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Getting More 'Bytes' For Your Buck This Holiday Season

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RALEIGH — Anything and everything electronic is hot this holiday season especially computers, where you can get more "bytes" for your buck than ever before.

There are certainly deals out there, and buyers are jamming stores to take advantage.

Some folks are missing out on the deals, but they should not fear. There will be more on the way.

Newspaper ads tout amazing prices for computers these days. Complete systems, with monitor and printer, are available for $600 and up.

Offers come from big computer retailers likeCompUSA,Best Buyand Circuit City trying to cash in on the holiday. Best Buy was filled with people Friday looking for a special computer deal.

"We got here about a quarter to seven, and the line was all the way around over there," said computer buyer Jim Townsend.

The Townsends got in on the deal, but others did not.

"They passed out 100 numbers, and then when they got in there, and they got to, I believe it was around 67 or so, they came out and said they were out of computers," explained computer buyer Gail Townsend.

Best Buy said they passed out too many numbers and were offering another system at a discount.

Lower priced computers are fine for basic productivity applications and Internet surfing, but buyer beware.

"If you're looking at heavy duty game playing, if you're looking at some of the 3-D graphics that are out there, you've got to be concerned about your upgrade path again," explained WRAL Information Technology manager Paul Hetzel.

Computer buyer Dale Spruill did not opt for the special. He bought for the future.

"I wanted a much bigger system so I got, 128 megabytes of RAM where those only have 16 and 32, and I just wanted more power," said Spruill.

One reason for the very low prices is the quick changes in computer processor technology. More powerful chips come out about every six months, so manufacturers slash prices on older versions, and that's what folks are getting in low price machines.

The computers will work fine for many applications now, but new operating systems and software will demand more powerful processors. In many cases, you pay nowandpay later.


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