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Sources For PC Systems and Components
It seems like everyone is selling PCs these days; customers have more choices of where to buy a PC today than at any time in the past. In fact, the number of different sources for PCs can at times seem bewildering: they are popping up in stores that you would never have expected to carry PCs a few short years ago. Today's choices include a myriad of retail, online, and mail order sources, plus more esoteric sources such as auctions and computer shows.
To help you understand your options regarding where to shop, in this section I will describe the various sources that sell PCs. They are divided into three categories: retail, online, and "other". :^) Where relevant, I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each category of source. Then I discuss each source type in detail and its own particular pros and cons. In another section I will discuss factors that will help you to select a good vendor within any one of these categories.
Note: There is a bit of
overlap between this section and the one that discusses PC
types. This is unavoidable, because many sources only sell certain types of PCs; when
you select the source you are at the same time selecting the type of PC they sell. In the
same way, if there is a particular type of PC that you want, you will limit yourself to
the sources that sell that PC type. Where a source specializes in a particular type of PC,
I end up describing the advantages and disadvantages of both the source and the PCs they
sell. This page specifically cross-references PC sources and types.
Next: Retail Sources