Saturday, August 23, 2008
The pitfalls of PC replacement shopping
I'm having great fun shopping online for a desktop PC to replace the one I lost in the fire.
For a start, very few of the major vendors' Web sites are very helpful when it comes to describing precisely which level of what standards their components implement. In monitors, for example, the coming wave is HDMI - the "High-Definition Multimedia Interface" connection. If you'd like to learn more about HDMI - as I needed to , this very day! - there's an excellent tutorial at the HDMI Learning Center page. Click on the "Introduction to HDMI" link. Highly recommended.
Trouble is, once you know what you want (for example, HDMI) and call the vendors, their representatives will duck and dive and do anything but give you an honest answer. If you ask them, "Is this monitor HDMI-enabled?", or "Does this monitor have an HDMI connector?", they won't answer directly (because relatively few monitors are HDMI-equipped as yet). Instead, they'll say their monitor is "HDMI-compliant" or "HDMI-compatible", a weasel way of saying that it has an older DVI connector, plus software emulation or some other method of imitating the later HDMI standard. That's not the same thing as HDMI-enabled! It's like looking for hen's teeth to locate honest information.
Right now, my thinking is that I want to buy the best and latest-technology monitor I can afford. For certain, it's got to implement the latest version of the HDMI standards (1.3). I can go with a cheaper PC, and either upgrade its graphics card later, or buy a new PC: but my monitor has to be as good as possible, as it's more expensive than any other component. I think I'll have to buy the monitor as a separate item from a specialist vendor, and source the PC from a low-cost supplier like Tiger Direct (whom I've used before, and who've given me great service. Again, highly recommended - and no, I don't get paid commission for saying that!).
I'll post more information as and when I can squeeze, torture and extort it from the vendors I speak to.