How & Where to buy your computer parts: Where should I starts? (primarily USA)
First of all, find out what you need/want. Don’t buy stuff backwards. Meaning don’t say “I’d like to spend $XXX.xx to spend on Y. Go look at the benchmarks of the games you want to play, at the resolution you want to play it in, at the settings you like to play then with and see what GPU(s) work for you, then look at pricing. Many claim that around 60 FPS is ideal, over that may be overkill **unless** you want to ensure newer more complex games will work well too. You’d hate yourself if you spend a thousand dollars on a system, but under bought the GPU and all the games you play are choppy and unplayable. Buying stuff FORWARDS ensures you will have an enjoyable experience. You may find out you over-budgeted and were just throwing money away OR you under-budgeted and it’s worth it to wait until you have more fund$.
Most of the Internet computer part picker sites are basically funded by affiliates commissions. Places like PartPicker (And BensBargins, Slickdeals) get a cut of each part you buy when you go through them. If you think they do a good job and helped you and should get a cut of all of your purchases, that’s fine. If you think YOU should get a cut of the commission, then you need to get a Fat Wallet Account. FatWallet are affiliates JUST like PartPicker, but they split the commission with you. I’ve found any place that PartPicker lists is usually compatible with FatWallet, so:
Once activated, buy your parts. Keep the extension on if you buy stuff a lot on the internet. It will save you money.
2. Subscribe to Newegg’s Subscriptions, any get an account and subscribe to all the places in which you plan in buying parts. They sometimes offer new customer discounts or general deals on hardware that may fit in your build.
3. If you plan on buying anything from Amazon.com, get a CamelCamelCamel Account. Also get the Chrome Extension. This is an affiliate based Amazon (formerly newegg too) price tracking service. You find the product you are looking to buy, and click the little on the right hand side of Chrome’s Omnibox and pricing history for the product should come up like so:
Now you can change the range, but you can also see this product is at $335.99 now, but has gone as low as $300. You can set a price watch at $301 and then it will email you when the price hits that. Now remember, if you click on the email links and buy the product without Activating Ebates‘s cash back, CamelCamelCamel will get the commission, not you. So I just go to the site organically and search for my product I want or check it out in my wishlist. If you put the part in your Amazon.com cart, it will notify you of price changes each day you log in BUT you will not get the commission! So take it out of the cart, activate your cash back and then add it back!
4. There are other price watching services as well, pick whatever one you want, but still activate your own Fat Wallet to get the commission yourself. Another one I use is PricePinx.com which you can watch any price on any website anywhere regardless of affiliate status. Handy.
I find that I still buy 99% of everything at newegg, they usually have the lowest prices, so much so that I rarely even check. (I know I should) I’ve spend tens of thousands with them over the years. Never a single problem in which I felt wronged or unjustly taken advantage of. And you get it in 2 days vs Amazon’s 2 weeks.
FAQ: What do you think of buying used?
You know the computer you’re reading this text with right now? It’s working perfectly solid like a champ, right? Computer parts generally fail very quickly or very slowly. I never buy used CPU, Motherboards, hard drives, SSDs, mainly because I am usually getting them the day they come out so there is no used market.
I think it’s very smart to buy used:
Gaming video cards. People aren’t selling them because they are getting old and worn down, they just want more FPS and so they will gladly take a loss to get another card, so you will get good deals.
RAM: Pretty much always has a lifetime warranty, if you can save some bucks, why not?
Monitors. They are big, they depreciate fast, and if you can get local, do it. I’ve gotten $1,500 monitors for $500 locally.
Whole systems: Sure, especially from gamers who are always upgrading. These are systems you usually can get for $0.50 on the dollar because PC is a dying industry.
Q. What do you think about “Refurbished” parts:
A. If you’ve worked in a computer place, 90% of returned hardware that’s “bad” isn’t actually bad, they are just idiots who don’t know how to install stuff. They return it for another one and have the exact same “problem” realize it’s not the hardware it’s them, so they google it and figure out what they were doing wrong. Retailers can’t sell returned hardware as new, so they call it refurbished. So I generally think it’s just fine. Use common sense.
Q. What about Cyber Monday / Black Friday?
A. If the timing it right. I wouldn’t wait six months, but that’s me. You will not save 50%, maybe 10%, but you have to be smart and flexible to choose stuff that is comparable. If have time on your hands, normal deal hunting works. If you are buying 4 identical HDD, it’s a good time as your savings will be multiplied and realized. But your time is valuable. You can make more money working a few hours rather than you ever will in savings in deal hunting for the same number of hours.