I know this isn't done. I may never finish it. There are simply a lot of things to cover. If someone wants to write more spoilers for different parts in a computer, that'd be great. Just try to keep the information as timeless as possible.
Having built and purchased many computers over the years, I've become accustomed to the ways in which salesmen will rip you off or special features shown online are nothing more than hogwash. I'm here to impart some of my experience and knowledge so you guys don't get ripped off too. I tend to charge between $25 - 35/hr for my knowledge in helping people pick out a computer, and I often end up paying for myself and then some. So, take that into consideration while reading this article.
When first sitting down with a client, I want to know a few things about them and why they want to purchase a computer. The basics:
1. Who will be using the computer? Who will be footing the bill?
2. What will the computer be used for? What applications and accessories may be required? What equipment and programs can be salvaged from old PCs and what equipment cannot?
3. Where will the computer be placed? Does it need wireless internet connectivity? Is the person handicapped? Are there portability concerns?
4. When will the computer be used? At night? During the day? Only at college?
5. Why do you even need a computer now?
6. How much are you looking to spend? How often will you use the computer?
The amount of questions that can be asked when purchasing a new computer is rather daunting. In the end, you want the perfect tool for the perfect job. So, before buying a computer, sit down and write about what you expect to get out of it. Answer the Who/What/Where/When/Why/How. Most computers cost between $500 and $1500 USD, so this is no small amount of change. You will save a lot of time and money by doing this because salespeople would love to fill in the answers to these questions for you.
Once you have what you want figured out, now you can begin to work out what type of computer would be the best for you. Each type of computer has its pros and cons that you need to consider.
- Pros - Highly portable, long battery life, very cheap
- Cons - cramped screens, small keyboards, slow processing power, no upgradeability, limited selection, very little customization
- Most important components - Battery life, wifi connectivity
- Pros - Portable, decent battery life, bigger screen, better customizability, higher choice between vendors
- Cons - Limited upgradeability, weighs 5 - 7 pounds, often the most expensive choice
- Most important components - CPU power, battery life, wifi connectivity, hard disk speed, Graphic card (if gaming), USB/Firewire plugin
- Pros - Highly configurable at checkout, very customizable, highest performance, can salvage most parts
- Cons - Limited mobility, must buy all components separately (monitor, speakers, mouse, keyboard), takes up the most space
- Most important components - CPU power, Memory, Graphics card, Monitor
Here are some things to watch out for about each component. I'm going to try to keep this as timeless as I can.