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).
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:
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:
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:
There are other companies I consider, but the above have given me reliable service and are my top recommendations.
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:
Finally, I review the price on (on-line auctions). Often on eBay 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.
About the author: Brian Cryer 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.