As a technical support provider at South City Computer in the St. Louis area, people often come to us asking for help choosing the right computer. This is definitely something we can help you with, but there are a few important things that we need to know from you.
Decide what do you plan to do with it?
Do you use it just for the web, or do you do more? What kind of things do you do on the web? Do you watch videos? Upload videos? Are there special services like Netflix that you use? Outside of the web, do you have any programs that you use often? It is important to remember that as commonplace as a particular application, such as Microsoft Word, seems, it will not run on all computers. If you can come up with a list of every application you use, it would greatly help your IT provider.
Business or Pleasure?
If you are planning to use this computer to connect to your employer’s system, it’s important that we know. Many employers have special requirements regarding what kind of systems can be used on their networks.
Make a List of All Your Devices
This includes printers, webcams, microphones, external storage, and anything else that plugs into your computer. Due to the increasing popularity of operating systems other than Windows and Mac OS X, not all computers will be compatible with all devices. In order to make sure that your new computer will work with all your existing devices, we need to know the manufacturer of each device, and the model.
CDs and DVDs
CD/DVD drives are shrinking in popularity. Let us know whether you plan to listen to music or import CDs, watch movies from DVDs, or write your own content to a blank CD or DVD.
Because tablets, ultra-thin laptops, and other non-standard computers are becoming more and more popular, you have a much better chance of getting everything you need in whatever shape you want. Because of this, it should be up to you to decide whether you have a preference for one form factor over another. Just remember, preference often comes with price.
Speaking of price…
The general rule of thumb is the less you pay for a computer, the less it can do. Now, this is not necessarily a reasont to just go out and buy a very expensive computer. That’s where we can help you. Our job becomes taking all of the things that you say you need the computer to do, and finding a computer that will do all that, but not so much more that it becomes impractically expensive. Also important to consider is the price of your previous computer. If you paid $500 for a computer before, Google’s cheapest Chromebook will not have the same capabilities.
Don’t let us tell you what to do – let us help you decide what to do. If you think that what we are thinking is wrong, let us know, it can help us get an even better idea of what you need. If you don’t know what devices you have, or what you need to do with your computer, talk to us, and we will help you figure it out.
The most important rule
Just because it works on your current computer doesn’t mean it will work on your new one. We can tell you, though, if it will work on your new one, so make sure not to leave us in the dark about anything that the computer needs to be capable of.