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Technology Research Center Main

Computer Research Center

All the tools you need to find the perfect PC.

Staples has a wide selection of the latest computers, and all at great low prices. Find the right one for you with our helpful research tools.

All the tools you need to find the perfect pc.

A quick overview

From powerhouse desktops to super portable laptops, there's a computer for every need. And with improving technology, they're getting faster and sleeker every day.

Learn about our computer selection

Things to consider

ScreenPurchase an Asus laptop at Staples

Size

When choosing a desktop or laptop, a 14- or 15-inch screen is a good choice for everyday tasks like checking email, updating your Facebook status or printing directions. But if you're constantly on the move, you'll want to choose a 13- or 14-inch screen, because they're lighter and easier to carry around. If you plan to create huge spreadsheets, present slideshows or play games, then a 17-inch screen is recommended.

Touchscreen

The latest in display technology is the touchscreen, which allows you to execute commands by simply touching the screen. There is no need for a mouse or keyboard so your desktop stays clutter-free. Microsoft’s latest entry into the touchscreen world is Windows 8, featuring a revolutionary touch interface and live tiles that let you get a whole lot done, while having some fun.

Learn about processors at StaplesProcessor speed

The processor or CPU is kind of like the computer’s brain. It reads and completes all the tasks your computer performs, from sending an email to using Photoshop. Some processors can complete tasks faster than others. So if you use your computer for everyday tasks, like browsing online or using Word or Excel, a basic processor is perfect. But let’s say you want to send a few emails, edit photos and stream videos all at the same time, then you’ll need a superior processor.

Learn about hard drives and other storage devices at Staples

Storage

Hard drive

The hard drive is where your computer stores all your permanent data like your operating system, software programs, photos, videos, music and more. Hard drives range in size from 16GB to 2TB. For basic use, 500GB is fine unless you rely heavily on the cloud - then you can go with less. But if you've got folders and folders of photos stored on your hard drive plan on running lots of programs, choose at least 1TB.


SSD

SSD or Solid-State-Drives are the latest technology in internal storage. They're smaller, lighter and faster than regular internal drives and have no moving parts so they're less susceptible to physical shock. Solid-State-Drives can be found in the newest laptops, desktops and UltraPortables.

Learn about computer battery life

Battery life

There’s nothing worse then when your laptop dies right in the middle of an important project. So if you’ll be working out of the office, choose a longer-lasting battery. Some can last up to 9 hours. Also consider how you’ll be using your laptop. Playing a DVD uses more battery power than other functions, but most models can play one full movie without having to be recharged. Some laptops accept an additional battery, which gives you twice the power, but adds weight and size.

Hardware and PeripheralsHardware and peripherals Staples

There’s a whole lot more to shopping for a computer than just the computer. It's also important to know what kind of extra hardware or peripherals you’ll need. Here’s what to look for:

Ports: USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports let you connect peripherals like keyboards, printers and external hard drives. While two USB ports are ideal, the more you have, the more devices you can connect simultaneously. It’s also a good idea to look for a computer with an HDMI output for streaming Hi-Def movies on your TV.

Monitors: Knowing what size monitor to get really depends on how you’ll be using it. For watching movies or sports, viewing presentations or gaming, the bigger, the better. You’ll also want to make sure the display resolution and response time support maximum sharpness and clarity.

Keyboard/Mouse: Standard keyboards and mice are a great option, but if you want to keep desk clutter to a minimum, it’s worth exploring cordless devices. For keyboards, size and comfort are key, while with mice, it’s all about grip and optical precision.

 

Laptop typesLearn about the different laptop types

Everyday

Most laptops fall into this category and range from basic to high performance depending on the features you choose. But one thing is the same: all-purpose laptops are powerful enough for everyday computing with the added benefit of being portable.

View everyday laptops

 

ultra-portable

Ultrabooks

Slim, light and great for on the go, UltraPortables are a step up from netbooks. They’ve got more processing power and more advanced features than netbooks, like fast Solid-State-Drives, but are smaller and lighter than laptops. And some models come with an optical drive so you can watch DVDs.

