Buying Computers and PC Parts

Different computer users have different needs. Casual computer users think of items like a mouse, keyboard or printer when shopping. Advanced computer users who build their own towers might think of things like computer cases, power supplies, motherboards, processors and hard drives.

People who associate computers with purely entertaining past times might think of CD Rom drives, DVD Rom drives, floppy drives and bigger monitors. People who use computers for communication or group gaming might be concerned with modems, RAM, fans, video cards, ethernet and wireless cards. Before shopping for parts, users should ask themselves the questions of who, what, where, when, why and how.

Who will be using the personal computer? Will it be the children in the household who use the machine for homework and watching videos? Will the user instead be a teenager or an adult who wants to play a massive multi-player online game or perhaps watch the latest movie brought home after payday? Maybe the person using the personal computer is someone who desires to work from home or start their own business. Or the person making the decision to buy computers and other PC parts might even be an office manager or warehouse specialist making sure necessary business supplies are on hand for operations to continue running smoothly.

What will be the purpose fulfilled by the computer and the PC parts? Will the part being considered for purchase need to withstand heavy usage or will it seldom be used? It's possible the part might fulfill a dual role. If the part being looked at for upgrade is vital to the computer user's needs then it might be better to spend a little extra to ensure that the quality and functionality meets or exceeds expectations.

Where is the PC located? If the computer is located in a place with poor climate control then the part being purchased might need to be sturdier or come with its own components that assist in maintaining a cooler temperature. Many computer components have built in heat sinks to help direct hot air build up away from a computer so as not to overheat or fry its circuitry.

When will the PC be used? If the computer is being used frequently and heavily by many people then a part which is easily interacted with and has a simpler design may be worthwhile. If the PC is going to be used at a corporation or at a location with specialized functions then a limited device which outputs a higher quality of a specific function is potentially a better choice. Components like routers and RAM should be able to handle heavier traffic as well as be able to provide the necessary memory for the processor to function at the best speed.

For example, gamers tend to hop on the computer during leisure hours which is often around times other gamers are also playing. This means high traffic and demand upon a server's resources and bandwidth. The client side will see heavy usage as the server is exchanging packets of information from many different parties trying to present an accurate display of real time information. Computers are often used to coordinate the actions of many individuals via communication. This is true for businesses and casual users.

Why is the computer or part being purchased now? Are there problems with the existing set up that could be improved with a purchase? Gamers might be unhappy with the lag or high latency. People using the computer for video entertainment might like higher frames per second. Others using the computers for voice over internet protocol want a high degree of transmitting and receiving power. If the RAM is low then programs might not run, might start but freeze or might run very slowly. Increasing RAM and things like the motherboard can be expensive investments but well worth it.

How vital are the functions the computer or parts perform? It might be better to purchase quality parts one at a time to achieve the highest performance out of a computer. Or it might be better to purchase multiple parts at one time with good, sound quality if top notch performance is not a necessity.

Before purchasing a computer or PC parts make sure to answer the six basic questions.

  1. Who will use the computer the most?
  2. What is the intended role of the computer or part's niche in the expected use?
  3. Where will the computer be located?
  4. When will the computer or parts see the highest usage?
  5. Why is the part or computer being replaced?
  6. How vital is the computer or part to continue operating at the expected capacity?

These questions will help determine budget limits for purchasing computers or PC parts and what kind of quality is required by the user.

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