How Much Computer Do I Need?

After driving a number of older, less reliable and unquestionably ugly cars during my years in college, I was proud to show my grandfather my nearly new burgundy Acura Integra. I began by pointing out the plush interior, sunroof, and, of course, the stereo system.

I explained how I’d spent the afternoon polishing the body, cleaning the windows and scrubbing the wheels to make them especially shiny.

My grandfather took it all in as he walked around the card. Finally, he stepped back and said, “It will get you from point A to point B just like any other car.”

His words didn’t sink in at the time.

Computers are similar to cars in that it’s often difficult to determine how one compares to another while browsing over a list of specifications. Both are large purchases with an overwhelming number of options, and it’s not hard to get bogged down in a sea of acronyms and minutiae.

As a sales consultant at Puget Systems, I’m often asked the question, “How much computer do I need?” and I think back to my grandfather’s comment. Just as any car will get a person from point A to point B, most new computers today will allow the user to do email, browse the web, as well as create documents and edit pictures.  The Spirit is a good example of this type of computer. It handles a wide range of tasks and is easy to upgrade while remaining one of our most affordable models.

Investing more money in a system can result in increased performance, but can be largely dependent on the type of tasks you’re performing. For example, if you play modern PC games such as Skyrim, you’ll benefit greatly from a dedicated graphics card such as the Nvidia GeForce or AMD Radeon series. Both Nvidia and Radeon also offer cards tailored to professionals working with 3D applications.

At Puget Systems, we try to funnel the best components into configurations that make sense for our customers which manifest themselves in the various lines we carry from the diminutive Echo up to the powerful Genesis workstation. Of course, one of the benefits that comes from working with a customer PC builder is the fact we can tailor a system based on your specific needs.

It’s not uncommon for enthusiasts to approach us with a price list of computer components and ask us to match them to a system we build. When this happens I often take a step back and try to understand how they will be using their new computer. I suspect that, as an industry, we’ve done people a disservice by only focusing on technical specs, benchmarks and other details that confuse rather than convey helpful information to our customers. 

We don’t expect everyone to understand the technical differences between an Intel i7 3770k and an Intel i7 3930k processor. But we do strive to understand how you plan to use your system. Doing so allows us to make recommendations that will result in a better experience.

So, how much computer do you need?

It all depends.

But we’re here to help you figure it out.