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Requirements Analysis is the process of sitting down and thinking carefully about what your system should be able to do. Starting with looking at your personal requirements, this essential first step of the PC buying process lays the foundation for looking at the PC's requirements, and then of course, determining the characteristics of the equipment that will fulfill these needs.
The fact that many PC buyers have never even heard of the concept of requirements analysis is no surprise; it is in fact one reason why I felt a Guide like this one was needed. Planning and analysis activities are considered by many to be dry and uninteresting compared to getting "hands on" and playing with the hardware. Or even better, actually buying something and getting to take it home and plug it in!
However, it is absolutely essential that this first step not be skipped over. Not bothering with requirements analysis would mean you were shopping for something without knowing the real reasons why, or what problem you were trying to solve. And besides, you'll still get to do the fun parts eventually anyway. :^)
This chapter discusses requirements analysis in detail. First I take a look at general issues, and then move on to discuss basic requirements, and various tradeoffs between them. I talk about all-important budget considerations. And finally, I present some sample use profiles and talk about what sorts of systems these users would generally be shopping for.