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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Requirements Analysis ]

PC Use Profiles

I always find in my writing that examples are often easier to understand than explanations. Certainly, trying to personalize the concepts of requirements analysis I have described in this section of the site can be difficult. For this reason, I am concluding the discussion of requirements analysis by providing a set of use profiles.

Use profiles are examples of the most common different types of systems that people buy. These are in some ways descriptive of the different "roles" that PCs can play. They are also suggestive of different types of users of course. By design, profiles are generalizations; you could even honestly call them stereotypes. Use them as guidelines only--they are intended to provide you with food for thought, not to suggest that these are the only types of PC uses that exist. Even within each profile there is a very wide variety of needs, wants and systems that are appropriate to meet them.

Your needs are personal; analyze them using these templates just as examples. Don't try to "pigeonhole" yourself into one of these imperfect categories. You may find that you will in fact be using your PC for a variety of purposes, in which case you will have to borrow ideas from more than one profile to tailor something to your fit.

The profiles have not been listed in any particular order, except that I put the more "business-oriented" profiles after the more "personal" profiles. For each use profile, I provide the following information:

  • Description: A general description of the profile; the type of use and user described.
  • Typical Applications Used: Some examples of the types of software usually employed in this use.
  • More Important Requirements Factors: The requirements factors likely to be of high importance for this kind of use.
  • Less Important Requirements Factors: The requirements factors that are probably of a lower concern for this type of use.
  • Performance Priorities: How important performance is likely to be for this use, and where relevant, what components will be most important to performance.
  • Recommended PC Types: The types of PC this user should most likely consider: meaning, desktop or laptop, build or buy, and so on.
  • Recommended Sources: The types of vendors or other hardware and software sources the user is most likely to be happy with.
  • Budget: The amount of money that would typically be required for an average system of this type. This can vary widely so keep your grains of salt handy.

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