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Chapter 1. Savvy Consumer Guide to Buyin... > Buyer Beware: Slick Sales Tricks - Pg. 9

Savvy Consumer Guide to Buying a Computer 9 Another company called PeoplePC actually is an online service provider--a company that provides Internet service. You pick the computer you want and you get the computer, Internet service, and customer support for a monthly fee (starting as low as $24.95) for 48 months. If you don't mind being roped into a four-year contract, this deal gives you a fairly decent computer at a very affordable price. Buyer Beware: Slick Sales Tricks The computer market is very competitive, which makes computers much more affordable; however, it also forces manufacturers and dealers to cut corners. Their ads focus on all the positive aspects of their products but say nothing about how they are able to offer their computers to you for hundreds of dollars less than their competitors. Here are some of the shady practices you should watch out for: · Free software--Don't buy a computer solely for the software that comes with it. Some manu- facturers bundle lots of software with the computer to try to empty their stock of obsolete com- puters. Home PC buyers, dazzled by the long list of free games and programs, end up with anemic computers. · All RAM slots occupied--Most computers have four slots for installing RAM chips. If you buy a computer with 64 megabytes of RAM and the manufacturer used four 16MB RAM modules, all the slots are occupied. Request that the dealer install two 32MB RAM modules or, better yet, one 64MB DIMM. That leaves you two or three open slots for future RAM upgrades. · All expansion slots occupied--Although the computer has plenty of expansion slots, the man- ufacturer installed something in every slot, so there are none left to expand in the future. · EDO RAM--Who cares what kind of RAM you get, as long as you get a lot of it, right? Wrong. Get SDRAM or better. EDO RAM can't keep up with your speedy processor. · Second-rate power supply--The power supply feeds juice to all the computer components, in-