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# Cheap computer

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Another deal for you insufferable cheapasses out there. Staples is now getting into configuring and taking delivery of Compaq machines, ala the Gateway stores. And a couple of their prices are unbeatable. Witness this desktop. The base price is $635, but with a$150 in-store rebate that drops the price to $485. The shipping is steep at$75, but if you order it from their little ordering station at Staples, you can talk 'em into dropping the shipping.

You can actually make the machine quite a bit cheaper by dropping the monitor, but the $150-off AMD deal only works if your purchase is$599.

On top of that, our Staples guy was so thrilled to see us buying a custom computer (I think we were the first) that he offered us 12% off anything in the store (except the computer). The whole reason we're buying the computer is because we're hiring another engineer, so we took advantage of the deal and grabbed an extra office chair and a couple of desk lamps.

Well, ordering was a pain because he was helping out other customers, and we discovered that if you leave the ordering station unattended for five minutes, it times out and clears your order. He then apologized and offered us the 12% discount on the machine too. We dropped the monitor and added 512 meg of RAM (this is an AutoCAD machine) and opted for the 40 gig drive, which brought the machine to $609. After the 12% discount and$150 off, the machine was $385. In addition, we used one of those "$20 off a $100 purchase" codes (26463), to drop the price to$365.

And if that ain't enough, there's a $50 mail-in rebate here that drops the whole price to$325. If you opt for the 17-inch flatscreen, your rebate increases to $100, but we're putting a big CAD monitor on it, so we weren't interested. That's$325 (not including tax and assuming the rebate check has arrived) for the following. . .

Compaq 6000Z with Athlon XP 2000+
512MB RAM
40 GB drive
32X CD-RW
JBL speakers
Integrated graphics card (reviews say it's a GeForce2 MX)
Windows XP Home
MS Works/Money/Encarta

Frankly, that's cheaper than the round-the-corner clone PC, but it's a name-brand. After taxes and such we ended up walking out of Staples with a computer (delivered in 5-7 working days) a new Aeron-knockoff office chair and two desk lamps for $525, and we've got another$50 coming in the mail from the mail-in rebate.

The only true hassle in the entire process was getting rung up at the end. The guy printed up our receipt which we brought to the front. The register-lady then had to painstakingly apply the 12% discount not to the entire computer but to EVERY COMPONENT of the computer individually, so she had to apply a 12% discount about ten times. She then had to re-enter the $150 and$20 discounts along with taking $75 off shipping. Additionally, she didn't realize that the shipping was included in the sheet we brought to the front, so she had to remove the$75 shipping she added then again remove the \$75 from the sheet. Our receipt was close to 3 feet long by the time we were done, but it was worth it.

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