What Computer Specifications Do I Need | Read Before You Buy

Computer system requirement recommendations are meant to provide minimum guidelines on which computer configurations work best in a general everyday computing environment. Different recommended and minimum configurations are available for specific computing tasks. System requirement recommendations focus on the hardware specifications of the computer.

Everyday Use Recommended Minimum Computer Specifications
Components Laptop Desktop
Processor (CPU) Core i5 Core i5
Operating System Windows 10 or MacOS High Sierra Windows 10 or MacOS High Sierra
Memory 8 to 12 GB 8 to 12 GB
Storage SSD 250 GB SSD 500 GB
Monitor/Display 1920 x 1080 14 to 15 inch 1920 x 1080 21 inch and up
Network Adapter 802.11g/n (WPA2 support required) 802.11g/n (WPA2 support required)
Graphics Integrated Integrated
Webcam 1080p 1080p

Gaming Recommended Minimum Computer Specifications
Components Laptop Desktop
Processor (CPU) Quad-Core i5-9300H processor (2.4 GHz base frequency, Up to 4.1GHz, 4 Cores, 8 Threads, 8GB Cache) Intel's Core i7-9700F Coffee Lake processor
Operating System Windows 10 or MacOS High Sierra Windows 10 or MacOS High Sierra
Memory 8 to 12 GB 16 GB DDR4 RAM
Storage 256GB NVme Solid State Drive (SSD) 240 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD
Monitor/Display 1920 x 1080 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 21 inch and up
Network Adapter 802.11g/n (WPA2 support required) 802.11g/n (WPA2 support required)
Garphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM NVIDIA's GTX 1660 Ti
Webcam 1080p 1080p
Sound Integrated Sound BlasterX AE-5


What computer specifications do I need

In today’s world the current minimum computer specifications needed to run the most basic kinds of software is an Intel Core i5 CPU or processor. There are more powerful models like the Core i7 and there are less powerful models like the Core i3. Depending on your exact requirements for what you are looking or wanting to do with your computer you may need more or less computing power. The Core i5 is recommended based on the fact that it’s an overall general good recommendation without knowing all the facts of use.

Please note there are many different models of Intel Core i5 processors. So there are many models to choose from. Let’s take a close look at the different models so you will have more knowledge of the models of Core i5s when buying your computer.

The middle of the road Core i5 processor model and probably the best bang for the buck is the Intel Core i5-8500 which runs at 3.00GHz. Current price as of this writing is about $229.00.

Next up in power and cost is the Core i5-8600 running at 3.10GHz and costing at the time of this writing is about $244.47. Continuing on upping the power and price is the Intel Core i5-8600K. The “K” model can be over clocked thus providing even more power than advertised. Price is about $249.99. And the king of all Core i5 processors at the time of this writing is the Intel Core i5-9600K running at a lighting fast 3.7GHx and costing $275.72.

When you consider purchasing a computer you should take into consideration you will need to buy slightly more power do to the fact that you will almost always have anti-virus software running the background. In addition, browser software like Chrome and Firefox are always being updated to do more thus requiring more power to run. Buy a little more power now means you will have enough power later to keep up thus extending the useful life of your computer.

Computer sustainability specifications  

I recommend computer models that have at least the EPEAT Gold rating. These computers meet the latest ENERGY STAR specifications and are designed to be easily recycled. Learn more about the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT).

What computer specs mean? 

The heart of any computer is what called the CPU (Central Processing Unit) and can be compared to that of a car engine. The CPU is really the circuitry that is responsible for carrying out the instructions of software. The more horse power the engine has the faster you can go. So the car engine roughly translates to what is called a computer’s CPU. The bigger or more powerful the CPU the faster your computer can process data and the faster you will get things done. CPU is also referred to as the processor. Names of Intel’s CPUs: Intel Core i7, Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i3.

How do you find out computer specs? 

It is real easy to find out your computer specs once you know where to look. If you are running a Windows PC open the Windows Setting panel. Sorry Mac users this article only covers Windows based computers at the time of this writing. Open the Windows 10 Setting panel and in the System panel you will see what type of processor you have and how much memory or RAM you have. In addition, you will also see if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit system.

Step 1: Click your Windows icon found in the lower left on your desktop computer

Step 2: Click the gear icon to go to settings

Step 3: Click on System

Step 4: Click on the About menu option

Step 5: Looking at the Device Specifications you see this device is a Core i7-8700K processor with 16 GB of memory running a 64 bit Windows 10 Pro operating system.

When buying a computer you should consider these 3 facts 

The best PC gaming equipment is built to higher standards and usually contains more features than non gaming products. Manufactures know hardcore gamers use these devices for longer periods of time and they will have to stand up to the rigors of intense game play.

