If you are looking to play games on your computer the graphics card is one of the most important things to look carefully at. A lot of basic computers and in particular slim line computers come with built in graphic cards. Now these are fine if you are only looking to play the most basic of games such as browser based games. If you are looking to play any of the latest games then a built in graphics card is unlikely to cut it.
If a gamer you want to be looking for a separate video card attached to the system with at least 1GB of memory built into it for example the Asus 1GB GeForce GTX 560TI is an excellent gaming graphics card. You can always add a graphics card at a later date.
The number of ports on a computer is critical to connect all your peripherals. You want to look for a minimum of 6 USB ports preferably with a couple of USB 3.0 ports in there too. USB 3.0 are the new ultra fast connections that devices in the future will take better advantage of.
You also need to decide if you want a built in memory card reader for reading the cards from you camera. Network ports should come as standard.
It is also worth checking if there is a wireless card built into the computer if you are wanting to connect your Desktop wirelessly.
At the time of writing Windows 8 is due for release in the next month or so. If you can get a system with Windows 7 do so as Windows 8 has completely changed how the Windows operating system looks so it could be a big learning curve. You can always upgrade at a later date using Windows 8 Pro, Upgrade Edition to upgrade from Windows 7
Should I go for an all in one system?
All in one systems are where everything is built into the monitor and they are great if you want to save space and only use the computer for basics tasks. They are not suitable for anything other than the basics and are not as easy to upgrade or repair if something does go wrong. I have met many people who have purchased an all in one system to save space and realised too late the limitations of these types of systems.
This is where most people get caught out, yes some people prefer the full office suite but some dont and dont need it. Nearly all the computers I have setup in the past year have come pre-installed with office starter. This includes a basic version of word and excel. Most home users only use these 2 programs but are pressured into paying £70 for the full office suite.
If you only do a bit of word processing then don’t waste your money the starter kit is more than adequate. If you decide you need the more advanced version you can always pick up a copy of Microsoft office Home and Student 2010 at a later date.
If they are offering you it at a reduced price and you feel it is too good to turn down then by all means buy it but don’t open it. When you have setup your new PC try out the free version and if happy with it you can always return the one they sold you as long as it is not open and get your money back.