Professional Purchase Advice
Need a New Computer?
I don't build or sell computer systems or software, but I can help you make the right choices.
Because I maintain relationships with various vendors, you're ensured prompt resolution of any problems you may encounter and will enjoy great after-purchase service.
Help Selecting Software & Hardware
I can make recommendations for software and hardware to meet your specific requirements and budget.
I offer additional services like software installations, customization and setup in your home or office so that you are up and running quickly and smoothly.
Don't Get Lost in the Technology
Technology can greatly improve your productivity, but not if you don't know what you're buying. I can ensure that your purchase is appropriate and usable.
Lost in the rush for high tech is the reason why the technology exists in the first place. Information.
All the technology in the world is useless if it cannot collect, store, retrieve, and manipulate information efficiently.The Information in any IT system should have equal or greater value than the technology used in that system.
— George Andrews
Upgrading Legacy Computers
Many users with have very stable systems not requiring replacement. However, there may be other reasons to consider upgrading.
- Your productivity has decreased or you're experiencing problems with current hardware or software.
- You want to move away from a desktop to a laptop or another option.
- Touch screens and solid-state drives (SSDs) offer quicker access to your data.
- Newer technology like USB 3 or USB-C ports offer rapid backups or transfers.
- HDMI for high-definition digital video and improved wireless connectivity are compelling reasons to upgrade.
- Compatibility with mobile devices.
The most compelling reason to upgrade is to improve productivity.
If your computer is slow or unsuitable to the tasks you're performing, we can assess whether upgrading a legacy system is the best option or if purchasing a new system will benefit you the most and provide the best return on your investment.
Business Users Affected Most
Home users often don't need to consider lost productivity or downtime. While annoying, slow computers don't result in a loss of income, unlike a business user.
Businesses need to consider lost productivity or downtime due to outdated hardware or software. Legacy computers can affect business revenue, especially when professional users are running demanding applications like AutoCAD, Photoshop or very large spreadsheets.
Old PCs often cost more to repair than to replace. Hindered productivity is a hidden expense.
There are hidden costs associated with keeping PCs older than 4 to 4.5 years:
— Texas Department of Information Resource
- They cost 59 percent more to support.
- They take up to 50 percent longer to perform some tasks. Today's desktops have two times the performance of a three-year-old desktop.
- There are 53 percent more security breaches.
- Older PCs use 50 percent more energy.
- Older PCs are seldom under warranty. Recent studies estimate the failure rate in year four is about 24 percent, twice the rate in year one.
You may have mitigating considerations including the need to run legacy applications or budget considerations. We can assess such special needs in reviewing your options.
Avoid Misplaced Priorities
Computer equipment should be purchased based upon its suitability to the tasks it performs.
Too often employees have to hobble along on legacy hardware running demanding programs like AutoCAD, Photoshop, large databases, etc. while managers enjoy top-of-the-line hardware for minimal tasks like email and word processing.
If you purchase equipment as a “status symbol” while employee productivity is hampered, you're hurting your company's bottom line.
Extending the Lifespan of Current Hardware
If your budget won't allow you to purchase a new system, upgrading your current system with key upgrades can allow you to delay the expense of a full upgrade until it is practical.
Even if your computer is no longer fast enough or cannot run the current software, there are alternatives to purchasing a new system:
- Upgrading some replaceable hardware and software to improve performance.
- Installing a newer version of Windows (depending upon the system requirements for newer technology).
- Linux provides additional upgrade possibilities for older hardware and often runs better than Windows on the same hardware.
Perhaps a new video card or more RAM will improve performance. A larger monitor or faster solid state hard drive with more capacity may be all you need.
Keep in mind that desktop computers are much easier to upgrade than laptops and not all new technologies can be purchased economically as addons (if at all).
Up until the middle of 2019 I generally recommended that people stay with Windows 7 rather than moving to Windows 10, particularly on older systems for the following reasons:
- Unless you have the touch screens and require the ability to start work on one Windows device and continue it on another, Windows 10 may not improve your productivity.