View all Ultrabooks

 

chromebooks

Chromebooks

Chromebooks are a new kind of personal computer that weigh less than traditional laptops because they don’t have a hard drive. They operate faster and won’t slow down over time, come with built-in security, back files up to the cloud, and feature automatic updates at no additional cost.

View all Chromebooks

Purchase Microsoft select laptops at StaplesMicrosoft Select Laptops

Working together, Staples and Microsoft carefully selected PCs for their design, mobility and performance. Whether you want a super portable laptop or need a powerhouse, Windows 8 PCs offer cutting-edge features – like an innovative, lightweight construction and touch-focused interface – to give you the best computing experience.

See Microsoft Select Windows 8 PCs.

Desktop typesTower PCs

Tower PCs

The tower desktop is the most common PC and offers the greatest range of features. Desktops tend to get the newest technology ahead of laptops, so they're great if you need super high performance. Lower-end desktops are usually less expensive than lower-end laptops while still offering basic everyday performance. Desktops offer the most connectivity options and are also highly expandable, so they can grow with you.

View all tower PCs

 

all-in-one

All-in-one

Rather than having a separate tower and monitor, all-in-one desktops combine these features into one, space-saving design. Their compact size allows more flexibility in where you decide to put your PC and some even have a touch-screen display. Many come with a wireless keyboard and mouse, which cuts down on cord clutter.

View all-in-one computers

Shop by use

basic-computersEveryday

A reliable choice for home users who need a basic everyday PC.

Best for:

  • Web browsing and other common tasks
  • Word processing and other basic applications
  • Managing MP3s and videos
  • Viewing and editing videos
  • Playing video games

Shop Everyday Laptops
Shop Everyday Desktops

Shop for high performance professional computers at StaplesProfessional

For home or business users who need faster speeds and more performance.

Best for:

  • Accessing multiple documents & applications at the same time
  • Managing and storing documents, music and photos
  • Streaming videos
  • Enhanced gaming capabilities

Shop Professional Laptops
Shop Professional Desktops

Shop for computers with great gaming and entertainment capabilitiesGaming/Entertainment

Ideal for those who want the richest gaming or entertainment experience.

Features include:

  • Larger hard drives for increased storage
  • Advanced processors for better performance
  • Super fast graphics cards and 3D capabilities for enhanced gaming
  • Ability to run demanding programs such as Adobe Photoshop

Shop Gaming Laptops
Shop Gaming Desktops
Shop Entertainment Laptops
Shop Entertainment Desktops

business-computersBusiness grade

Specifically for business users.

Features include:

  • Larger hard drives for increased storage
  • More durable construction
  • Faster processors for multi-tasking
  • Ability to create and edit spreadsheets and slide presentations

Shop Business Grade Laptops

Use the computer selector

Watch videos

Choosing a computer

There are three major features to consider when buying a computer: processor, memory and hard drive. This video walks you through each of them, so you know exactly what to look for.

Choosing a computer

Choosing a laptop

Learn about data backup and security

Glossary of terms

  • All terms
  • Bluetooth®
  • DVI port
  • Face-recognition software
  • Fingerprint reader
  • FireWire® port
  • Graphics
  • Hard drive
  • HDMI port
  • Media reader
  • Mobile broadband
  • Operating system
  • Optical drive
  • Processor
  • RAM (Memory)
  • TV tuner
  • USB (Universal Serial Bus)
  • Wireless LAN

Bluetooth®
Enables communication among mobile phones, computers and wireless headsets.

DVI port
A digital visual interface port enables you to connect your computer to a digital-display monitor/TV with minimal loss of image quality. A DVI port is great for showing a slideshow of your photos on your home TV.

Face-recognition software
Security feature that replaces the need for a password.

Fingerprint reader
Security feature that prevents others from using your computer.

FireWire® port
A standard interface socket designed to provide connectivity between computers and digital audio and video equipment. If you plan to download videos from your camera to your computer, a FireWire port is a must.

