A Jibaro’s Guide to Buying Computers

I recently had to replace my computer and had to set out on the daunting task of finding a new one. This is only the second time I have ever bought a computer and the first time I have ever bought a new one.  Here we have a great opportunity in finding a computer fit for adventure and a small budget.

So at the very beginning I thought I would need a very small but very powerful device. The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 looked like the best idea and would have cost me about $1000.00, not including the cost of the keyboard and Windows Office. Now why would I want this?

Well it is a 2lb laptop with 125 GB solid state drive with the new Windows 8. That is half the weight of my old laptop with the same memory. However one thousand bucks is way more than my bike is worth when it was new. As for the solid state drive, which do not get messed up as easily if shaken unlike regular hard drives, there are two things to think about.

1)      For what a solid state drive cost it does not give one even half the memory of a regular hard drive one could buy for less.

2)      A solid state drive is unlikely any more resistant to tornados, trucks, bullets, tidal waves and forty foot drops than a regular hard drive.


There are so many new computers and operating systems out there that many times you are being offered things you do not even need. As an adventurer and writer all I need is Microsoft office, maps and very basic photo editing. No reason to save movies or 100,000 songs. Most of the time I will be out on the road.

So I put down on paper what I had and compared it to what I wanted.

What I had: Pavilion dv 2000z

2 GB Memory

120 GB Hard rive

What I wanted:

5 GB Memory

600 GB Hard drive

Light weight



Once I knew where I was and where I wanted to be I could start searching and researching. I looked at websites such as Bestbuy.com, Newegg.com and Fry’s. I talked to friends I trusted and knew they were tech savvy. I talked to people and told them what I wanted and what I planned to do with my computer. I find that whenever I am helping someone, the more information they give me the easier it is for me to help them. No one can help you if you do not even have a feeling of what you want. Even if you can express the emotional experience you want form something that would at least set some sort of guideline to find what you want.

After some research I found that what I wanted didn’t not exist but there were plenty of close options far less expensive than The Microsoft Pro 2. There was the Toshiba Satellite Convertible and the Asus Vivo Book. The Toshiba Satellite was a solid state and the Vivo Book was a regular hard drive.

So now I was ready to go online and order it right? Wrong. More reading and investigation and looking at reviews. Finally after a few days of sitting and thinking and searching my heart it was time to look at in person. I took my friend Juan with me to Best Buy where we took notes and ask questions even looked a few other computers.

The Asus Vivo Book has an aluminum body, much tougher than a plastic body. It only weighs maybe 2lbs if that is a touchscreen with the Windows 8 operating system. I could get it for only $600.00 and get twenty dollars off of windows office. Was I ready to buy? No.

Juan and I went for a walk and had lunch for two hours and talked about why I should not buy the laptop. My desire to leave with the Asus outweighed my desire to wait for a better deal. Boy good thing too.

A detail I forgot to mention in this story, that day Volkswagen was having a promotion in front of Best Buy where you get to test drive one of their cars and fill out a survey in exchange they give you a ten dollar gift card at best buy. Juan and I took the ride and the survey and right their gained 20 bucks for nothing. Then we went in and I talked to the sails associate that had helped us earlier and asked him if I could get a deal if I bought the Asus and Microsoft office and a hard case. I got ten dollars off the case and he was able to find me last year’s model of the Asus Vivo Book (always check for last year’s model it really isn’t much different). So I found myself saving $110.00bucks altogether. Could not have gotten a better deal if I had waited for black Friday.

So what did we learn?

1)      Do not completely ignore anyone offering you a good deal. See what they got just don’t hang too long.

2)      Always ask for a deal.

3)      Always ask if there is an older model.

4)      Do your research. Understand what you’re being sold.

5)      Look at reviews.

6)      Think about what you want and what you need and know how to communicate that to others.

7)      Do not be too hasty but be ready to move in on a good deal.

8)      Except the consequences of your actions before and after you act.

Cavedudes – now in color by Fxy


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