Late May and early June are full of graduations, and it puts the summer computer sales season into full swing. There are lots of deals out there already, many bundle deals and freebies paired with new laptop purchases, ready to entice these graduates (who have a chunk of money in their pocket from their graduation party) to buy their new computer. Whether the purchaser is going off to college, getting a new work machine, or upgrading their home family computer, one of the single most important things a buyer can do is correctly identify the specs they’ll need for their next machine. Buying an “overspecced” machine, or something with way more power and capabilities than you need doesn’t mean the machine will last longer or be “better” than other alternatives. Laptop Magazine recently had a great article on what laptop features are worth the money (http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/laptop-features-to-pay-for) and notably commented that overspeed laptops are a waste of money. It’s not all about the cheapest machine either (trust me, those $199 after rebate computer bargains are usually no bargain..ask some of our clients who bought one…)
At Canyonero, we’ve been harping on the importance of buying the right specced computer for your intended needs, and rigorously question potential buyers about what they need before we recommend some options. Here are some great questions to ask yourself to narrow the playing field and see what you need before the deals out there start to blur the lines between needs and wants.
- What’s your budget?: Clearly identifying, upfront, the max you’re willing to pay will help narrow the playing field.
- What are you mainly using the computer for?: If you’re a HS graduate, you’ll obviously use it to type papers and browse the web, but think about your intended profession….if you want to be an engineer, find out the CAD program your school uses, or if you’re going into art/photography, see what programs your school recommends.
- Do you have a lot of data or programs from your old computer you want to keep?: If this isn’t your first computer, then you likely have lots of stuff to bring onto the new machine- which will take up space. Find out how much music, pictures, and documents from your old machine you want to keep, so you can estimate how much space you’ll need. Same with programs- if you bought specific programs for your old machine, find out their specs. Don’t forget any computer games (but on those, I’ll usually stop you right there, and tell you to get an Xbox or a PS3….it’s ALWAYS cheaper than buying a gaming laptop).
- Mac or PC? (or Chromebook…): Ah….the age old question. Mac’s are usually a favorite for HS graduates (because they win on style and performance points), but they’re often twice the price of comparable PC’s, and sometimes don’t run CAD software or programs you already have. PC’s have the most general compatibility, but usually don’t have the build quality of a Mac, and are much more susceptible to spyware and viruses. If you’re on a serious budget, then you consider a Chromebook, which has the least compatibility with other computers and programs of all.
- What special features are you looking for?: Here’s where you identify what you “want”….2-in-1 tablet/pc, small form factor, 17” screen, touchscreen: these are the features you want the new computer to have.
Review these questions, and reference the article listed above to identify the specs you should consider in your next computer. At Canyonero- we LOVE to help with this process….and can often beat retail prices….so give us a call and let us help you find your next machine!