Computer Buying Guide, what a technicians look for.

Buying a computer is an art for some computer shoppers while for others it's like walking blindfolded down a pier. You never know at what point you're just going to drop off the end without really seeing what's below.

As a technician I have my list of things that I look for in new computers on the market. Some of these should be your first things as well.

Memory: 8Gb installed upgradable to 16gb. Great, but is that with a single 8Gb and all I have to do is add a second or is that with 2 4Gb modules that if I wanted to upgrade become spare parts and a waste of money.

Check to see if they have memory in either slots or just one. Lenovo often places the single memory module in one slot leaving you the easy option of adding instead of taking out and adding.

Hard drives: Good deal, I have a 250Gb installed. Well sad to say they stopped making those about 3 years ago. If it's under 320Gb it's seriously hard to find today.

Processors aren't all the same. Slow processors are going to end up costing you more in the next year just in time waiting for something to happen.

Monitors, LCD or LED, if it says 12 months warranty look up the model number and buy one with 3 years of warranty online. You don't need to purchase a monitor with a computer.

For laptops and tablets look up the replacement costs, be sure you know how long your computer screen will last and how long your computer manufacturer will stock replacement screens. Most laptops will have similar replacements but sometimes nothing in the aftermarkets will fit.

Keyboards and Mice, one thing I do with new keyboards on most all new computers is put them on the shelf and use the one I picked out. Keyboards and mice should be what fits you and what you feel good about using. The $5.95 keyboard and mouse combo sold with many branded computers is actually hard on the figures if you type fast. Find a nice smooth keyboard and fast easy to hold mouse and toss the junk one out into the garage.

Audio and speakers, I've seen some new computers with great screens that just don't cut it when it comes to sound. Do yourself a favor and buy some Altec Lansing or Bose speakers for your system. The music you are playing or streaming from online shouldn't sound like grandma's kitchen radio.

Other than the complaints I have about brand name box store computers related to Memory, CPU, Hard Drives, Monitors, Keyboard, Mouse, Audio and Speakers I only have one more technical issue to share with you.

Cables! The USB, eSATA, Firewire and every other port you have plastered all over the computer. Make it your next goal to put a cable for every port you offer on the computer. I've had to spend time looking up every possible cable combination I could find and have a cable kit for new computers which totals 14 different cables. The Cost, $22.00 but not from the retailers. The cost of each cable is between $7.00

Now that you've read what issues I see please don't ask me to tell you what computer to buy. If it has 2 memory modules and 2 memory sticks and a total of 4Gb of memory you need a minimum of 8Gb so the answer is "No, the laptop you are looking at is not designed by a qualified engineer but more like a marketing company selling off overstocked items."

If you search the major brands websites you'll find their consumer lines are designed on market focus. Simple things like a backlight on your monitor make the glass monitor look sharper but might cut the battery life from 5 hours to 2 hours. So which is more important? Portable with a cord or Portable?

Xtreme Computer does offer a consulting service when you're looking to buy a computer. In fact, we build some serious game computers back before game computers where expensive. I mean Alien, or with blue lights.

You might find a bit of sarcasm in this section at times so forgive the editor now. But, if you can follow the guide you're going to end up with a computer you really like instead of a computer they would really like selling you.

The links below Computer Buying Guide start with the components then work to software.



When you purchased your last computer or the computer you're using now what would be the top 10 things you would want setup or different?