Tips for Selecting a Gift Computer from Ask-Leo.com

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The holidays shopping season is here, and as in recent years, personal computers are a popular and much appreciated gift. Leo A. Notenboom, of Ask-Leo.com, a popular on-line technical support question and answer service, draws on his 25 years of expertise to offer tips to help select the right computer for that special someone.

The holidays shopping season is here, and as in recent years, personal computers are a popular and much appreciated gift. Leo A. Notenboom, of http://Ask-Leo.com, a popular on-line technical support question and answer service, draws on his 25 years of expertise to offer tips to help select the right computer for that special someone.

Consider their ability. How technically proficient is your intended recipient? A computer geek may appreciate the thought, but would probably rather select their own computer. For someone who's moderately proficient -- able to install and diagnose software and hardware for example -- selections from an online or discount computer retailer might be appropriate. If technical expertise is limited it may make more sense to purchase a computer from a local retailer with local support.

Think about compatibility. If they already have a computer make sure that your gift is compatible. This is particularly important in the Macintosh versus PC decision. Compatibility applies to any features they may rely on as well. As one example if their computer is networked, you'll want to make sure that your gift can be compatibly networked as well.

Identify other requirements. Particularly in the workplace, but also often in schools and elsewhere, certain types of computers are required, and often certain types of functionality. Once again networking is one example, but required functionality could also include a specific operating system version, certain installed applications or perhaps the ability to support a specific hardware accessory.

Choose between a Desktop or Laptop. Most students, and many business people who travel will appreciate a laptop that they can take with them, but it'll be somewhat more costly, and perhaps less powerful. For others a desktop will be more appropriate for their needs.

Look at how they'll use it. If your recipient is a new user, or will primarily just surf the web, read and send email, and maybe do some word processing, then a low-end computer can be a very good choice. Basic functions such as these are easily handled by machines costing well under $1,000. It's likely they'll be happy for quite some time. If they later determine that they need more, their experience will help determine what the appropriate next steps might be.

Take special note for game players. If you're considering a purchase for someone playing high end computer games you'll want to put extra thought, and money, into three areas: processor speed, computer memory, and most of all, the video card. Computer games frequently push the envelope with respect to these items.

Think about parts that can be replaced. A computer system is just a collection of components and desktop models offer many options for additions and changes now, or later. A new system will include a monitor and speakers, a set of installed expansion cards, and of course a keyboard and mouse. As one example, you might opt to purchase a high quality flat screen monitor which can be used with any future system that your recipient gets. On the other hand, if you're not sure about their future use, it might make more sense select a less expensive monitor that can be upgraded later, after the computer's usefulness has been proven.

Don't overlook possible hidden costs to your recipient. It's easily overlooked, but giving your recipient a new computer could put them into a position of taking on a monthly payment for internet access. Perhaps they already have connectivity at home, at school or through work, but if not, someone will need to take extra steps to establish, and pay for, that connectivity. Consider making the first year of connectivity part of your gift!

For additional information, including tips on selecting a computer for yourself, visit http://Ask-Leo.com.

http://Ask-Leo.com is a free service Puget Sound Software, LLC, where Leo A. Notenboom, a 25 year software industry veteran and former 18 year Microsoft software engineer, answers reader submitted personal computer and other tech-related questions.

Contact Information:

Leo A. Notenboom

Puget Sound Software

425-483-4595

http://ask-leo.com
http://www.pugetsoundsoftware.com

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