- Windows 10 was not yet mature and had suffered a number of serious issues with botched updates.
- Windows 7 is better suited to a keyboard and mouse environment.
- Some legacy hardware is not supported by Windows 10.
Ultimately the solution depends upon your requirements and how important Windows is to you.
Newer versions of Windows will probably require new hardware so it is recommended that you look at alternatives if you wish to continue to use legacy hardware.
The release of Windows 11 has complicated this issue because the majority of computers older than a couple of years cannot meet the requirements yet will likely be your only option with a new Windows computer.
Windows 10 provides access to technologies like holographic computing, biometric login, 3D printing and the ability to stop working on one device and resume on another. Not all hardware is capable of taking advantage of this technology nor do all users require it.
Purchasing a New Computer
Windows 11 is about the only option for you if you have critical hardware or software that only runs on Windows. Alternatives may be available to you if you are more flexible or are willing to invest in new hardware and software.
- You can't lose with AMD or Intel: For mainstream users, so long as you're considering current-generation parts (AMD Ryzen 3000 or Intel 9th Generation Core), this debate is basically a wash….
- Clock speed is more important than core number: Higher clock speeds translate to snappier performance in simple, common tasks such as gaming, while more cores will help you get through time-consuming workloads faster.
- Get the latest gen: You won't save much money in the long run by going with an older, previous-generation chip unless that previous-generation chip is a Ryzen that hasn't been replaced by a current 3000-series part.
- Budget for a full system: Don't pair a strong CPU with weak storage, RAM and graphics.
- Overclocking isn't for everyone: For most people, it makes more sense to spend extra cash on buying a higher-end chip.
- — Tom's Hardware
As mentioned, the release of Windows 11 requires you to have more powerful hardware. Investing in a decent sized solid state drive (SSD) with at least 16 GB of RAM will serve you well for a number of years.
If you don't store a lot of data on cloud systems like OneDrive or DropBox, you'll need to ensure enough onboard storage for your active files. A decent USB removable drive can suffice for extra storage and backups.
Windows 10 is a “mobile-first, cloud-first” with many new features. It has now been replaced with Windows 11 which has moved further from the traditional Windows environment and has made significant changes to the Start menu and navigation.
- Older computers and Windows versions have legacy components that may no longer be maintained (they're considered obsolete by the manufacturer) making staying safe harder.
- Windows 10 will be continually updated for the life of the device. However, users have already experienced flawed updates and some hardware that is no longer supported.
- Microsoft has placed its future success on advertising more than on selling you a new operating system every few years.
It's More Secure
Microsoft claims that Windows 10 and 11 are more secure. That's true, but probably the most vulnerable part of Windows is the user. The hardware and software can only do so much to protect you from your curiosity or ignorance.
User Awareness is Key
If you're an employer, you need to establish basic standards and training sessions to protect your business and its online presence.
Windows 7 Expired
Windows 7 support expired January 14, 2020 (other than expensive interim support based upon increasing annual fees). It will be increasingly insecure while online.
If you have legacy applications that cannot move to Windows 10, you may continue to use Windows 7 provided the computer is no longer connected either to the Internet or the network. Sharing files or access to wireless printers can infect the legacy computer with vulnerabilities that it is not protected from (unsupported Windows no longer has security updates).
Likewise, Windows 10 will become unsupported in October 14, 2025, so you should consider your plans for moving on to Windows 11 or an alternative before then.
Many Windows users have moved to the Mac based upon their experience with iPhones and iPads. Linux is an attractive option for those with a smaller budget or with concerns about privacy. See Replacing Windows for more.
to discuss upgrading your computer or software!
One of the ways to help reduce waste is to purchase computer hardware with a longer lifespan. Cheaper computers seldom save you money in the long term and tend to become obsolete sooner whereas investing in better hardware can allow more latitude in future upgrade options.
Newer computers are more energy efficient as well as being lighter and more secure.
There's information about recycling options for your older computers and other electronic equipment.