I know many of you are in the market for a new computer, or are expecting one as a holiday gift, and now is the perfect time to buy. Computer prices are always the lowest at the end of the year! Every week, several people will call into our office and ask, “I am buying a new computer, can you tell me what I need?” We decided this would be a perfect time to let you know what we recommend both with regards to Studio, as well as general office productivity. So I asked Owen, my son and Vice President of Development, to write an article on his recommendations for someone in our industry purchasing a new computer.
**Below is a photograph of one of my desks, which show a dual monitor setup. The dual monitors are connected to my desktop computer. I also have my laptop next to my dual monitors, which enables me to use three screens. For the most part, when I am in my office, I use my desktop computer with the dual monitors. You’ll be amazed at the increase in productivity just by adding a second monitor!
When you decide to purchase a new computer, you need to consider what your computer needs for your business will be in three to four years from now, not just for today. Current software programs have dramatically increased in size, as well as the amount of resources they require, which translates to the size of your hard drive and amount of memory your computer has installed, so plan ahead to maximize your computer’s useful lifespan.
Here are my recommendations for purchasing a computer today that will serve you for many years to come.
- Hard drive: 500GB – 1TB with 7200 RPM
- Processor: 2.5GHz with Dual Core
- Memory: 8GB – 16GB
- Operating System: Windows 7 – Windows 10 (64 bit)
- Graphics Card: 512MB Laptop Screen: 15.4″ or 17″
- Desktop Monitor(s): 22″ – 24″ single monitor or consider a dual monitor setup. (Dual Monitors optional)
- Warranty: Purchase an on-site warranty for 3 – 4 year
Dual Monitor Setup for a Desktop: This is my preferred monitor setup. I recommend purchasing two 22″ or 24″ identical monitors. A 22″ – 24″ ViewSonic monitor can be purchased for under $200. Read the article “Two monitors are better than one” from Microsoft for setup instructions. Once you work with dual monitors you’ll find it hard to go back to a single monitor. The setup is relatively easy, especially if you are using identical monitors. Another advantage to using identical monitors is the height and width of each monitor are the same, which makes for smoother viewing.
External Monitor Setup for a Laptop: If you are using a laptop computer you can also add a monitor. All you need to do is choose the option to extend your screen to a second monitor.
Computer Cables: Monoprice.com is the absolute best source to purchase any cables you need for your computer. Monitors normally include 3′ cables. However, that may or may not be long enough to connect the monitor to your computer. Monoprice offers these types of cables for a third of the price offered by other companies. Monoprice also carries several iPhone accessories, check out the battery backup.
External Hard drives for backups: The final and most important item I recommend is the purchase of an external hard drive for backups. In fact, I recommend purchasing two! Rotate the second backup weekly and store it off site. An external hard drive should be compact enough to transport easily. When I order computer parts/components for Minutes Matter, I purchase from Newegg. They have a wide selection of just about anything you need for your computer and great prices. Fanton Drives has a portable external hard drive with a USB connection and has a huge data capacity of 1TB (terabyte or 1000 GB.) Make sure you set up your external hard drive to backup daily.