1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Why Spend More For A PC

Reasons Why Spending a Bit More For A Laptop, Desktop or Tablet May Be Worth It

By

Saving money is always a primary goal when shopping for products. I've written a whole set of reasons on why would save. The adage that you get what you pay for also holds true as well though. There are reasons though that one might want to spend more when buying their next computer. This is not going to apply to every consumer of course but they are key things to keep in mind when shopping for a laptop, tablet or desktop computer.

Faster Processor

This is probably one of the most obvious of reasons one might want to spend more for a PC. The problem is that the processors have outstrip most of the software. For the majority of users, the simple basic processors will do just fine for browsing the web, email, social media, watching movies, listening to music or writing up documents. There are a number of cases where spending a bit more for a processor can end up being beneficial.

The biggest demand for processing power comes from transcoding and editing video. This could be as simple as encoding DVDs into digital media files to put onto your tablet or more advanced video effects editing in producing your own videos. Encoding the data into the digital media files requires a large amount of data and the faster the processors, the quicker that it can render the final output. This is especially an area where having additional processor cores for multithreading can make the process even faster.

Storage

There are several ways to look at spending more for storage. The first is for additional space. A good example of this is with tablets. Most tablets are limited between 8 and 64GB in storage space. That isn't a whole lot of space for putting things like applications or movie files onto. To make matters worse, this internal storage can't be upgraded after the purchase. Some devices may have microSD card slots but most do not. By spending a bit more for additional space, you will be able to hold more data on your device rather than have to shuffle things on and off frequently.

Now when it comes to laptops and desktop computers, performance can be a key issue. Solid state drives are still fairly uncommon with these computers due to the limited amount of space they provide compared to a traditional hard drive. What they do offer though is much faster booting times and improved application loading times. There is the option of combining solid state drives and traditional hard drives either in the form of a hybrid hard drive or a form of caching such as Intel Smart Response Technology or Apple's Fusion drive.

Displays

There are three factors when it comes to a display for any type of computer: resolution, color and viewing angles. Resolution is a big issue when it comes to laptops. Most tablets are moving to higher resolution displays that can support full 1080p high definition video but laptops are tending to languish at just 720p video support even though they have much larger screens. A higher resolution display can allow for greater detail for video, photo editing or even just more space for mulitasking.

Color is something that is a bit harder to describe and is more closely link to the display panel technology of the screen. Often referred to as the color gamut, it describes how many colors the display can accurately render. This is particular important for anyone doing video and photo work where color is important. Most low cost displays tend to use a TN display panel technology to has limited color depth. Spending more for IPS panels will often result in much higher color support.

Finally, there is viewing angles. This is again tied to the display panel technology as well. TN panels are very affordable but one of their primary limitations is that they have serious color and contrast drop off when viewing from the sides, top or bottom of the display. IPS panels offer wider viewing angles which can be beneficial if the computer is also going to double as a media viewer for more than a single person.

Graphics

The average user isn't going to think much about the graphics processor in their computer. After all, integrated graphics provide more than enough performance for the average user. It is only when you starting looking at 3D processing for gaming or using it for computational work outside of 3D such as video rendering, video transcoding or complex mathematics that graphics processing capabilities become really important. The other thing to remember is that when it comes to portable computers, you only get the level of graphics that are built into the machine as they can't be upgraded like desktop computers. So if you are planning on using a tablet or laptop for gaming, video editing or maybe something like CAD with complex math, than adding in a dedicated graphics processor or just a faster integrated option can provide a huge boost in performance.

Battery Life

The batteries are one of the most expensive components within a portable device, be it tablet or laptop. There are two ways that battery life can be extended within a laptop. You can use lower power components which will stretch out the running time of existing battery. The other way is to increase the size of the battery. Both of these tend to cost more than your average laptop as it is more difficult to produce low power components that still offer high levels of performance. Often times if battery life is critical, you will be sacrificing some performance. A larger battery will definitely provide longer running times but can add significantly to the cost and the weight of the laptop.

A good example of this is the ultrabook classification of computers. Ultrabooks in general cost more than a laptop computer system but typically offer longer running times and greater portability. There are compromises though as many of the most affordable don't offer much more running time than a standard budget laptop while the more expensive models can offer almost twice the running time.

Warranty

The final aspect of a computer that you might consider spending more on is the warranty. I'm not talking about extended warranties through retailers but warranties through manufacturers with the products. Most consumer computer systems tend to offer warranties that are relatively short. They can be as little as 90 days but more frequently one year. Most people are not replacing their computer every year. This is where a two or three year warranty can help protect your computer for the intended time of ownership. Corporate class systems will generally offer longer warranty periods as will more premium systems. In addition, some manufacturers may offer extended programs through their own services which may be worth considering.

Conclusion

Computers may not be the huge purchases that they once were thanks to falling prices and improved performance. Most people can get by just fine on a low cost computer but there are a number of reasons buyers should consider spending more. Before purchasing a tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Think about what the machine will be used for and how it will be used. This can help determine where you might want to put a little more money so that you can get a better overall experience rather than be disappointed with settling for something that is just adequate.

  1. About.com
  2. Technology
  3. PC Hardware / Reviews
  4. Find the Right PC
  5. Why Spend More For A PC

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.