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Buying a Computer–Local vs. Internet: Some factors to consider.

By on September 28, 2013 9:33:59 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

DrJBHL

Join Date 04/2002
+2170

 

I know that it’s best to buy your food from local growers, producers.

How about a computer, or parts for one?

I figure there are a few factors which might influence the choice:

1. Experience: How comfortable you are putting your machine together, or changing parts.

2. The type of hardware you want might not be available locally.

3. Urgency: The internet can deliver very quickly, frequently without shipping costs. However, local shops might be even faster if the outlet is large. There might be an added plus: The part might be installed at no added cost.

4. To what degree price influences your decision. Generally, the internet will be cheaper than a local shop simply on a volume basis and “shelf time”. That shelf time bias might end up delivering a computer (or part) which comparatively has lower specs than one on the internet if compared.

Local purchase, especially when your computer skills aren’t “epic” certainly has a lot to be said for it. In addition, other problems might arise and having a relationship with a local store owner can be a big plus. The store owner can be a huge resource. The Geek Squad is excellent in my neck of the woods, as well. Just take into account that both might have a bias, namely selling you stuff which might be more expensive and in excess of what you really need. Bear in mind, level of ‘expertise’ can vary widely.

Another “Pro” is replacement. If a computer or part is defective, you might well get a replacement on the spot with additional perks to keep you as a customer. The internet generally could care less (there are exceptions, especially when dealing with a ‘branded’ item), and delivery might keep you waiting when you really need the computer ASAP.

The big “pros” of the net? First, you can stay at home. For disabled people (and lazy experts), this is a plus. Also, if the “local store” is relatively distant or difficult to get to, this becomes more of a plus.

The “cons”? Returning an item isn’t usually very convenient, “support” might be “outsourced” and not comprehensible or not very skilled.

There is another factor: The internet itself. One can glean quite a bit of info on various Forums…ours included. Luckily here at WC, many folks have excellent knowledge and skills and are usually fond of diving in to help with problems whenever they can.

Did I miss anything? Anything to add?

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September 28, 2013 9:54:15 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I would only add that, if you have the skills, you can almost always get a better, more powerful computer, for less money, by building it yourself, as opposed to buying a pre built computer with the same specs.

 

Good post, Doc!  

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September 28, 2013 12:20:46 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I build all my own PC's, which saves a LOT of money. It is definitely not for anyone who does not have the know how though. If you have never done it, I would suggest not even trying. There are many excellent deals on the Internet for people to get!

 

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September 28, 2013 10:27:19 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

My recommendation is to get good advice from TomsHardware.com and any forums you can find related to what you want and then build your own.

Be careful with the cases.  The thin metal can slice you bad.

Figure out what the PC is for gaming/browsing the web/spreadsheets/graphics etc... .  The programs you want to run will tell you which operating system you need the minimum processor speed and how much memory and hard disk space you need.  Now you have to do soul searching and be budget minded.  

Then price out your basic components:  WIN 7 (get 64 bit and at least 8 megs of RAM), motherboard, RAM, CPU, aftermarket cooler (maybe), hard drive, GPU (for gaming), PSU, case, dvd burner, keyboard, mouse and 1920 X 1080 monitor (at least).

Then get advice from people you trust.  Read the reviews.  Watch for sales.  My best builds were with parts purchased over a couple months.

Then balance your list of priorities and weigh that against your wallet again.  Make adjustments as needed.

Buy everything from NewEgg, Amazon, TigerDirect or local store if your lucky enough to have one.  ON SALE!

The experience of building your own PC is empowering.  Yes, I just said empowering.  I'm sorry.

Wrestling with the trade offs of price vs performance and then actually assembling it will give you such a thrill the first couple of times you do it.  And if something fails you will know how to fix it.  And it's like eating potato chips.  You can't stop with just one.

And then when you are confident and you help a friend or a family member build a machine that they could never afford if they bought it pre-built or off a store shelf.  You will have become a God among men.  

Revel in these times.  I fear our children will know of such things only in tales told round the flickering holographic simulation of a campfire.

backs out of the room slowly...  

 

A Branded copy of Windows Professional (usually Dell or Hewlett Packard)  $79.99  Big savings.  Professional future proofs you if you decide you need more memory later because you can access 192 GB.  See chart.

Who cares if it says Dell or HP when you boot.  (and if you know how you can get rid of that stuff  if you like)

http://www.discountmountainsoftware.com/miwi7prfuveo6.html

Physical Memory Limits: Windows 7

The following table specifies the limits on physical memory for Windows 7.

