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Computer Shows

Virtually unknown to the general public, computer shows can be a great place to get excellent deals on PC systems and components. These aren't "shows" in the standard sense of the word: they are really large computer-oriented flea markets. Dozens or even hundreds of vendors set up tables and spread hardware and software on them; thousands of customers show up and buy, buy, buy.

What computer shows are about is really good old-fashioned capitalism, with all its glory--and all its warts. You can get really great deals because of all the competition. You'll find fierce rivals selling the same goods from identical tables ten feet away from each other, so there's no room for high profits at the customer's expense. However, you can also end up with overpriced junk if you don't know what you are doing.

I have already written an extensive article that discusses the ins and outs of computer shows in detail, and tells you how to get the most of them without getting burned: it's called There's No Business, Like Show Business... If you have any interest in computer shows, it is worth a read. It will also tell you what are good things to get at shows, and what to avoid like the plague.

Overall, I find computer shows to be a good place to get many smaller peripherals, and they are often a great place to get low-priced, bulky components like system cases and power supplies. You can also find great deals on software and books. You can even get a great price on a complete PC at a show--but I don't recommend actually taking delivery of the PC there. Again, see the article I just mentioned for more details.

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