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Computer recommendations for the holidays

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This is an article that I recently published for a blog on

I spend a lot of my time fixing computers. Home computers, business computers, computers that run too slowly and computers that were dropped by the airline. One of the most common questions I receive is: what should I look for in a new computer?

Do I even need a new system?

If your system is older than 5 years and is not performing ‘up to par,’ buy a new computer. If you spend money and time upgrading an old computer the benefit is unlikely to be worth the investment. Computers are constantly evolving, and odds are that the cheapest computer on the market can outperform most 5 year old ‘expensive’ computers.

If your system is newly purchased and is going slow, memory upgrades and spyware removal can add a tremendous boost to your system. If you are struggling with either of these, give me a call at 335-8672 or visit www.CallBrady.comto schedule an appoinment. 

Laptop or Desktop?

If you would like to take your system with you to the beach or to the coffee shop down the street (mmm… Leopard Forest Coffee in Travelers Rest), you obviously need a laptop. If you will only use your computer at home and only in one room, then a desktop is the obvious choice.

Vista or XP?

You still have some choice in the matter, but not for long. On some systems the vendors will still allow you to order with XP, although your days are numbered on that. For Desktops in a home environment, I actually recommend Vista (w/ Service Pack 1). Please note, however, that older peripherals such as printers, scanners, and other devices MAY not work with the new computer. See Microsoft’s site for peripheral compatibility. For laptops I still like XP, since you will run into fewer issues working on remote networks.

Where to buy?

I recommend buying Dell, from Dell, either online or by phone. Great prices, better service than most, and quality systems. If you are buying a laptop, Dell’s are great, but for a few more dollars, Lenovo (formerly IBM) take the cake. Strong systems.

Mega-what and Giga-who?

If you are the ‘average’ computer user, you use your computer for Internet, E-mail, Word Processing, and not much else. For you, you can buy just about any system that Dell offers. The smallest harddrives are over 100GB, and most of you will never need that much. Any processor on a new system can handle these applications. I recommend, if you have extra money to spend, put it towards memory (at least 1GB of memory MINIMUM, and prefer 2GB or more) and a larger screen. Whether laptop or desktop, bigger screens are easier to work with (though this will increase weight on a laptop, so beware if you will be carrying it around much).

If you are a gamer or work with lots of photo/video editing software, you need more processor, memory, and harddrive space (for storing files).

What else do I need?

Antivirus: get Norton Internet Security. This is the best I’ve found for the average user. Some others may be slightly more secure but require better knowledge of computers.

Surge protection:Power strips don’t protect your computer. You should spend AT LEAST $35 on a surge protector, and more if you live in an older home (older wiring). If you can afford it, upgrade to a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) that will keep your computer up after a power failure to give you time to shut it down properly.

Internet Service Provider (ISP): I recommend cable over DSL if you have a choice. Don’t start with an upgraded “higher speed” package unless you do a lot of downloading or large file transfers.

Backup hard drive:If your photos of Johnny’s birthday party or that Bahamas vacation are priceless, then BACK THEM UP. External harddrives cost under $100, will back up everything that the average user has on a disk, and provide redundancy and protection in case your harddrive fails. Do you have only one computer and a high speed connection? Back up everything on the computer to for only $50/year. It is automatic. Multiple computers would require multiple subscriptions.

Final considerations:

Keep your computer and your children safe. Always know your children’s passwords, keep the computer in a public room in the house, or require that doors be kept open while your children are online. Be wary of sites such as Limewire, which are popular for downloading music files but are common sources of virus infections.

Brady Gilbert has 8 years corporate IT experience and is now fulltime owner/technician for Call Brady, Computer Services ( Call with any of your computer needs. He is also a web designer, and can help with projects large ( or small ( Brady is a graduate of Furman University and Greenville Technical College. He is A+ and CCNA certified.

Written by Brady Gilbert

December 3rd, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Call Brady, Computer Services goes FULL-TIME

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Call Brady, Computer Services goes full-time!I’m proud and excited to announce that “Call Brady, Computer Services” ( is now my full time profession. Working with people is a passion for me, and I enjoy the 1-on-1 interaction I get with people on their home or work computers. I am available for webpage design, computer consulting, repair, and for getting the viruses and spyware out of your system. While ‘home-base’ will continue to be Travelers Rest, SC, I am available to work throughout the Upstate of South Carolina and beyond.

I have been working at building my business gradually over the last few years, while also working as a Server Administrator at Kemet Electronics Corporation in Simpsonville, SC for the last 8 years.

At Kemet my responsibilities included: 

  • Corporate Antivirus Administration
  • VMWare Server Virtualization
  • Sharepoint 2007 Administration
  • 2003 Server and Active Directory
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery

Jennifer and I are excited about this new venture!  Please tell your friends, or Call Brady today to schedule your appointment. 864-335-8672, or

Written by Brady Gilbert

July 31st, 2008 at 8:54 am

Hello from beautiful Travelers Rest, South Carolina

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OK, who am I? My name is Brady Gilbert. My wife, Jennifer, and I moved in August 2007 to Travelers Rest, in upstate South Carolina. I currently work at Kemet Electronics as a Server Infrastructure Analyst, but take greater pleasure in my own business, “Call Brady, Computer Services,” where I’m a web designer and computer repairman, network installer, and techno-teacher. I’ve been running my business solo for the last few years (in my spare time) but Jennifer has joined me in the business recently and we’re starting to experience some wonderful growth.

I’m not completely sure what this blog will develop into. Perhaps it will focus on the business, maybe some about computers and how-tos, or maybe it will evolve into something completely unique and different. Thanks for checking in, and I hope to see you soon :)

Written by Brady Gilbert

July 20th, 2008 at 6:57 am