Tips on buying computer hardware
If you forget everything you've heard about buying computer hardware, just remember these three things.
Number One: Make sure you know what you're buying:
While this sounds rather simple, it is very easy to make an impulse purchase without really knowing about the product (Reading a product's specification sheet on the web doesn't count either). Unless you're very familiar with the industry and its happenings, be sure to get a few opinions about your upcoming purchase. There are several good Internet sites out there with good, honest, useful reviews and previews. If you can't seem to find a review of what you're looking to buy, try looking on some computer hardware newsgroups. Be sure to take some posts with a grain of salt because newsgroups are often places were people place either huge rants or raves about a product. If you're lucky you should be able to find some sound advice on any given product.
Number Two: One is never enough:
Today it seems that almost every product box is boasting "50% faster than....". Statements like such can easily confuse the inexperienced buyer. Keep in mind that it is very easy to manipulate benchmarks. It's always a good idea to get your benchmarks from a trusted, independent publication (online or print). One final caution about benchmarks is to be sure to look at a variety of tests. One benchmark is never enough. One benchmark can't give an accurate representation of real world performance (with a few rare exceptions). Besides, the more benchmarks there are, the easier it is to find weaknesses and/or strengths of a product. But don't stop at just benchmarks - get as many opinions on a product as you can. The success of many products can be based on personal preferences, varying a good amount from person to person. By reading several reviews it is much easier to determine if you will enjoy (or dislike) any given product. Finally, always be sure to comparison shop. As the title suggests, one price quote is never enough.
Number Three: Send in those rebates:
While this may seem rather odd, it is very important to send in your rebates. Why? Because it is free money! But the fact of the matter is: many people do not like rebates because of the added hassle. Therefore, statistics show that only around 30% of rebates are sent in. That's a huge profit for companies and an even bigger incentive to start more rebate deals. Thus, if everyone sent in their rebates, we would see a lot less rebates out there and have to go through much less hassle.