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[ The PC Guide ]

The PC Buyer's Guide

From its humble beginnings in its author's fevered imagination at the end of 1996, the goal of The PC Guide has been to provide the best useful information on PCs, to help PC users get the most from their machines--and their money. An important part of that equation is understanding how to buy a PC in a way that makes sense.

Therefore, I had intended from the start to include on the site a practical guide to how to specify, design and purchase a PC system. Unfortunately, as the amount of time I spent initially writing the site wore on, I grew impatient and desired to put the material I had already written on the Web. My intention was for the "Lost Sections" of The PC Guide to follow shortly thereafter. Well, it took three years, but this new Guide is finally here, and I hope you'll agree, a step in the right direction. Feedback on any and all aspects of this Buyer's Guide is more than welcome.

For many people, a PC represents the third most expensive large purchase they will routinely make over the course of a lifetime (following housing and transportation). In many ways, it is more difficult to choose well when buying a PC than it is when buying a home or a car: there are many more options available; the market changes literally on a monthly basis; and the subject matter is less familiar and seemingly more "arcane" to most buyers. All of these are reasons why I consider a good PC Buyer's Guide essential.

This Guide is large. Some might consider it too large--it would take a long time to read "cover to cover". Maybe it's more information, and more suggestions and recommendations, than would be warranted for a task that should be fairly simple. Unfortunately, while it would be great if buying a PC were simple, in reality it is not. In the end, you don't have to know everything in this Guide in order to make a good buying decision, but knowledge is power, and well, in such things the more the better. I decided to give you everything I knew about buying PCs, both summary and detail, and let you decide for yourself what you want to read.

After reading this Guide--or even parts of it--you will be in a better position to buy a PC that is right for you than 99% of the general populace, whose buying strategy often seems to resemble a game of chance. While there's a lot to absorb here, as with the rest of the site you don't have to read it all in sequence or in one sitting, but rather focus on the areas of greatest interest or concern to you.

Note: I wrote this entire guide without once saying "caveat emptor". Pretty good huh? Oops... Well, I said it only once. :^)

Note: There are very few diagrams within The PC Buyer's Guide. This was done intentionally, as when I perused what I had written, I found that most of this material does not really require photographs or illustrations to make sense. I will not add pictures for their own sake to "make things look pretty"--that just slows you down as you read. However, if you do find an area of the site where you think some graphics would be helpful, please do let me know!

Tip: I have created a forum called "Buying Help" as part of The PC Guide Discussion Forums. Use this forum to interact with other readers, to ask questions and share information related to buying PCs!

Next: Introduction To The PC Buyer's Guide

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