A few things, and this isn't anything new. This is pretty standard across most PC based forums out there. This doesn't need to be stickied, but I feel it necessary to share anyway.
1) Upgrades. You need to tell us what you're upgrading from. If you just tell us you need to upgrade your PC, and don't give us a baseline parts list, we're just going to ask for the parts list anyway, or assume your post is a "NEW PC HELP ME BUILD" thread and just start throwing random hardware at you.
If you don't know how to look, grab free programs such as Speccy - System Information - Free Download
or even the free trial edition of AIDA64 | PC Benchmark | System Diagnostics | Network Inventory
and run the system tool. In Speccy, you can find it under the File menu, then "Save as Text File" then just simply post the text file in your post. It'll give us seasoned folks plenty to work with. You should list your power supply if you know it, since Speccy can't tell that kind of thing. If you don't know, find out. We'll ask you to find out anyway. This goes for the next one as well. Also, be sure to tell us where you're from so we can match currency / exchange rates and any applicable sites.
- Case (if necessary to list)
- Power Supply
- Motherboard Model and Manufacturer, helpful if you know the BIOS revision in some cases
- Processor (CPU) Model and Manufacturer
- RAM maker, size, latency and speed
- Hard Drive / SSD size and manufacturer
- CD/DVD/BDROM Maker / type (CD, DVD, etc)
- Sound Card (if other than onboard)
- Video Card(s)
- Any other extra system parts
3) New Builds: You should always list your target price, even if you think it's too low or too high. We're good at price matching, and making prices work. As is the case with #1, always be sure to include your location (Country at the very least) so that we can at least match you according to your currency standard, and websites that might service that area!
3)Issues with a PC. You should list any steps you've taken, even if you've taken none (feel free to say it, it's ok). You should also list things like which Antivirus you use, which OS (Windows 7, if so, SP1 installed? Latest updates?) and so on. List anything else you think is necessary. List specs if you know them, use the programs in the first step if you need to, and definitely let us know which power supply it is, and even if it's a name brand, you must
understand that even a name brand unit is NOT
completely exempt from being the issue. Good units go bad. I've had it happen. So have others. If we suspect it, then at least give it the benefit of the doubt. This is your sanity we're talking about anyway!
4) Help with re-imaging a system, or a reinstall of an OS: Do you have the original disc? No? Can you get it? No? It's little things like this that shouldn't have to be asked, but are asked all the time. Please be sure you let us know if you have the proper media or not.
5) "Help me build it, help me buy it" - Please specify whether you intend to buy or build. Some folks start in on the "If you build it, it's cheaper!" - help us help you by specifying if building your own is completely out of the question or not. We want to get the advice right on the first try, every time.
6) That being said, BUILDING YOUR OWN IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE! If you're at least open to the idea, have played with Legos or K'nects, or even just play Minecraft in your basement at 3am, YOU CAN BUILD A PC. It's really that simple. Don't let it scare you off. Parents can teach their 5 year olds how to build them (I've seen it!) so don't let it scare you. I know it's easy when you spend that kind of money to freak out about it, but it's really not that big a deal.
7) Lastly, no question is too stupid or too dumb, as long as you provide us with the necessary information to help you. Obvious attempts at trolling or derision will be met with equal amounts of sarcasm and irony.
(and how ironic is it that this post is my 1,234th post?)