Taking Sides

Several times a year my father would score Utah Jazz tickets, and being the oldest son, meant I was the one to accompany him to Salt Lake City to watch the games at the old Salt Palace arena. I sat next to my father for the hour-long drive from our home in northern Utah and knew we were getting close when I could see the arena that looked like a large wedding cake.

For the next two hours I’d cheer on the Jazz against their rivals such as the Portland Trailblazers or the Seattle Sonics. The Jazz were my team and my loyalty knew no bounds. I wore Jazz jerseys, collected player cards, and could tell you how many assists John Stockton needed to overtake Magic Johnson as the all-time assists leader.

And then something happened which threw my loyalties into chaos: I moved from Salt Lake City to Seattle.

I realized the Seattle Sonic fans were just as passionate and just as vocal. Oh, and they despised the Utah Jazz! The Sonics had Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, and that duo was as athletic and exciting to watch as Karl Malone and John Stockton of the Jazz, if not more so. My first few years in Seattle were spent cheering on my Jazz. That both teams were evenly matched made the rivalry even more intense.

You might ask what a basketball rivalry has to do with technology, but I see a number of similarities. Forums and advertisement often pit brands like Intel against AMD or NVIDIA against AMD or Microsoft vs. Linux. Comparing specs and speeds is longtime passion for many people, often with a “Winner takes all” attitude.

When I interviewed at Puget Systems several years ago, the President told me they were agnostic when it came to operating systems. If you wanted a custom PC built with Linux, we could do that. If you preferred a PC running Windows, that’s fine too. He believed the choice resided with the customer, and he aimed to respect that. That made a big impression on me.

But it goes well beyond operating systems. While some of our competitors offer only a single brand of CPU or graphics card, we believe that competition is healthy for our market and good for our customers. I might prefer an NVIDIA graphics card over one from AMD, but we all benefit when competition exists, pushing companies to innovate and punishing those that become complacent.

I liken this the one gas station that serves the small town in which I live. With no competition for miles, they are able to sell gasoline at 10 to 20 cents more than the stations closer to town that have competing stations close by.

As you probably know, we qualify each component we use to build PCs. Each component must not only perform well, but maintain a level of reliability that we’re proud to put inside a PC with our name on it. That often means some popular brands among the PC community don’t make the cut. This has been the case with memory as we’ve found Kingston RAM to be up to 10 times more reliable than other brands.

I mention this because often a customer will come to us with a strong loyalty to a certain brand. We understand this comes with the territory and is often a reflection of the passion our customers have for computers. We will always  keep your loyalties in mind as we determine what computer will work best for you. Share your thoughts with us, and be open to suggestions we make as well.

I still didn’t cheer for the Sonics like I did for my Jazz, but with time, I learned to appreciate the brand of basketball they brought to the court. Technology changes more quickly than basketball so it’s worth while to being open to brands you may have dismissed in the past. Our sales team is a good place to start if you have questions.