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Since we are to make specific hardware recommendations, pricing will oftentimes be a component of any given recommendation, whether because the asker specifically requests a certain price point as part of their requirements, or because we must choose between two products, otherwise essentially equal in stats, to recommend.

Given that inevitability, should we simply ASSUME that if no price is asked for, then by default we should always recommend the product that is less expensive (so long as we know it will get the job done)? In other words, should it be the policy of this site to recommend the less expensive of two choices if no other important difference exists, provided the OP has not asked otherwise?

For example, a hard case: Geraldina would like us to recommend an all-white graphics card to round out her Arctic-style build. She doesn't care too much about performance, as long as it is a "gaming card," and she's found two GPUs that she can't decide between - an Asus 590X and an Asus 590. The 590X is slightly faster than the 590, by about 5%, while the 590 is about %40 cheaper. All other facts about the two cards are the same, and they even use the same all-white blower cooler. Geraldina has reiterated that she doesn't really care about performance, she just wants it to be a "good gaming card." Do we recommend the cheaper of the two cards, or do we assume that we must maximize performance?

Another, different example: Jose would like to buy a fitness monitor, but he can't decide between three models because they all have the same stats. The companies that make them have similar reputations for quality, and warranties, etc. are all the same. Only pricing differentiates them. Jose says he doesn't care about price, he just wants to choose the best quality and performance available within this price range. Do we assume that we should recommend the cheapest of the three fitness monitors?

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Not always.

Geraldina says she doesn't care about performance but wants a good gaming GPU. In this case, you recommend the cheapest option that is still a good gaming card - if both the 590 and the 590X are good for gaming, then recommend the 590 because it's cheaper.

However, Jose's situation is different. Jose wants the best quality and performance he can possibly get, and price is no object. In this case, you ignore price completely and recommend the hardware with the best build quality and performance. If that's the cheapest one, fine - but if it's the most expensive, that's also fine.

In short: always recommend based on the requirements given. If price is no object, ignore price completely and choose the best hardware based on the other requirements; if there's a budget then pick the best hardware according to the other requirements while staying within that budget.

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  • I'm voting this up with a caveat - I want you to think about the implications of the phrase "if [that hardware] is the cheapest one, fine - but if it's the most expensive, that's also fine." – Adam Wykes Jul 25 '16 at 19:44
  • @AdamWykes I don't see any negative implications coming from that statement (if that's what you're trying to point out). If a price isn't given then a recommendation with any price tag is completely acceptable. It's up to the OP to clarify. – Adam Jul 27 '16 at 3:45
  • I mean, you're not wrong... But it is not ultimately a very different statement from "all other things being equal or unimportant, choose the lower cost item" which, however, I think is not your position. At least that's not how I read you so far. – Adam Wykes Jul 27 '16 at 3:54
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We aren't here to replace the drop down sort selection box on Amazon. We are here for our experience and expertise with hardware. Part of that experience means we understand that "we want a good gaming card in the $X price range" doesn't mean find the card that is exactly $X and not a cent more. It also doesn't mean that "price is no object" should provide a recommendation for a device I'd have trouble convincing a start up flush with cash to purchase.

We need to meet the user's criteria. Part of that is fitting within in their budget (explicit or implied...though explicit is much better).

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  • I'm confused because your tone indicates to me that you think there is a fundamental difference between what you just said and what was proposed in the OP - if you care to, please elaborate on that difference. – Adam Wykes Jul 26 '16 at 2:50

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