VersionLimit on X86Limit on X64
Windows 7 Ultimate

4 GB

192 GB

Windows 7 Enterprise

4 GB

192 GB

Windows 7 Professional

4 GB

192 GB

Windows 7 Home Premium

4 GB

16 GB

Windows 7 Home Basic

4 GB

8 GB

Windows 7 Starter

2 GB

N/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 29, 2013 8:59:54 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

If I order something from a place like Amazon, and it's defective, they send me the replacement ASAP with the return postage for the dud in the box.

 

It's definitely faster from a box store in your neighborhood, but I wouldn't call it difficult to get customer support out of reputable online retailers.  I find Amazon and Newegg both to be, if anything, overly helpful.  With the added selection, I consider it a no-brainer unless you live near a Fry's.  They're they only electronics store I know of that can even begin to complete with the big online retailers selection wise.

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September 29, 2013 11:39:30 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting RedDwarf999,
A Branded copy of Windows Professional (usually Dell or Hewlett Packard) $79.99 Big savings. Professional future proofs you if you decide you need more memory later because you can access 192 GB.

Please be aware that Win7 OEM versions are married to the motherboard and cannot be transferred to a different machine.  Search Microsoft knowledge base "Win7 OEM Transfer" for more details.

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September 29, 2013 3:06:28 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I built a lot of PCs (around 50) beginning 2001 using components bought from Romania and USA (most from Bestbuy). I am not a professional PC integrator I am just a mechanical engineer Newegg is also one of the best shop but now I cannot buy anything 'cause my (American) Boss lost the right to buy from there.. Whatever, I don't like to buy any PC brand because some of them has locked configs. I prefer to buy from USA mostly because the Win's OEM licenses aren't so expensive like here in my country. I apologize for my poor English.. Most systems were built free for poor families or friends... I had a very bad experience with Asrock service. When I have problems I prefer to search on the internet for a solution.

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September 29, 2013 3:59:19 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

If your motherboard dies or you just want to change it.  Do so.  Then when you are trying to activate your windows you can call the phone number they give you.  Explain what happened (your motherboard died).  They will activate it for you.  Doing this once should be okay.  Two times may be stretching it.  I wouldn't take bets on a third.  Microsoft is worried about piracy but they also want to helpful when they can.  I know people have had bad experiences with them but I can't say that I've ever had a problem getting help from them.

So save the money and buy the Branded version if it's available.  Shaving $20/$100 off each component adds up because you have to buy 13 components to build a system.  

Building a PC seems overwhelming at first so take it step by step and you will get through it.  If you really get confused take the parts to work and ask your IT guys to help you.  Really they don't bite.  And buy them some beer or something for their trouble.

Happy gaming.

 

backs out of the room slowly...  

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September 29, 2013 10:25:06 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting ,

Did I miss anything? Anything to add?

Good post.....pretty much covered everything

 

 

 

 

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September 29, 2013 10:41:31 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

oooops.........

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September 29, 2013 10:42:38 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

ooooops again....sorry time to go to bed......

 

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September 29, 2013 11:39:42 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

The “cons”?... “support” might be “outsourced” and not comprehensible or not very skilled.

This is oh so true, in spades, with Dell.

A warning to all who purchase Dell:  DO NOT purchase a 'software warranty' - the goombahs they outsource that to aren't just clueless and dumber than a box of rocks, they will screw things up if you let them and not solve the problem you purchased the warranty to fix.  They insult your intelligence and pretend the solution to any problem, no matter what it is, is to 'restore your system to factory condition'.  I swear to God they don't even know what a 'handle' is.

Disclosure: I am an idiot.  I had a problem that I knew was due to a (pointless) proprietary 'bell/whistle' Dell add-on app, but bought the 'software warranty' because Dell 'Support' refused to fix their effed up app without extorting money from me; at no time did they understand the nature of the problem and they refused to do anything that would actually fix it, which I've since determined to be because they had no effing idea what to do.  I'm still pissed, if you couldn't tell, nearly 2 years later.  I must confess I had a fair amount of fun when they started calling me asking me to renew my warranty when it was about to expire - the rant I gave them, more than once (they were a glutton for punishment), was far more vitriolic than what you've read above.

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September 30, 2013 1:17:12 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Also, another caveat: Use a credit card and not a debit card. If the deal goes bad and you want your money back, the bank won't stand behind you If the purchase is made using a debit card . I found this out after buying my son an Alienware (Dell) Aurora for the price of a good used car, having it arrive not even able to do a POST upon startup, had them ship me a new Aurora which rocked out of the box and is still, nine months later, running strong and taking names. Called the bank during this and that is when they told me to always use a credit, not debit card. Our sojourn with Dell support went from India thru South Africa, and thru Costa Rica, who was the best help and got a new unit sent right away. Total time elapsed: from Christmas 2012 thru January 2013. Not the most efficient way to go. Would I do it again? Dunno... So far so good.

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