Brian Cryer

 

Recommendations for Computer Equipment (UK)


These are my personal recommendations for getting the lowest price on bits of computer equipment (links are further down the page).

Introduction

I often get asked by friends whether I know of a good and cheap place to buy a PC or various bits of computer equipment (new or second-hand). I have a reputation for finding cheap computer equipment - I have a method, but I don't have access to discounted equipment at trade prices or direct from manufacturers. What I do have is a simple three point strategy, which I've outlined below:

  1. I start with suppliers I have found good in the past.
  2. I compare the price using one or more price comparison sites.
  3. I look on on-line auction sites.

1. Recommended Suppliers

I always start by looking at my preferred suppliers. This gives me the best price from a company I know to be reliable. The advantage of buying equipment from a reputable (but not necessarily expensive) supplier is that you can return it to them if it fails and they may also provide some support if you have trouble with it.

The suppliers that I prefer to deal with (i.e. have good prices and have given good service when I have needed to return things) are:

  • Micro Direct
  • www.misco.co.uk
  • Amazon

As a minimum I always check the prices at each of Micro Direct, Misco and Amazon (above). Between them they are the suppliers I use most frequently. The following are the other sites I also check prices on:

  • Dell - My first choice for laptops. Laptops from Dell are generally very high quality (but they are not the cheapest). For quality and reliability I would be reluctant to buy a laptop from anywhere else - I have done so and I've always ended up regretting it. It is especially worth looking out for any offers Dell have running from time to time, because some of these can be very good.
  • www.pcspecialist.co.uk - Good for new PCs, providing a range of options at a good price. This is now my first stop for a desktop PC.
  • Savapoint - They have a smaller range than the above companies, but what they do stock is generally the cheapest available.
  • www.svp.co.uk - Good prices for consumables and components. They are my first choice for the consumables (and batteries) that I purchase.
  • www.novatech.co.uk - once my first choice, but not always as competitive as the above.

There are other companies I consider, but the above have given me reliable service and are my top recommendations.

2. Price Comparison Sites

Next I review the price using one or more shopping-comparison sites. These are sites that give you a list of places where you can buy and the price at each. The ones I recommend are:

  • Kelkoo - good for computing and other equipment (I find them quite good for getting the best deal on DVDs too):
There used to be others, but they seem to have disappeared ...

3. On-line Auction Sites

Finally, I review the price on (on-line auctionsebay). Often on eBayebay you can pick up cheaper versions, but these are (typically) second-hand and you don't get any come back should it fail on you. For me, this means that the higher the price the more reluctant I am to buy on eBay. Be aware too that some people sell stuff on eBay for more than you could buy it new, so you must do your homework (use the links I've included above).

Unless I need something straight away I may review prices on eBay for a few weeks. Only if I conclude that I cannot get it at a price I am happy to pay for a second hand item do I then purchase it direct from one of my preferred suppliers.

The links I've included above are good for the UK and whilst they probably aren't so good if you live outside the UK, the general approach to finding the best prices is still valid.

Third party sites

I have had recommended but have not personally used these sites:

If you are looking for other types (non-computer) equipment:

  • Piling equipment Ltd have a vast range of drilling rigs and piling equipment for sale including augers, casings, mini machines and a vast array of other drilling equipment. www.piling-equipment-ltd.com are the world no1 supplier of used drilling rigs and associated equipment, with several yards full of machines and related equipment for sale.


About the author: is a dedicated software developer and webmaster. For his day job he develops websites and desktop applications as well as providing IT services. He moonlights as a technical author and consultant.