How to Buy a Computer


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Buying a new computer can be quite confusing. There are so many brands out there – so many choices. You have to attempt to figure out if you want a desktop or laptop. Then you need to narrow down your choices. How much do you plan to use your machine? What types of tasks will you be performing with it on a regular basis? The answers to these questions can help you figure out which computer is right for you. According to the team behind the Windows Twitter account, a lot of you simply aren’t sure what you are supposed to be looking for when purchasing a new system.

Computers are a lot like clothes: not one size fits all. What you want will be different from what the rest of us want. Microsoft has developed a tool called Windows PC Scout to help you make the right choice. This tool will step you through a series of questions to get you to your ideal machine.

The experts behind Windows went on a hunt to find the best of the best, and the PC Scout will help you figure out which of those works best for you. There are no paid placements. The machines recommended on the site are only there because they were determined to deliver the best Windows experience possible.

If you already have a general idea of what type of specs you want in a machine, the tool can help you narrow down your choices by giving suggestions of the best laptops available which fit your specific criteria. You can choose from categories such as everyday usage, gaming rigs, multimedia machines and connected companions.

The more you spend, then happier you will be several years from now. If you don’t spend much, you’re likely going to become frustrated with the limitations of that device within a much shorter period of time. Many of you feel you need to have the latest and greatest – and that’s okay. It’s honestly all a matter of personal choice. Its’ about what works for YOU.

If what you have right now is working just fine, stick with it – especially if your software is up to date. You need to always keep your software updated… including (and most importantly) your operating system. If you don’t have a computer running Windows 7, I honestly think you should upgrade. Microsoft and software/hardware vendors are developing their products to run most effectively on Windows 7. Yes – they make work well with older versions, but they won’t run at their level best. Don’t you deserve the best?

AMD's Vision


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During my trip to SXSW last week, I spent some time at the AMD campus. I was able to talk briefly with Raymond from the AMD Product Marketing Group. I had heard that AMD has a vision for Vision, and wanted to get more information for all of you. It’s a difficult process to buy a new computer these days, with all of the choices there are. AMD Vision was created to simplify that process for you.

When a consumer walks into a store, they typically have ideas as to what they want to buy. Vision, Vision Premium and Vision Ultimate designations are similar to “good”, “better” and “best” hardware configurations. What this will do is give the purchaser a much better idea of what they will get with any particular model, to help them decide if it is the right one for them.

Even without knowing a model number, people can compare models against each other by using the Vision designation. People don’t necessarily care about the tech terms, such as “gigabyte”. They want to be able to look at something, and just know it will work for them. With this program, it’s simple for an average computer user to figure out what is what, and what will do the job.

For instance, let’s say a woman walks into the store and needs to buy a notebook that will allow her to surf the web and watch movies. The Vision line would be perfect for that. However, if she also needed to do some light video processing, she would be better off choosing the Vision Premium model. If she’s a power user who does a lot of processor-intensive work (or even a gamer), she’ll need to go with a machine designated with the Vision Ultimate tag.

This is the vision of Vision – to simplify the buying process, and make it more intuitive. AMD has been seeing very positive results with this program. People understand what they are trying to convey, and are using it to their advantage.

From what I’ve seen, I have to agree. Vision is fantastic, and I highly recommend using this system when you are looking to buy your next computer.

I appreciate the folks at AMD sponsoring my trip to SXSW, and giving me the opportunity to get important product information to our community.

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When do you Upgrade a Computer?

http://live.pirillo.com/ – One would think that a power user would always have the latest and greatest technology: the fastest and the best computer. But, in fact, it has been almost 4 years since Chris last upgraded his machine.

Lin asks: how do you know when it’s time to upgrade the entire computer (getting a new one) versus buying one new component?

It all depends on what kind of computer you have, what you need it to do, and how much you are willing to spend.

A good piece of advice is to keep the same computer for a few years, since getting a new computer can be a pain: you need to transfer all of your data and settings to the new machine.

During the years you use your computer are the years you should upgrade the individual components. If you find that you need more power in your machine, and you can upgrade your component, then you should probably go down that route.

When your computer stops doing what you need it to do, then it’s time to consider upgrading or replacing the computer.

When do you upgrade or replace your computer?

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Computer Sales

http://live.pirillo.com – Nick Francisco is looking to buy a new computer, possibly in August, and wants to know what the best time of year is to purchase a computer?

There are two times of the year when it’s best to buy a computer, and they’re not related to when new hardware is released: August and December.

August is a great time of year to buy computers because you get "back to school" specials for all levels of education. When this time of year comes around, business will often put computers on sale, offer a significant discount, or give equipment away (such as free printers).

December is a very good time of year to purchase a computer because of the Christmas shopping season.

If you’re looking to save additional money, try not to worry about having "the best" machine that money can buy at the time. You can save some money by not getting the largest hard drive, or not getting the fastest processor.

One other crucial piece of advice: never buy a computer without looking for coupon codes or special discounts.

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When is the Best Time to Buy a New Computer?

A few minutes ago, one of my cousins called and asked for my opinion on when the best time to buy a new computer happens to be. There is no right answer, but he had a few parameters which helped me narrow it down to the perfect season:

  • No tremendous rush to buy something immediately
  • Will be used by his son at school
  • Doesn’t need to be the latest and greatest

My suggestion for him is to wait until “Back to School” specials start later this year. I have no doubt he (or anybody) could find a good desktop for less than $500 and get tons of free software and hardware to boot. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better season to buy a computer for a student – as it certainly wouldn’t be in the middle of summer.

I would have killed to have a portable (laptop, notebook) computer in my school daze. Then again, we’re still not at the point where powerful hardware can run all day on a single charge. Perhaps by the time Ponzi and I decide to have children, batteries will suck less (in more way than one).