Think things through before buying a new computer

Q: I have an Intel P4 computer with one megabyte of RAM using Windows XP. It runs flawlessly. I haven’t even considered buying a new computer because this one still does everything I want it to. And since Microsoft is supporting XP for a few more years, I thought I could wait a little while longer. But I just used my neighbor’s new quad-core computer and I’m rethinking my decision. What do I need to know before I take the plunge and buy a new computer?

  • Monday, August 18, 2008 2:56pm
  • Opinion

Q: I have an Intel P4 computer with one megabyte of RAM using Windows XP. It runs flawlessly. I haven’t even considered buying a new computer because this one still does everything I want it to. And since Microsoft is supporting XP for a few more years, I thought I could wait a little while longer. But I just used my neighbor’s new quad-core computer and I’m rethinking my decision. What do I need to know before I take the plunge and buy a new computer?

A: I completely understand the urge to splurge on new technology.

I’m assuming your neighbor wowed you with some media presentation and then further captivated you with a demonstration of the quad core’s blinding speed and ability to ultra-multi-task. Yes, this is all part of the new frontier of technology. But, before you give up on Old Faithful, let’s think this through: Will you purchase a branded (HP, Compaq, Dell, etc) or a custom-built machine? Will you run XP or Vista? Is your data backed up and retrievable? Do you have all of the software programs you will need to install on the new computer? If not, can you still get them? Do you have your usernames and passwords saved somewhere, including those required for email access? What about . . . well, you get the idea.

In addition, there’s planning, implementation and a bit of a learning curve. This is not just a Plug-n-Play world anymore. But alas, a computer that runs flawlessly and does everything you want it to is something from legend, a mythical beast of sorts. I would resist the urge – at least for now. After all, you’re the one with bragging rights.

Q: I’m thinking about buying the new HP touch screen computer. Are there any problems with it you can tell me about?

A: I’ll assume you’re referring to the HP TouchSmart IQ500, as this is HP’s most recent offering. A few anomalous issues have been reported, but overall it appears to be relatively reliable. Concerns have been raised regarding the longevity of the touch screen and, given its all-inclusive form factor, the IQ500’s hardware is under scrutiny. But so far, there’s been nothing significant to report. Recently, I had an opportunity to use one and was immediately drawn in.

It was very responsive and I could use both hands to give rapid-fire commands. FUN!

Wayne Nelson and Jeremy Self own and operate Wired Northwest, LLC in Redmond. Submit your questions to: techtalk@wired-nw.com. Contact Wired Northwest, LLC at www.wired-nw.com or call (206) 788-7975 or (206) 788-7898


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