Look at the features for a regular computer mouse as compared to a gaming mouse. A regular mouse does not contain such features as adjustable weight and balance tuning, programmable keys and advanced surface materials and coatings to make it last longer and be slip resistant. The advanced technology built into these gaming devices aid in precision, comfort and reliability. For example look at the features on this Roccat gaming mouse as compared to a regular mouse.

Manufactures know if their product fails early, they get a bad name in the gamer community. Thus everyone knows to stay away from that manufacture and their equipment.

Fact #1 – Use What the Pros Use 

If you are a golfer and Tiger Woods or Arnold Palmer recommends a Nike VRS Convert 2C driver and your neighbor recommends something else what are you going to purchase? Sounds simple and it is! Just take the recommendation from the pro.

The pro did not get to be the pro by not using his equipment. They most likely wore it out. If you are reading reviews and you read a review where several gamers agree on a particular brand or model for a keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc. then take notice. These are the pros you should be taking recommendations from and paying attention to what they are saying. If you read a review on a mouse and no gamers are making comments or reviews this should tell you something.

The bottom line is if you want the best computer equipment seek advice and recommendations from the gaming community. Their advice and recommendations can be found by reading online product reviews. For example several gamers gave reviews for a BenQ Basic Monitor. It has a many 5 star reviews which is good. This looks to be a solid purchase if you are looking for a monitor but make sure to also read the negative reviews before making a final decision.

Fact #2 – High Consumer Ratings 

Consumer ratings “the reviews” tell it all. A high consumer rating is usually a good indicator that the device will perform as advertised. Some reviews will contain a few bad ones. But this may not be totally bad. Further investigation is required on your part to determine the reason for the bad review. For example, you may find 500 great reviews and less than 10 bad ones. Look at all the bad reviews to determine if the product really failed or if it was user error. In some cases you will find the person was misinformed about the product and thought the equipment came with a cable etc. or had a particular function when in fact it did not. In other cases the equipment could have been damaged in shipping. Sometimes it’s just impossible to tell.

If the device has a particular feature you like, like a lighted keyboard and the reviews mention a few problems but the majority of the reviews are very good, you may want to make a purchase anyway. For example, look at the reviews for the G710 Mechanical keyboard. There are a few problems reported but the manufacture stands behind their product. This should be considered in part of your decision to buy or not to buy.

Fact #3 – Life time warranties 

If a gaming device has a life time warranty or a limited life time warranty this is what you want. The longer the warranty the better and “the less restrictions” placed on the warranty the better. The manufacture is telling you they are standing behind their product when offering a warranty. The manufacture is saying look at us we are different than the rest because we have earned a reputation of trust and quality and prove it by offering a better warranty. For example, look at Corsair Vengeance Dominator RAM. They offer a limited life time warranty. A few of the reviews are not so good but they stand behind their product. See the manufactures response in the product review section. It is worth taking into consideration when purchasing that the manufacture responded directly in the review section and offers to replace their product.

When buying a computer conclusion 

The best PC gaming equipment is built to higher standards. There are exceptions to the secrets mentioned above. There are situations where following the secrets for purchasing devices with life time warranties, high rating and pro recommendations still resulted in a dud. However, experience has shown that by following the 3 biggest secrets to buying the best PC gaming equipment drastically increases your chances of purchasing the best.

More helpful information on computer specs

Computer specifications list
Minimum Specifications

    Processor - dual core @ 2.4 GHz (i5 or i7 Intel processor or equivalent AMD)
    RAM - 8 to 12 GB.
    Hard Drive - SSD 320 to 500 GB.
    Wireless (for laptops) - 802.11g/n (WPA2 support required)
    Monitor - 19" LCD - desktop only.
    Operating System - Windows 10 or Apple OS equivalence - MacOS High Serra for example.

Computer specifications explained

Computer specification (Hardware) Computer hardware specifications are technical descriptions of the computer's components and capabilities. Processor speed, model and manufacturer. ... The higher the number, the faster the computer. Random Access Memory (RAM), This is typically indicated in gigabytes (GB). Computer specification definition

How to Configure Your Laptop: Specs That Matter

    CPU: Go for Core i5. Choose a Core i5 chip for the best balance of performance and price. ...
    RAM: Roll with 8GB. ...
    Storage: 256GB SSD or better. ...
    Screen: At Least 1920 x 1080 resolution. ...
    Battery: Bigger is better. ...
    Windows Version: Don't go Pro.
Laptop specifications

Understanding CPU Specs - CPU Specs Guide for Beginners