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Finding a new computer should be easy, but finding one that will do exactly what you need it to can be incredibly hard. Especially if you are not the most computer savvy person around. At PowerPCMall, we make it easy for you.

All you need to do is determine what you need the computer for, and then you can check your requirements against our custom configuration helper tools below. Using these tools you can decide what processor, graphics card, RAM, and hard drives will work best for your needs.

This way you can get the computer that you really want, even if you do not already know what parts you really need.

HOW DO I CHOOSE RAM/MEMORY?

While the processor of a system could be compared to a brain, the RAM in a system is very much like our memory, and it is often referred to as such. RAM allows a system to store information temporarily, like the information needed to play out a scene of a movie, and then when that information is not needed anymore it gets rid of it completely. This way you can stream movies on your computer without having to download and keep the whole movie every time.

If you plan to use your system for basic tasks like surfing the internet with only a few tabs at most open, or office and/or school work, 4 or 8 GB of RAM will be more than enough to handle these tasks. If instead you plan to do high end video editing or streaming, or you want to play the newest games with high or ultra settings, you will need to plan for at least 16 or 32 GB of RAM to get the most from your system.

If you are planning to purchase an AMD processor for a desktop please make sure that you are ordering the RAM in sets of two sticks. For these processors, 8 GB and 24 GB are not good options when using 8 GB sticks, and you should purchase in duplicates of 8 GB (16 GB, 32 GB, etc...). This is due to the way these processors work. To operate effectively they need to have RAM setup in a dual channel configuration.

HOW DO I CHOOSE AN SSD OR HDD?

Storage is one of the most important parts of a computer. If you could not save files, or if file storage was like it used to be with floppy disks, it would be nearly impossible to utilize computers the way that we do now. As such, it is necessary to provide your system with the storage capacity that it will need for your specific usage. There are two primary types of drives on the market: HDD drives and SSD drives. An HDD (Hard Disk Drive), is the type of drive that you are most likely familiar with. They are an older, slower technology, but they can provide significant storage space for a cheap price. SSD's (Solid State Drives) are much faster, newer technology, but they are more expensive, and they tend to come in smaller standard storage sizes.

We typically recommend a combination of drives: a smaller SSD for the boot drive (the drive Windows loads from), and a larger HDD to act as the primary storage drive. If you plan to use your system only for basic tasks like surfing the internet, office and/or school work, or watching videos online, any drive size(s) will allow you to do these activities. Evaluate your storage needs carefully before choosing a system though. Downloading even one typical modern AAA game onto a 128 GB boot drive will likely fill it completely due to the size of Windows. If you plan to do any higher end activities with your system, you may be better off considering a larger SSD to boot from and potentially even a second SSD for your other storage needs.

HOW DO I CHOOSE A CPU/PROCESSOR?

The processor, for lack of a better analogy, is the brain of your system. This is the part of your computer that controls the activity of each of the other parts. As such, choosing the proper processor is very important as it will provide a base line to choose the rest of your components against.

If you plan to use your system for basic tasks like surfing the internet, office and/or school work, or watching videos online, any processor will allow you to do these activities and you can choose toward the lower end. If instead you plan to do high end video editing or streaming, or you want to play the newest games with the highest settings, you will need to plan for a higher end processor to get the most from your system.

How do i choose a GPU/Graphics Card?

The GPU or Graphics Card in a system is the unit responsible for all of the images displayed by your computer. This is the part of the computer that will play any videos or games that you may be interested in, but on a more basic level it is also the part that puts Windows on your screen, and lets you see the spreadsheet you are looking at. As such, this is a component you will want to consider in your final build.

In some computers this is a completely separate part of the system referred to as a discrete or dedicated graphics card as this unit does only the one thing, produce graphics. But if your graphics needs are not that intensive you might consider going with integrated graphics instead. Integrated graphics refers to any CPU's that have a graphics chip built into them, as such the graphics are integrated into the processor. Most modern CPUs have integrated graphics already built into them, though it is always wise to check first if you are planning on relying on integrated graphics for your needs.

If you plan to use your computer for basic tasks like surfing the internet, office and/or school work, or watching videos online, you might consider skipping the graphics card and investing in a better CPU as they tend to have better integrated graphics. If instead you plan to do high end video editing or streaming, or you want to play the newest games with the highest settings, you will need to go with a dedicated graphics card. The more intensive the task the higher the level of graphics card you will need.