When purchasing a new computer online, you will likely come across a screen filled with upgrade and add-on offers that allow you to pack the more power in your system and come away from the deal with a few extra peripherals. There are a few things to be cautious about when both customizing your system and examining these extra offers. OEMs make their money off add-ons and extras because the actual system prices are so competitive, it leaves them little in the way of actual profit without them. Here are a few upgrade options to be wary of when buying a new computer:
Base model systems typically have the least amount of included RAM selected by default. Upgrades, when performed by the OEM, often come with a high price which may offset the bench time required for a non-standard build along with a premium on the memory you actually receive. What many manufacturers don’t make obvious is that RAM upgrades performed by the end user usually doesn’t void a warranty. For example, Apple will only void a warranty over a post-purchase RAM upgrade if the third-party RAM itself causes the issue you are having warranty work done over. Their main support site includes documentation explaining exactly how to change RAM yourself, and what specs the replacement memory needs to have.
Buying an external monitor from a computer OEM that doesn’t specialize in monitors may come with a much higher price tag than is necessary. You may be able to buy an even larger monitor with higher resolution and a much more reasonable price tag by purchasing it separately. In reality, a lot of the PC manufacturer monitors out there are rebranded models from other manufacturers. This happens in much the same way as a retail store that carries their own house brand of products that are made by more popular companies. A Kenmore refrigerator at Sears, for example, is made by a company like Whirlpool or Frigidaire and rebranded.
Protection plans and extended warranties are a great way to protect your investment against unexpected trouble down the line. Unfortunately, not all of these actually protect against as much as others. Where one plan might protect against limited accidental damage, another will do little more than extend the included manufacturer’s warranty a little further. Filing a claim against these plans may require you to ship a system directly to the OEM for repair, creating a lengthy span of time without your system. Read the fine print carefully before throwing down a large sum of money on one of these. Retail stores also love to include their own protection plans as well, which may only work if you take the warrantied item directly to them, as opposed to another OEM authorized repair center.