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Buying the Perfect Computer – The FIRST Time
by: Dan Preston
So you've finally decided it's time for a change. No matter what advice you follow that old work horse of a desktop computer you have has outlived its usefulness with slow loading applications and a continuous rise in operation noise.
Searching for that Perfect Computer can be about as much fun as purchasing a new car and about as frustrating also when sorting through the various brands while trying to decide which "bells and whistles" best fit your needs. Besides all that trying to return something that is so large can be both inconvenient and very difficult to do.
So making the right decision the
FIRST time is the wise path of choice.
For starters you'll need to decide what you want to do with your computer. Are you into the video game scene or are you someone who likes to just surf the internet and occasionally do some book keeping with simple word processing software?
If you're into video games you're going to want a machine that can handle the high level of graphics and superior sound quality.
On the other hand if you're not into all that high adrenalin stuff can probably get by with a less expensive system. Although, if you want to stay on the safe side I would recommend going with something more "high-end" so you don't have to spend another large chunk of change to upgrade the system you just bought.
There are two basic routes you can take when purchasing a new computer.
1) Purchase a "Brand Name" Computer
2) Purchase a "Clone" Computer
A "BRAND-NAME" computer is one that is manufactured by a company that is recognizable by name.
Some Advantages/Disadvantages of "Brand-Name" computers include:
Customer Support- If you are experiencing problems with your computer you will have the option to contact a representative of the company that you purchased the PC from to get help in solving your problem.
Customer support is probably the best reason to buy a brand-name computer.
Warranty- Having a warranty is always nice since it acts as a type of security blanket for you.
In case a part on your computer should fail you should be able to get the item fixed at no charge just as long as the warranty has not expired.
Read and understand a company's warranty policy BEFORE you purchase a computer from them.
This way you'll have a good understanding of the procedures to follow in case a problem should arise.
Pre-installed Software- Many companies will include software packages that are all set up and ready to go for you on your computer.
Although, a disadvantage of buying a brand-name computer with software pre-installed is that you usually end up with more than fits your needs and usually just results with the wasting of space on your storage device.
Additional Support- Most brand-name computer companies are also able to provide you with web sites that may provide you with current software updates, user manuals, or basic troubleshooting help.
The use of Proprietary parts- the term Proprietary refers to products that are unique to an individual company and that company only.
So if a part was to malfunction on your computer after warranty and you needed to replace it you could not just go to your local computer store and purchase any old part even if it was intended for the same function as the item that failed.
You would be forced to buy the exact same item that came out of the computer or else the computer would more than likely cease to function correctly.
Having to buy proprietary parts usually involves the need to place an order which means you'll have to wait for the part to arrive or you'll have to send your computer into the company or an authorized dealer of that company for repairs.
People with a home based business would probably not be too happy with that situation at all.
Integrated/On-board parts- In the computer world when you hear the word integrated or on-board it means that a particular part such as the modem or sound port where you plug in your speakers, is built-in or part of the computer main board (Also known as the Motherboard).
This means that if any of these items should fail, you can't just remove them from the computer and replace them with a new part. They are usually soldered directly to the main board and are stuck there.
Although, some computers do provide a way to disable a malfunctioning device which will allow you to install your own store bought device to take the place of the broken part.
From a computer technicians point of view this is not always easy to do.
It just depends on what brand of computer you currently have. Meaning some are easier to work on than others.
A "CLONE" computer is a clone or a copy of its brand-name counterpart with the exception that instead of company specific or proprietary parts, the items used to make a clone computer are from several different companies instead of only one.
Let's say that if you were to go to a local company that builds "clone" computers, and you tell them what you need, chances are they don't use parts that are specific to only that type of computer like the brand-name computer companies do.
This is a good thing because it means that they will probably use components that are interchangeable with many different brands and are easy to come by if needed.
Some Advantages/Disadvantages of "Clone" computers include:
Cost- compared to brand-name computers the clone will generally be easier on your pocket book when purchasing one with similar features as its brand-name counterpart.
This is most likely due to the money that is saved by not offering the high-end customer service. Although, that may not be the only reason for the lower prices.
Easily Accessible Replacement Parts- Since the clone computer was built with parts that are not any one company specific, you can buy parts for the clone computer that can be used even if the brand is different from the one that was in the computer when you originally bought it.
Note: Before you buy any parts, it is necessary to make sure that the replacement parts are compatible with your particular computers system requirements.
Either consult the manual that should have came with your computer or get help from a knowledgeable friend or repair person.
Warranties- Unless you purchase a service plan you will typically not have as an attractive warranty as you would with a brand-name computer company.
Whatever you do just make sure you understand how long the warranty is for and as to what kind of repairs the warranty covers before you make the purchase.
Customer Support- With brand-name computer companies you are usually provided with a 24-hour toll free number that you can call if you have questions or concerns with your computer.
Clone computers are more than likely not going to have a 24-hour help service, but rather you will be forced to only be able to call during regular business hours.
Also, it is more than likely that there will not be any one website that you can go to in order to find out information concerning troubleshooting questions you may have.
For service it may be necessary to take the computer back to the store that you bought it at or you may have to do some research on the individual parts that went into the computer and visit the manufacturer's website for troubleshooting tips.
Finally, if all else fails you can certainly take what you have learned from this article and being that you know what you need now, but don't know where to go and get that "Perfect Computer", the best resource at your disposal are the very men and woman that work at your local electronics shop.
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