There is a nice overview of the various ways adjectives and nouns can work together in English here.
As to your specific example, you might find these portions of the cited page especially helpful:
When the information contained in an adjective is not the main focus
of a statement, then the adjective is usually placed before the noun
in the attributive position.
However, when the main focus of a statement is to give the information
contained in an adjective, the adjective is usually placed after the
verb in the predicative position, compare:
He handed me a bucket of hot water. (attributive position) I put my
hand in the bucket, the water was very hot. (predicative position,
There are some adjectives which can only be used before a noun, in the attributive position. For instance, we talk about the main problem but cannot say, the problem was main.
Adjectives which occur only in the attributive position are generally
those which identify something as being of a particular type. For
instance, we can talk about a financial decision where financial
distinguishes this from other types of decision, e.g.: medical,
political. This group of adjectives are often referred to as
classifying adjectives, and rarely occur in the predicative position
unless we specifically want to emphasise a contrast, e.g.:
a chemical reaction not, e.g.: a reaction which was/is chemical the
phonetic alphabet not, e.g.: the alphabet is phonetic It was an indoor
pool. not, e.g.: The pool was indoor
To look at your specific question about the computer:
Your first example, "the white computer," seems to be an instance of a "classifying adjective," as discussed in the second block above: that is, an adjective used to distinguish the white computer from the black one, the gray one, etc. So you would use "white computer" as with "financial decision" in the text above, because you want to specify that you mean the white computer, not the black one or the gray one.
But if you wanted to emphasize the whiteness not just as a classifier but as the most important piece of information, you might say "the computer is white." For example, if someone asked you "Is your computer black?" you would say, "No, it is white."
And if you were using an adjective that provided some additional information about the noun which was not so important either to classify or to emphasize, you might put the adjective before the noun, but probably preceded by "a" or "an" rather than "the," e.g., "I think there is still an old computer in the attic."
Note that there are other special instances to keep in mind, at least some of which are discussed at the linked page.