Buying a new computer can be a daunting task. How much RAM do I need? Do I want Wireless-N? What the heck does eSATA mean?? If you are not technical, any of those terms can be intimidating. Do you trust the Best Buy rep to really get you what you need? Or are you worried that he is just out to make a sale? Do you call your techy friend and ask for advice? Or do you give up and stratch your head while running home because it’s all too much!

I am the type that researches,  A LOT!! I have built my share of systems and purchased my share of OEM systems. In each case, I want to make sure that I am getting what I need. And when others ask me for recommendations, I set my sights on finding the best computer for the money. Knowing what they want to do with the computer in clear terms makes it a lot easier.

During the Holiday season, computer sales skyrocket. So, having a few tips under your belt when you head out on Black Friday, or any other day of shopping, can make the process a lot less intimidating.

I actually need to get a new computer for my mother right now. Her old one, a Pentium 4, is sitting here in my office waiting to be moved to the computer graveyard of the basement. It’s just not worth it to try to repair. It’s past it’s prime for sure. As I start to look, I think about what I know my mother will need to do with it:

  1. Web browsing
  2. Email
  3. Taxes
  4. Documents
  5. Photos

That is about it for her. She does not edit videos, she does not watch internet TV, she does not edit photos. She is a very simple computer user. So, when buying for her, I would not buy some monster gaming machine. Got it?

Our friends over at AMD sent over a few tips for me to share with you that can help you navigate through a similar process.

New research on consumer PC purchasing behavior from AMD shows that finding the right computer can be a challenge as nearly one in four Americans describe the computer buying experience as confusing, and women are twice as likely (32.1%) as men (13.6%) to say this. Nearly 70% of respondents cite difficulty in understandingthe technology as the most challenging part of purchasing a computer, yet 56% of respondents chose performance as the most important factor in people’s PC purchasing decision.

According to the NPD Group, Americas spent $10.8 billion on consumer technology-related products in the 2009 holiday season and electronics are predicted to be the hottest gifts again this year. However, many consumers continue to be challenged when trying to find the right PC for their family or themselves and, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals coming soon, there is not a more urgent time to learn than now.

Leslie Sobon, Corporate Vice President, Product Marketing at AMD, offers tips below on how to navigate the holiday buying season and choose a computer for a friend or family member without ruining the surprise:

  • Look for systems with VISION Technology from AMD labels, which help you choose the perfect PC (without needing an engineering degree)
    • Different VISION Technology from AMD labels correspond with various user needs, allowing consumers to quickly and easily make educated buying decisions based on how they will use the computer
  • To take advantage of this season’s holiday deals, confirm your purchase beforehand by visiting the store days ahead and asking your salesperson relevant usage questions such as:
  • Will this computer allow me to listen to or mix music?
  • Will this computer allow me to view and edit photos?
  • Can my child build a Power Point presentation on this computer?
  • Will my husband be able to edit the family videos on this computer?
  • Can I watch Blu-ray and/or HD movies?
  • Can I watch Live TV or play video games?

Armed with the answers to those questions, you can quickly use the AMD Vision “Help Me Find a PC” tool to find the right computer.

Happy shopping!

Disclosure: As an AMD Mom this info was shared with me to share with my readers. The bulk of this post is my own words and my opinion. Posting was my choice and I received no compensation for this post.