No. of Recommendations: 0
This post is not about the financing of your new computer but the choice. There are 3 general places to buy your computer which are: office/electronics store, mail order, and local shop. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option.

Brands - Packard Bell, Compaq, Sony, HP
-Test drive to computer to get a feel for it.
-Lots of software.
-Not customized to your needs although some are heading this way.
-Proprietary hardware more common in brands sold although makers are going to more off the shelf parts.
-Sales people not always knowledgable.
-More expensive.

Mail Order:
Brands - Dell, Gateway, Quantex, Micron
-Customize to your needs.
-Software included on many brands.
-Knowledgable sales and technical support.
-Cheaper than electronic stores.
-Have to fix it yourself or ship it back. (Rarely get onsite service as some promise.)
-Shipping may damage or jar some parts loose.
-Some companies go out of business and you lose the technical support and/or warranty.

Local Shop/Manufacturer:
Brands - many, check yellow pages or business section of newspaper.
-Upgradable and customize to your needs.
-Knowledgable staff.
-Often fixed same day.
-Many times the cheapest computer.
-Normally little software other than operating system.
-More likely to go out of business.
-More no-name parts.

I have bought 2 mail-order computers in the past and found them to be high quality. When I have had problems, I usually got the part in 24 hours and installed it myself. The latest computer is from a local shop. The 2 problems I have had were fixed while I waited. I made this choice because I already had much of the software I needed and went for the cheapest machine.

I made this post because you are looking at a Compaq with the Celeron chip. If you are knowlegable of computers and are concerned with the power of the Celeron chip, you may want to consider mail order or local shops where you will get more bang for your buck. If you prefer office/electronic stores, Compaqs are good computers and you definitely will see a big improvement over the 486/33.
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