for College Computers
The bad news is due to extreme competition and slim profit margins,
you generally don't find any academic discounts on computer hardware.
The good news is that because of that same competition and slim
profit margins you can find some awesome prices on hardware, even
if it doesn't have an academic discount.
Parts & Peripherals
OEM vs Retail - Companies like Dell, HP/Compaq and Gateway
rarely manufacture all of the parts in the systems they sell. Instead,
they buy their computer parts from manufacturers familiar to consumers,
manufacturers like ATI, Western Digital, Kingston, etc.
These manufactures create special versions of their products, know
as OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or white box products,
for sale to companies like Dell. Since these products are never
intended to reach the retail shelves, they lack the colorful boxes
fo the retail versions (this is origin of the term "white box").
However, most of the time, the hardware is identical no matter what
"box" it ships in.
OEM products are sometimes available for the consumer to buy. The
good news is that prices are frequently lower than retail versions
of the same product. However, OEM products sometimes lack more than
just the colorful box, things like manuals, cables and, worst of
all, warranties are missing.
Carefully consider what is missing before deciding if the discount
offered by OEM products is really worth it.
New vs Used - If you don't mind buying "obsolete"
(more than six months old) hardware, auction sites like eBay are
a great source for slightly slower yet drastically cheaper hardware.
However, buying used has two significant drawbacks, no warranty
and no tech support. Therefore, I recommend that you only buy used
hardware if you know something about computers and are prepared
to buy more stuff if the hardware goes south.
DISCLAIMER: I have not used all of these companies' services personally
so I cannot vouch for their quality. In addition, I am an affiliate
and/or I accept advertising from some of the companies listed (after
all, I need help paying my textbooks bills as well). However, I
listed these companies due to their market position or their good
reputation and not for any other reason. If you have a bad experience
with any of these companies, please email
me and I will remove the link of the company if I receive many complaints
about it. Thanks.
I am an affiliate of: