New Computers: Where To Buy Them And What To Look Out For
By Ara C. Trembly
If youve read our first 3 articles in this series (see NU, Aug. 11, Sept. 15, Oct. 3), youve done your homework and youre ready to buy a new computer, or a slew of new computers, for your agency or office.
Youve completed your agency technology inventory and done some thinking about CPU speed, RAM, hard drive needs, platform, Windows version, etc. Now the only question is where youll go to purchase your new systems, and what else you might need to know.
Attached to this article is a list of specific kinds of outlets from which you can purchase personal computers, portable computers or workstationsalong with the advantages and disadvantages of each. Before you peruse that list, though, its worthwhile to consider some basic facts about todays computers.
Breakdowns. Just like any other device, a computer is subject to breaking down, no matter how reputable the brand or the distribution source. However, its also true that todays computers have few moving parts and that physical breakdowns areor should berare.
When a physical problem does occur, though, the repairs can be expensive, and they can be time-consuming. Theres not a lot you can do about the time it takes to repair your unit, but the expense can be covered by the extended warranties offered by many outlets that sell computers. In essence, youre buying insurance against the product failing within whatever time the warranty covers.
Of course, the manufacturer of your computer probably will offer some kind of limited warranty (usually a year or less) when you buy, but beware that sometimes these warranties require you to pack the broken computer back up in its original box and ship it to a distant location. That means more cost to you and more time spent without your computer.
Extended warranties generally are offered by outlets that have their own repair facilities, or that have fast access to such facilities for their customers. The question of whether or not you purchase an extended warranty then becomes a value proposition.
How important is the new computer (or computers) to your business? Would losing the use of a unit have a major impact on your operations, or could you get by for a week or more while a faulty computer is being repaired? The answer will tell you whether or not an extended warranty is for you.
Beware of the cost of extended warranties, however. I once had a famous electronics outlet chain offer me an extended warranty on a small piece of electronics, but the warranty actually would have cost more than simply replacing the unit at the same price. When I pointed this out to the salesman, he just kept trying to sell me the warranty. This is how strange it can get.