In this post we'll discuss when you should and shouldn't buy your PCs from the big box stores. We'll also discuss why buying the "cheap" PC can cost you thousands of dollars more...
This may sound a little self-serving, but let’s discuss why you should NEVER buy your new computer from a big box store (like Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Best Buy).
First, let’s discuss when it’s okay to buy your new PC from the big box store. If you need a PC for your high-school student or your elderly grandmother, then the big box PC is for you. In fact, for most home users, the big box PCs work fine. But you should never buy them for your business.
When big box stores order computers in bulk, they focus primarily on price. In fact, they’ll often tell the PC manufacturers what they’re willing to pay for their computers. For the manufacturers, they’ll put last year’s processor, slow hard drives, and a small amount of RAM inside the PC to meet the big box store’s demands. They’ll also install the cheaper “home” version of Windows which doesn’t play well with business networks.
In addition to older, slower computer hardware, big box PCs usually have 90 day warranties (the best may come with a 1-year warranties). For business-grade PCs, we prefer 3-year warranties. The reason for the short warranties is often-times due to poor quality hardware.
Crapware is another method used by the manufacturers to keep their computers cheap. Software vendors pay big bucks for their “junk” software to be installed on the big box PCs. In fact, it usually takes our techs 30 minutes just to uninstall all of the crapware that is installed on the big box PCs.
Finally, let’s talk about reliability. Maybe it’s a combination of the above elements, or maybe it’s some other cost-cutting measure that we’re unaware of, but we see A LOT more problems with these big box PCs. In fact, a recent search showed that these big box PCs are down (unavailable due to problems) up to 21 hours per year more than their business-grade counterparts. So, if an average computer lasts 3-5 years, you can expect to be down an additional 60-100 hours with the cheap PC! Think of the average salary in your office and add up the time for 60-100 hours. That’s the hidden cost of the big box PC.