Buying a PC Online: Identifying Your Requirements

by Andy Cresswell -
Buying a PC Online: Identifying Your Requirements

Before setting out and buying PC online, you must first identify your PC requirements. Understanding what the computer will be used for will allow you to buy a new unit at the right end of the scale. There is nothing worse than wanting to play some high-end games or do some advanced video editing to find out you didn’t get a powerful enough PC.

Want to skip to the good stuff? It is as easy to follow pc requirement table for an easy reference towards the bottom of this blog post

What Will you Use the PC for?

What will the new PC be used for? general web browsing? Gaming? What about the photo or video editing? These are all questions you need to ask yourself and most of the time your answers to these simple questions will dictate how much you need to spend, Here are just a few considerations you should think about before buying a new PC online or in the store.

General Daily Tasks

General Daily Tasks

If you are just buying a new PC to browse the internet, write-up some letters to clients or just play some Facebook games then you can safely get away with buying a new PC in the budget end.

Software Development

PC Use: Software development

Compiling 10 thousand plus lines of code can be a drain for any system but does not need the most extreme PC hardware on the market.

Apart from when you are compiling your software, you are not really placing the system under any load so for this reason, if you want to keep compile times down without breaking the bank then get something medium end of the range.

Intensive PC Gaming

Hardcore pc gaming

If you intend on doing a lot of intensive PC gaming, you will have to look at a system in the high-end range. While you can get a decent unit that is in the budget PC buyers range, you won’t be able to max out your graphics settings but it would provide a solid platform to build off and upgrade further down the road when funds permit.

Video Editing & Image Editing

Video Editing & Image Editing

So you’re a digital designer? if you haven’t already then turn your head over to Apple’s corner rather than Microsoft.

If you regularly use any of the Adobe creative suite applications on a regular basis then you should really consider Buying an Apple iMac, however, if you are stuck in your ways and want to stick with a Windows-based computer then look for something the medium to high-end.

Avatar for Andy Cresswell
Andy Cresswell

PerformancePSU Editor

Andy is the Founder & Editor of PerformancePSU with over 25 years of experience building custom PCs, watercooling and overclocking. When his thirst for more speed is under control, he is a programmer and father of one.
Reader Comments
  • My laptop recently died so I only have access to the internet on my phone. I enjoyed reading your article (as I am struggling to identity what I need) however, on my phone your graph displays as a list. Is there another way I could access it? Cathryn

  • Hey Cathryn,

    I will get the code altered to work on mobiles, my apologies.


  • The PC requirement comparison chart displays as a list so no way to see which are low, medium or high end – as seen on my PC using Firefox browser, using Windows 7.

  • Hi Melanie,

    Apologies for missing this and not getting it fixed sooner, if you check it out you should now be able to see the full table along with styling.

    Very sorry for any hassle.


  • I want to fashion a small “computer lab” in my home for my 5 boys aged 6-18 mostly for school use but i am sure they will also be used some for gaming, although most of their gaming is on xbox. They should all share a printer. Any ideas for what requirements i should look for? How do i go about this? I am a university employee and can get office and some other programs for $5

  • Hi Brian,

    Pretty much any computer you buy these days will be able to handle them doing school work however if you go to cheap you could end up with a machine and getting a little ‘laggy’ when its under heavy use with lots of windows open, for that reason (along with potential gaming) I would say you need an absolute minimum of 8GB of ram and a Core i5 / i7 processor, if you can stretch to 16GB of ram that will future proof you for a little longer.

    When choosing a PC for gaming, its important to make sure you get the right graphics card, if you buy a computer with integrated graphics (Intel 2000 / Intel 3000 etc) then your boys are going to struggle to play any games that perform and look as good as their xbox.

    Here is a few machines that I feel could serve your family well Brian (from lowest priced to highest)

    1. Dell-8700
    2. Lenovo Erazer X510 Overclocking Gaming Desktop PC

    The two above are priced in the mid range, have solid specs and performance and would serve you well, but if you really want to make your boys jump around like 2 years on Christmas day, buy them this one:

    3. CyberpowerPC Gamer Supreme SLC7400

    Let me know if you have any more questions Brian!


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