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by Webnme2 on Mar 19th 2010

Where to Buy

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Buying – Get A Price Comparison

Web – Shopping – Price Comparisons

Buying A Computer:

Before you do anything else, visit http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/misc/buy-computer/buycomp.htm (if this page is not available – try the cached versions from Google and Windows Live) and read everything there. This site is for you and has a lot of useful information that will help you make a good decision. Read it! It will save you from a lot of headaches later.  We also have some detailed advice on things you should consider before buying a new computer at Buying A New Computer.

Buying Software:

Before you buy software, know what is needed to run it. Nothing is worse than paying $50 (or a whole lot more) for software and then finding that you need to spend hundreds in hardware upgrades to get it to work properly.


  • Always check to make sure that the version of the software package that you are buying is supported by your hardware.

  • Find out what operating systems are supported by the software you are considering. Some software may not work on your operating system.

  • What are the hardware requirements? Does it require:

    • Processor speed?
    • Video – PCI, PCI-Express, AGP-2X, AGP-4x, AGP-8x?
    • Video Memory; e.g., 64, 128,
      256, 512, or more?

    • Joystick
    • Specific Sound Cards
    • DVD or other media player
    • DVD Burner – what media is supported – just one type of disk or many?

Buying Hardware:

If your new hardware device requires drivers, check the vendor’s website to make sure that there are drivers that work with your operating system. For example, if you have a Windows Operating System, you will want to visit Microsoft’s Hardware Compatibility Resource Center.  (Linux hardware compatibility | RedHat hardware compatibility | Sun OS hardware compatibility)  Most software vendors also have hardware compatibility lists.

Buying Hardware and Software – What A Site Doesn’t Say:

It really is tempting to try to get a really great deal from an online store. Be aware that what a site doesn’t say about a product may be as import or more important than what it does say. Let’s suppose that you are buying a new computer system and the sales site doesn’t provide you with any information on the monitor’s screen resolution. That should set of alarm bells that prompt you to call for more information or at least send an e-mail, if you don’t decide to go to another competitor that offers more information. When you pay a lot of money for a system, you don’t want to end up with a low-end dinky monitor that can’t support a gaming environment. Similarly, if the system advertises a Video card, but doesn’t tell you anything else, you need to get concerned. Find out the bus speed, amount of RAM, and performance characteristics. Another one to watch for is “supports xxx MB of RAM” without telling you what  amount of VRAM is  ships with the system.  It may be that the system is going to use your RAM and not have separate VRAM for video. And just as important, what kind of RAM is it? Buying slower RAM at  for the same price as RAM with a higher bus speed isn’t a good deal.

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About Webnme2

The author's first experience with computers was with Fortran IV. Wow that's ancient. After graduate school, he taught history for a number of years at a community college before becoming an attorney. In 1997 he changed careers to become a web developer/designer with an interest in all things web related. He currently maintains several dozen websites. This is his personal blog. The opinions expressed are his own.

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