In this day and age, computer stores are everywhere. If you are serious about computers, however, you will know that most of these stores have very high mark-ups (especially the ones in malls) and usually carry old or low-end (“mainstream”) stuff.
This post will cover where I get the “good stuff” in Metro Manila.
You’re reading this blog post so I assume that you’re online (there’s a very low chance that this will be published in a local publication, but I’m not betting on it :P ). Being online, your first stop should always be TipidPC.com.
Even if you’re wary of buying second hand stuff from people you don’t know, TipidPC is still a valuable resource. It’s practically the only place you could find people in our country selling hard to find computer parts. There are also stores which post their prices there in real time, giving you an idea of the “correct” retail prices of computer parts. You could also get opinions from forum members on parts — they’ll even tell you where to find that part for less.
As for “traditional” computer stores, there are only a few computer stores worth going to.
Every enthusiast will tell you about (in)famous store PC Options at Gilmore. Don’t listen when other stores say they have “the lowest prices”; other than TipidPC, PCO has the lowest prices for parts, hands down. And these are not just your mainstream parts, they carry high-end enthusiast parts too.
There is one catch, though. PCO is infamous for its inefficient system of handling customers. I’ve never bought something from PCO without waiting at least an hour to get it. So before buying something from PCO, ask yourself: “Is waiting for 2 hours for a P500 discount worth it?”
On the opposite end of the inefficiency spectrum is PC Express. They’re not as cheap as PCO, but their stores are pretty efficient with multiple ordering booths and chairs for customers waiting for their orders to be processed. They also have a lot more branches than PCO, which is good for those who live far away from Gilmore.
Another good thing about PCX is their price list is available online in the front page of their website. There are two types of price lists, the SRP and the Promo price list. You use the latter if you’re paying by cash; they give a discount considering credit card fraud is widespread around here.
The only problem IMO with PCX is that they don’t carry a lot of enthusiast level parts. For cool stuff, you’ll have to go to PCO or the next store in this list.
Somewhere in between PCO and PCX is PCHub. They’re cheaper than PCX but not as cheap as PCO. They’re not as efficient with dealing with customers as PCX but they’re not as inefficient as PCO either.
Like PCX, they have an online price list in TipidPC. They’re actually better than PCX in this department because their list is updated in real time, whereas in PCX you have to call to verify the price or if they have stocks available in a certain branch.
Like PCO, they carry high end stuff in their stores. They’re also better in this department because they carry enthusiast coolers like Arctic Cooling and Thermalright and “gamer” peripherals from Razer.
IMO, PCHub is the best store to go to in Gilmore, followed by PCX. Only go to PCO on off-peak hours/days or if you really need to save a couple of hundred pesos.
The problem with the three stores above is that most of their wares are hidden in their store room. That’s ok for internal parts, but for external peripherals, looks matter.
Octagon is not a store that I would normally recommend to people. Their markups are just too high. For example, the monitor I bought last month, a Samsung T220, costs 17k in their stores. PCHub sells it for a lot less.
However, Octagon’s open supermarket-style setup showcases their products for all to see. You could easily compare how keyboards and mice with each other in this setup.
They also carry some rare stuff in their shelves. I bought my Japanese-made mouse pad for optical mice in Octagon (I’d love to get a Razer one from PCHub, but seriously, 1-2k for a mouse pad is just too much).
As for CD-R King, everyone knows it’s good for only two things: writable media and cheap (disposable) gadgets. What people don’t know is that they also carry rare parts like RAM sinks and thermal compounds.
Enthusiasts should consider going to the CD-R King site to look for rare stuff if searching TipidPC turns up nothing. I myself use a USB KVM from CD-R King, a part that you could not find in any other store locally.