In order to make things easier when making recommendations for a new system or device, please include answers to these questions if you want a recommendation. Feel free to add additional details where applicable.
"Recommend me a system" questionnaire (answer questions in the section that applies)
Laptops, tablets, smartphones
1) What is the intended usage of this system? (ex. Internet/Email/Office/Pictures/Movies/Gaming/Server/CAD/Media Center/etc.)
2) What operating system will you use? (ex. Windows/Mac OS/Linux/iOS/Andriod/etc.)
3) How much are you planning to spend or What is your intended budget for this system?
4) How big of a screen size or How important is the screen size?
5) Do you intend to use an external display/monitor?
6) Do you intend on traveling with the laptop or will the system remain stationary?
7) How important is the battery life or How much usage do you expect on battery only?
What accessories do you think you'll need?
Desktops, SFF/HTPCs, and Servers
1. What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming, Photoshop (or other intensive programs), Web browsing, strictly HTPC/Playback, etc. (If you have multiple things you want to do with the system, make sure you rank them from most important to least important).
2. Will you be overclocking? (If so, are you looking to watercool?)
3. What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included in this budget? Is your budget flexible? Is cost a driving factor in component selection?
4. Where do you live? Do you have any big B&M (brick and mortar) computer chains nearby (e.g. Microcenter, Fry's, etc)?
5. What exact parts do you need for that budget? CPU, RAM, case, etc. The word "Everything" is not a valid answer. Please list out all the parts you'll need (especially if you will need 3.5" hard drives or expansion cards as these may restrict case options).
6. If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. For reused parts, list brands, model #s, and, if applicable, firmware revisions.
7. What specific features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Thunderbolt? Crossfire or SLI support? How many USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s? etc. Which is more important, size of the system or having the particular feature? Make sure you indicate *required* vs. *wanted* for each feature you list.
8. What resolution output do you need? 4k playback, 1080p playback, etc for HTPC or give a vertical/horizontal resolution for gaming SFF rigs. Do you need multiple monitor output?
9. Does this system need to fit into a particular space and do you need an optical drive? Think entertainment center shelves, closet space, rackmount, etc. Many modern SFF cases have either removed the optical drive or have been constructed so that removing the ODD increases the configuration possibilities immensely.
10. How important is the noise/silence of this sytem? HTPCs typically want to be quiet while all-out SFF gaming rigs don't care
11. How mobile does this system need to be? Need a carrying handle or carrying straps? Is weight important (carry-on bag, etc)? Water cooling quick disconnects, etc?
12. Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If yes, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit? Remember that OEM copies of Win7 have issues with new motherboards
13. When do you plan on building/buying the PC?