With the continuing pandemic and the worldwide issue of logistics and manufacturing shortages the progression, production and sale of new technology is still an issue with that in mind the recommendations for new computers will be based off what is available in the market at the beginning of 2022 and might not reflect what is easily purchased from retailers later in the year or what products will be like later in the year.

2022 has already seen software changes, this is being written towards the end of January, and no doubt more will follow.

This is only a basic recommendation and should be followed up with more personalised information before purchases are made. I will also be focusing on day to day use as opposed to gaming or video editing.

 

Windows Computers  Example Computers  Software  Chromebooks  Apple

Computers.

If you are looking for a quality desktop computer with parts dedicated to what you need you should always go to your local computer store. They will be able to ask what you use the computer for and organise the right parts for your computer based off what you do.

If you are looking for a quick off the shelf computer you should look for:

Storage – at least 512GB SSD or at least 1TB HDD

A SSD, or Solid State Drive, is fast but doesn’t have the capacity at the more affordable level. A HDD, Hard Disk Drive, is the old fashioned mechanical drive and has much more storage at the same price but is slower due to the mechanical nature of the drive.

If possible you want a desktop with both, ensuring that the desktop, documents, picture, music and video folders for any user on the computer are stored on the mechanic drive. If you are unsure how to do that or don’t feel up to doing that it is HIGHLY recommended that you seek a professional to help setting up the computer in an optimal way.

RAM/Memory – at least 8GB

The more memory your computer has the more space it can put programs and files when you open them, including Windows and any anti virus. If you don’t have enough memory the computer will start to use the hard drive for memory, slowing it down massively.

CPU – at least an AMD Ryzen 3 or Intel i3

This recommendation remains the same. As the number increases the performance increases.

Video cardAvoid Intel or Ryzen APU if possible.

Both Intel and AMD see CPUs that do both the CPU and video card jobs. These should be avoided if possible due to the sluggish performance that creates. It also uses part of the memory for the video card further reducing performance.

If possible ensure the details say the video card memory is “Dedicated” as that will mean you will get the performance you should.

Nvidia and AMD are the main produces of video card technology.

Screen size – Laptop at least 14 inch, Desktop at least 22 inch.

The bigger the screen the more you can see. If you are looking at laptops be aware the bigger the screen the more power it will use and so the shorter the battery life, also the laptop will be heavier with a bigger screen so if the laptop is to be moved around a lot keep that in mind.

Keyboard – if possible test the keyboard out.

This is more of a problem with a laptop as you can’t replace a keyboard you don’t like on a laptop like you can on a desktop. While you can plug in a USB keyboard into a laptop it is an added expense you might not need.

Trackpad/mouse – if possible test it out.

While you can plug in a mouse into a laptop it is an added expense you might not need.

Examples of what to buy.

At the time of writing, 20th of January 2022

Desktop idea

Dell all in one
Link Dell.com
CPU Intel i5 CPU
Graphics Intel Iris Graphics
Memory 8GB memory (shared with graphics)
Storage 512 SSD and 1TB HDD
Screen 23.8 inch screen
Price $1,199
Lenovo all in one
Link Officeworks
CPU Intel i5 CPU
Graphics Nvidia graphics with 2GB dedicated memory
Memory 8GB memory
Storage 512 GB SSD
Screen 23.8 inch
Price $997
Lenovo all in one
Link JB HiFi
CPU Ryzen 3 APU
Memory 8GB memory (shared with graphics)
Storage 1TB HDD
Screen 23.8 inch
Price $899
MSI Desktop
Link Officeworks
CPU Intel i3 CPU
Graphics Intel UHD graphics
Memory 8GB memory (shared with graphics)
Storage 512GB SSD
Screen *Needs a screen
Price $797
Lenovo Idea Centre
Link Officeworks
CPU Intel i7 CPU
Graphics Nvidia graphics with 2 GB dedicated memory
Memory 16GB memory
Storage 512GB SSD
Screen *Needs a screen
Price $1297

Laptop ideas

HP Laptop
Link JB HiFi
CPU Intel i5 CPU
Graphics Intel Iris Graphics
Memory 8GB memory (shared with graphics)
Storage 512GB SSD
Screen 15.6inch
Price $887
Lenovo IdeaPad
Link JB HiFi
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 APU
Memory 8GB memory (Shared with graphics)
Storage 512GB SSD
Screen 15.6 inch
Price $999
Dell Inspiron 15 3000
Link Dell.com
CPU Intel i7
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics
Memory 8GB Memory (shared with Graphics)
Storage 512GB SSD
Screen 15.6 inch
Price $1099

Software to get.

