I need to write a 350- to 700-word summary describing the features of the different computers such as memory, processor, monitor/screen size, operating system, etc. In the summary I need to include the following:

  • Comparison of the price
  • Bulleted list of the features that are most important to you in the computer description
  • An image of the computers
  • URL/Internet address for the computers
  • Bold, underline, and add italics to the price of each computer
  • Highlight the name of each computer

I also need to write a one paragraph recommendation in which I recommend the computer I would purchase based on my research. This is in addition to the summary.

I understand that eNotes editors will not complete the assignment for me, but would appreciate any help on it.

Expert Answers

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I've written many computer hardware recommendations for both business and home users. My process is usually as follows.

Determine if an Apple Mac or a MS Windows based PC is the best fit (ignoring things like Android or IOS based devices for right now).  Both are capable devices but the former still fits better in most educational and graphic intense areas, the latter in business and more general purpose areas (including gaming).

Determine if a desktop or a portable laptop is the best choice.  The former here is usually more powerful and more versatile as far as hardware options go, the latter is obviously necessary for portability plus a separate monitor/mouse/keyboard can be added to make it more "desktop-like".

Your point about "... features that are important ..." usually depends on the next topic of what exactly the computer will be used for.  Someone working mainly with large spreadsheets, like an accountant or someone who manages people, products or budgets, would probably need a wide screen monitor, like a 17 inch laptop or a desktop with a 25 to 27 inch monitor.  Someone needing to use a computer both in a classroom and in a cramped dorm room would probably want a smaller, lighter laptop like a 15 inch or even smaller.  Determine and list your specific needs.

Processor and memory basically determine the speed or responsiveness of the computer.  Everyone wants the fastest computer available but cost is usually the determining factor here.

Some people may have other requirements to consider as well. Maybe you need to purchase the computer locally so that you can get help installing software and for technical problems quickly, if needed. In that case, you may want to consider computers sold only at local stores that offer these services.

Once you have the basic features you are looking for written down, rate them as “Required”, “Nice to Have” and “Not really necessary”, then begin your online research. The links I've provided are the sites I usually go to for reviews of features and speed test results.  Since new computers are constantly being released to the market, it is sometimes a good idea to start with a simple search on one or more of the main shopping sites (Amazon, BestBuy, etc.) to see what the "Best Selling" or "Newly Released" computers are for a given type (images can usually be gotten from these sites as well).

Be aware that sometimes review sites will get new computers in advance of their being released for sale to the public so some of the reviews they publish may be on computers that you can't actually buy yet.  Again, check the major shopping sites before determining which models are the recommended ones.

I've always found it useful to include a chart, along with the written report, just to summarize the major features that were considered and maybe the 5 top models that were considered, along with how well the models fit the features and the best price and source of that price, that you found.

I hope this helps.

Good luck with your report.

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The key to this assignment is thinking about the applications for which you intend to use the computer and the features that are necessary to support those applications. For example, if you are an accountant handling large amounts of numerical data, processing power is important but graphic capabilities are less crucial, while a game designer needs a very high end graphics card. For many business applications, Windows systems are standard, but for design and advertising, Apple systems are more common. Another major issue is whether portability and battery life are important. A desktop system gives considerably higher performance for less money than a laptop, but lack portability. In laptops, there is generally a trade off between processing power, weight, and battery life. 

Once you have decided on the major features you need, such as processing speed, memory, operating system, storage capacity, and screen size, you should first visit comparison sites which identify the best computers of the year, and then go to manufacturers' web sites to see technical details and prices for specific configurations.

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