
What desktop is the “best buy” right now for just home use and selling things on eBay?
That’s a much harder question to answer then you might imagine, Norman. For this reply’s sake, we’ll focus on specifications to get in a desktop instead of manufacturers, as things like warranty, price, location and availability vary greatly among companies.
For basic tasks like web browsing, e-mail and auction creation you don’t need a lot, but there are certain components which will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
Processor: Core i3-2100 (Or higher) or Core i5-2300 (or higher). The newest core i3 and i5 processors from Intel have very solid performance for the price and offer a very speedy processor compared to some cheaper AMD alternatives. While AMD processors compete well when running many applications at once, single applications will respond quicker on a core i3 or i5 chip. The one exception is AMD’s A6 and A8 line of processors, which while being slower on single applications do have very impressive integrated graphics which can enable modest game playing.
Memory: 4 GB or higher. More than 4 GB isn’t necessary for a few applications used at once, but can’t hurt. Don’t spend extra money to upgrade unless you have a specific program which requires it like Photoshop.
Hard Drive: Any are good, but look for one where the speed is rated at 7200 RPM. You’ll really shock the PC sales guy by asking what the hard drive speed rating is, but 7200 RPM drives perform significantly faster then 5400 RPM drives typically found in cheaper PC’s. If you can’t get a 7200RPM drive it’s not the end of the world, but it’ll make programs open faster and browsing images/files quicker.
Monitor: Buy the biggest you can afford. Having bought my father a 24″ LCD on sale at a wholesale club for $249 I knew even though he initially said he didn’t need it and it was too big, he soon fell in love with the easily readable text and larger work area.
And here is one last tip… Don’t be afraid to find someone to build it for you! Building a PC isn’t as hard as it sounds, and with a little help from your local computer geek you can get exactly what you want, often for hundreds less then the big box stores.