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Local retailer takes the strain out of choosing a PC

ssscomputers.net features an online option to "build your own PC." Just select the components you want and get an instant price

Most of us have endured the frustration of trawling through computer shops looking for the best deal on PCs. Its not hard to get a fix on the price of international branded machines, even here in the Middle East, but getting a straight answer on how much a locally assembled machine will cost could take you all day.

But that frustration may be at and end as the Internet, and a small Dubai-based computer shop, have come to the rescue.

A truly useful Web site

Soft Magic Systems Computers is typical of the small computer retailers that swarm together in every major city of the Middle East. It is not the first to try selling online, but it is the first I have discovered with a truly useful online presence.

Soft Magic Systems Computers web site, www.ssscomputers.net, has taken a lesson from PC superpower, Dell Computers, and put a "build your own PC" feature online.

And it works brilliantly.

I started with a base system minitower consumer PC with the usual CD, floppy, etc. With a PIII 500, 14 inch monitor, 32 Mbytes of SDRAM, 8.6 Gbyte disk and selected no software, the price came in at an impressive Dhs 1895 ($519).

But you can change the configuration online. I upgraded to a 700 MHz PIII, a 17 inch monitor, 128 Mbytes of SDRAM, a 17.2 Gbyte hard disk and and Windows 2000 Professional. With one click, the price is instantly updated, in this case to Dhs 4048 ($1109).

There is even a feature so you can see what your PC would cost you if you spread the payments using four post-dated cheques (there is a small additional charge for using this facility).

Saving time and stress

Instead of trawling through half a dozen shops, fighting with salespeople for price information, you can now get a price online in seconds.

You can place an order online once you have selected your machine, but there is no online payment so the benefit is really to ensure that your PC is built to your specification in time for you to pick it up.

The Web site has none of the sophistication of its international peers, but what it does, it does well.

This review has nothing to do with the quality of machines that are sold by Soft Magic Computer Systems, it is just a brief note of congratulations to a local company that has done something that impressed me.

If there are other similar services from local companies on the Web, I'd love to hear about them. Until then, I recommend a quick visit to www.ssscomputers.net to check out the service.

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