TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN BUYING A PERSONAL COMPUTER :
1) Know what you want BEFORE you go looking or buying. Many people get convinced they need a more expensive or "powerful" computer, when in fact they do not. People who do word processing for a living do not need a Pentiumbased computer necessarily; an 80486DX-based PC will do just fine when buying new, and in fact an 80386-based PC will really do just as well. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT THE COMPUTER FOR BEFORE YOU BUY IT! Let your software choices and intended uses of the PC drive your purchasing choices, not what some salesman says. If necessary, bring a knowledgeable person along who can help to sort out the truth from the noise.
2) Comparison shop the area stores: DON'T buy on impulse. Write down what you want to buy, be as specific as you can. Compare the prices of several dealers in the paper; call the companies if necessary and have them give you a price quote. Many will even fax you a price quote. If you like a system and it's $40 more than a competitor's price, see if they will match the price - many will do this. Take at least 2 weeks to go through this process.
3) Get ALL promises for service & support IN WRITING before buying the PC. Verbal agreements between you and the salesman are never binding in a court of law, if things should get to that point. Therefore, get any warranties, service agreements, and support agreements IN WRITING before you buy your PC. Speak to a supervisor or manager if necessary, but don't accept any verbal agreements as binding commitments.
4) Test the computer before it leaves the store or house. Nothing is more frustrating to the new computer owner than to find that the 150Mhz Pentium system will only run at 90 Mhz, or that your 3.5" floppy drive doesn't work, or that your monitor has squiggly lines all over it when you leave it on for more than 10 minutes. The store should have already tested the computer before you pick it up, but this isn't always the case. It only takes 5-10 minutes to assemble the system and test everything; insist on doing this. Use a diagnostic program like Checkit or Norton Utilities to evaluate the operation of your computer. If something's not right, insist that they fix it BEFORE it leaves the store. Use the same rules when buying a used computer from someone's home: run diagnostic software on it BEFORE you fork over the cash.
5) Insist on getting some menu software installed on your PC, and have someone properly configure your application software BEFORE you venture into the PC world. The main reason new PC owners get so frustrated is that they have no easy way to get in and out of their new programs. MS-DOS is not an easy operating system for the novice to use. Therefore, make sure that you get some kind of menu software (Automenu, Direct Access, Windows, etc.) installed and properly set up on your PC before you start using all of your new software. Have the store or some well-trained PC maintenance person set up the programs on your hard disk as well as the menu program you choose. By doing this, you will be able to use your programs immediately, without having to struggle with DOS.
6) Never buy from the guy in New Jersey - ALWAYS BUY FROM LOCAL, REPUTABLE SOURCES. The guy in New Jersey is probably a reputable dealer, and probably sells quality parts. BUT, if your part breaks during the warranty period, where do YOU have to go (or mail the part) to get a replacement. Always buy from local retailers that are reputable, that sell name-brand equipment, that give warranties, and that have a good name in the local industry.