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 Post subject: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build (Updated 06/08/13)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:03 pm 
Smithfield
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Last update: 06/08/2013
Something out of the blue to help some of the newbies.

Factoring rebates into your build
When a part goes for $230 with a $20 rebate, it's $250, no matter what. The problem with these rebates and websites (or other places) is they entice you to buy it by showing the price minus rebate. While rebates are nice, keep in mind...
  • They're good for a limited time, check the date before buying online and see if it'll get to you on time. I don't know if rebates are honored based on postage date or purchase date.
  • You can't return the product once you've submitted the rebate. Part of applying for one is sending the application with the UPC code... which is what the merchants need. No UPC code? No return/RMA.
  • Rebates take at least 3-4 weeks to process
  • Rebates are not guaranteed.
  • You may not even get a check. Some rebates come in the form of a gift card or something like that.

Ordering from multiple vendors
So you go on PC Part Picker and select your dream machine and see that all the parts there are from different vendors. But whatever, you're getting the best deal! Why is this a pitfall? The problem with multiple vendors is your shipping charges are more than likely going to increase. You also have multiple shipments to track and all of them may not arrive on time (probably not a big deal depending on how patient you are). Some vendors may not have the best service, especially on Amazon. On that note about Amazon, I've seen sellers will try to lower a part's price to jaw-dropping levels... only to nail you on the shipping cost so it works out you're paying the same as the competitor, if not more.

Keep in mind that some vendors may just be pennies cheaper than the next one that may be a common vendor you could purchase from.

I don't know if there's a rule, but for me, order from no more than two vendors.

Not factoring other costs
This is sort of a doozy for everyone, because none of us can really predict this. But when planning a build with a budget, be prepared to spend another $50 on shipping and whatever your tax rate is. The average sales tax in the US is 9.6%, which at $1000 in parts is $96. Keep this in mind.

Buying a low-end item where spending a little more would be a good upgrade
If you're bottoming out on hardware, for instance, getting a hard drive for budget computer, check to see if spending say even $10 or $20 will get you a nice upgrade. This is usually the case for storage. For instance, $70 may get you a 1TB drive, but for $90 or so, you can get 1.5TB or 2TB.

When building, throwing away packaging right away
When you are building and unpacking your computer, never ever throw away the packaging until after the return period (30 days usually). If anything goes wrong with your hardware and you want to return it, often times the vendor will not accept returns unless you have the original packaging and everything that came wit hit. After the return period, then you're free to do whatever you want.

For hardware that comes bare (hard drives and power supplies can come like this), still, save the packaging. Even if the power supply is covered in bubble wrap, save that!

(And that's about all I can think of)

Edited by nsafreak Stickied as requested since I think this is a good supplement to a few of the stickies at the top of this forum. I'm sure there are more pitfalls that can be avoided when planning out a build.


Last edited by LatiosXT on Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:50 am 
Clawhammer
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Rack him! This should be a sticky.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:16 am 
8086
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Ahh I didnt know this about the Rebate. I always thought when they say 130 bucks plus 20 dollar rebate, I thought it would be 110. not 150. Thanks for that


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 Post subject: Re: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:20 am 
Smithfield
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DeusAbsconditus wrote:
Ahh I didnt know this about the Rebate. I always thought when they say 130 bucks plus 20 dollar rebate, I thought it would be 110. not 150. Thanks for that

They word it funny. Like from Newegg here: $209.99 after $10.00 rebate card. Although Newegg is good about showing you the actual price up front.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:48 pm 
Coppermine
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First off, thank you Latios – that was an extremely informative post. I will try to supplement your data with some tips below.

Second, let me say that I claim rebates – probably 5-10 a year ranging from $5 - $100. In the last 10 years, I’ve probably received ~$1000 from rebates. When done properly, rebates can supplement a good deal and make it a great one.

Years ago, rebates were something of a farce – complaints were rampant; submission requirements were so nit-picky many legitimate rebates were disqualified; in worst cases, the companies never intended on honoring the rebates from the get go. The good news is that things have changed. Many companies have standardized the rebate process so claiming one is very similar to claiming another; and provided you submit the necessary documentation (often a claim form, UPC and Invoice) then the odds are good that you will receive your rebate. Personally, I have only had 1 rebate not honored in the last decade – that’s not bad.

