FAQ's & Tips

Buying A New Computer? Understand the Two Grades of Computers

– Kyle Kontney

OK, we need to educate you on this subject; two grades of PC's. About seven years ago, there was only one grade of computers which was "Good". This was the golden era of PC's and Laptop's. Slow by today's standards but computers of that generation could be used in a factory, a home, a business and they would last about 5 to 7 years. Not today. Today the grades of the computers are split. Let me explain the difference. Back then "Big Box" stores like Best Buy, Walmart, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Sam's Club and Costco hardly made any money on computers. Within the last 7 years, these "Big Box" stores put pressure on manufacturers like HP, Dell, Gateway and Toshiba to make more money selling their computers. So what did the manufactures do? They lowered the costs of the laptop by cheapening them. They did this by using old retired technology (not modern), slower memory, lower grade plastics and slower hard drives. They finished it off by designing graphics on the computers and putting tacky stickers telling you how "powerful" the computer was.

Well these lower cost computers are lower quality and have been coined as "Residential Grade". We refer to them as disposable or "Fast Food Computers". There is rarely parts available for such PC's therefore they are disposable. Bad motherboard, throw the computer away. The real damming part of all of this is the use technology that is not new in a new computer. Case in point; processors – many of these bottom-feeder computers have Intel Pentium Duo Core processors. Duo core processors were created in 2006. So to allow the big box stores to make money, PC makers put them in new computers being sold today. It is like having a brand new car with an engine from a 1972 AMC Pacer. These Computers are designed to last 1 to 2 years only.

Computer manufacturers use Big Box stores as a way to dispose of old hardware that they have stock-piled, paid for and just want to get rid of. So basically, residential grade is garbage that the computer manufactures are trying to get rid of.

On the other end of the spectrum Business Grade computers are designed to last 5 to 7 years and are only $50 to $100 more for comparable technology. Business Grade computers also CANNOT be purchased in a store, they need to be ordered in and is often less flashy sacrificing stickers and patterns for durability. Business Grade computers often have 3 Year Warranties in lieu of a 1 year warranty of their Residential Grade counterparts. They have faster hard drives, modern processors, and faster memory and are often designed with better ventilation and durability. Business grade computers are dull and don't come in colors. However, they are durable and designed to last making Business Grade computers a better value overall.

Here is what to look out for.

  • First off, DO NOT buy your computers from Best Buy, Walmart, Sam's Club, OfficeMax or Office Depot. They are only interested in the sale and do not care about what they sell or what you actually get or need.
  • Never buy Black Friday deals. Never. Giving Black Friday laptops and PC's is actually a mean gift to give. "Here is your new computer and yes, it will run like crap. Merry Christmas".
  • If the computer you are considering is shiny, stay away, it is residential grade.
  • If the computer you are considering has stickers with processor, memory and hard drive specifications on it, it is residential grade.
  • If the computer you are considering has a pattern on it, or has graphics on the plastic it is residential grade.

Contact Us for business grade PC's because that is all we sell. Also stay away from AMD-based processors, always choose Intel. I will explain why in another article.

Now you know, don't tell me we didn't warn you.

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