There is no question at all that when it comes to buying that next new PC, all of us really need to look at what our long term needs are. For some, this may be purchasing a PC now with specs so outrageous, that no matter what comes up with Windows 7 or on the Mac side, OS X, the hardware is going to keep trucking for years to come. Obviously this is not as big of an issue for Linux users, as the biggest upgrade I did recently was a new hard drive and some extra RAM on my older x64 AMD powered tower. Needless to say, it still runs like a champ.
But this argument of purchasing less and expecting more, might be a bit flawed. Yes, as the article points out, adding in your own upgrades can save you money. On things notebooks, this is a bit more difficult as you are generally limited to RAM upgrades. But the idea is sound nevertheless.
Now I do have some issue with the recommendation of going with Dell. Yes, going Dell business class is fine, but their consumer level stuff is junk, I am sorry. If you are going the Windows route, consider HP or pretty much anything other than Dell. Also consider spending for tomorrow as well as today. Skimp on the RAM and upgrade it yourself, sure. But also consider buying something with increased bus speeds and CPU performance now, even if it is overkill. This is going to add life and quality of life to your computing experience.
For users of the OS X variety, same applies – Macbook Pro vs Macbook is not even a conversation – get the Pro if you simply must go OS X. You will be happier with the performance. Now if you are not looking for power and just want portability, then by all means, get the Macbook standard. At the end of the day, I guess it simply comes down to recognizing not just what our needs will be today, but being wise enough to avoid the old “penny wise, pound foolish” mindset in the quest to be frugal.
Buy it with cash, save up for the model worth owning vs springing early for junk and enjoy the fruits using some common sense when computer shopping. Oh, and of course use the Internet to shop around. Buying PC components locally is almost always a waste of money, even considering shipping.