On Buying A New Computer

Many of my customers are asking about new computers. With many of their computers ranging from 5 to 8 years old, this is to be expected. The push is also coming from the massive tech world press for NEW!, Windows 8 advertising, and the ever present “My new gadget won’t work with my new computer!” I even had a customer whose iPhone told her she needed a new computer.

If you have recently purchased a new computer, please stop here. I am not trying to cause buyer’s remorse. If your computer is working for you, stand up and cheer. It is the right one for you.

The first thing you should know is that you don’t want Windows 8. It is Microsoft’s latest entry in operating systems. While many of you know that I don’t like new things, this is a little more intense. I don’t just hate it, I despise it. The system is designed for the tablet world, and in that arena it may be just fine, but for a current windows user, the interface is confusing and non-intuitive. I have been working in the Windows environment for more than 20 years, and I struggle every time I have to work in this environment. I figure if it gives me fits, it isn’t ready for my customers, family or friends.

Next, you should decide if you want a Mac or a PC. (For the technically oriented out there, I do know there are other choices, but not for the general public.) The primary differences between the two platforms are in the way you will interact with them. They will work with most of the same software, and can easily transfer files between them. I use them both. I would suggest going to a store to look, but currently that option is only available for the Mac and Windows 8 machines.

However, you can still buy a new computer (for a limited time) with Windows 7. You just have to do it online. You could also buy a Macintosh (Apple) computer, but more on that later. Both HP (www.HP.com) and Dell (www.DELL.com) have easy links on their websites for Windows 7 PCs for Home users. Both sites are still primarily offering Windows 7 for Business use. As of today, I find the best prices on Desktops at HP, while Dell is your best bet for a laptop.

I recommend that you go for a machine with at least 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM, and a 500 GB hard drive. The RAM is essential for any new computer, but you may find yourself choosing a machine with a smaller hard drive because of its other features. As far as pricing, my recommendation has always been to budget as if you will replace your computer in two years. This rule keeps you from investing too much in a new device, while leaving your options open to new products, and desires in the future.

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2 Responses to On Buying A New Computer

  1. Marisa says:

    Tom,

    Thinking about this and after our discussion on the topic, I realized that my computer is a metaphor for me: getting old and lacking memory!!! It is easier to deal with the computer thing though….

    Marisa

  2. Kendall Curtis says:

    Hey Tom … you support my wife’s office and she passed along your email as I’m in the market for a new “Desktop”. If all I want to purchase is the “tower” since I have all the peripherals I need (monitors, printer) … what’s the best way to go about that? My current system is Dell Dimension 4600 circa 2003 with Windows XP. I just got a work laptop with Windows 7, so agree that’s what I’d like on my new system.

    Thanks! … Kendall

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