Monday, August 17, 2009

Cheapest place to buy computer parts in Canada

Introduction With all the available options on the Internet too purchase computer hardware from, which e-retailer offers the best pricing for Canadian consumers? In this article, we are going to briefly compare the prices of five major computer hardware e-retailers and see just who really provides the best overall price.

Rules and Notes
  1. Three popular computer-related products were selected to use in this price comparison; obscure and unusual products will not be used in this comparison. These three popular products include the Intel Core i7-920 processor, a 1.5TB Seagate hard drive and the excellent Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 web cam.
  2. All prices are listed in Canadian dollars and the products must be available to Canadians.
  3. Shipping charges are included and are based on the shipping to Toronto (Ontario, Canada). The least expensive shipping option is selected, but shipping is mandatory.
  4. All prices were collected for this comparison on August 21, 2009. Prices of these products will likely vary over time, so the validity of any conclusions reached in this article will likly be short lived.
  5. Comparing the pricing of just three products does not allow for a comprehensive conclusion to be made of which e-retailer offers the best overall prices, but it does allow for a basic insight.
  6. Although just five specific e-retailers were selected, my choices do not necessary signify that these are the best e-retailers available to Canadians; rather they are simply my personal favourites for buying computer-related products from.
  7. Product e-coupons, mail-in rebates or saving codes were not considered for use in this comparison, but daily or weekly specials on a selected product were fair game.

Intel Core i7-920 CPU
(C0 stepping)

Store Base Cost
Estimated Shipping Fees & Taxes Total
$309.99 ($10 off sale)
$10.40 (UPS-S)
$369.99 Free (Ground)
$3.99 (UPS-S)*
$354.80 (CA)
$329.98 ($27 off sale)
$6.99 (Ground)
$337.99*** $6.99 (Ground)*
$44.84 (est.)
Seagate 1.5 TB 3.5" HDD

StoreBase Cost
Estimated ShippingFees & TaxesTotal
$139.99 ($10 off sale)
Free (UPS-S)
Free (Ground)
$11.53 (UPS-S)*
$171.22 (CA)
$129.98 (sale special) $6.99 (Ground)
$6.99 (Ground)*
$18.99 (est.)
Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 Web Cam

StoreBase Cost
Estimated ShippingFees & TaxesTotal
$122.99$10.40 (UPS-S)
$99.99 ($20 off sale)
Free (Ground)
$11.53 (UPS-S)*
$126.02 (CA)
$6.99 (Ground)
$114.99***$6.99 (Ground)*
$18.86 (est.)
*In-store pickup is also locally available.
**No PST added due to being outside of British Columbia.

***Promotional cash price; slighty higher price if non-cash payment.

Average Savings Compared to Group Average

Store Base
Total Savings 0.2% -9.4% -1.5% -9.5% Free -7.1% 7.1% -52.3% 3.0% (CA) 1.0% -19.2% 6.3% 1.2% -19.2% -0.8%

First off, it becomes clear that no one store offers the best pricing on all the products; this fact represents that it is important to always shop around if you want the best pricing possible. Some stores do offer a price match guarantee however, but dealing with all that can be a hassle.

Of the compared e-retailers, it seems that offered the best base price for the selected products, but it also had the highest shipping and handling charges. As a result, placed 2nd place in the overall price war. If you are willing to drive down to one of its retail outlets though, you may be able to save yourself a few dollars by avoiding the shipping fees.

As for, it actually offered great base prices on a lot of its computer hardware product, but it just wasn't able to compete nearly as well on the web cam sales front this time around. It should be noted though that does offer refurbished and 'business' versions of the Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 web cam, both of which are offered at lower prices than the consumer retail version and do essentially the same thing.

Next up is, which reminded me a lot of, yet it ended up having the lowest overall prices when compared to the other four e-retailers. Part of this victory was because of the numerous special sales the store was having, but also because purchases did not include any Provincial Sales Tax (PST or 8% tax). Since is located in British Columbia and I am living in Ontario, provincial sales tax do not apply. Shipping was not to expensive either.

When it comes to great shipping prices however, it is hard to beat, which offered free shipping on pretty much everything. At first I was unsure if I would use in this e-retailer comparison, since I didn't think it offered enough computer hardware components to make for a valid comparison, but surprised me. Dell did offer a decent selection of hardware components and it had a pretty large selection of computer accessories. While the computer hardware components were not really competitively priced, the computer accessories and consumer electronics were; especially those on special sale.

Lastly included is, which might be better known for its retail outlets more than for its online store. With over a dozen stores in Ontario, this is the store you will probably want to hit up if you just don't have time or the patience for shipping. While the bigger e-retailers might be able to compete a bit better with base pricing than can, shipping costs aren't too bad and they do have specials sale prices on some items.

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