Friday, February 02, 2007

Follow Up Vista

I got an E-mail asking for recommendations, I don't specifically recommend brands or models. Although I do give some opinions about companies.

I thought a shoppers guide might be helpful.

Please feel free to share this with anyone you think it would help or even entertain.

Dear Someone,

This is probably longer and more than you expected, I'll be using it with others. And I'm working on my writing skills.
One thing to know as far as Brand: HP and Compaq are one Company, other than that, choices are Dell (mail or Web only), Gateway (slipping), IBM (more expensive), Acer (limited sources) and eMachines (designed to be cheaper). For laptops add Toshiba as a big player.


Where do you normally go for computer software or supplies? Most likely Staples, Office Max or Depot, or Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA. I'll bet. Don't forget Costco, BJ Shopper or Sam's clubs. If one of these is the case, or maybe at different times you go to all of them, Wait until you are absolutely ready, on the Sunday before get the ads from the paper for all of these places.

Plan on at least two days for shopping, (probably means your weekend or day off. Be aware most of these places start new sales on Sunday so everything changes from Saturday's prices/models etc. First Day may actually take all week but start on Sunday, buy on Friday or Saturday unless you arrive at a decision sooner. Also like many businesses, quotas are important and they are usually Month ending so the later in month might be better deals.

First Day or Two, Go to Stores-Get Information from all.
Overnight, Decide on what you want to buy
Second Day, Go to store with PC YOU WANT-work out a deal including Upgrades/Software/Accessories and Warranty (if you need/want Extended.)

Now you have to ask yourself the big question: "What can I spend?" Set a 'mental' Price Range, you have to know what kind of computer user YOU are first.
Are you someone who needs:

BASIC, E-mail, simple Web services (Googling, News and Weather, Free online games), not much else.

Next up is the ENTERTAINMENT USER, the above plus one or more of these; Music Downloading;Online or Downloaded Videos (TV episodes or movies), Games but not overly competitive (see GAMER), Heavy Porn Surfing (XXX Pictures and Videos).

GAMER, what is that you ask, Someone obsessed with Games; Must have the latest and all of them, Hours playing especially online competition, Needs every edge to beat the other guy (Hardware boosts), Like: NASCAR Racing, HALO, Warcraft, Command and Conquer, Everquest, Halflife, and more. Key point here: Video Cards Rule!

BUSINESS Probably not you, but BASIC Plus Strong Need for Spreadsheet and Database and compatibility with corporate standard, possibly Web Publishing and Graphic tools too. Simple answer, BASIC plus MS Office and a Memory and Hard Disk Upgrade on top of the out of the box BASIC.

Finally there is one more category, it has several names:
GEEK, (Spoiled Brat, Power User, Tech Crazy, More Money than Sense, in a very short word ME, darn it) Must have Latest Hardware, Fastest, Biggest, etc.

Remember we're talking PCs here not Apples that's a whole different story, in another language.
Only you can say whether you need/want a laptop (Pluses: Portable Duh!, less space, FRAGILITY - Minuses: Less Power/Speed, smaller screens)

So, lets kind of set Price Ranges: for Laptop Add
BASIC $400-700 $200
ENTERTAINMENT $600-1000 $200-300
GAMER $900-5000 $600-2000
BUSINESS $700-1200 $200
GEEK $1200-unlimited (networks, printers, multiple computers and laptops) you know who you are.

Shopping Criterion:
Processor; BRAND (Intel or AMD), TYPE (Intel should be Pentium D/Duo Core, AMD 64) AMD $ave$, Speed (close to 2.0 minimum, 3.0 Plus best)
Hard Disk; Size (including multiples, portable storage counts as add-on) 100 GB Minimum, 200 Plus Best
Memory; Size, Upgrade or not? 1GB minimum, 2 best
Optical Disk: Type, (CD/DVD, RW? DL?) CD/DVD RW unless you can't ever believe you'd make a movie for your DVD player, (you're probably wrong)
Video: Size equals speed (also dedicated or shared video memory{low end and laptop}) 256MB Minimum
Display: Type, LCD/CRT (CRTs are dead) Size, 17" minimum, at time of Purchase ask about Upgrade, often cheap then.

Assumptions -- Any new PC will have both Modem and Network connections, Sound on Motherboard, Multiple USB 2.0 Ports along with Standard Parallel, Serial (Game Port?) Floppy drive (becoming irrelevant), Media slots for Flashcards/Memory sticks etc., Vista OS and Security Software

Attached is a page to use to WRITE DOWN what each Store tells you. Print a bunch of copies and take a pencil when shopping.

From: []
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 7:13 AM
Subject: Re: FYI: Microsoft Vista

Mike, I am going to purchase a new computer in the next 60 days or so .. something fast and easy with a lot of memory. Do you have any suggestions I would like to stay with HP ???