Desktop and laptop hardware recommendations
This article provides our current recommendations for minimum hardware specifications. While there isn’t necessarily a “one size fits all” approach to computers, the following specifications represent the minimum that we recommend. These specifications are suitable for typical home and office use. If you are a gamer, graphic designer, engineer, video/music editor, etc., please contact us before purchasing a system based on these recommendations.
Westechs can take the hassle out of purchasing a computer and order a desktop or laptop direct from the manufacturer on your behalf. These computers include a 3 year warranty and we can also install and setup if necessary. Please contact us for more information.
Processor: Intel i5 Series
We currently recommend a “Core i5” processor from Intel. Intel also offers a Core i3 and Core i7. The Core i3 can be a bit too slow for some people. A Core i7 is acceptable but is usually overkill for typical home and business use. Intel also sells budget processors that will not have the “Core” name, such as “Intel Pentium” or “Intel Celeron”. These processors should be avoided. We also do not recommend AMD processors at this time.
The model number of the i5 isn’t too important for typical use. Simply look a the first digit in the model number as this represents its generation. For example, 7xxx is a seventh generation chip, 8xxx is an eighth generation chip and so on. We recommend a 7th or 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor.
In summary, an example of a recommended processor would be: Intel Core i5-7300 or Intel Core i5-8500.
An example of a non-recommended processor would be: Intel Celeron J4005, Intel Pentium Silver or AMD.
Memory (also called RAM) recommendation: 8 gigabytes (GB) or more
We recommend a minimum of 8 gigabytes of memory. For most people, the type and speed will not matter. Note that memory (aka RAM) is not how much data the computer can store. That is the hard drive and is covered in the next section.
Hard drive/storage recommendation: Solid state, 256 gigabyte (GB) or more
Many computers come with large hard drives such as “500 gigabyte” or “1 terabyte”. Most people actually do not need a large drive (this may not apply if you have a large music, photo or video collection.) You should review the contents of your current computer to see if you need a drive larger than what is recommended here.
In order to get the best performance we recommend you purchase a “solid state” (or SSD) hard drive. Solid state hard drives increase the overall performance of your computer by 50% or more and we highly recommended them. Budget or lower-cost computers will have traditional mechanical drives that can be very slow.
In summary, an example of a recommended hard drive would be: 256 GB solid state or 512 GB solid state drive.
An example of a non-recommended hard drive would be: 3.5″ 1TB 7200 RPM drive (3.5″ and RPM are both indications that the drive is not solid state. All solid state drives are 2.5″ and explicitly say “solid state”)
Windows and Office
If you are purchasing a computer for office or business use and you are using a server you might need to purchase the Professional edition of Windows. Windows Professional will allow you to connect to a business domain (if you use one) and has other features (like remote desktop/control) built-in.
Many retail and less-expensive PCs will come with the Standard version of Windows rather than Professional.
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) is not included with Windows. We recommend purchasing Office by subscribing to Office 365.
These specifications will help you pick out a machine that will perform admirably for years to come. Remember that we are re-seller of most of the major computer manufacturers so please contact us if you would like a quote on a computer or laptop for your business.
These specifications within this article were last updated on February 22, 2018.