5 steps to finding
the right PC.

Performance

What to know and how much you’ll need.

Operating System

What it is and how to choose the right one.

Display

Decide what size and resolution works for you.

Connectivity

Learn which ports you’ll need in your PC.

Device Type

See available options to help you decide.

1. Performance: The important stuff on the inside.

Processor

What’s a processor?

The processor (CPU) is like your computer’s brain and what makes it work. The better the processor, the faster your computer. The more you need to do on it, the faster you’ll need.

You’ll find two main brands ranging in performance and price.

Intel®

Intel® processors range from entry-level Celeron and Pentium to Core i3, i5 and top-of-the-line i7 series.

AMD

The AMD Ryzen™ family of mobile processors includes U-Series for ultrathin premium devices and H-Series for thin and light gaming and content creating laptops.

Intel Core Processors

New 10th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors

Range from entry-level Celeron and Pentium, mid-range Core i3 and i5, to top-of-the-line i7 series.

Pro Tip

When choosing a processor, consider the most demanding tasks and programs you may need down the road.

Intel Core Processor Comparison Sheet
Ryzen Processor Comparison Sheet

Memory

What is memory (RAM)?

Think of RAM (random-access memory) like short-term memory measured in gigabytes (GB). When you load or open something, RAM temporarily stores it, giving the CPU quick access until you shut down your PC.

How much RAM do you need?

Choose based on the number and complexity of programs you’ll run at the same time.

  • Everyday computing: 4GB to 6GB
  • Work & school: 8GB to 12GB
  • Advanced gaming & creating: 12GB+
Intel Core Processors

Intel® Optane™ Memory

Acts as additional memory and delivers a personalized responsive experience with minimum lag time by learning what programs you use most often and keeping them ready to use. This is a great complement, when choosing a large storage HDD vs. SDD to ensure quick bootup and responsiveness.

Pro Tip

Unlike with desktops, you can’t add RAM to most laptops post-purchase. Before you buy, consider how much you’ll need.

Internal Storage

What’s internal storage?

Like long-term memory, it’s your computer’s capacity to store your operating system, files and media, long-term. Measured in megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB).

Which option do you need?

The data is usually stored on a hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD) with hybrid options.

HDDs

Data is stored on a spinning metal disk. While slower than SSDs, HDDs are ideal for large capacity on a budget.

SSDs

Store data on microchips. Faster, quieter and more efficient than HDDS, SSDs are ideal for speed and performance.

Intel Core Processors

Intel® Optane™ Memory H10
with Solid State Storage

The industry’s first drive that combines Intel® Optane™ memory and Intel® QLC 3D NAND storage with a new level of performance and large storage capacity.

Pro Tip

No matter which one you choose, the processor makes the biggest difference in performance and responsiveness.

Graphics

Which graphics card is best for you?

The graphics card is an integrated chip inside your PC that determines the viewing quality of your screen. Measured in gigabytes (GB), and available in two types depending on what you need.

Integrated

Built into most PCs, these are sufficient for everyday computing, watching video or light work and editing.

Dedicated/Discrete

These are more powerful and rely on their own memory source, making them ideal for advanced gaming or when using large editing and design programs.

Intel Core Processors

NVIDIA Technology

Work and play with more power, speed and efficiency. Get ultra-high frame rates and pro-level graphics quality for serious gamers and professionals.

Pro Tip

If you’re an average user and don’t do advanced gaming, integrated will generally do.

2. Let’s talk operating systems.

Operating Systems

The operating system (OS) controls all the hardware and software. Choose between two main options based on your budget and needs.

Windows® PC   |   Shop Now

If you need power and flexibility for things like gaming or editing, Microsoft Windows® comes pre-installed on most PCs, runs on almost any app or browser and you can configure it as you need.

Chromebook   |   Shop Now

If you want a simpler and more affordable option, Chrome® powered by Google OS comes pre-installed on Chromebook, and works online and offline with multiple tabs. Plus, enjoy access to Android and Chrome apps.

Pro Tip

If you store a lot of programs on your computer, consider Windows. For mainly web-centric programs, Chrome may do.

3. What do you need in a display?

Screen Size

Screen Size

Laptops

Screen sizes range from 10 to 17.3 inches. For portability, shop under 14 inches. For work, gaming or video, try a larger screen.

Desktops

Monitors typically range from 22 to 27 inches with curved, 4K, ultra-wide and large-sized options increasingly popular for gaming, design and editing.

Screen Features

Screen Size

IPS (In-Plane Switching) vs Non-IPS

Choose IPS if you need real-life color and brightness for gaming, creating and video. Non-IPS is sufficient for most average users.

Touchscreen

Mostly available in laptops and ideal if you prefer to scroll and use a stylus or your fingers, like on a tablet or smartphone.

Resolution

Screen Resoltuion

Resolution is measured in pixels and determines the visual quality and clarity of your PC. Desktops and laptops have the same resolution options.

HD: 1366 x 768

Most standard, affordable resolution for everyday computing and basic gaming.

HD+: 1600 x 900

Increased performance that’s good for casual gaming and streaming video.

Full HD (FHD): 1920 x 1080

Sharper display for more robust gaming, HD movies and tasks like graphic design and photo editing.

Ultra HD and 4K: 3840 x 2160

The ultimate for advanced gamers and professionals who need high-res detail for photo and video editing.

IPS Displays

Ideal for creative professionals and offers wider viewing angles with higher-quality color reproduction.

4. Everything you need to know about ports.

Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt™

The fastest available. Allows for connection to multiple peripherals and to charge in one port.

USB-C

USB-C

Provides faster transfer speed, more power to charge larger devices like laptops and connects to universal chargers and docks.

USB-A

USB-A

Connects standard devices like phones, keyboards, external drives and game controllers. The higher the number (e.g. 3.0 vs. 3.1), the faster the speed.

Thunderbolt

VGA

Now considered older technology. Connects your PC to TVs, monitors and projectors.

HDMI

HDMI

Allows you to stream high-quality, high-bandwidth audio and video between your PC and devices, like TVs, projectors and players.

Card Reader

Card Reader

Reads micro SD or SD memory cards to copy data from your phone or DSLR to your PC.

Screen Resoltuion
Pro Tip

While it looks like a USB-C port, a Thunderbolt port has a lightning bolt beside it.