A Computer From Santa

When I was at home in North Carolina over the Thanksgiving holiday, I received more than my fair share of questions about computers; "which brand is the best?""How do I decide which machine to buy?""Where should I buy my computer?", or "what kind machine do you have at home?" I'm sure that anyone in the IT industry can relate to the spectrum of questions friends and family come up with when they find they have an 'expert' to talk to. I am always very flattered that a friend or family member thinks enough of me to ask for my assistance, and the service professional in me is always more than willing to help.

It is understandable why there are so many questions about this topic, given the choices the average consumer has and the amount of money he/she can spend on a new computer. Though the cost of personal computers has decreased dramatically over the past two years, a computer purchase is still a very big deal for a number of households and people want to know they've made the right decision. Since there are people who may not have access to their own personal consultant, I've outline three things all of us can do when considering a computer purchase. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but following these simple steps will arm you with the information you need to make intelligent buying decisions.

1.Understand Your Needs. How are you going to use your computer? Computers can be purchased for a number of reasons (online gaming, starting a home business, study aid for children, etc). A competent salesperson will ask you this question first, and you want to be able to clearly articulate your needs in order to get the right computer for you.

2.Do Your Research. There is no shortage of literature both online and in print that will give you everything you ever wanted to know about computer hardware and software. Websites like CNet(www.cnet.com ), Computer Shopper(www.computershopper.com ), or Consumer Reports(www.consumerreports.com ) offer non-biased reviews and product information to help consumers navigate the decision-making process. The time you put into upfront research will be invaluable as you narrow your search and get closer to a final decision.

3.Ask Questions And Understand The Answers. The world of computers can leave the most intelligent consumer confused and frustrated. Ask your retailer questions about the computer you are looking to purchase, and don't be afraid to ask for more clarification if you don't understand the answer. The more you know about your purchase, the happier and more satisfied you'll be once you get your new computer home.

Happy Holidays and happy hunting.