8 expert tips for finding the right computer

Finding the right computer can be a challenge, but it doesn't take a computer expert to find a good deal. With a little patience and shopping savvy, you can have the computer you want for less than you may think.

8 expert tips for finding the right computer

1. Know what to buy

  • If you don't know computers very well, you should absolutely get advice and shop with a trusted friend or family member who understands your computer needs.
  • Not all the manufacturers use exactly the same internal components in their PCs and you should shop with someone who has a basic understanding of the differences, and what they mean to the end user.

2. Research online

It's possible to save by shopping online. Use a price-comparison website that lets you find the best deals on computers and accessories. Hundreds of Canadian retailers list their products on the website.

3. Play the waiting game

Each new generation of PCs come with faster processing chips than the last, and prices are high when the new chips are first launched. But wait a few months and prices fall.

4. Avoid unnecessary add-ons

  • Bundle deals, which generally consist of a computer, printer, extra add-ons and stacks of software, are popular in computer shops. They look tempting at first, but often hide poor value.
  • Sales staff may tell you that the bundled software is worth hundreds of dollars, but it may be outdated or unpopular. If the software isn't exactly what you're looking for, don't let it influence your decision.
  • The extra hardware included can be a poor choice. For example, the printer may be slow or expensive to run due to high ink cartridge prices.

5. Choose your own bundle

Any computer dealer can put together exactly the bundle of hardware and software you want. Give the same specifications to two or three dealers and choose the one that gives you the best price.

6. Understand the portable premium

Notebook computers or laptops are ideal if you need to use your computer away from your desk or if you're short of space.

  • Expect to pay $1,400 for a laptop, but only $1,000 for a monitor and desktop computer with similar specifications.

7. Stay up-to-date

  • If you're ordering any computer hardware from a catalogue, never quote the price listed. Instead ask for the current price.
  • Prices often change week by week, so tell dealers what you want and let them quote you their best price.

8. DIY can save you money

PCs are very easy to upgrade — you can swap internal components to make your PC faster or to add more features. By doing it yourself, you'll save the labour fee that many computer dealers charge.

A home computer is almost a necessity today, but it doesn't have to cost you. With the right know-how, you can get the computer you need for a price you'll love.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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