Computers – Choosing the right one

In Hardware, System Administration & Devops by Željko JaguštLeave a Comment

I got my first computer back in 1987. It was an old Commodore 64 with a tape unit and a German manual. If I tell you the release date of Commodore 64 was August 1982, and it was still relevant in 1987… yeah, back in the days, once you had a computer, you used it for years. Why? Well, first of all, the choice was limited, and computers were still considered a luxury.

Desktop, Laptop, Tablet …

Computers come in many different shapes and sizes in today's modern era. While this can be confusing, don't worry; everything becomes more apparent if you know the purpose. For instance, you will not buy a powerful Desktop tower if you are a casual user browsing the internet and watching movies. If you are in retail and own a small shop, you can choose between a cheap laptop, an all-in-one desktop, or even a tablet. It will be more than enough to run a POS software and an email client, but not much more.

If you are in a "general" business, like state administration, banking, insurance, or similar, you can opt for a mid-range workstation. It can be either desktop or a laptop but consider a bit more power regarding CPU, RAM, and storage. Especially storage. Working in the IT industry, architecture, graphics editing, engineering, or similar will require even more powerful computers. We are talking about computers with fast and powerful CPUs, lots of RAM, and a dedicated graphics adapter optionally. For instance, if you are in graphics or developing applications for IOS, you should consider Apple computers. They are a "native" platform for such work and will give you the best results.

Gaming is something that will also require a powerful computer with the accent of a decent graphics adapter. Such computers are usually custom-built and cost a lot of money. Alternatives are gaming consoles like Playstation or Xbox.

Low-end Computers

There are two main reasons why you should opt for a low-end computer. Either your needs are elementary, or you have a limited budget. Computers in the low-end range will usually cost between 300 – 400$, and they are limited to running a few simple tasks simultaneously. And nothing more. Good examples of such computers are cheap tablets, all-in-one desktops, and Tier-1 notebooks.
Low-end Computers - Acer Aspire 3
Acer Aspire 3 series is a great low-end computer.

Hardware Options

  • Intel Celeron/Pentium series or entry-level i3 processors
  • AMD Athlon or entry-level Ryzen 3 processors
You will not get much here. Also, you have to be aware that the operating system itself will probably use up to half of the available memory. This will leave you with minimal resources for anything else, so the purpose is essential here.


Here are a few examples where low-end computers will serve their purpose:
  • Entertainment

    Browsing the internet, watching a movie or playing music in the background – perfect! Though, too many tabs in the browser will deplete your memory, so be aware of that.

  • Small Retail Business

    Running any kind of POS software for a small retail business, with an email client open in the background will work just fine. Cheap tablets are perfect for this.

  • Writing/Blogging

    If you’re an author, and you’re writing a book or you are a blogger, any kind of text editing will not be a problem for such machines.

  • Photo Editing

    Simple photo editing and storage for the same will also work. And I’m not talking Photoshop or similar advance graphics software here.

I hope you got the idea. And yeah, one more thing worth mentioning here. Custom building a low-end computer makes absolutely no sense. It takes too much time, and in the end, the cost will be much higher than just buying a Tier-1 computer from well-known vendors like Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer, and similar. Be smart and be straightforward here, both with your needs and expectations.

Mid-range Computers / Workstations

Consider computers in this category as “workhorses” of our modern era. Along with running basic operations and programs like internet browsers, email clients, and office applications, they are built to run one or more specific complex operations or applications. Usually, computers in this category are a popular business environment choice. The price range varies a bit more here. Expect prices between 800$ up to 1500$ for a mid-range computer. Consider well-known and industry-established vendors when opting for such a computer. I’d recommend Lenovo, Dell, and HP.
Mid-range Computers - Dell Inspiron 15
Dell Inspiron 15 series is a great all-purpose notebook/workstation with virtually endless customization options.

Hardware Options

  • Mid-range to entry-level high-end Intel i5 or i7
  • Mid-range to entry-level high-end AMD Ryzen 5 or 7 series
With bulkier hardware, you will be able to run multiple applications simultaneously. If you opted for multiple displays, you could run your basic applications on one screen (like web browser, email client, chat client, and similar) and work-related applications on the other screen.


With more powerful hardware, usage options are considerably more significant. Here are a few usage examples for mid-range computers:
  • Office Suite Advanced

    Office suites with accent on complicated spreadsheets, heavy rich-text file editing, and simple databases.

  • ERP/Finance/Accounting

    Any kind of ERP, finance or accounting software.

  • Banking/Insurance/Investment

    Mid-range compters are almost mandatory choice for banking, insurance or investment companies.

  • System Administration

    Well suited for remote and on-premises work in system administration and DevOps.

  • Simple to intermediate coding

    With a bit higher-end hardware, they are also good for coding and not to heavy compiling of the same.

It also makes no sense to custom build a mid-range computer like low-end computers. The reasons are the same; it takes too much time, and the cost is too great. Just go with the business-proven vendors, and you will be fine.

High-end Computers / Gaming Rigs

If you pay more than 2000$ for a computer, that can be considered a high-end computer. Usually, computers like this are flagship products of well-known vendors or custom-built solutions. And you can do virtually anything on such computers. But, be aware of one fact. A high-end computer today will become a low-end one during a specific period. So it is of utmost importance that investment in such hardware is justified 100%. If the purpose of such a computer is your work, make sure that the return value is much greater than the investment in hardware. For gaming, make sure you make at least some money from it, or if you are a casual gamer, it is better to invest in one of many gaming consoles. It is much cheaper. But then again, as with everything else, the money is yours.
High-end Computers - Falcon Northwest Talon
Falcon Northwest Talon series is an absolute masterpiece of a computer!

Hardware Options

  • Latest generation top-level Intel i7/i9 Extreme edition
  • Latest generation top-level AMD Ryzen 9 and Zen 3 Threadripper


Such computers are highly bulky regarding hardware, and possibilities are virtually endless. Of course, it all depends on how large your budget is. Other than gaming, you will not find such computers in many business environments, but there are cases:
  • Design, Architecture and similar

    Industries where CAD or 3D modeling software like architecture, game desing, and various engineering based industries like automobile industry, avionics and similar.

  • Advance graphics design

    Advance graphics design where Adobe or similar range of software suites are required.

  • Software development

    Heavy coding where a powerful hardware is required to compile the code. I’m talking coding like Linux kernel development and operating system development.

You can opt here for the flagship products of well-known vendors like Lenovo, Dell, or Apple for business and Alienware and Falcon Northwest for gaming, or you can ask for a custom-built solution.

Share if you like. Thank you in advance!

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