Reliable online computer hardware retailers
techAdmin
Status: Site Admin
Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 3982
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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We've seen some pretty shady operators out there. Here's a list of online retailers we've been using for a long time with no problems.

These vendors all have very good, often great, prices, and, equally important, well designed and functioning websites.
  • ZipZoomFly.com. Formerly known as googlegear.com, until they were forced to drop that name by google. Very good prices, good selection, most items feature free second day fed ex shipping in the continental US. I wish I could tell you if they have good or bad customer service but the truth is I've never had to call them for a problem. Orders are at your door 3 business days after you place them. We get most of our hardware from these guys.

    UPDATE: changes in how zipzoomfly handles 2 day shipping makes it harder to recommend this company any longer, I'm seeing shipping times of upto 5 days to receive something that is supposedly shipped with free fedex 2 day.

    zipzoomfly's prices are still good, selection is good, but the shipping is really becoming a problem area. Their customer support phone service is, how to say it politely, not very good. And they make excuses for bad shipping times. I have to downgrade this company significantly.
  • NewEgg.com. Recommended below. Prices look very good, service is pretty much exactly what they say it is.
  • Crucial.com. The online source for Micron memory. Features a fantastic memory locator function, guarantees that you get the right memory for your machine, mobo, camera etc. Also have video cards. Excellent service, free 2-day shipping. We recently had a video card fan fail, they sent us a new card no questions asked, then all we had to do was mail them back the old card. Almost zero downtime. Keep up the good work.

    These guys have been around for a while, deservedly so. We get all our memory from Crucial / Micron unless the mobo explicitly calls for another brand for peak performance. Almost all reputable hardware sites and books recommend Crucial memory as an excellent memory choice. Prices are very good, don't skimp on low end no name memory.
  • TigerDirect.com. Website could be much better, but they've been around for a while. If zipzoomfly doesn't have what you need try these guys. We haven't used them but they have a good reputation.
  • ComputerGeeks.com. No personal experience, but have some amazing deals. Worth checking out. They actually carry used old processors, which can be a life saver when trying to fix a fried box for very little money.


If you really must shop around, try PriceGrabber.com. They have comparison pricing, but my experience with randomly chosen online vendors has not been good, nickel and dime yourself at your own risk. You've been warned. Check all vendors by searching for the following:
[online vendor name] problems
That will usually give you a good idea if there are people annoyed at the company. Pricegrabber also has rankings for vendors, make sure to read them before placing an order or you could and probably will be sorry.
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minck
Status: Interested
Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 39
Location: Belgium
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The one I saw mentioned all the time when I was shopping for parts was newegg.com - at the moment in Belgium, but may be coming back to the US soon, and might go on a small shopping spree - any reputation info on newegg? BTW, thanks for the references to zipzoomfly & tigerdirect, they look nice.
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techAdmin
Status: Site Admin
Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 3982
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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NewEgg.com looks very good, they beat some prices I just got by quite a bit, sigh. Looks like no free shipping though, so you have to add that into the price when comparing. I can't speak from personal experience however on that one.

One thing to know about zipzoomfly is that in order to cut down on fraud they will only ship to your billing address on your credit card, unless I think you have an account already established.

However, one thing that's really important to me is reliablity, I placed a large order with zipzoomfly 3 days before flying off to do a job, and when I got here the parts were waiting for me, as I knew they would be, same with the crucial stuff. Certain other online companies, axiontech.com for example, failed to deliver when I needed the stuff. Last order I placed with them of course.
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vkaryl
Status: Contributor
Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 273
Location: back of beyond - s. UT, closer to Vegas than SLC
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newegg is my first choice. Their shipping (in the US, all I have info on!) alone makes them way ahead of whoever's in second place! I ordered the monitor extension cable on Monday and a Samsung DVD/CD-RW on Tuesday, and they both came on Wednesday! From SoCal to SoUtah.... for a total shipping of 5.98....

VERY nice helpful folks too!

[Edit: my current system is a Systemax/TigerDirect, btw. It's 2 years old this month, only complaint I have is the CD-RW is crap - which was why I just ordered the Samsung. Even though the system is still under extended warranty, they will only replace the drive with an identical one, and I'm not going there....]
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