I'm in the market for a new computer system. OK, I admit it, I should not purchase a pre-packaged system and I should just build one myself. I've done it before and I haven't broken too many components in the process (or processor). However, I'd like to save some time and not spend days fumbling around with setting up BIOS settings, dealing with hardware incompatibility problems (plug & pray??), and testing and testing and testing each new component.
In other words, I just don't feel like putting together my own system anymore.
Believing the hype (ha!), I ventured forth towards the Internet, believing what the commercials kept telling me. The commercials kept saying I could build my own unique system, one that matches my personality and mine alone, one which only someone as nutty as I would actually want to put together. I wanted the Malek system, packed with memory and hard drive space. I wanted the system void of useless extra features and software packages that look great on marketing brochures but end up getting immediately erased.
Nothing. Nada. Zippo. I couldn't find a custom configuration system that would create the Malek system.
Needless to say I was quite a bit disappointed. I, however, wish to do something productive and not just rant about my experiences. Below I have offered several suggestions regarding what these configuration systems should not be doing. Perhaps some company will listen to these ideas and actually earn my business. And, perhaps, I may have to venture to http://www.pricewatch.com and build my system from scratch.
Don't force me to purchase three years of Internet access from such and such company. In fact, don't force me to choose any Internet service provider. What if I actually am using my new computer off the Internet? Or what if, though hard to believe, I already have an Internet service provider and have no plans to change?
Don't force me to purchase 'pre-bundled' software. Don't get me wrong; pre-bundled software is a great idea. With pre-bundled software, I don't have to spend time installing my operating system, reference software, and office programs. But what if I already have licenses for such software and plan on transferring the licenses to the new system? What if I want to use other software packages besides the ones you have provided? Come on; give me a choice to let me install my own software if I so desire.
Don't force me to purchase a sound card, graphics card, or any other type of device that comes on a card. Although this is great for beginners, some people may actually know how to take cards out of one machine and put them in another. Some people may have great graphics or sound cards in one machine and may want to just use them in their new system.
Don't force me to use multiple screens to put together my system. Using one ordering system, I had to choose my processor on one screen and the rest of my components on the next screen. After making my component selections, I decided to downgrade my processor. Thanks to this poor ordering system, I had to go back, re-choose my processor, and start my configuring all over again.
Don't let me assemble a system without offering assistance on the meanings of certain components, features, and services. Only one ordering system that I saw really tried to help the consumer. If it weren't for the fact that I could not remove certain cost-adding features from my configuration, I would have ordered on the spot. Oops... another lost customer.
This article is copyright 2000 Andrew Malek and originally presented on MalekTips.com (http://www.malektips.com). MalekTips is a computer tips and tricks site with hundreds of tips on Windows, Dos, Office, Internet Explorer, and more. MalekTips also offers software links, discussion forums, and computer news. This article may be reproduced as long as it is not sold, and reproductions must be intact, without modifications, and they must include this article footer. Contact Andrew Malek for more information.