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11. Questions You Should Always Ask Your Vendor

11.1. Minimum Warranty Provisions

The weakest guarantee you should settle for in the mail-order market should include:

Additionally, many vendors offer a year of on-site service free. You should find out who they contract the service to. Also be sure the free service coverage area includes your site; some unscrupulous vendors weasel their way out with "some locations pay extra", which translates roughly to "through the nose if you're further away than our parking lot".

If you're buying store-front, find out what they'll guarantee beyond the above. If the answer is "nothing", go somewhere else.

11.2. Documentation

Ask your potential suppliers what kind and volume of documentation they supply with your hardware. You should get, at minimum, operations manuals for the motherboard and each card or peripheral; also an IRQ list. Skimpiness in this area is a valuable clue that they may be using no-name parts from Upper Baluchistan, which is not necessarily a red flag in itself but should prompt you to ask more questions.

11.3. A System Quality Checklist

There are various cost-cutting tactics a vendor can use which bring down the system's overall quality. Here are some good questions to ask:




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