Everyone knows that modding is not cheap. If you want to build a really good mod, you will have to use really good equipment. Now, dont get me wrong. Im not saying that mods cannot be done on the cheap. They can, absolutely. But the cards will be stacked against you if you do not have some really eye catching and well used equipment. So, how do you go about finding the best deal?
First thing – learn the sites. Comparison shop between the sites. Do not immediately count a site out just because a few items are more expensive. Be on the look out for clearance sales, or open box items. Making the rounds around the various modding sites, you learn which sites are more apt to throw down a good sale. When they happen, you will know. Now, here is a little experience and advice from me… if all you are buying is the clearance stuff, and you get something broken or you dont like it… dont go ballistic on the company. I’d recommend eating it if it was a cheap fan or something like that. First off, they are likely loosing money on your order. Secondly, they did not have to put the sale on. Thirdly, you are just damaging your reputation with them where they may remember you later on. Don’t put your worst foot forward. Remember, this little relationship can grow later on. Hell…. if it is a busted, cheap fan, I hull the thing out and use it as a blank to “space plan” for the fan. keep the fan for spare parts…. you *never* know what you are going to need fro mmod to mod. We are likely the worlds *worst* pack rats when it come to useless, dead technology. You just never know when you might need that heat sink off of that old P3!!!
After you have been modding for a few years, your list of vendors that you like to do business can become pretty short. And when one of those throws a sale, you want to be around for it. Now, here is the tricky part, and it is a bit abstract… so hear me out. Dont buy *only* the Sale stuff. Buy regularly priced items from them. Support your company with your $$$. The larger, bigger ticket items they make more profit on, which keeps them in business, and allows you to build up a repoir with them. Plus, you learn about service. If you find a company that gives you excellent service, you should be willing to pay a little bit more for your parts to support the company. Folks, it’s not always about “how inexpensive” it is, but rather “how good is the company I am buying it from?”… and the only good way to learn that is through purchasing experience.
When you are buying sale stuff, if you know you are going to use it, buy as much as you can affford to get if you are sure it is an unbeatable price. Pay for shiping once, dont spread it across multiple orders.
I used to “cherry pick” my deals until I put the math to it and realized that most of my savings was getting eaten away by the multiple shipping sharges…. suckage! ;)
Also, keep in mind where a company is based, and discover is you are going to have to pay state sales taxes. Sometimes… the tax savings alone can justify purchasing from a more expensive sompany….
Does the vendor handle your 99 cent fans with the same packing and care as your $150 water cooling parts? If so, put them on your short list.
Also, for the more experienced, Forums can be a GREAT way to get items sold and purchased. YOU can find some SCREAMING hot deals on the For Sale forum pages. Dont over look those.
Just keep your head on a swivel and read the modding sites religiously. You will see when they go on sale! Find a vendor or two and suppor them regularly with the most important thing that they need. Your money and your support.