I'll try to keep it as small and simple as possible for the sake of clarity. This post is intended to create awareness among the designer community on what to look out for in their machines. Be it laptop or a desktop PC, there are a few things to be considered.
A PC primarily requires the following components to work.
CPU : Often mistakenly referred to a PC cabinet or the Computer as a whole but is actually the most important component, the processor and basically does most of the work of the system, It can be considered as the brain. So a higher end CPU would mean generally faster system and faster processing of applications.
GPU : The second most important component would be the GPU which drives the display and offers graphics performance, also known as graphics processing unit. This could be either in the form of Integrated Graphics or dedicated/discrete graphics. In the case of Integrated graphics, there is no special hardware and the GPU is built in to the CPU which limits the graphics performance and offers relatively very low performance as compared to the dedicated graphics cards. But, not every application needs a high end GPU and can get by just fine with just the integrated GPU. This is the case for most commonly used applications and these heavily rely on the CPU, such types of applications are referred to as CPU intensive applications while applications that are heavily reliant on GPU are referred to as GPU intensive applications. For better 3D content creation related tasks, a high end GPU is generally recommended. For understanding your needs more accurately, always refer to the recommended specifications of the applications you'll be primarily using.
RAM : While all data on a PC is stored on a hard drive, the hard drives are not fast enough to run applications at our beck and call. Instead, once we open an application, it is loaded into the ram and stored during the duration of working until the application is closed or power is lost. This is done so as to keep the application in memory ready to be called instantly when minimized. It also keeps all other data required by the application stored in the ram for high speed access (around 240x faster than accessing from a regular hard drive). Once the ram is filled, a general slow down occurs due to usage of the hard drive instead of the ram. So to sum it up, the higher amount of ram available, the more amount of applications you can use simultaneously without causing a slowdown. In 2020, an 8 GB ram is a great place to start with for any usage scenarios if you're using windows 10.
Storage : There are two kinds of storage currently commonly available for consumer use. HDD and SSD. A third kind SSHD is also available, otherwise known as a hybrid HDD. The primary difference is that the HDD which is actually a mechanical spinning drive is limited in speed whereas even an entry level SSD is about 5 times faster than the average HDD. Since the windows OS and every other data are stored in a hard drive, a faster hard drive would mean faster windows OS loading times and hence faster boot. This is where SSD comes in and increases the general responsiveness and performance of the PC. However, SSDs are still relatively expensive than HDD but with that being said, if you can afford it, you should definitely consider an SSD.
These about sums up the basic components and their working common to desktop and laptops. A detailed post on PCs will be posted later. Let me know in the comments your queries, suggestions and feedbacks. Have a great day!