I was asked not too long ago by the neighbor kid how I manage to get deals on computers.
I explained to him that the first thing I do is try to buy a computer without Windows, that saves me some money.
But that's for Linux geeks like me, who are going to just wipe the hard drive anyways and install Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Fedora, or CrunchBang the first chance they get.
For someone like my neighbor kid Jimmy who wants Windows, this is not an option.
He "needs" Windows to play his video games.
I am sure by now some Linux geek is going to point out to me that you can play video games on Linux too.
I know, been there, done that.
But to tell the customer you have to tweak this and run a no cd patch for that... to get a Windows game running on Linux, it just isn't what the customer wants to hear.
So this is the list of companies I use to obtain computers with or without Windows for my not for profit computer repair organization, Denny's Computers.
First off is my tried and true computer drop shipment company, 3BTech.net.
These guys offer decent hardware at excellent prices.
The only downfall I have with 3BTech.net is they sell ChiefMax power supplies. which in my opinion is a bad power supply manufacturer.
I have had ChiefMax power supplies go out so often, half of the time frying out the computer you just purchased, that I can no longer in good conscience sell a computer with their product in it.
I have been working with 3BTech for about a decade, good people willing to help.
Secondly, and carefully, I use Pricewatch.com.
I say carefully because Pricewatch is not who you will buy the computers from, Pricewatch is just a service that searches for the lowest prices on the net for any given item.
A great service, but the companies you are directed to CAN be shady.
Don't buy from a Pricewatch sight until you are as certain as you can be that the company you are dealing with is reputable.
Pricewatch is a great bargain, but also a "buyer beware" market.
Third, I add Walmart.
Yeah, this is a Walmart plug. ???
No not really. I have been accidentally, and pleasantly surprised by Walmart's desktop and laptop prices though.
And "ship to store" means that if the computer you want isn't in the store, you can still get it without paying for shipping, which is a nice bonus.
I stumbled upon Walmart's deals though Pricewatch.com, of all places.
The very last place I shop for computers at is Ebay.com. If I have a customer that simply can't swing anything on the 3 currently stated websites, then I very carefully check out Ebay items.
If Pricewatch.com is a buyer beware market, then Ebay is a "don't shop in their without a detachment of Marines" market. A lot of things are shipped from overseas, are of low quality, and have a tendency to arrive DOA. (Dead on arrival)
In closing, I cannot stress the importance of being a careful shopper at Pricewatch, and especially Ebay, enough. BE CAREFUL!
I also suggest that if you are really strapped for cash and need a cheap computer, to check out 3BTech.net and Walmart's "out of lease" computers. Just like a car, after so many years the lease is up, and the computer is now more affordable, having been used.
Good computer hunting!