Choosing a... PC system
A basic PC costing around £350 will be able to run everyday office, multimedia and education software and will easily cope with surfing the internet. It might even be able to run some modern games.
Many PCs can be sold either with or without a monitor. If you don’t like the display that the manufacturer is offering, you can always use your current one, or buy another one separately.
If you want to play games, you’ll have to upgrade the graphics card. Budget cards such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 will cope well with many 3D games, but to play the latest 3D games smoothly (and enjoy the best-quality graphics) it’s worth upgrading to a more powerful card such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070. All modern PCs come with at least a dual-core processor and are capable of most tasks. Anyone who regularly undertakes demanding tasks such as video editing and encoding should consider a quad-core or even a hex-core processor.
There are plenty of good reasons to upgrade the PC’s memory or hard disk. If you’ll use your PC for gaming, video editing or other demanding tasks, you’ll need at least 8GB of RAM and a large hard disk; 1TB should suffice. Many new PCs have an SSD, which speeds up the time it takes for your PC to boot and programs to load.
Having plenty of USB ports is always useful, as most computer peripherals attach to these ports. Most new PCs come with the latest USB3 ports, which provide faster data transfers when used with supported devices than the older USB2 standard.
Most new PCs now come with Windows 10 pre-installed. Don’t be too easily swayed by the inclusion of other software, though, as it may be that you’ll never use it.
While most PCs come in cases of a similar size, some have more compact mini tower or mini PC cases. These smaller PCs will fit under your TV or on your desk more easily, but bear in mind that they’re significantly harder to upgrade than full-size machines.