Computer Stores

Written by Sarah Provost
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Brick-and-mortar computer stores fall into basically three categories. There are retail stores dedicated to a single brand. Apple is the most common of these, and does not sell in general retail stores. Gateway closed all of their retail stores a few years ago, and Dell does not sell in retail outlets at all. Sales representative are usually very knowledgeable about their product, but there's also a lot of salesmanship going on.

Office supply stores and those that sell computers of different brands are another option. Your choices will be limited to PCs, but you will be able to compare systems. Finally, there are general retail stores, often of the large warehouse type. Prices may be somewhat lower at these stores, but you won't get much help from the sales personnel if you have questions.

Computer Stores on the Web

Online computer stores, or vendor sites, also fall into these categories, though in differing proportions. There are brand home sites for all the major brands and most of the less well known ones. There you can access detailed information about all the models produced by Dell, say, or Compaq.

Comparison sites allow you to shop among all brands, and often can present information in easy-to-read tables. You can see the specs for each system side by side. Auction sites are comparable to the warehouse stores, in that you may find some very good prices there, but you're on your own if you need more information. And of course, the warehouse stores have their own websites, too.

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