Your guide to laptops, Chromebooks, and gaming PCs

Shopping for a new computer requires reading and dealing with a lot of jargon. From different types of processors to knowing the difference between memory and storage – there is a lot of information. But the process doesn’t have to be intimidating. Arguably, we’ve never had so many worthwhile options for a laptop or desktop.

When you start looking for your next big purchase, let us help guide you. Below you’ll find not only some recommendations for laptops, Chromebooks, and gaming PCs, but some tips on what to look for. We start with some tips on what to consider when you’re shopping on the computer and end with some recommendations of our favorite products.

Protect your investment in the future

There are many factors that you should take into consideration when searching for a computer. This computer should last several years (or more), so consider not only how you are using your computer now, but also what you may need in the future. By future proofing your investment, you will save money and minimize headaches.

Processor power

Look at your device’s built-in processor and search Google for the model number. For example, if your processor is an i7-1165G7, look it up to see how old it is. I can tell you just by looking at the number that it’s an 11th generation processor, so it will support Windows 11 and all the security features it requires. But you don’t want to find a good deal on a PC only to find out later that it uses an older processor that won’t let you install or upgrade to Windows 11.

If you’re shopping for a Mac, Apple (AAPL) – Get the Apple Inc. report. In the middle of moving away from Intel (INTC) – Get Intel’s report to its Apple Silicon processors. Apple will support Intel models well in the future, but I’d recommend getting a Mac with Apple M1 chipsets. We’re already starting to see some features in software updates that are limited to Apple Silicon processors, and that trend is likely to continue with every major update.

memory storage

For both Windows and Mac computers, you’ll need something with it At least 8 GB memory or RAM. If you do a lot of video editing, photo editing, and multitasking, you’ll want to consider doubling the memory to 16GB.

As for storage – I’d be ashamed of a computer with 128GB storage or less. The exception to this rule is for Chromebooks, simply because most of your files will automatically sync with your Google Drive account and won’t take up space on the device.

It’s surprising how quickly your hard drive fills up, so either have a plan to dump additional files and folders to a cloud storage provider like iCloud, Dropbox, or OneDrive or get a larger hard drive than you think you’ll need. Remember, with the exception of gaming PCs and some laptops, you’re stuck with the specifications of the device you’re buying – there’s no option to add more storage or memory yourself.

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Dell XPS 13
Apple MacBook Air
Apple MacBook Pro
Acer Chromebook Spin 713
Lenovo Chromebook Duet
NZXT Starter Plus Gaming PC
Asus ROG Strix G15

Prices are accurate and items are in stock at time of posting.