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Purchasing an Inexpensive PC

By Rob Pirozzi

Personal computers have become relatively inexpensive, at least as compared to what they used to cost. There are now many sources for inexpensive PCs. This article will provide you with information on sources for low-cost personal computers, computer peripherals, and accessories.

The average home computer user does not necessarily need the latest and greatest technology. Most simply need a PC with a relatively new Intel processor, or equivalent; a reasonable amount of memory - 256MB or more; a reasonable amount of disk space - 20GB or more; a CD, DVD or CDRW; and a modem and networking capability. It is only individuals with demanding needs such as intensive gaming, or video or image manipulation that really need more. Individuals who store large libraries of picture or graphics files, music files, or video files will require substantially more disk space.

Before shopping, you need to get a clear idea of what your PC needs are and in what timeframe you are going to need a new PC. If your need for a PC is immediate, then you must try to find the best deal from a local electronics retailer. In addition, if you need or must have the latest, most "cutting-edge" technology, you can expect to pay handsomely. While in either case you may be able to find a relatively good deal, you will have probably paid more than if you can wait five plus business days for shipping and give up a little on the technology curve.

For individuals who do not need a PC immediately, and who are not looking for the "latest and greatest" technology, there are many excellent sources for inexpensive PCs, peripherals, and computer accessories. In many cases, PCs can be found for under $400, and even under $300. Sources for low-cost PCs include:

  • On-Line Retailers
  • On-Line Refurbished Equipment and Outlet Stores
  • On-Line Auctions

On-Line Retailers

There are many excellent on-line retailers such as TigerDirect (www.TigerDirect.com) and TechDepot (www.TechDepot.com) who can provide substantial savings on PCs, peripherals, and accessories. On-line retailers also typically have huge inventories including components, and consumer electronic items such as digital cameras, PDAs, and MP3 players. The lowest cost PCs may be factory close-outs (PCs being replaced by more current technology) or reconditioned/refurbished (good as new, but not new). They will work fine and be more than adequate for most average home-computing needs.

On-Line Refurbished Equipment and Outlet Stores

Many computer vendors and retailers also have factory outlet stores and/or refurbished equipment outlets. Again, although not the latest technology, or even brand new, these PCs will meet most computing needs and will be much less expensive. Refurbished equipment/outlet retailers include:

  • Amazon.com - Amazon.com has an "Outlet, Used & Refurbished" store that can be found under the "Computers" category. Here they offer both clearance items and refurbished items at substantial savings.
  • Dell Outlet - Dell has an outlet store that offers savings on Dell desktop and laptop computers, as well as other Dell accessories and electronics, including monitors, printers, handhelds, and TVs. Select "Home & Office" on the main page of the Dell Site (www.Dell.com) and then scroll down to find "Dell Outlet".
  • Gateway Remanufactured Products - Gateway offers outlet prices on remanufactured Gateway desktops and laptops. Select "Remanufactured" on the Gateway site (www.gateway.com).
  • HP Outlet Store - Hewlett-Packard offers outlet pricing on HP desktops, laptops/notebooks, monitors, printers, cameras, and televisions. Select "Outlet" on the main page of the HPShopping site (www.shopping.hp.com) to find their offering of products.
  • IBM - IBM offers IBM Certified Used Equipment that has been refurbished and tested to IBM specifications. Offered items include desktop PCs, notebooks, printers, monitors, and parts and accessories. Enter "refurbished PC" into the search bar of the IBM site (www.IBM.com) to find what they have to offer.
  • Iomega - The Iomega factory outlet offers excellent prices on Iomega removable disk drives, portable disk drives, internal and external disk drives, flash drives, DVD, and CDRW drives. Select "Outlet" off of the main page on the Iomega site (www.iomega.com).
  • TechDepot - TechDepot offers both clearance items and refurbished items off of their site (www.TechDepot.com). Select either the "Clearance" or the "Refurbished" tabs on their home page to find what they have to offer.

On-Line Auctions

Perhaps requiring the most patience and persistence are the on-line auction sites. For those with the right temperament, good deals on PCs and related products can be found at eBay and at CompUSA Auctions.

Conclusion

With a little research, time, and persistence, you should be able to save a substantial amount of money on PCs and PC related items from any of the above named sources. While what you get may not be the latest technology, or new, it should meet the demands of all but the most advanced PC users.

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