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Cheap & Easy

Bringing technology to your business doesn't have to break the bank.

This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Sure, the PC may be the technological anchor of your business,but that doesn't mean it has to weigh down your start-up.Picking out a desktop for yourself can be confusing enough, butwhen it comes to outfitting your entire office, the optionsmultiply like rabbits in the spring. Fortunately, you're inluck: With PC manufacturers overstocked and PC sales slow, now is agreat time to stock your employees' desks without busting yourbudget. Following is a quick primer on the basics of picking outthe right PC, from the name on the box to the amount of RAMinside.

  • Name Brands: Purchasing computers somewhat parallelsbuying groceries: You can buy either the Nabisco Shredded Wheat for$2.99 or the Super-DuperValue Wheat Squares for $1.99. You prettymuch know what you're going to get with a name-brand PC; youdon't have to think too hard about it. But if you decide to gothe route of buying a built-to-order from the local computer shop,you'll likely save money.

If you're technically inclined and know how to ask for it,you can get a very specifically configured computer with exactlythe components you want. If that's not a big deal, you mightfeel more comfortable paying a little more and opting for the namebrand. As a rule of thumb, however, generic computers are ascompatible and reliable as name brands, but always check out thewarranty terms and customer service reputation of whomever youdecide to deal with.

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