Tips for Buying a New Computer

If I would have only known then, what I know now. How many times have we all said something like this when our computer is giving us trouble, or just isn’t designed to do what we want it to do?

Making mistakes when we are learning to run an online business are inevitable and a normal part of the learning process.

The mistakes we make when buying a new computer though, can be frustrating and very costly, but are very preventable.

I asked members of the Tech Talk Hideaway to send me their tips for buying a new computer. The following tips are their responses.

I have found that when looking for a new computer you should write down a list of minimum/preferred recommendations from your software boxes. If it is affordable try to go with the recommended guidelines or above. This will ensure your new computer runs all your current software smoothly in addition to giving you room to grow with new software in the future.

DaNel Resha, Smyrna, TN
Darswinkle’s Delights

Buying a new computer? I look for USB 2.0 since I use an external hard drive for backup and USB flash drives for travel. Fast disk speed (10,000 rpm vs standard 7200 rpm) is important as well as a *lot* of RAM (2 GB minimum) since I do a lot of development work. A big monitor 19? minimum or multiple monitor capability.

Doug DePrenger, Henderson, NV
Smartlab Software

When choosing between a faster CPU and more memory (for general business use), chose more memory. A faster CPU might be better for a power-gamer, but for the general business user, more memory will be far more effective at increasing performance.

James S. Huggins, Texas
The Eclectic Power Company

When looking for a new computer, check out the internet sites that allow “consumer comments and ratings”. I neglected to do this when buying a major brand laptop and have since discovered that the tech support is terrible and the warranty is only as good as the paper it is written on. I checked customer comments after the fact and could have saved myself a lot of problems if I had read these before buying the computer. Their experiences mirror mine.

Joyce Reid, Arizona
Gift Basket Network

When looking for your new computer check that an internal modem is included. Not only can you fax from and receive faxes through your computer (saving on paper and ink used for junk faxes) you can use a dialup connection in an emergency like when your high speed or cable internet is down. Installation of an internal modem is not included by default anymore so be sure to ask before you purchase the computer.

S. R. Emerson, Canada
Computer Basics

It should have at least 1gig of memory, at least 1 gig hard drive, and be upgradeable without voiding the warranty.

Martha, Fort Worth, Texas
Martha’s Web

Among the top priorities on my list for a new computer purchase is the video hardware. I look for a computer that that will allow for at least two monitors so that I can move all of the palettes and tool bars out of the way of my project. I want on board video RAM, not shared motherboard RAM, and as much as I can buy.

I have found that the best advice I can get on what to purchase for my photographic manipulation software is from a computer gamer. They want fast response from their video cards and I want my photographs to redraw quickly to speed up my work progress.

Sally Kueker, Iowa
Zaneta Publication Design

Choosing a new PC: Build it Yourself?

If your needs are modest, building your own PC is more expensive than buying one off the shelf. However, if you have special requirements like extra drives, expandability, future-proofing, quiet operation or tyre burning performance, you may find it significantly cheaper to build your own.

Then you can include luxuries that don’t come with a “white box” machine off the shelf and you get exactly what you want. You can treat yourself to a dead quiet, fanless power supply and a silent graphics card (not for gamers!), a sound deadening case from Lian-Li or Antec with built in speed adjustable, whisper quiet cooling fans and drive cushioning. Throw in an extra hard drive for backups. Install a near silent Zalman CPU cooler to reduce the PC’s noise level to virtually zero. If you have the technical skills to change a 3 pin power plug and you can read a motherboard manual, you can build a PC.

Alan Henderson, New Zealand
MistyWindow Windows Help

Do a bit of research before you go to a store or find that online site you wish to buy from. It helps to know what the sales person means when they talk about RAM and CD-ROM and Gigs and KBps.

If you don’t know what they’re talking about, you really don’t know what you’re buying.

Michelle Hakala, California
The Desk Drawer

The biggest mistake I made was choosing a new computer was buying exactly what I needed, without considering what I might need in the future. Now when I look at a new computer, the very first thing I want to know is how far everything can be expanded, as my needs grow.


J. Cricket Walker

Small Business Marketing Consultant and SEO Training Specialist
Copyright © 2007 J. Walker of GNC Web Creations All Rights Reserved

  1. Andreas Belivanakis
    Andreas Belivanakis06-09-2007

    It never ceases to amaze me how in every “Computer Buying Tips” forum post there is at least some bozo who wholeheartedly recommends “building your own computer” and does so while maintaining a straight face!

    Besides the obvious fact that those comfortable with building their own computer do not need advice on how to buy a new one, these people constitute less then 1 per 10000 potential computer users and practically zero of new ones!

    What is conspicuously absent, however, is truly useful advice: Buy nothing but a mac! New and experienced users alike can do without the 150,000 viruses, trojans, worm, spyware and associated malware that plague the Windows platform. Mac OS X is a better, more reliable, more consistent OS, and the Apple mac is the ONLY computer that can natively run both Mac OS and Windows as well as the various flavors of Unix! Add to it the mac’s superior industrial design and the fact Apple consistently ranks no. 1 in customer satisfaction surveys, and the choice is obvious. There is absolutely no reason to keep buying Windows boxes any more.

    – Andreas