We know that computing can be confusing. There’s so much to think about when buying a new computer – how do you know you’re getting the right one? Don’t worry! Our handy buying guide will break everything down to help you understand the different features, functions and uses to make sure you pick out the perfect desktop.
An all-in-one computer is exactly what it sounds like. The desktop is built into the screen and comes with a mouse and keyboard included. This means that your computer will take up less space and have a clean and modern look sat upon your desk.
Tower PCs are the more traditional style of desktop that sit under your desk or to the side of your monitor. They have plenty of space for the latest tech to be packed inside, but don’t worry, they’re nowhere near as big as they used to be.
Built for gaming, these tower PCs stand out from the rest with their bold designs and LED light features. They come with everything you need to run your favourite games; powerful processors for smooth performance, the latest graphics cards for next level visuals, plenty of RAM to power your games, and lots of storage to make room for them all. Learn more.
Desktops that go next level, Mac computers are essential for people that want a premium experience. Coming in an elegant design, the iMac and Mac Mini are filled to the brim with the latest tech. Using the sleek OS system, it gives you a completely unique desktop experience.
If you’ve ever used a PC before, then chances are you’ve used Windows. One of the most common operating systems, it lets you explore your documents, use applications and browse the internet with ease. It’s also the preferred choice for gaming.
OS is an operating system that’s exclusive to Apple, so you’ll only find it on Apple desktops and Macbooks. Coming with a sleek interface that has a simple layout, it’s perfect for professionals. Optimised for design with Photoshop and InDesign seeing improved performance, it also works seamlessly with other Apple products.
Did you know? Experts recommend replacing your PC every four to five years to stay on top of security and hardware updates.
If you want the best possible performance from your desktop, that means making sure it has the best possible specs for you. But what specs exactly? The main areas you need to look at when deciding on a desktop are: the processor, the memory, the storage, and the graphics.
The processor is your computer’s brain. It’s working behind-the-scenes to handle every task your computer does. It’s also sometime called the CPU (Central Processing Unit). A processor aims to run programs as quickly as possible. Inside each processor are ‘cores’, and the general rule is the more cores it has, the more tasks it can handle at once.
Intel are processor heavyweights that let you multitask with ease. Their Core™ i9 processors are their most powerful and are perfect for handling the latest games or video editing software. If you’re looking to future proof your computer, the Core™ M, i3, i5, and i7 processors are a must-have for years of multitasking performance. For quick web browsing and smooth app use, the Pentium & Celeron processors are ideal. For smaller devices like tablets and laptops, the Atom® is the perfect entry level processor with fasting loading speed and prolonged battery life.
Most of AMD’s processors are APUs (accelerated processing units), which means they are a processor and graphics card in one. That means you can enjoy high quality graphics without the need for a separate graphics card. Very handy. The most popular AMD processors are from the Ryzen series. They give you amazing performance that can keep up with gamers, professionals and content creators.
Memory is often referred to as RAM (Random-access memory) and works by storing requests before the processor picks them up to be carried out. If you’ve ever had a program struggle to run, or stutter at times, that’s usually because the computer doesn’t have enough RAM. If you’re using a computer for general tasks like browsing the internet, watching videos or using a word processor, you’ll be fine with between 4 to 6GB of RAM. But if you’re using your desktop professionally or for a creative purpose, 8GB is best for editing software and gaming. You’ll only ever need 16GB or more for running ultra-demanding, state of the art programs.
Want to optimise your memory? Learn about Intel® Optane™.
An HDD, more commonly known as a hard drive, gives you plenty of space to store photos, videos, games, and important system data like your operating system. Almost all computers will have a hard drive in some form. A 1TB (terabyte, 1,000 gigabytes) hard drive will allow you to store millions of photos along with plenty of films, games and much more.
An SSD (solid-state drive) functionally does everything that a hard drive does, but it’s much quicker and more reliable. An SSD doesn’t have any moving parts, unlike the HDD, so it’s less likely to wear down over time. The trade off with an SSD is that they have a smaller storage space than an HDD.
Ever wanted the best of both worlds? Then you need an SSHD (solid-state hybrid drive). Combining the best features of an SSD and HHD, you can get quick and reliable data access while still getting the most storage space possible.
If you like the sound of a hybrid drive but want an Apple computer, don’t worry. With Apple you can get a Fusion drive which gives you the quick access and performance of Flash storage, along with the storage space of a hard drive.
Desktop computers will have a graphics card or chip that works to give you the visuals you need for playing games, watching films, or just using the computer in general. There are two types of graphics card, integrated and dedicated. An integrated graphics card will let you carry out regular tasks such as web browsing and using Office applications – it’s the minimum that every computer needs. However, if you’re a gamer, designer or video editor, a dedicated graphics card will be needed to give them more power to handle more demanding tasks with ease.
Did you know? Windows Hello can use your face or fingerprint to secure your computer instead of a password. Shop PCs with Windows 10 for this feature.
While hardware is the physical parts of a computer, software is the programs and operating information it uses. One of the main bits of software that you will use every day is the operating system. This will come pre-installed on every computer and allows you to use the desktop from the moment you turn it on. Every computer will also come with anti-virus protection pre-installed, but you may want to buy some additional security software to make sure your desktop is covered. Another bit of essential software that comes in handy for both personal and professional use is Microsoft Office – with Word, PowerPoint, Excel and much more. You can now get Office through the Microsoft 365 subscription service.
