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What to look for in your new PC

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[ This sponsored article was written by IDG Creative Lab, a partner of PCWorld, and not by PCWorld's editorial staff. ]

Time to buy a new PC? If it is, you’re in luck. There’s never been a time with more great choices, whether you’re looking for a computer to run the most demanding applications, play the coolest games, or fly coast to coast without a recharge.

But picking the right PC can be a daunting task -- and that’s why we’re here to help.

The savvy buyer knows that there are four key features to pay attention to when selecting a PC: Processor type and memory; screen size and graphics capabilities; battery life; and storage. Every Intel-powered 2 in 1 device is more than capable of handling basic tasks like surfing the Web or reading and writing email. When you want more out of your PC, pay attention to our short list of features, because those added capabilities are what make certain models really stand out. Here’s a handy guide that will help you pick the right system.

The Processor

These tiny devices are the brains of any computer. Intel makes processors that are powerful enough for the most demanding tasks but use very little current, allowing your system to run for hours. Intel processors also include advanced graphics capabilities that let you connect multiple monitors to one system and make watching or editing videos a breeze.

If you need a system to handle heavy-duty computing tasks like video editing or computer assisted design, or you expect to run multiple applications at the same time, look for the Intel® Core™ i7 processor. You’ll find that top-of-the-line chip in the Lenovo Yoga 2 13, which also comes with 8 GB of fast DDR 3 memory. The Microsoft Surface Pro and the Dell XPS 11 feature the mid-range Intel Core i5 processor: a fast, graphics-friendly chip that’s noticeably easier on the wallet. It’s always advisable to buy as much system memory as you can afford – at a minimum, opt for 4 GB.

Battery Life

There are two ways to learn about the battery life of a system you’d like to buy. It’s often listed in the sales material on the Web or at the store. If it isn’t, check the spec sheet and see if the battery contains two, three, or four cells. The more cells, the more power the battery packs, although each additional cell adds weight to the system. Both the Surface Pro and the Acer Aspire R7-572, a versatile 2 in 1 system, pack four-cell lithium ion batteries that allow them to run without a recharge for up to eight hours and 6.5 hours, respectively.

Screen size and graphics capabilities

Are bigger screens necessarily better? Not always. Larger screens add weight to your system and draw more power. But if you want to keep lots of windows visible at the same time, play a complex game, or edit your photo collection, you need a roomy screen and powerful graphics.

The Lenovo IdeaCenter Flex 20, a compact all-in-one PC, stand out with a high-resolution, 19.5-inch multi-touch display. Intel’s advanced HD Graphics 4400 chipset is built in, so you’ll get the quality of a separate graphics card without paying a premium price.

Storage

Photos, music, videos, documents. It seems like there’s no end to the digital stuff we create these days. We can store some of it in the cloud, but there are essential items and applications we want to keep close at hand. Not all storage is created equal, however. Solid state storage costs more than conventional storage, but it is faster and a lot more rugged than a hard drive. Don’t buy a system with a hard-drive smaller than 500 GB or a solid-state drive smaller than 250 GB.

We’ve only mentioned a handful of systems powered by Intel. There are many more, of course. When it comes time to choose, follow the simple guidelines we’ve given, and you’ll be sure to find the right PC for you.

Now that you’ve got a better idea what you’re looking for, visit our Buying Guide, which provides a more in-depth tour of some of the best Intel-powered tablets, 2 in 1s, and portable All-in-One devices on the market.

[ This sponsored article was written by IDG Creative Lab, a partner of PCWorld, and not by PCWorld's editorial staff. ]

This story, "What to look for in your new PC" was originally published by BrandPost.

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