In the Forums...
Posted: July 28, 2001
Written by: xe0n
People spend countless hours planning and researching what products they will use when either upgrading or building an entirely new computer. They browse through reviews, ask others for their opinions, and devote the entire amount of time to finding the right hardware that will satisfy their needs. As they finalize their choices, one last questions arises, "Where do I buy all of this stuff from?" It is a question asked by many. Which site is the most reliable? Will I get ripped off? What should I look for? These are the questions I will try to answer in this guide to buying hardware online.
I decided to make shopping "online" the primary focus of this guide. Not everyone has a computer shop within reasonable driving distance that has everything they need to build or upgrade a computer. Shopping online is simple, easy, and for the most part, safe. If you have a local computer shop nearby, then by all means, go for it. For others who are not so fortunate, keep reading.
Tools of the Trade
There are two tools (sites) that will aid in your online shopping experience: Pricewatch and Reseller Ratings. Once you get a list of the hardware you want to purchase, you need to head over to Pricewatch.
Once there, you can search for the best prices for the products that you are looking for. The more specific you are, the less likely it will be that you'll see results from other products. For example, type in "256 PC133 SDRAM" instead of just "256 RAM".
When you find the best deal, you can go to that vendor's site and browse around their store. Make sure to view the shipping costs (if mentioned) in the Pricewatch column for "Ship", and read the specific order instructions, if applicable. Sometimes orders must be made of over the phone, etc. Once you've found a retailer, head to Reseller Ratings.
Reseller Ratings has a database that includes the majority of online computer stores. If you can't find the store you're considering buying from on Reseller Ratings, you probably should find another store. The database is based soley on user input, so there is little bias with most of the posts. When someone buys from a company online, they can go to Reseller Ratings and rate the company on how well their purchase went. They can also leave a comment. This will prevent you from buying from a company that might rip you off.