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    Desktop Buying Guide

    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.

    Types of Desktop PCs

    All-in-one

    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.

    Shop All-in-one PCs

    Tower

    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.

    Shop Tower PCs

    Gaming

    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.

    Shop Gaming PCs

    Apple Mac

    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.

    Shop Apple Mac

    Operating system

    Windows

    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.

    Shop all Windows PCs

    Apple OS

    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.

    Shop all Apple desktops

    Did you know? Experts recommend replacing your PC every four to five years to stay on top of security and hardware updates.

    Performance and specs

    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.

    Processors

    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

    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.

    AMD

    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

    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™.

    Storage

    HDD

    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.

    Shop PCs with HDD

    SSD

    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.

    Shop PCs with SSD

    Additional storage options

    SSHD Hybrid

    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.

    Shop PCs with HDD+SSD

    Fusion (Apple)

    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.

    Shop Apple PCs with Fusion

    Graphics

    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.

    PCs with internal graphics

    PCs with dedicated graphics

    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.

    Software

    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.

    Learn more about Microsoft 365

    Did you know? New blue light filtering technology on monitors can help relieve problems like headaches and eye strain.

    Monitors

    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.

    Shop our PC monitors

    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

    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.

    Shop printers & scanners

    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.

    Accessories

    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.

    Shop PC accessories

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    It’s the perfect time to upgrade to Windows 10 and here’s why you’ll want to.

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    FAQs

    What should I look for in a new PC?
    Should I buy Windows or Mac?
    Which PC should I get for gaming?
    What PC do I need for studying?
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    How do I choose a monitor?
    How much storage do I need?
    What is the cloud?
    What is an SSD?
    What’s the difference between an SSD and HDD?
    How do Windows 10 and Intel work together?
    Do I need to buy a graphics card?
    What software should I buy?
    What is Microsoft 365