The Computer Buzz
||February 1st, 2007|
Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Factory
Selecting Your New PC
PCs aren't a "one size fits all" commodity. There are several factors to be considered when selecting a PC system. What you plan to use it for is certainly one of them.
Many of us think no further than what we've been doing with our old PC. Our only expectation is that the new PC will do it faster and have fewer problems. That's certainly a valid assumption but isn't this the time to think about what today's PCs can do and whether we might want to expand our own horizons a bit?
Business or home PCs that are primarily used for text based programs (word processors, spreadsheets, accounting, greeting cards etc) and Internet surfing can be fairly basic. Just about any PC built since the year 2000 with at least 256Mb of RAM and Windows 2000 will handle text based tasks and the WWW as handily as a new high-end PC.
All of the new "super cheap" Dell, Compaq, HP, Gateway and E-Machines meet these minimal requirements, but it may be prudent to avoid buying a PC that is so cheap or so proprietary that it lacks the horsepower and flexibility to keep up with current and future PC technology.
"Open architecture" or "white box" PCs are infinitely configurable and universally flexible because they are made with industry standard (non-proprietary) components. This makes them inexpensive to maintain and easy to upgrade. Local warranty and repair service coupled with direct technical support make these PCs the best choice for small business and home users. There are over ten thousand independent small businesses like The Computer Factory making custom "open architecture" PCs for local business and home users.
The process of "specing out" a new PC is fairly straightforward when you have the opportunity to talk to folks who really understand computers and are interested in helping you "design" a computer that will meet your present and future needs.
Unfortunately it is rare to find either of these characteristics among the sales clerks who infest the PC departments of most electronics specialty stores. Even if you find a sales clerk who actually knows something about PCs, he is probably on commission and motivated to sell you whatever he has on hand rather than what you really need.
Try this test. Make two lists. First list things you do with your PC and things you would like your new PC to do for you. Then list all the questions you can think of relating to PC components (RAM, hard drive, CPU, optical drive, power supply, USB, Ethernet etc.) Don't worry about asking dumb questions, it's part of the test.
Take your lists with you to the retail store of your choice and start asking questions After about 10 minutes you should have a pretty good idea whether they know what they're talking about and if they really care about your specific PC needs. It's a great way to find out who you can trust to help you make PC decisions.