In the first part
of my vendor guide, I talked about the day-to-day dealings of small business owners, and why they have an overall bad reputation. Some deserve that reputation, while others do not.
Being an employee of a small retailer, I have learned about the good and bad points of the different methods of hardware shopping. In this installment, I am going to talk about why you might choose to shop over the web, at a large chain store, or at that Mom and Pop shop down the street.
It's all about the Laymen
You, the person that is reading this article, are probably a gamer, and I bet you would like to think that the gaming industry is the be all end all driving force behind computer sales too.
It's not. Not even close. Rather, business and standard residential users are the driving force behind computer sales. Think about how many people you know, and I will bet you that most have computers. Now think about what applications most of these people are running on their computers. Chances are it's not going to be Quake 3Test.
Again, I will bet that the multi-user household is using the computer for letter writing, schoolwork, scanning pictures, paying bills, keeping records, and doing e-mail. Typical, droll, daily computer activity consists mainly of these needs. AOL is all these folks need and want. While it is certainly true that there is a VERY large market of gamers that demand high power systems, the mainstream computer using world does not require 10Ghz of processing power to read e-mail and write reports.
You wouldn't believe the number of 486 and P54C(early Pentium) based systems I see on a daily basis at the store. Most of them have no more than 8MB or 16MB of fast page RAM! (The fancy ones have 32MB.) For these owners it's okay to have a slow system, because for them, their good ol' 486 does the job for them just fine. As long as the cost of repair is reasonable, most people will continue to keep and use that old clunker for years to come. The problem I encounter with servicing these old machines is trying to find parts that will work with them at a reasonable cost.