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January 26, 2015

Buying a New Computer 2015 Edition

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

Computers die, sometimes in a painful and lingering way. The goal in getting a new system is to replace the old one before its inevitable death.

Generally speaking, computers should last anywhere from 4 to 6 years. Laptops should give you at least 3 years of solid service. After that span, start thinking about getting your next system. (Refer to my blog post on how to determine how old your PC is.)

Here are things to consider after you determine your PC is old enough to perhaps need a replacement:

First comes software compatibility. If the operating system is no longer supported, a replacement is necessary. I get email from lots of people who have 10-year-old computers running Windows XP. It’s time for a new system in that situation.

Second comes reliability. Hard drives don’t last forever. They will fail. Computer memory can also fault, although that problem isn’t as common as a hard drive that just up-and-dies.

Finally, consider the issue of speed. A new system will be faster. This fact has nothing to do with “junk” on your computer. You can remove the junk, but the processor and memory aren’t going to be as peppy as with a new system.

As I wrote back in 2013, the question today isn’t really whether or not to replace an antique computer, it’s what to replace the computer with.

If you use the computer for email, to play puzzle games, social networking, and so on, then you probably need a tablet to replace it. The tablet can do everything you need, plus you can get a real keyboard for it if you detest typing on a touchscreen. Larger screen tablets are coming out, so screen size shouldn’t be an issue.

When you need a replacement computer, then follow the basic five steps I’ve outlined before on this blog:

  1. Know what you plan on doing with the computer.
  2. Find software to meet your goals.
  3. Look for hardware to match the software.
  4. Shop based on service and support.
  5. Buy the computer!

I don’t do brand names and model numbers, so forget about that. I recommend that you shop at a local place, what I call a “Mom & Pop” store. There you’ll find the service and support you need, something absent from the experience of buying a PC at a Big Box store.

These days, finding software isn’t an issue for most people. If you’re running Microsoft Office, work the Internet, and occasionally play a computer game, just about any PC will suit you well.

If you play high-end video games, I recommend doing some research into getting a fancy video adapter and plenty of memory. Video game manufacturer offer recommendations on which video adapters work best and how much memory is ideal. Heed those suggestions!

Finally, if you have need PC power for projects such as animation, film editing, graphics, and other specific tasks, refer to the software to see what its requirements could be. Check the processor, storage, memory, and other features. Ensure that the PC you get matches or exceeds those software requirements.

Follow the five steps, not neglecting the service and support, and then get the computer that’s perfect for you.

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