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When Buying a Computer, More Knowledge Equals Lower Cost


It seems that very few consumers of computers understand this one simple rule: the more you know about computers, the less you pay for them.

Have you ever noticed how many car mechanics drive cars that are cheap pieces of junk? If so, have you wondered why? Are they in financial trouble? Do they have ex-wives to support? My guess is that there are two reasons. The first is that they work on cars all day, and they're just sick of them. So cars hold no status for them. So, why spend more than they have to for a car? The second reason is that mechanics are excellent judges of how much a given car is worth and when it's likely to break down. They also have a good idea what will break soonest and how much work and money it will take to repair. And since they can repair their own cars, possibly with free or nearly free salvaged parts, repairs are not nearly as expensive as they would be for you or me. So mechanics don't mind paying $300 for an old hunk of junk when they have a reasonable expectation that it will run relatively trouble free for the next year.

The same way of thinking applies to people who understand real estate, aircraft, boats, companies, employees, and yes, computers.

Unfortunately, most people who buy computers don't understand them. They don't understand the hardware. They don't understand the software. So they spend, in my opinion, unnecessarily large sums of money on new computers and keeping working the computers that they have. When their current computer slows down (as windows computers will in about a year), instead of reinstalling the operating system, they get a new computer. When their hard drive fails, as it may in as little as 3 years, instead of buying and installing a new hard drive, they buy a new computer. When they need more RAM, instead of buying and installing more (assuming they knew enough in the first place to have bought a computer that was upgradeable and could handle more RAM), they buy a new computer. These days most people buy computers that are thin (i.e. not upgradeable, and often thermally limited). When they go to buy a new computer, instead of buying one that will do the job they need and no more ( i.e. a used computer that they can get very cheaply, because someone who didn't understand computers thought they needed a new one), they buy one that will do things they've not yet dreamed of, under the often mistaken impression that this will insure that it won't be obsolete any time soon. And when most people go to buy a new computer, they have no idea where to go to get one for a decent price or even anything about the capabilities or quality of any computers they may run across at the ripoff place(s) they end up going.

I once had the experience of window shopping at a well-known department store for a computer, (I will never buy one there, and neither should you), when a guy in his early twenties came up to me and asked which of the models on display I thought he should buy. My response was a firm "none of them". I tried in vain to explain to this guy that these computers were not only overpriced, there was a very small selection--like five models! I told him he should go somewhere else where he had a much bigger selection and better prices. But he wouldn't listen. He ended up buying an overpriced computer that wouldn't be lasting him very long. Actually, the computer was for his girlfriend, who had apparently vehemently objected to the computer he had just bought her (an Android tablet) and was demanding a different computer that could "do what she needed it to do". So, he was desperate to buy a computer that day, and no amount of common sense could intercede. This seems to be the general condition of most humans--they don't listen to common sense.

Never buy a computer when you're in a hurry.

If you are in the market for a new computer, do what the car mechanic does when he buys a car. Take your time. Always be on the lookout for good deals. Know what you need. Know what you're buying. Know how much you should be paying. Know how much it's going to cost to keep it working. Know how to fix it yourself when it breaks (to the extent that it can be fixed). Know how much the parts are going to cost and where your'e going to get them cheaply. Know how much the software is going to cost. And know how you're going to sell your computer for a decent price when you're done with it.

I know I've given you little or no specifics about how to do these things. This article is simply designed to explain why you want to follow my good advice. The good advice will follow in subsequent articles.

Related Articles:

Know a Quality Computer when You see It.

How Powerful a CPU do You Really Need?

Know What You're Buying Before You Buy a Computer


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