Did you know? New blue light filtering technology on monitors can help relieve problems like headaches and eye strain.
A good monitor is an essential companion to every desktop, but just like the computer itself, it’s important you find the right monitor for you. There are different things you need to think about depending on if you’re looking to get a monitor for general use, for gaming, or for creative work. A monitor with a larger screen size lets you see more at once, while a higher screen resolution improves the quality of the image. No matter what you use your desktop for, a larger screen and a Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080) will improve your experience on the computer greatly. The response time of a monitor is the time it takes to change from one colour to another, while the refresh rate is the number of times the screen can display a new image every second. You always want a high refresh rate and a low response time – especially if you’re gaming or working creatively.
Did you know? Laser printers cost more than inkjets to buy but are more economical to run as they use toner instead of ink.
Printers and scanners are an essential part of any home computer set up, but they can take up a lot of space. With the all-in-one printers and scanners, you can do it all on one machine and save yourself time and space at home. Wi-Fi connectivity and wireless set up also means that printing has never been easier across devices. We’ve even got all the ink cartridges to keep your set-up stocked up and ready to go.
Did you know? Some mice come with programmable buttons so you can set them to do basic functions like pressing back on your internet browser.
What would a desktop be without all the accessories to complete the set up? If you’re into gaming, you’ll want to get the edge over your opponent with the wide collection of gaming specific headsets, keyboards and mice. If not, there’s still plenty of accessories for you. Speakers give you a surround sound experience no matter what you’re watching or doing, while webcams set you up for Skype or Zoom calls. With a wide selection of mice and keyboards that will suit you, you’ll find everything you need.
What Intel® Core™ Processors do and why they’re an essential part of your PC
Find out why Windows 10 will be the last operating system you’ll ever need
This depends on what you will be using your PC for, but in general it’s best to look specifically at the processor, memory, storage and graphics. If you’re looking for a PC for general use, you only really need to focus on the processor and storage space. But if you want a PC for gaming or creative tasks, you’ll also need enough RAM and a powerful enough graphics card to run certain programs and games.
The age-old question! Both Windows and Mac desktops give you a unique experience for different reasons. Windows gives you a familiar operating system, it’s good for gaming and general use, and their parts that can be easily upgraded. Whereas Mac computers give you a modern look with a sleek interface. They’re especially well-suited to design and professional work, while also being compatible with your other Apple products. It really comes down to preference.
There are plenty of PCs that are suited to gaming, but there are things to look out for to ensure you make the right choice. The PC should have at least 8GB of RAM and at least an i5 processor, as this will allow it to run most games. Games take up quite a lot of space, so it’s important that your PC has plenty of storage space – 1TB should keep you covered. As long as your graphics card is GeForce or AMD, you should be able to run most games, but the better the graphics card, the more you can get from your games.
To keep up with having multiple tabs and applications open at once, you’ll need a PC that has either an Intel or AMD processor, along with around 4GB of RAM. An integrated graphics card will be perfect for working, while still allowing you to watch films and shows in your downtime. Then a hard drive of at least 500GB will make sure you never run out of space to save your work.
While Windows PCs can be very good for creative work, Apple desktops are perfect. They are optimised for design with applications such as Photoshop and InDesign seeing improved performance. With a sleek design and interface, they can also manage multiple applications at once.
The fastest desktops are the ones that have the quickest processing speed. These are the desktops that have either an Intel i9 processor or an AMD Ryzen 9.
The main thing to think about with a monitor is the screen size. There’s no right answer for screen size, it’s just whatever you’re most comfortable with. You should also look to have a screen resolution that is full HD for a sharp picture no matter what you’re up to. If you’re into gaming or working creatively, then you’ll want a high refresh rate and a low response time for an ultra-smooth experience.
For general use, 500GB is a good amount of storage space, as it will allow you to store millions of photos, along with films and documents. If you’re into gaming or creative work, then you should look at having at least 1TB of storage space to make room for massive project files and game installs.
‘The cloud’ is another way of referring to the internet, so if someone says something is saved ‘in the cloud’ that just means it’s been saved online. It’s a way to safely store files online and save yourself space on your hard drive. Learn more about the cloud.
SSD stands for solid-state drive. It is a type of storage device that can be used in your computer instead of or along side a regular hard drive (HDD). Learn more about SSDs.
A regular hard drive (HDD) gives you loads of storage space for quite a low cost, whereas an SSD has less storage space but is quicker and more reliable. Learn more about SSDs and HDDs.
Windows 10 and Intel are the dream team. Intel® Core™ processors let you speed through different tasks and open multiple applications at once, so they’re ready to handle all the amazing features and applications Windows 10 has to offer. Learn more about Windows 10 and Intel.
Nope. Every desktop we have available is pre-built and comes with a graphics card included. So, whether you just need an integrated graphics card, or want a dedicated one for gaming, they all come included with our range of desktops.
When you get a new computer, you’ll want to make sure it’s protected from harmful viruses. The best way to do this is with some anti-virus software. We have a range of McAfee and Norton software to keep your computer covered. Another essential bit of software is Microsoft Office, which you can buy outright or through the Microsoft 365 subscription service.
Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that gives you all the essential apps from Microsoft Office, along with 1TB of OneDrive storage space. You can get it as a personal or family annual subscription.