Posts tagged ‘computer hardware’

On the subject of LCD monitors…

I mentioned LCD monitors… In my opinion, NCIX is the only place you should consider buying an LCD monitor.

In case you aren’t aware, let me educate you about LCD panels – the “screen” of your LCD monitor. The panel is made up of millions of tiny transistors – a red, a green and a blue one for each pixel on the screen. The manufacturing process is not 100% perfect and, given the millions of pixels on a typical monitor, it’s not uncommon to have one or more of those transistors that don’t work. This results in a “dead” pixel (a pixel that won’t ever turn on) or a “stuck” pixel (a pixel that always displays one colour). Sounds like a faulty panel doesn’t it?

The hidden catch here is that manufacturers and retailers define an acceptable number of dead pixels. When you’re looking at your 19″ monitor with a little black dot on it, you might reasonably think that ZERO is the only acceptable number… but the manufacturers typically set the limit at EIGHT. If you have less than eight dead pixels then, as far at the manufacturer is concerned, your monitor’s fine and you can’t return it. You’re stuck with it.

There is where NCIX offers something special… “Express Coverage“. If you spend the extra $10-$20 for Express Coverage with your LCD then you get a zero dead pixel guarantee – if you find any dead pixels in the first month then you ship it back to them and they ship you a replacement. They pay shipping both ways – they’ll even cross-ship it (ship out the replacement in advance of you returning the faulty one). Given how annoying even a single dead pixel can be, I think you’d be crazy to buy an LCD anywhere else.

The flip-side of this is that it’s very unwise to ever buy an open-box LCD monitor. Why has this been returned? Chances are that it’s got dead pixels.

I’ve bought 15, 17 and 24 inch LCDs from NCIX and been lucky enough to never find a dead pixel. Maybe I’ve been wasting my money on Express Coverage. But on a $600 item I’d rather pay for the peace of mind than have to stare at that black dot for years to come.

10th October 2008 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Another choice for computer parts

I’ve never thought of us as exactly over-flowing with choices for buying computer components here.

Sure, there’s a great little back-street parts shop every couple of miles, but their range is usually pretty limited and a lot of that is “we can order it for you and it’ll be here this afternoon”.  But they are very handy and sometimes they’ve got the cheapest prices around.

For a better range and (usually) better prices we have Tiger Direct and NCIX.

I’ve used Tiger Direct several times in the past, generally successfully but I’ve never felt 100% comfortable with them. Not sure I’d use them again as they messed up my last order and the customer support rep didn’t really help the situation.

NCIX has always been a pleasant experience. The prices are usually good, the range and stock are excellent and, being local, I can pop into one of the shops to pick up my order and save time and postage. Maybe the fact that I can cut the delay and cost of shipping out of the equation is a factor in my satisfaction here. The only criticism I have of them is that they put things on and off sale so frequently that several times I’ve bought something only to see it at a lower price the next week – but that’s pretty much expected in this market.

However it looks like we now have a new player in the market. Newegg have been a favourite of many folks in the US for several years – good prices and a good selection. And last week they finally opened a Canadian store.

A quick scan through a couple of random components shows them to be generally comparable with NCIX – about the same or a bit cheaper. The range doesn’t look great though – for instance only 2 different 24″ monitors listed whereas NCIX has 9 actually in stock. Looks like the shipping charges start at about $15 so it’s unlikely to be cost-effective for me personally unless I was ordering a couple of things together but for folks who already have to pay shipping from NCIX it’s likely to be an alternative worth checking. And NCIX will price-match a lot of stuff so maybe I can get the best of both worlds next time I need to buy something.

5th October 2008 at 9:20 am Leave a comment

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