Best Computer to Purchase

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“Kevin’s computer burned out hard drive when power flickered (despite surge protector). He is looking to buy a new computer desktop with great graphics card for gaming) do you have a suggestion?”

Computers, like pants, are NOT one size fits all! How do you purchase a computer that fits you? You want to balance the features that you are willing to pay for and the features that you can do without, to price out a machine that fits your needs. There are several things to consider:

    1. What will the computer be used for? A computer used for email and web surfing does not need the same components as a high end gaming machine.
    2. Use reputable consumer review sites to search for ratings based on your ideal machine. Ex: For Hattie, I would google “ best gaming machine 2017”
    3.  Each of the listed review sites will give you consumer and professionals opinions on individual systems. The side by side comparisons help you compare apples to apples. Clicking on the specific system will also give you a more in depth review of the system.
    4. When you have your list of systems that you are considering, be sure to check another resource for reviews. If I did all my research at PC Mag or Tom’s Guide, I would pop over to Cnet to make sure that there is a consensus about the machine I am considering.

My recommendations for Hattie [AND you] are both lots of research and a UPS. An uninterruptible power supply or backup battery, keeps the power at a constant flow. Power “flickering” is extremely damaging to computers. In depth research, comparing the benchmark tests, company reputations and system specifications will help you get a computer that fits your needs.
Reputable review sites:

blue screen of death!

Did you know that random BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) errors can be caused by a failing hard drive? If you suspect your hard drive is on the way out, be sure to back up your files. A standard hard drive’s likelihood of mechanical failure goes up significantly at 4 years old.


If you are having BSOD errors and have ruled out other usual suspects (viruses, spyware and software), it may be time to consider hardware failure. There are many free hard drive testing programs available.


The native Windows program provides a rudimentary check, but cannot examine the physical state of the hard drive. (right click hard drive → properties → tools → error-checking).

For a more in depth physical check, I recommend Seatools by Seagate (FREE and works on any brand hard drive).

hard drive “expected life span”?

did you know that hard drives have an “expected life span”?

There are three main reason that a hard drive will fail:

(1) manufacturer defect: occurs within the first few months or within the first year

(2) random failure: may occur within the first 36 months and

(3) wear: at the four year mark the moving parts in a hard drive start to fail.


So please be sure to back up your important files. For back up tips, check out last week’s Tuesday Tips.