When is the Right Time to Buy a New Desktop Computer?


Feb 5, 2002


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The Bottom Line If you¡¦re having a juggling act on when you need to buy a new computer or upgrade, you may want to know a few things.

Feb. 2002.

People often ask me questions like when exactly to buy a new desktop computer? Well it all depends on what you basically need to do with your computer here. First, you must ask yourself, how old is your CPU? If it・s an early Pentium 3 or less right now (under 600 MHz and/or more than three and a half years since you・ve purchased the new processor), really finding a new motherboard that is compatible for your processor is next to impossible, unless an adapter is used if available. In addition, most expansion cards right now are offered in PCI interface, which is a newer and faster interface than the ISA interface, which is basically obsolete in many expansion cards right now and in all the new motherboards. Such that a Pentium 2 uses a slot interface and basically all modern CPU units use a socket interface.

If you still have one of those Pentiums or 486s hanging around your home, those are usually incompatible with modern upgrades and expansions, therefore requiring a completely new computer.

When do the best deals come by?

I・m very often asked by many people when do the best deals come by. Well I・ll tell you that usually just before and after school starts and before Christmas, where you can find a
discounted price for new computers. During those times, some stores will bundle a monitor and printer or scanner, along with a discounted price compared to the price if you・ve purchased all the components separately. But don・t really expect quality components when it comes to buying a computer bundle. The best deal that is offered all year round is by going to your local computer store, not BestBuy, Circuit City, Future Shop, Office Depot or any large retail chains, because they all often have pre-built computers and they often give you a computer that you don・t want. For instance their computers often give you the cheapest components and you often end up paying more than you really should for a pre-built computer. Even the speakers that the computer manufacturers bundle with their system are just a $5 pair of re-badged generic speakers. For instance you may think that Compaq desktop computers may give you JBL speakers, but you・re really only paying for a generic speakers.

Don・t be afraid of going into your local computer store that is more dedicated to computers than those large retail chains, they often have parts that are offered at a much lower price than their giant retail chain cousins. These stores can give you the computer system that best fits your needs and budget. In addition, these stores can give you the flexibility on what you want in your computer system and you often end up with much more in features for the price compared to the price of the computer that you see at the large retail chain. Often at times with computer vendors like Dell, you can・t really upgrade a motherboard, because the back of their cases are specially designed for the motherboard that is present in the initial system. Therefore it really makes huge brand

About Technology Boom

Although in recent years as the development of new technology really attracts the general public, don・t expect that your motherboard for your computer is compatible for the upgrade that you・re looking at. But if you・ve just heard of a new wave of graphic cards, don・t really upgrade unless you really need it. For example if you・re using the computer for just Internet and you happen to have a 32MB video card, don・t really upgrade to a GeForce 3 it・s just not worth it. But if you・re using the computer as a hardcore entertainment machine like DVD movies, then the upgrade is still not worth it. Often try to wait for at least 9 months after the technology release to really stabilize the bug and hardware issues. Often by then, the prices of the new technology will lower.

For instance, you currently have a Pentium 3 processor at 500MHz and see an Athlon XP+ 1800 processor, by all means go for the upgrade, as some of the expansion options may not be compatible with the processor due to the motherboard restrictions. But with a new processor, you may want to check for processor compatibility before replacing your motherboard. Currently if your motherboard doesn・t have at least 3 PCI slots, you should consider a new motherboard along with a new processor if necessary. As the fast change of processor technology evolves, often a new motherboard is required. At least go for 5 PCI slots and most likely you won・t find any ISA slots on a new motherboard.

Motherboards also have restrictions in terms of how much memory you can have for your computer too, because depending on the chipset, their BIOS program may not recognize that there is more memory than it can accept and often it doesn・t work.

If the upgrade will cost you less than what a new computer should cost you like no less than a $300 price difference, by all means an upgrade is more appropriate. If the cost of upgrading or overhauling is almost the same or even more than buying a completely new computer, you should buy yourself a new computer.

A new computer nowadays should at least last you for three years without major damage. If you we・re to invest about $1400 for a computer for every 3 years in the 15-year span, then you・re going to end up spending $7000 in 15 years. But if you were to invest in a computer that costs $2500 and it will last you about 5 years, it will definitely cost you $7500 in the same amount of time in the long haul. As a result, if you・ve used the same motherboard and/or the same components for at least the last 3 years, consider an upgrade pretty soon, but do at least upgrade your system at least every year.


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