What System?


On this page, I will be addressing what needs you have as a computer user. It will not matter if you are a single user, or a small business. You could even be running a medium-sized LAN platform to power your office. When is it time to upgrade? 

 Warning Signs (& common mistakes) 

There are many signs that it is time to upgrade. Here we will cover those, and what kind of system you should look for. I also will cover a few of the mistakes that I have seen many {small} businesses make. And when it is time for a system up-grade, whom should you seek out? And how much should you spend? There are a few simple answers that might really shock and surprise you. (Most either greatly under or overspend on computer upgrades.) 

  1.  Never tell management you must upgrade, unless you are that company's designated IT person!
     (If you are a valued worker, you may suggest a course of action. But usually, this is a mistake to do it too soon.)

  2. When the system becomes bogged down and is very slow, it is generally time for an upgrade.

  3. If your company has added several people in the last 1-2 years, you may need to upgrade your system.

  4. If it has been more than 5 years since your last major up-grade, then it is definitely time to change your system. (Simply put, the hardware changes and improves so rapidly, if your system is more than five years old, it is completely out of date!)

  5. Either individual users ... or the company as a whole ... experiences grave difficulties in trying to install and use new software. If this is true, then you are probably operating with an outmoded system!

What to spend?

Believe it or not, there is a simple formula for calculating the cost of the new system. A new system should not cost more than 15%-to-25% more (per user) than the old system. (Compute this AFTER allowing for the annual rise in cost due to inflation!)


If you are going to spend a great deal more than this, than one of two things is happening:

  1. You are grossly over-spending ... you should get as many as FIVE separate and independent bids.

  2. You are taking  ... you / your office or branch / your company ... to whole new level. Basically you are changing the paradigm for your entire outlook and approach to doing things. Such a leap cannot be made casually. Give it some serious thought. Talk to a few trusted friends ... and perhaps even a professional business adviser first! 

  Who do you see ... or consult? What system should I buy? Where should I buy it? 

Most of the time, I do not recommend a single company. It is a mistake, and makes it appear that I am working for someone, which I am not, But - also - vague general recommendations can only go so far.

If you are a small business, try first to get with a local computer business. Personally, I would GREATLY prefer having a good, solid local company in my corner, than some large and unresponsive conglomerate. BUT ... experience also counts for something. Make sure the company doing the work has done at least three LAN's, (LAN = Local Area Network); in your area. If they cannot offer this kind of expertise, and don't have a degree in computer science, you may be making a mistake. Its not a crime to ask for references. Be aware if they are elusive or unresponsive.

Personally, I GREATLY prefer an individual system, built one component at a time. (Mother-board, processor, RAM sticks or chips, case, power supply, etc.)  REMEMBER: A good solid, local computer company should have a showroom full of these components, or be able to show you a few of the systems they have built. My system was built one component at a time.

The advantage of a system of individual components is very great. If you want to upgrade a MB (motherboard) or processor, just unplug the old one and plug in a new one. Systems made by big companies stink in this regard. Usually the systems made like a company like Gateway or Compaq are one giant, continuous circuit board. You have to replace the whole thing. Let's say a modem goes out, or the technology makes a giant leap forward. With a system built one component at a time, you simply unplug the old modem and buy a new one. With a system that is all one large integrated circuit, you have no choice but to replace the whole box.

If you do decide to get a system from a name brand, only DELL, (for small systems and small to intermediate size LAN's); and ORACLE, (a really large system, they did most of the work for the local Navy Base); have really impressed me. This is not to say that other names are not capable. But this is what I have seen - and I know that it works reasonably well. 

You can go to a local discount store (Wal-Mart?) and buy a system ... but I do not recommend it. You should ONLY take this course if price is the only consideration ... and basically you are buying a system for personal use.

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 (Page created in June, 2004.)