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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Understanding PC Sources, Vendors and Prices | Researching Vendors and Prices ]

Take Your Time

The most important tip I can probably give you when you are doing research is to take your time. There is no faster way to end up with a poor deal or a bad buying experience than to be in a hurry. That's not to say that you have to spend hours agonizing over every decision. But at the same time, just picking a vendor quickly without doing any research at all is a recipe for, well, if not disaster, then at least dissatisfaction. If you have the time (not to mention the good taste :^) ) to be reading this Buyer's Guide, you understand the value of investing the time in knowledge already.

If you are in a hurry when selecting a vendor, then at least minimize the chances that you will have a problem:

  • Stick To Known Sources: Buy from a company you've dealt with before, assuming you had a good experience with them.
  • Stick With Large Companies: If you don't have a track record with a relevant company, then at least go with a larger, well-known firm with a good reputation. You're less likely to have problems with a large company used by thousands than with a small company that you don't know.
  • Compare Online and Offline: You are much better off buying certain types of hardware online than at a retail store; others are likely best purchased retail. Compare at least one online and offline source before making a decision.
  • Avoid "The Big Gotcha": Whatever you do, don't just choose whatever company has the lowest price.

You can usually do alright by buying components and smaller items without doing extensive research. If you are buying an entire new PC though, you probably will regret not doing any research at all.

Next: The Value of "Word of Mouth" Research

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