Save Money on PC Components and Peripherals


By: westbrookdrew
December 31, 2010

Step 1. First you need to figure out what you want to buy! This is the hardest part, you reallty need to know what you want. This may seem easy at first but you want to make sure that what you're getting is exactly what you were expecting.

That's fairly simple, but you need to really think about why you're looking to buy it. Your computer's screen isn't big enough. You want a HD camera to document the new addition to the family. The 5 year old PC doesn't cope with all the new games you want to play. Your TV is an old 13" B&W with a tinfoil "HD" antenna and you just can't stand it anymore. Whatever your reason, you need to know why so you can give yourself some leeway when it actually comes down to the purchase.

Step 2. Figure out your budget. How much do you have to work with? Really. Everyone wants to buy the biggest and the best, but buying within your budget equals the retention of said awesome digital equipment. Living in a box on the street because your wife had that money set aside for a vacation later this year is not worth the shiny 100" LED HD 3D TV you got to keep for 2 months.  
    
Step 3. Do a bit of research to find out things like whether you want a LCD or plasma TV, DDR2 or DDR3 RAM, Intel or AMD, Panasonic or LG. You will need to know the difference in order to make a good purchase. For example a NVidia GTX 460 SE (Fermi) is different than a NVidia GTX 460 (Fermi) by 48 processor cores (288 vs 336 respectively) which equates to a sizable difference in processing power. Check websites like Tomshardware.com and ConsumerReports.org for comparisons and reviews. Tomshardware.com for example has a convenient lists to find out what kind of video card and CPU  fits within your budget.  TomsHardware - Best Graphics Cards for the Money and TomsHardware - Best Gaming CPUs for the Money

You also need to be familiar with the going price of your chosen items on a few of the top retail sites so you know how much you're saving!  A great site for comparing prices is Pricewatch.com.

pricewatch.com

    
Step 4. Keep and eye on retail sites for big sales and inventory clearances, which may include some thing similar to your wanted item. You may need to make a compromise or two, but you can also save a lot of money this way. Instead of that 24" Samsung LCD monitor you could save $50 by going with the comparable 23.5" Acer because it's on sale. Days like "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" are great times to find deals online. I believe the best time to buy is between Christmas and New Years, because most companies are getting rid of left over inventory from the holidays before the new fiscal year. Also the NewEgg Shell Shocker is always interesting to keep an eye on.
    
Step 4.5. There are a lot of different places to find every day deals on a lot of different items. The top 3 Google returns of "buy computer parts" are Newegg.com, Tigerdirect.com and Geeks.com. All 3 have special sections on their websites dedicated to products at reduced prices.

a. Newegg.com has many options for you to save money including clearance, open box, and refurbished items.

b. Tigerdirect.com has a clearance section as well.

Tigerdirect

c. Geeks.com is a little more difficult to find, but it's still there...first click on the site map.

Geeks.com

Then go to clearance items.

geeks.com


Step 5. Don't be afraid of mail in rebates(MIR)! Everyone has heard the horror stories. Never getting the rebate back, getting half the amount that was promised, etc. The scene has changed from those days. Most rebates are prepaid master or visa cards now, usable anywhere credit cards are accepted. There is a process that you have to follow, but the instructions are usually pretty clear if you're buying from a reputable brand like EVGA.

EVGA Rebate Center

Step 6. Take your time. If you're building an entire PC it could take a month or so to get all the components together. If you're upgrading an item or two waiting a few weeks can dramatically change the price if you catch a sale. If you're someone who needs everything right now, skip this step. Otherwise, if you know what you're looking for, know what a good price is, have been keeping an eye on retail sites, and know what is within your budget you can really discover some fantastic deals. Another bonus is that you may start getting your first MIRs back by the time you're finishing up, allowing you to use those rebates for your final purchases!
    
Step 7. Send in all your mail in rebates AFTER you check to make sure everything works but make sure you stay within the time allowed for the MIR. Follow the instructions exactly and make copies of everything you're sending. Some manufacturers will have you register and/or fill out information on their website to expedite your MIR.
    
Step 8. Register your product(s) on the manufacturers website. This is usually required to fulfill any warranty or guarantee replacement requests that you may require in the future. What's the point of getting something with a 5 year warranty if after 2 years it breaks, but you don't remember where or when you got it and the receipt went through the wash the day you bought it?  Filling out this information when you first get your stuff will save you a ton of headaches down the road. This makes it easier to RMA something and its definitely worth it to get your favorite electronic device back in working condition. Sometimes you get lucky and receive a brand new or upgraded item for no charge!


Need more help?
Describe your Problem
Example: Hard Drive Not Detected on My PC

Ask Question