Choosing the Right Computer for Digital Scrapbooking

Many people often wonder what the best computer for digital scrapbooking is. Some may wonder if they should invest in an Apple or if a Windows PC will be sufficient. Others might be concerned that their computer may not have the best monitor display or worry about memory issues. Then there is the ever pressing question of whether you should get a laptop or a desktop. While purchasing a computer is entirely a personal decision, we DO have some awesome tips to help you make sure that the computer you get is one that will not disappoint!

So, to help you decide, here is a list of important things to consider:

1. Desktop or Laptop: This is the most important thing to think about because there are many pros and cons to consider. Laptops are portable, so you can scrap anywhere, anytime. However, you will often have to sacrifice memory and hard drive storage for that portability. If you use a laptop a lot, you will have to worry about the fan burning up -most of my laptops rarely survive more than 6 months without the fan going. Desktops may be stationary, but you will get a larger screen, a larger keyboard, and you will also have more memory and hard drive space for the same price. You’ll also have the advantage of a desk – a place to put your notes, your coffee, and more room and control with an actual mouse.

2. Apple or PC: This is another never ending debate on the type of computer to get. Apples tend to be easier to use and last a little bit longer, and PCs are famous for having problems. But, Apples are very expensive – you can usually buy 3-4 PCs for the price of 1 Apple, so that is something to think about! I personally use PCs – mainly because I have three children and if they destroy my PC, I will not be heartbroken, and maybe even subconsciously happy for the excuse to buy a new one…if they destroyed a $2000 Apple, I would likely be upset.

3. Is the computer compatible with your camera? This question comes up because I had to buy a new laptop not too long ago and I never considered this aspect. It had all the memory and other specs I wanted – but it does not have an SD card slot! Which means instead of just popping the card in and then coming back later, I have to worry about my camera being connected to the computer via USB. (Which, with three kids again makes me a bit nervous as I do not want to leave the camera and the computer unattended together for a second!)

4. RAM/Memory: The more Ram you have, the faster your programs will run. I personally recommend 3 GB of Ram as the absolute bare minimum, ideally you should have at least 4 GB, and anything higher is wonderful. Programs such as Photoshop and others can be very memory hogging – so this can definitely help your computer run smoothly and quickly.

5. Hard Drive Space: These days you can get an affordable laptop with as much as 250 GB of Hard Drive space and higher, which is plenty of space. Ideally you should back everything up routinely on an external hard drive anyways, so sometimes less is actually a good thing as it will help you keep motivated to back everything up.

6. Monitor Size/Appearance: Because monitors greatly vary from computer to computer, it can be very difficult to choose the right one for you. Some are wide screen, some are small, some are big. I think for scrapbooking you should use a monitor that is at least 12 inches. The larger the monitor on a laptop, the less portable your laptop will become. However, many programs will not work on a screen that is too small, and it can be hard to see your entire page. You’ll also want to make sure you are able to control your monitor settings. My laptop does not have a contrast option, which makes it hard for me to view certain colors unless I have the screen tilted at the perfect angle in some lighting.

What is Your Budget?: Computers can be very inexpensive – you do not have to spend much to get everything you need. But, on the other side of the spectrum, some computers can still be very expensive. I generally do not spend more than about $500 for a computer, and will definitely pay less if I can still get everything I need in terms of memory and hard drive space if there is something available. If a new computer is not in your budget, remember that computers depreciate very quickly, so you can often find a used one for a fraction of the price.

Shop Around: It is always a good idea to shop several places before purchasing your computer as you may get a better value at one store than another. We don’t have many stores to purchase computers at near where I live, so being able to go to sites like to see all of the options, read the reviews, and comparison shop really helps me choose what to get.

When choosing the best computer for digital scrapbooking, whether it be a laptop or a desktop, just about any newer computer will likely work for your needs. If you go through these things to consider that we’ve listed, you’ll have a good idea of what to look for and where to comparison shop – so it’s just a matter of finding something within your budget!

What type of computer do you recommend for digital scrapbooking? Share your recommendations in the comments section below!