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Two vendors you can count on

Vendors. I’ve been trying to get out of the build-PCs-for-friends business and for the most part I’ve succeeded. My reasons for getting out are twofold: time and support. It takes some time to spec and build one, and if something goes wrong, I’ve got some responsibility for it. It’s something I don’t understand, because the systems I’ve built for myself have been reliable (I had a system appear dead that turned out just to be a corrupt MBR–I can live with that now that I know how to fix it, and it wasn’t the hardware’s fault) but the last two PCs I’ve built for friends have been horrendous.
One of those up and died last week, so we ordered replacement parts. I didn’t get around to placing the order until after close of business Friday, so the orders didn’t get processed until Monday.

I ordered a Gigabyte 7IX-E4 motherboard from Newegg rakes you over the coals on shipping sometimes, but sometimes they run specials, and this board’s shipping was 5 bucks. Often they’ll charge 10 bucks to ship a CPU, which is ridiculous. Five bucks to ship a motherboard isn’t bad. And their pricing is first-rate–they’re obviously making their profit margins on shipping. But I’ll forgive Newegg’s shipping prices because the package arrived yesterday, even with the holiday Wednesday.

So, if you’re in the market for a motherboard, CPU, video card or hard drive, those guys are worth a first look. Figure out what you want, check the shipping, then check elsewhere and see if they still beat it. I’ll be doing business with them again.

I ordered the CPU, case, and fan (along with another case and video card for me) from Directron’s shipping prices are about as good as you’ll find, and the order is promised today. When Steve DeLassus ordered a batch of stuff from them it arrived promptly, so I trust them. Directron’s pricing is a bit spotty, but their shipping often makes up for it (they wanted $10 more for the CPU, but after shipping they ended up being cheaper than anywhere else I looked) and they’ve got the best case selection I’ve ever seen. Shipping for two cases, a video card, a CPU and CPU fan ended up being about $20, which isn’t bad at all.

Switchboxes. Gatermann’s Linksys KVM switchbox was a disappointment, but I thought to have him try connecting the extension cable directly to his monitor cable to see what that did to the image. I had a hunch that the problem might be the cabling, because I remembered yesterday morning that I’ve seen extension cables cause precisely the effects he was seeing. Sure enough, when he connected the cable (a Belkin, incidentally) to his monitor, the picture quality degraded–worse than it had been with the switchbox in the equation. So I’m going to dig up a couple of other types of cables (I use Fellowes cables on mine) and see if that makes a difference.

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5 thoughts on “Two vendors you can count on”

  1. Not only is Directron’s shipping reasonable, they also pack things well. The Fong-Kai FK603 case w/mainboard+CPU I ordered from them last winter came double-boxed with styrofoam packing in between. And this just for a trip from Houston to Dallas ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Horrendous? You are probably being to nice there. So far our PC building for friends has been pretty close to a nuclear bomb going off inside their cases.

  3. I think the way our system building goes is inversely proportional to how nice/cool the person is. Son of Urban Warrior had no problems with the PCs we built him, aside from him blowing that parallel port from unplugging a Zip drive too much.

    Tim and Jeanne had tons of problems, but they are still alive, so I wouldn’t quite compare their experiences to nukes.

  4. The way I get out of it is simple. When asked how much it will cost (which ALWAYS happens to me) I say "well, you want DDR so that will mean your memory will be $, also you want the best MB you can find so you will spend $, then there is the hard drive, bla bla bla…" in the end they just want to go to walmart and buy an OEM. ๐Ÿ™‚

    If it’s for a good cause I’ll do it, like the Computer for my GF’s brothers restaurant (he feeds me when I go there- greek food yummy). Otherwise if it’s an expected freebee I won’t.

    Now if someone said they would pay me to put together one that’s an entirely different story. I know it sound like I’m greedy but the truth is it’s better for everyone if one is paid for thier work.


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