Graphics
When buying a laptop, you will have two choices for the graphics:

Graphics card/dedicated graphics This is a separate card fitted into the laptop with a graphics processor and its own memory. The more megabytes (MB) the graphics card has, the faster and more detailed graphics you can run on your laptop (e.g., video).

Integrated/shared/external graphics The graphics processor is often integrated into the computer motherboard. Integrated graphics share the memory from the main computer (RAM), which means the laptop will have less memory for other tasks. This is best suited to general office tasks and everyday use.

Hard drive
Your laptop stores all its internal data here. It's measured in gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB). The more GB, the more music, movies and data can be stored. Some hard drives are even encrypted for extra security.

HDMI port
A high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port enables you to send digital audio and video signals to a high definition TV. HDMI supports, on a single cable, any TV or PC video format including standard, enhanced and high-definition video along with eight channels of digital audio. An HDMI port will ensure great picture quality when watching Internet content on your HDTV.

Media reader
A media card slot allows you to view information directly from a media card (e.g., a digital camera memory card) on your laptop with no cables or camera required.

Mobile broadband
Enables you to connect to the Internet wherever there's cell service.

Operating system
A type of software that controls the other software on the laptop.

Optical drive
The optical drive is the area that uses optical discs such as DVDs and CDs. Within the optical drive there are various functions that differ between laptops. These functions are outlined below:

DVD This optical drive can use both CD and DVD discs.

+/- This symbol means the laptop can use both -discs and +discs, which are made by different manufacturers. Some optical drives only use -discs (-DVD or -CD) and some only use +discs (+DVD or +CD).

RW These initials indicate that a disc is rewritable, which means it can play, record and re-record data.

Dual layer A disc with dual-layer capability can store more information than a single-layer disc, as its lasers read the disc on two levels.

LightScribe™ LightScribe uses laser-etching to burn labels directly onto your CDs and DVDs.

DVD RAM This format is efficient for storing data files, as opposed to media files. It is an ideal format for archiving office documents.

Blu-ray ROM Install a Blu-ray ROM in your computer to watch Hi-Def Blu-ray movies on your computer. Or connect your computer to your TV and use your computer as a Blu-ray DVD player.

Processor
This is the brain of the laptop. Different processors provide various levels of performance.

RAM (Memory)
The Random Access Memory (RAM) is a temporary storage area. The higher a laptop's number of megabytes of RAM, the more files it will be able to process.

TV tuner
A TV tuner card is a computer component that allows TV signals to be received by a computer. Most TV tuners also function as video capture cards, allowing them to record TV programs onto a hard disk.

USB (Universal Serial Bus)
This is a standard that allows for easy connection of external peripherals, such as printers and mice, to your laptop. It also supports plug and play.

Wireless LAN
This allows a mobile user to connect to a local area network (LAN) through a wireless connection. There are "hotspots" where you can easily connect to the LAN (e.g., in airports).

Computer accessories

appsOnline apps

We researched and selected the latest and greatest in business-enhancing apps and put them all in one place.

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Computer & Tablet Cleaning AccessoriesComputer cleaning

Keep computers and tablets dust, germ and fingerprint-free with safe and effective cleaning products.

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monitorsMonitors and screen filters

From wide-screen to anti glare, we've got what you need.

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mice-keyboardsMice, keyboards & speakers

Hook up your new PC with all the right accessories.

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networkingNetworking

Get connected with all the latest wireless networking products.

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data-storageData storage

From thumb drives to hard drives and online backup, we've got the right solutions.

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software-accessoriesBatteries & power

Charge up with replacement batteries, power cords and other backup devices from top-rated brands at Staples®.

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software-accessoriesSoftware

Security and financial software, operating systems, photo & video editing tools and more.

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protection-plansProtection

From protection plans to bags, we've got what you need to protect your computer.

printers-accessoriesPrinters, scanners and webcams

From printers and scanners, to webcams, find everything you need.

Shop for Tech Services at StaplesTech support services

From tune ups to data transfers, count on our Staples® EasyTech℠ experts

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