Hidden PC Costs

Why does buying a PC cost so much more than what is listed in the ads?

 People get frustrated when buying a Personal Computer / Mac / Laptop when the price for the PC ends up so much more than what is listed on the sticker. What are these sometimes hidden costs and what needs to be factored in to find out how much it will really cost in the end?

The price on the tag from the mass producers of PCs that you see on-line or on the store shelves is only for the hardware, either the Windows or Mac system and mostly superfluous software that advertise to you or extract information from you.

 The most confusing of these “free” or “preloaded” products are the office and Internet security products. Free software usually means that the product is available for you without loading it. In order to use it you give personal information via registration to a third party. The “preloaded” products are much the same. They merely ask to to buy the software right away.

 For the free and preloaded anti-virus and Office products eg. Word™ will stop working after a time. This either puts your computer at risk or holds what you have typed into the computer for ransom until you pay (or install something other product). The cost for these can be an additional $190 above the sticker price of the PC/Mac/Laptop.

 Don’t forget the protection from Oklahoma weather! Most people have outlets into which they plug their computer. They may be surge strips or just power strips with out any protection. Since surge strips’ protection tend to weaken over time and exposure to power problems it is a good idea to get new electrical protection when getting a new computer.

 For electrical protection in Oklahoma I recommend more than a surge strip. Many of our neighborhoods suffer from momentary blackouts and with Oklahoma storms often the power dips or browns-out. These dips can really take a toll on the PC hardware and can be disastrous for the system running the PC. A simple battery backup or UPS (Uninterpretable Power Source) fits the bill. These now can be had for little more than an adequate surge strip, about $60.

 Printers are a possible problem, too. With a new Windows or Mac system, often their software will not work with older printers. Let’s add $150 for a moderately low priced printer on a new system, though most will opt for better models.

 So far that has added $400 to the sticker price of your PC. Now there are optional items to get.

 You may want professional setup and updates. The first part is just setting up the PC: taking it out of the box and hooking up cables. Then following the tasks the manufacturer has set up for you, agreeing to all the terms to use the computer and choosing the options the programs offer. Also there are the recovery disks to be created when you first start your PC. Now connect to the Internet and do the Windows, Adobe, Java and other updates that have come out since the factory put together the system that is on your PC. These are needed to protect your computer from hackers.

 Now the computer can be personalized including setting up your mail and your printer. Don’t forget

all those pictures and typing you did on your old computer. If you backed up your data, great. If not you may want to get that data recovered. Then there is restoring the back up or recovered data to the new PC.

 So, besides the $400 hidden from the initial cost of the computer the price of a service call may be needed to be included to set up your purchase and even to customize it. Indeed that computer you eye in the store may cost more than you expect.

 Questions? Ask at info@affinityCM.com or IM me at kurtrr on skype. Your question may be in an upcoming blog/column.

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