Which leads me to my first piece of advice:
  • Don’t make a purchase solely because of the rebate, meaning you should think the deal is already good before factoring in the rebate. In a worst case scenario, it will lessen the sting of not receiving the rebate.
  • Many rebates are in the form of credit cards. All of the cards do expire (I repeat, they WILL EXPIRE). Some as early as 6 months, others will begin deducting a fee each month if they are not used. So, when you get a rebate card, use it quickly – don’t hold on to it.
  • Read the fine print before you purchase. Newegg is great about linking the rebate so you can read the requirements.
  • Speaking of requirements, though some are valid be very leery of “FREE AR” (After Rebate). There’s a very familiar deal where you can get $600 worth of software free by purchasing tax software; but half of the rebates require you prove that you own a previous version (or a competitor’s version). Proving you own previous versions vary, so it’s possible that may not qualify for ~$300 of rebates. Also, you be paying taxes on the $600, so that’s another $60 in addition to the cost of the tax software.
  • Speaking of taxes (and this is good on almost any purchase), add $1 for every $10 of an item’s value (e.g., if a component costs $230 the tax will be another $23). 20 years ago, it was $1 for every $17.
  • Pay attention to shipping – the costs can vary so widely that a great deal with expensive shipping will end up cost MORE than a deal with free shipping. Also, if you have to return/exchange something, you only get the value of the item – the shipping is lost.

That’s it for now. If I think of anything else, I’ll be sure to post later.

Hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:25 am 
Thunderbird
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I used to do rebates a long time ago. Got tired of them getting 12 weeks before they issue you a rebate check---and you have no idea what product the rebate check is for half the time. That often has a short expiration date (not a biggie, just irritating). And if you don't do everything EXACTLY as demanded you never hear from them. Or you never hear from them period. No appeals. And you have to cut off the UPC code invalidating any return to vendor. And you have to send it in within the return window of the vendor. Not worth the hassle.

Another reason for keeping your purchases confined to a single vendor is the one vendor with the critical part that will keep you from running and testing your system will invariably have that part out of stock and delay getting it to you until the return windows with the other vendors who did deliver on their end expires leaving you sweating that everything works. This is also one of my irritations with Newegg and others that don't let you make a comment on the order instructing them to ship all items together so you can protect your full return time claim across all received parts. Obviously if you have a working system you can test compatible parts as they arrive. But some newer tech cannot be so tested on an outdated PC.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:08 pm 
Smithfield
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Those rebate "credit cards" can be cashed out at your local bank. Just hand it to the teller and ask for the money. Only caveat is often you have to know the sum of money that is on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 11:42 pm 
Smithfield
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Here's another thing...

It's hard to point at where it is exactly for every category, but there comes a point in the price drop of hardware where the price/performance or price/GB or whatever the cost metric for efficiency is goes way down. I'm going on a whim and say this is because there's still minimal costs to building a product (say for instance, an 80GB hard drive will still take the same amount of materials as a 250GB hard drive). So if you're bottom barreling on parts, look to see if you can find something better because chances are, it'll either cost the same or slightly more and you get a better cost efficiency metric.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:07 am 
Coppermine
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LatiosXT wrote:
Here's another thing...

It's hard to point at where it is exactly for every category, but there comes a point in the price drop of hardware where the price/performance or price/GB or whatever the cost metric for efficiency is goes way down. I'm going on a whim and say this is because there's still minimal costs to building a product (say for instance, an 80GB hard drive will still take the same amount of materials as a 250GB hard drive). So if you're bottom barreling on parts, look to see if you can find something better because chances are, it'll either cost the same or slightly more and you get a better cost efficiency metric.


Good point. For instance, if you were running a second gen Sandy Bridge, it would not have been worth the cost to upgrade to the Ivy. There just wasn't enough of a performance kick there to justify it.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build (Updated 06/08/
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:01 pm 
Coppermine
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It looks like PC Part Picker now factors shipping cost into the pricing, as well as rebates (but I still think your point is valid on that).

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Pitfalls to avoid when planning a build (Updated 06/08/
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:20 pm 
8086
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I like the helpful information you provide in your thread about . Thanks for putting the effort and time into this thread. It was really helpful! Thanks!... Image


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