This week, Avram Piltch discusses the important things to look out for when purchasing a new computer. There are two ways to buy a new PC: pre-configured or self-configured. For the most part, pre-configured models are far less expensive than their custom configuration counterparts. For example, if you head to a manufacturer's website and look at their laptops, several of them offer the ability to customize the parts. If you go with the base model, you might have only 128GB of storage. However, you can upgrade that to 1TB for almost $600. However, if you were to purchase that same SSD yourself, it might only cost $100, meaning that you would be paying a $500 markup to have the drive pre-installed, and you don't get to keep the original 128GB drive.
A simple way to avoid the upcharge is by purchasing a pre-configured computer. Of course, this does mean that you might have to sacrifice something off of your ideal setup. Maybe you can't get the 1TB drive, but you can get a 512GB drive instead. Maybe you can't get 32GB of RAM, but you can get 16GB. For some, the compromise is okay, but for others, it would not be possible.
Another way to avoid the immense upcharge is by performing the upgrade yourself. In some cases, this is as easy as removing 2 screws. In other cases, it would require prying the body apart and repairing it with glue. For those models, it's generally not worth trying. But, there are tools to determine the upgradability of your model. You can use the Kingston Memory Configurator or the Corsair Memory Finder, both of which will tell you what can and can't be done with your computer.
No matter which way you decide to go, it is always important to know all of your options ahead of time.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.