One of the questions we get every once in a while when we're quoting new systems is why is our recommendation is more expensive than what the user see's in the latest "big box" retail sales flyer. Sometimes users will think they can get the exact same system for less, and when we review things closely, this isn't the case.
Our philosophy at Ekaru is that we work with clients to support any technology they choose for their office, but when we make recommendations for purchase, we will recommend business class systems, customized for the clients use requirements.
So, what does this mean and what are the differences? The "same" computer may cost hundreds of dollars more depending on what's inside of it.
1. Operating system - For a business with a server, the "professional" version of the operating system is needed and this results in about a $100 difference. With Windows Anytime Upgrade, Microsoft has made it easy to upgrade if you make the mistake of getting the consumer version of the operating system, but we'll recommend the right fit the first time. Another big thing to watch for right now, is that if you go to the big box retailer to get a system it will be loaded with Window 8, which may not be compatible with all your applications you have right now.
2. Processor - Is it an AMD or an Intel Processor? If Intel, what type? Intel processors run from i3 to i7, and depending on the features, you may see around a $150 price range (or more). We take the applications you run into consideration when recommending a processor.
3. Microsoft Office - The very low price you see in a sales circular probably doesn't include Microsoft Office. Depending on the version of Office you need, this may add $200-$300 or more to the cost of the system if pre-installed (or more if you add a retail version later).
4. Monitor - does the system include a monitor or not, and if so, what size and resolution is it. This may account for $100-$200 (or more) of the total cost.
When you actually compare "apples to apples", you'll see that PC pricing is basically determined by the specifications of the system, and the PCs are built on commodity components. We've listed the major highlights above, but there are also differences in drive size and speed, and other things like video cards, etc. Run through the specifications line item by line item, and you'll see there isn't much variation in price for the SAME systems.