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"This Is Not Your Father's PC Buyer's Guide"
The title is intended to be a joke. You know, like the Oldsmobile commercials? "This is not your father's Oldsmobile"? Oh, never mind. :^) The idea is to convey that The PC Buying Guide is different from most of the other buyer's guides that you may have encountered in the past.
Many web sites, books, magazines and other media have buying guides oriented towards PCs. However, almost all are very similar in structure, content and focus. They are chiefly concerned with discussing PC component particulars, and recommending specific makes and models that you should purchase. Such guides are indeed quite useful, provided that you already know what you are doing in buying a PC, and provided that they are kept very up-to-date. The industry changes so rapidly that a PC buyer's guide that makes specific recommendations can become outdated to the point of providing very bad advice in as little as a few weeks. And if you don't know how to buy a PC, knowing your components is only one part of the puzzle.
One way of looking at this is as follows: conventional buyer's guides focus on what to buy. In contrast, this PC Buyer's Guide focuses on how to buy. Like the old proverb about giving a man a fish vs. teaching him how to fish, my hope is that you will be able to use the information I have provided here to make your own good choices about PCs and components not only this time you are shopping, but every time thereafter as well.
So in this Guide you will not find me telling you to "Get the 777 MHz Pentathlon VII with 199.6 MB of XYZRAM". :^) Instead, you will learn how to determine what your PC needs are and design a system that meets them, so that you can figure out the numbers for yourself. You'll learn what the options are, and what pitfalls to watch out for. Perhaps even more importantly, you'll learn how to choose vendors and products that you can establish a relationship with, and how to conduct the research and homework necessary to greatly reduce your chances of joining the ranks of the many "burned PC shoppers".
Next: How To Use This Guide