New computer recommendations

Updated 11/2/23:

Since you’ll likely be spending the next 5-10 years or more with your next computer, please take a few minutes now to make an informed decision about what to look for in a new computer and accessories – and get the best deal. 

Our recommended minimum new computer specifications are:

  • Intel Core i3/AMD Ryzen 5 processor or better. For an Apple Mac computer we recommend getting Apple’s “M” series processor rather than an Intel processor.
  • 8 GB RAM or more
  • 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD) or larger
  • Please read New Computer Buying Guide for more detailed information.

We don’t recommend trying to save money on a refurbished computer. Typically they won’t last as long as a new computer, and are less secure due to unpatched processor flaws and some cannot be upgraded to more recent secure operating systems.

We’ve seen the best reliability with HP and Dell brands. Keep in mind that cheaper laptops and all-in-ones typically only have a vertical screen resolution of 768 pixels, whereas higher quality and clearer screens are 1080 pixels or higher.

Click on the links below to view recommended computers meeting the minimum recommended specifications noted above at the respective retailer’s website. Some models may be available in-store. If you come across a good deal elsewhere, remember to look for specifications that are a minimum of what’s listed above.

Desktop PCs:

Best Buy – Dell, HP – SSD PC Desktops

Costco – Dell, HP Desktops – make sure hard drive is SSD or HDD+SSD

HP Store – Desktop computer towers with SSD

Dell – Desktop computers & All-in-One PCs with SSD

Laptop/Notebook PCs – regular price differences are due to variances in screen size, processor (speed), screen resolution and 2-in-1 convertibility:

Best Buy – Dell, HP SSD PC Laptops

Costco – Dell, HP – SSD PC Laptops

Apple Mac:

Best Buy – iMac desktop

Best Buy – MacBook laptop

Costco – iMac desktop

Costco – MacBook laptop

Apple – iMac desktop – select Apple M1 or M1 Pro/Max chip

Apple – MacBook laptop – select Apple M1 or M1 Pro/Max chip

We can setup your new computer and transfer data from your old one

Please consider our IN-HOME services to get your new computer set-up quickly and properly, vs. the chain stores offerings, or attempting it yourself:

  • Set-up and connect your new computer to your network, printer and other external hardware. If you buy from a national chain store you’ll likely notice that they don’t specialize in in-home service, or they charge much more for the option. We’ll make sure all of your external devices work with your new computer.
  • Transfer data (documents, pictures, music, etc.) and compatible programs from an old computer. Some tech services just transfer your data to a folder on your desktop – we organize your data and put it in the right folders and programs. 
  • Remove trialware and unnecessary adware. We also setup free security, backup and word processing/spreadsheet software.
  • Customization and explanation of Windows features. We’ll setup the menus, controls and buttons with familiarity of your previous computer.
  • Install initial updates. A new computer out-of-the-box is already several months behind critical operating system updates and computer hardware updates.
  • Consulting about questions you have about your new computer system
  • Recommended storage/disposal/donation of an old unused computer

Custom-built computers

If you need a computer custom-built for gaming or business needs, we recommend contacting our friends at Technology Center.

FBI warning: Cyber criminals impersonating brands using search engine advertisement services to defraud users

Cybercriminals are Targeting People with Malvertising and Imitation Ads

In recent months, there has been a surge in cybercriminal activity using a variety of techniques, including malvertising and imitation ads, to trick people into revealing personal and financial information or downloading malware.

FBI Warns of Imitation Ads in Paid Search Results

The FBI has warned of an increase in imitation ads that are appearing in paid search results. These ads are designed to look like ads from legitimate companies, but they actually lead to fake websites that are designed to steal personal information or install malware. Some of the ads lead to fake security warnings designed to get people to call and pay for unnecessary tech support services.

Malvertising Campaign Targets Seniors via Fake Weebly Sites

One recent example of how cybercriminals are targeting seniors is a malvertising campaign that is using fake Weebly sites to host decoy content that is designed to fool search engines and crawlers. When victims click on a link to one of these sites, they are redirected to a fake computer alert that warns them that their computer is infected with malware. The fake alert then prompts victims to call a tech support number, where they are scammed into paying for unnecessary repairs or services.

How to Protect Yourself

There are a number of things that people can do to protect themselves from these scams, including:

  • Be suspicious of unexpected pop-ups or alerts. If you see a pop-up or alert that warns you that your computer is infected with malware, do not click on any links or call any phone numbers. Instead, close the pop-up or alert and/or restart your computer.
  • Be careful about what you click on. Do not click on links in emails or text messages from unknown senders. Even if the sender appears to be a legitimate company, it is always best to hover your mouse over the link to see the real URL before you click on it.
  • Don’t respond to an invoice for something you never ordered. Scammers are using fake invoices to get you to call them to supposedly cancel an invoice or charge. When in doubt, contact your financial institution about unrecognized invoices or charges.
  • Go to the address directly when possible. Rather than search for a business or financial institution, type the business’s website address into an internet browser’s address bar to access the official website directly. For example, rather than searching for “Amazon”, type “” into the address bar of your browser.
  • Double-check the website address. After clicking a link in a search result or typing in a website address, double-check the website address in the address bar for spelling errors to make sure that you’re on the website that you intended to be on. A malicious domain name may be similar to the intended URL but with typos or a misplaced letter.
  • Use an ad blocking extension when performing internet searches. Most internet browsers allow a user to add extensions, including extensions that block advertisements. These ad blockers can be turned on and off within a browser to permit advertisements on certain websites while blocking advertisements on others. But be careful to pick a reputable ad blocker with millions of favorable reviews. A free ad blocker we like is AdblockPlus. You do not need to pay for a good, reputable ad blocker.

By following these tips, you can help to protect yourself from the growing number of cyber scams that are targeting people of all ages.

Passkeys slowly replacing passwords for account logins

  • Passkeys are a new secure way of logging into websites and apps without the need for a username and password. Google just made passkeys the default method for sign-in unless you opt-out.
  • As of fall 2023, few websites support the use of passkeys for sign-in.
  • Usernames and passwords will continue to exist for many years due to the slow and voluntary adoption of passkeys. Therefore we still recommend the use of a password manager to store passwords, passkeys and secure information.

Passkeys are a new type of login credential that allow you to log in to websites and apps more easily and securely. After enabling passkeys on a specific account, instead of having to type in a username and password on a website, you’ll simply click a “Sign in with passkey” button or link.

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