DOs and DON’Ts

Throughout my “computer fixing career” I came across lots of questions and statements about people. Specially about computer hardware, in its broadest sense.

As I discussed so many times before in (very) early blog posts, the hardware you pick will give your computer a certain definition. That sounds silly, I know. But in the end it is true, it will define if your computer will be able to run games or photo editing software or just the other way around. It could also mean that your computer is only good enough to surf the web.

The problem with hardware, and with so many other things out there, is that there is SO much that it is very hard to know what to do and what not. For example, I’m sure you’ve all heard of a shop called Aldi. They regularly have a budget laptop for sale (or budget computers as well).
It sounds like a good deal, buying this piece of equipment. But in the end, is it really so?

What I did below this, is make a list of DOs and DON’Ts concerning computer hardware. I wrote this from personal experience. How I really feel about it. Just saying, feel free to think something else about it. We are all human and our opinions will differ. But, by all means, take the time to quickly read through it. Even if you don’t agree with everything, I’m sure there is something in there that will help you out one day.

– Unless you have a really good reason, don’t buy second hand computers or hardware. It doesn’t matter that much if you just want a test computer or something like that. But if you are looking for an actual computer and you are low on budget, my advice is to keep saving a little longer for a new computer.
The reason for this is simple, same reason you simple don’t pick something up from the street ;-). You don’t know where it had been. Has it been taking apart a 100 times? Are there problems with the hardware? Is it still under warranty?
Unless the second hand computer has been revised my a computer store or something like that. I really would advice not to do it.

– The most expensive computer/hardware is not always the best computer/hardware. Don’t be blinded by the price of hardware. I know I’ve said before that the pricier it is, the better it is. And as a general rule this is correct in terms of processors and RAM.
But for all other things, be wary because it could be that a cheaper piece of hardware from another brand could be better for a lower price. Always be on the look out and compare software specs.

– Consider twice before buying a “promotional computer” from a store like for example Aldi, Lidl, etc. No offence meant to these store, certainly not! But let’s face the truth here, these are shops that are not specialized in the computer hardware or computers in general.
My experience has shown me that these computers do what they have to until the moment something goes really wrong. Fixing it can be very hard and in some cases even impossible unless you replace some of the parts.
If you want to use your computer for something more than surfing, sending mails and a regular game of solitaire. I advice that you go on the look out for something else ;-).

– Do not, and I cannot stress this enough, replace a computer part by yourself if you haven’t done this before! Ask someone to help you out that knows how these things should be done.
As so many IT related stuff, it really isn’t that hard, but you simply have to know how to do it. So please, don’t be a hero and ask for some help the first few times (this just goes for computer stuff, for other things you’re on yer own, if you catch my drift :P).

– Same goes for building your own computer. Don’t just go out there and buy random hardware. Read a few guides (like my blog *subtle hint*) on hardware or ask someone to help you. Not everything is compatible with everything! Hardware needs to be balanced.

– By all means compare prices of all different brands. Trust me this can save you a lot of money. Even if it’s a little more expensive to buy, you’ll save money in maintenance.

– Subscribe to a few blogs or forums. Discuss with people on hardware, you’ll soon enough learn which hardware is good and which is less good. Ofcourse only if this interests you. But the way I see it, you wouldn’t be here if it doesn’t interest you :D.

– Although I said you should never replace hardware by yourself if you haven’t done this before, I will also say this. Experiment! If you want to learn about hardware and how it works, the best thing to do is to tinker with it. Get yourself a test computer (you know a computer that still runs but isn’t brand new). It’s a paradox I know, but I hope you see the difference between fixing your own GOOD computer or laptop and just tinkering with an old worn out piece of… yah.

– One golden rule. If you are tinkering with hardware or changing configurations and something goes wrong. Stay calm. Don’t worry, it will work out eventually.

– If you are uncertain about something. Ask for advice, friends, employees of a computer/hardware store. Trust me, this will also save you a lot of money.

Let me know if you have a few good ones to add :)


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