I used to build for friends -- now I make them buy...
Here's the deal. I used to build computers for friends. Back in the late 90's, I could go to the local screwdriver shop and/or order parts over the internet and put together a good little computer, load it with software and hand it over for a lot less than HP and Dell were selling for. But it was a lot of work and time for me.
As prices dropped, I found the local screwdriver shop could build the system with warranty for the same as I could build it -- and then I would just load the software. That lasted for a few years.
NOW, however, like in the past year, prices of retail at major stores has dropped so dramatically that you can't beat their deals. Check out this link:
This is all the deals the major stores have for this week. The secret is to get a bundled deal of computer, CRT, and printer -- even if you don't need a CRT or printer. For some reason, they are selling the bundles for cheaper than a computer by itself. Even if you want a 17" flat panel, it's cheaper to buy the bundled deal with CRT and printer, throw the CRT away, then go buy a flat panel separately. I priced it out.
In January, my girlfriend got an Compaq AMD 3400 Sempron with 160 GB hard drive, 512 GB RAM, dual layer DVD burner, 17" CRT, and a Canon photo printer for less than $400. That's with licensed copy of Windows, too. She got all her rebates back. Now, they are selling the same deal -- but with Athlon 64 3500 CPU -- still for less than $400.
You cannot build a cmputer for cheaper than that -- with monitor, printer, and licensed Windows.
OK, what's the catch? Well, I had to spend a couple of hours UNinstalling the marketware and trialware, then installing what she really needed.
Also, came with ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics -- which means integrated video. But, I was pleasantly surprised. Those integrated vidoe chipsets have rellay improved. I never thought I would say that.
I fully expected to have to add a video card and was wondering if there would even be a slot. YES, it had a PCIe slot for future upgrades -- but I'm holding off on using it. But, I found it runs fast even with integrated video. Or, it runs fast enough for her needs -- word processing, e-mail, web surfing. At some point I might add more RAM and a video card, but if she's happy I'm not going to spend money I don't have to.
So, for most people a bundled deal like this is all they need. $400. Want a 17" flat panel? Go buy one for $200 -- you are still only spending $600.
flat panels on sale:
So, even though I used to build computers, I don't any more. I don't even send people to buy the custom built computers. Now I send them to the retail stores to get the bundled deals (even if they don't need everything in the bundle). I then tweak and configure the computer for them as if I built it -- but it's for at least $200 - $300 less than I could do.
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