Smaller dealers live and die by "word of mouth," and will normally try to settle any disputes amicably. Larger chain stores will generally try to "dodge the bullet" on class-action lawsuits, but settling an individual dispute could take a while.
Online merchants need to keep the majority of customers happy, but the minority can fall through the cracks. Tom’s Hardware Stores has a rating star system linked to viewable buyer comments, and Google Product Search offers similar information.
Auction sites are a great place to find old hardware, but final selling prices on newer parts often exceed those of larger discount sites. Manufacturer warranties may not apply (especially to gray-market parts) and seller warranties are only as good as the seller's word.
Be careful, though, and learn from my personal experience. I found a seller who had spent more than three years building his reputation as a power seller, and had a favorable rating of over 99%. His "retirement" plan, apparently, was to advertise items he didn't own during his final month of sales, and he was able to abscond with a "six-figure salary" of ill-gotten gains, a few hundred dollars of which were mine.
It has become more difficult to succeed at these scams in recent times, as payment companies with buyer protection will now track down criminals who've cost them insurance money. Yet we still hear of sellers sending a box full of rocks or paper to prove shipment, and unless the seller has a history of doing this, it's "your word against his" concerning what actually arrived.
Auction sites become a reasonable option whenever the benefits substantially outweigh the risks. Just be sure that you take all necessary precautions, and are prepared for any hardships that might come in spite of your caution.
Online merchants offer the lowest price, but shipping policies favor large purchases. If you can get the majority of items from one site, your savings could be significant. Inexpensive orders are often best-sourced locally due to shipping fees.
Human interface components like keyboards, mice, and game controllers are so dependent on individual ergonomics that it's always best to try a few before making a purchase. Large retail chains may provide an adequate selection of parts to try out, but some buyers use these stores to "window shop" before placing an online order.
- Part 1: Component Selection
- Processor And Graphics Selection
- Motherboard Options
- Remember The Memory!
- Hard Drive Selection
- Power Supplies And Other Components
- Part 2: Choosing The Right Vendor
- Purchase Price
- Part 3: Putting It All Together
- Installing The CPU
- Installing The CPU Cooler
- Installing The Power Supply And Motherboard
- Installing Other Components
- Motherboard Cable Installation
- Device Cable Installation
- Final Words