It's the holiday season once again, and more likely than not, you've got at least one tech-savvy relative or friend that you'd love to find the perfect gift for this year. Luckily, even if you're not a computer geek yourself, you can still make an informed and sure-to-be-appreciated choice for the technological tinkerer on your list without having to take a crash course in computer science.
One great item to consider might be an LCD monitor. While your intended gift recipient might already have a monitor for his or her desktop system, many users can take advantage of their systems' dual-monitor capabilities to extend their visual workspace to multiple screens. This can be extremely convenient for programmers, digital photo enthusiasts, video editors, and anyone who likes to multitask. A flat-screen LCD monitor might also make a great replacement for a bulkier older model, providing a more vibrant picture and freeing up some needed space on the desktop.
Another item that almost all users can benefit from is an additional hard drive. With the continued popularity of digital music, photos, and video, storage space has become increasingly important for home computer users, and many desktop systems have empty bays inside their cases that can be used to house extra internal hard drives. What's great about adding drives is that it not only offers additional space but also gives the user an added incentive to organize and back up his or her files. Even a relatively small hard drive can be extremely useful as, for example, a documents-only storage drive or to back up project files from applications.
Along with hard drives, most users would also love to have more RAM to expand their systems' capabilities and keep applications running smoothly and efficiently. Whereas, years ago, computers operated with very small amounts of Random Access Memory, today's advanced applications require more RAM than ever before, and this is an area in which most systems are highly expandable. A lot of users will forgo additional RAM options to save a few bucks when they initially purchase their computers, so it's a great component to add on later.
Of course, if you're in the market for a bigger gift for your favorite computer geek, an entire desktop or laptop system might be a good choice. Though newer models can be prohibitively expensive, a system that was state-of-the-art just a few years ago can now be purchased for much less than its initial asking price; it might not deliver enough horsepower for the most cutting-edge users, but an used desktop computer or refurbished laptop is a perfect choice for a young computer enthusiast or perhaps as a backup or portable machine for someone with an established computer setup. Additionally, for laptop users, a docking station can be a useful peripheral for those situations when they're working or playing on their system at home.
Whichever one of these options you choose, keep in mind that used and refurbished machines and parts offer significant cost benefits over brand-new computer gear. A used or refurbished system in good condition can still provide many years of use, and thanks to warranties, you can be confident that your system or part will perform exactly as intended. Computing can be expensive, but used and refurbished machines and parts make it affordable to many more users, and as gifts they can spark a hobby or interest that could lead to a lifetime of creativity and productivity.