All computers need to have Windows installed on them before you can use them. Computers bought off the self, like the ones mentioned above, come with Windows preinstalled and just require you to set them up.

If you are getting a computer built from a computer store you will need to make sure they include Windows as part of the price.

Windows.

Windows 11 was released towards the end of 2021. While there have been some improvements to the way Windows works in the new version it is still not ready for everyday use for most people. If possible try and ensure you get a computer running Windows 10 to offer the best compatibility with the other programs or devices you already own.

If you can’t get Windows 10 you should try and get Windows 11 Pro as it allows for more control and doesn’t integrate and force you to use a Microsoft account when setting up the computer.

If you are getting a computer with Windows 10 try and ensure it does not have Windows 10 Home S Mode, as like Windows 11 Home, this requires a Microsoft account to get the most out of it.

When setting up the computer for the first time you should NOT connect it to your NBN connection until after you have got a few things organised as Windows will try and force you to use a Microsoft account, causing some issues, as well as downloading updates very early causing other problems.

Office programs

When you purchase your computer the sales person will no doubt try and push Microsoft/Office 365 on to you. DO NOT PURCHASE THAT PRODUCT.

If you have Office: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, Outlook from an earlier computer, and you still have the installation DVD, you can use that on the new computer without a problem at all, saving a few hundred dollars.

If you don’t have those programs and want to get them you can purchase Office 2021 Home and Student, which has Word, Excel and PowerPoint, for $197 Officeworks

You can also get Office 2021 Home and Business, which has Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook, for $347 Officeworks

If you don’t want to spend money you can also use the free Libre Office program which will work with all files from Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Libreoffice.org

Antivirus

There are many different antivirus programs in the market place. Over time their effectiveness changes in comparison to others, as well as the viruses they are trying to catch.

If you’re looking for some recoomendations for the best possible anti virus you should check online reviews and score from places like PCMag.com The PC Security Channel.com, Toms Guide, Tech Radar.

When it comes to a free option the best I have found is Kaspersky Free as it has the lowest system performance hit and can have most of the pop up ads turned off as well as extra, unneeded features, uninstalled.

If you have a child in the public school system they are given some programs, likes Microsoft 365, for free and some at a discounted price On The Hub.

Chromebook

Some schools require the use of Chromebooks by students to allow them to do things at home and at school. Chromebooks are simple cheap laptops that don’t run Windows but use a system similar to Android like on some mobile phones.

Chromebooks don’t need much power or storage as most of the work they do, and the programs they use are on websites. With that in mind the Lenovo Flex 5 for about $650 from Amazon is able to cover all the needs while still being a good solid laptop.

If you are looking at buying a Chromebook check the Google Auto Update Policy to see when the support for updates for your chosen Chromebook is due to end as if the support is due to end soon you will be left with a large paper weight.

Apple Computers

From the end of 2021 most Apple computers are now using the Apple made M1 CPUs. This is a major development separating the Apple computers from Windows based computers considerably.

Unless you are looking to do video, or a lot of photo editing you will be able to use either a MacBook air with 512GB of storage Apple.com for $1249, an iMac with 512GB of storage Apple.com for $1,699 or a Mac Mini with 512 GB of storage Apple.com for $899 although you will need a screen as well.

Antivirus

People have the misconception that Apple computers don’t get viruses. This can’t be further from the truth. Once again I recommend looking at reviews online for the best option for your protection including PCMag.com

Office programs

When you purchase your computer the sales person will no doubt try and push Microsoft/Office 365 on to you. DO NOT PURCHASE THAT PRODUCT.

If you have Office: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, Outlook from an earlier computer, and you still have the installation DVD, you can use that on the new computer without a problem at all, saving a few hundred dollars.

If you don’t have those programs and want to get them you can purchase Office 2021 Home and Student, which has Word, Excel and PowerPoint, for $197 Officeworks

You can also get Office 2021 Home and Business, which has Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook, for $347 Officeworks

The Apple computers do come with their own Office programs, Pages for Word documents, Numbers for Excel spreadsheets and Keynote for PowerPoint files.

By Matthew