Beware The Cheap PC

The public radio show Future Tense did a story Monday that asks “Will you regret buying a cheapie PC?

Computers are cheaper than ever. But if you’re looking at a new machine this holiday season, Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle says beware of the low, low prices.

Why will you regret it? The machines are RAM starved, have lousy video hardware, bad monitors, processors that are slower than their MHz ratings make them look, small hard drives, and often lack even a CD burner. One vendor’s $399 PC jumped to $1188 after upgrading the pieces to a usable level. But you say you only need to do word processing and browse the web and that you don’t need fancy stuff? I know. You’ll still need to spend more than $400 on a PC. My bet, you’ll spend $900 to $ 1200 on a desktop, and $1100 to $1500 on a laptop.

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