[ The PC Guide | The
PC Buyer's Guide | Designing and Specifying PC Systems and
Let's begin our look at designing and specifying PCs by examining the types of PCs
available on the market. Most PC buyers don't realize the great number of options they
have available to them as they begin their purchasing decision. In fact, there are several
entirely different categories of PCs that differ greatly in terms of various
In the pages that follow I describe each of the most common kinds of PCs you can select
from when shopping. The types described here have not been listed in any particular order.
For each of the main types I provide the following information (for types that are really
special cases of others I do not have the specific categories though):
- Description: A general description of the PC type.
- Advantages: The best aspects of this type of unit. Obviously these are
generalities, since much depends on the specific unit, not just its overall type.
- Disadvantages: The key drawbacks of buying this type of unit.
- Notebook Availability: All of the PC types described here are available as
desktop models, but not all are commonly seen as notebook designs. For each type of PC I
mention whether or not you can usually find that type as a notebook system.
- Most Common Sources: The vendor or manufacturer sources usually associated with
this type of unit, listed in no particular order. The type of PC you buy is often related
to the source--while some kinds of systems are available from a variety of sources, some
require you to purchase them from a particular source type. This means that to some
extent, you choose a PC type and a source type at the same time. You will at some point
want to read up on sources here, and also check out this table, which cross-references PC types with
the sources where they can usually be found.
- Recommended Uses: The PC use profiles that best or
most commonly correspond to this type of machine.
- Cost: The usual cost range for this type of machine. In some cases this can vary
greatly within each class of hardware.
- Special Considerations: Things to keep in mind when considering or evaluating
this type of machine.
Next: New Retail PCs
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