Saturday, November 13, 2010

PC Buyers Guide

Ed Tafaro – Owner Tafaro Associates

Buying a PC can be a stressful and confusing process.  You have brand names (HP, Dell, Gatway and Apple) Then there are choices in Operating systems (Windows, Macintosh, or Linux), than you have Desktop, Laptop, or Netbook. Finally to top it all off you have hear tech jargon like Ghz, RAM, DVD, CD, Blu-Ray, GB, Bits etc . It enough to make you crazy. That’s where Tafaro Associates can help

I’m going to try and simplify what to look for when purchasing a PC.

What should you look for when buying a pc?

The days of having to spend thousands to get good PC are over. You can usually get away w. spending $350-$500, and have a good midrange computer.  Paying $800-$1000 may not be the best option when you are going to upgrade from the PC in 5yr. Plus higher plus doesn’t necessarily mean better performance.

Go for mid range PC with enough horsepower to do what you need it to do today, and still be able to use it 3-4 yrs down the road.


Dell/Gateway/HP /Sony? or lesser known Manufacturers like ASUS / Acer or System Max ?

 Going with a well known name brand pc may not be the best option since you are typically going to pay for the name. Unless you definitely want the Dell or Sony… seriously take into consideration the lesser known brand.

If you are going to buy Dell look to order it online their retail product line is not the best quality.


ASUS – Manufactures many of the internal components used by the name brand manufacturers.

Acer owns Gateway


AMD or Intel?

Current chips are comparable to one another; it may come down to personal preference.  Usually you will pay a premium for an Intel based chip.

AMD tends to give you more power (GHZ) than Intel, there are a number of factors that go into what contributes to how fast a pc will perform.

I recommend reading some online reviews of the PC that you are looking to purchase. If you are on a budget seriously consider AMD. 

Stay away from the lower end processors (Intel Celeron) or (AMD Sempron).  Typical PC lifespan is 3-5 yrs. Purchase a PC that has enough processing power to keep the PC for 5 yrs.

Get a 64Bit / Multi core computer.

Intel i3, i4,i5 or better

AMD Phenom x2, x4 or x6

2.6 ghz +
Memory (RAM):

To make sure that your pc will be useful years from now make sure that you purchase either a system that can have memory added or one will a lot to begin with.  Memory is not an area you should skimp out on unless you plan on upgrading from the system sooner than 5yrs.

3GB + of RAM


Drive space is cheap.  When buying a new PC make sure that you have enough room to store your photos, videos, and games.  Also consider buying an external drive for backup.

Recommended drive space:

Operating System:

Windows /OSX (Mac) or Linux?
Both operating system Depending on what the primary use of your computer will be.
If you are looking for ease of use, web browsing, photos , some video and don’t really game and cost is not an option than a Apple/Mac would do.

Most businesses, and schools are standardized on Windows based systems.


If you are in the market for a new computer I would recommend looking in the $350-$500 range to find a good mid-range pc. Going with a name brand manufacturer should not matter as long as you have enough processor/memory/and hard drive to go along with it.

Check consumer reports to make check on the manufacturers repair/customer service ranking.

Recommended PC Specifications:
Multi-core Processor from (AMD /Intel – stay away from Sempron(AMD)/ and Celeron(Intel)
3GB Ram
350GB+ Hard Drive

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