You'd Better Shop Around
In the famous words of the great Smokey Robinson:
You better shop around
Try to get yourself a bargain, son
Don't be sold on the very first one
Although Mr. Robinson was referring to "girls" the same concept applies to purchasing personal computer components. The shopper who walks into a computer store and picks something right off the shelf without doing a considerable amount of due diligence is likely to get whacked in the wallet.
First of all, there is no, I repeat, no difference between a Zoomwowie Z9950X Zaparoonie Video Card purchased at a big box store and at an online retailer. The only difference will be the price tag and that is something that definitely needs to be considered.
Let's take some very typical examples that are available on the web right now. Let's take a real video card to start with, the 8800 GT 512MB. The lowest online price from a reputable major online etailer is $109. However, you can also buy pretty well the same thing, maybe with a different label on it, from an online etailer for $297! The one for $109 will work in an effectively indistinguishable fashion, while leaving $188 in your bank account!
Let's check some other amazing price spreads:
Asus Rampage Formula Intel X48 Motherboard: $359 to $429
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition Dual Core 2.6GHz CPU: $81 to $122
OCZ GameXStream 700W ATX12V Power Supply: $94 to $156
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 Dual Core 3.0GHz CPU: $198 to $366
Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 Toxic Edition 512MB Video Card $188 to $267
...and now some real whoppers which range from about double the price to five times the price!
Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB 7200rpm Hard Drive: $159 to $303
LG GGC-H20L Blu-Ray HD DVD Combo Drive: $161 to $323
OCZ Platinum XTC 2GB (2x1GB) PC2-6400 DDR2-800 RAM: $32 to $72
Logitech Z-2300 THX Certified 2.1 200-watt Speaker System: $99 to $225
eVGA Nforce 780i SLI LGA775 ATX Motherboard: $232 to $479
Gigabyte I-RAM DDR PCI Virtual RAM Disk SATA w/Backup Battery: $116 to $419
Belkin F9M820 Surgemaster PC Surge Protector: $9 to $49
You don't have to visit a hundred etailer websites to do your comparison shopping homework. All you need to do is find a comparison shopping search engine which covers your country and just let your fingers do the shopping. These search engines will show you the component you need and the prices charged by the various etailers. You can then select the lowest price and buy to your heart's content!
Generally you'll find that the best online etailer pricing will significantly beat the big box brick and mortar locations even when you factor in the shipping charges. Also check carefully as many etailers located in another state or province will sell you products without charging you state or provincial taxes. Pay close attention to factory rebates as you might be waiting three months or longer to get your check.
Depending on the type of components that you are selecting, you could easily save yourself $500 on a fairly mid-range PC build just by comparison shopping. And as my Poppa always said, $500 saved is $500 earned. How long does it take you to earn $500? Isn't saving that amount worth an hour or two of online research? Heck yeah!