Buying a machine in the USA

By ptitterington · 14 replies
Jul 17, 2002
  1. Although this looks like a question for the laptop area it is not.

    I have been frustrated in the past by being able to see the same equipment available in the usa as uk but so much cheaper.

    I am in the situation (at my kids primary school)where I rent a 3 year old fujitsu for £4 per week for 2 years or buy off the school supplier an acer aspire 1203xv (Celeron 1.3 128mbsdram 20gih hd dvdcd savage 4 16mb graphics sterio sound 56k modem xp home
    Cost £795
    Student licence for office £99

    I am able to get my own machine.

    My solution with your help is that in 2 weeks I will be taking a holiday arriving in San Fransisco and driving to Vegas.
    Somewhere between the two there must be a place where I can get a machine of similar spec for less$ as the dollar and the £ are good in favour of the £.
    Would I also be able to get a deal on xp professional in the US as I have other machines at home that I would like to get it on but I only have 1 machine on my current home edition.

    I know its a self centered request but why not.

    thanks folks
  2. Spliffmeister

    Spliffmeister TechSpot Paladin Posts: 508

    I would have thought that you would be able to buy something cheaper in the US as usually we (we being us in the UK) tend to pay the same price in £'s as they do in $'s.

    Something you should be aware of is that you will be liable to pay duty on the PC when you bring it back to the UK, @17.5%, so you would have to factor this in when considering the price of any hardware in the US. Basically anything you bought would have to be at least 17.5% cheaper than it is in the UK for it to be worth the effort.

    I'm sure there are other considerations too, just my thoughts, hope they help.

  3. ptitterington

    ptitterington TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 255

    I shouldnt have that problem because I will be taking it to the Channel Islands, there may be a small amount of tax to pay though.

    I have been trying to find a store online to compare prices but its really a lit harder than I thought, also the model is not recognised in the USA.

    The cost of the Acer aspire 1203xv in Jersey is £795 which on the face of it now appears to be pretty good.
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Comparable systems from Dell and other big U.S-based manufacturers run slightly cheaper. This an example of a system that costs a less (when considering the difference between dollars and pounds), but is probably a better value (just an example):

    What I would do is find an International shipper and buy a computer from the U.S online. They are generally cheaper than what you'll find in the store and online rebates may even lower the price enough to knock off the shipping fees (Not sure how much International shipping costs). Domestic shipping usually runs around $50 USD for an entire computer system.

    If you do buy a computer in the U.S, I'd be a bit worried about the plane trip back. Will you have the luggage capacity for it? If not, it may cost you more than $50 USD to have it stowed for the ride back home. Of course, if you get a good deal, it shouldn't matter that much.

    Also, Office XP is probably about the same everywhere.

    Oh, and what's this "duty" you have pay? Some sort of U.S goods => Europe tax? 17.5% is kind of steep of any taxation. Sounds a bit rough on the pockets. ;)
  5. Spliffmeister

    Spliffmeister TechSpot Paladin Posts: 508

    the 17.5% is just Value Added Tax (VAT) payable on any goods bought in (or brought into) the UK. The Channel Islands does have some sort of exception tho', not sure what it is.

    There are way around it tho, like for example if you could prove that the PC was bought for personal use in the US, rather than for straight importation, then i think you can get away with the tax.
  6. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Also I believe there is excemption from the tax if the equipment bought is for music. Just buy a midi keyboard with the computer and claim that its for that purpose ;)
  7. Spliffmeister

    Spliffmeister TechSpot Paladin Posts: 508

    just a thought,

    This is a well priced Mid-Range system priced at £699 + VAT (821.33)

    AMD Athlon 1800+ 1.53GHZ Processor
    256MB PC2700 DDR RAM
    40GB IBM 7200 RPM Hard Drive
    Integrated HighPoint HPT-372 IDE (RAID -0, -1, -0+1)
    16X48 LG DVD-ROM
    Lite-on 32X12X40 CD-Rewriter
    Hansol 17" 720ED
    64MB DDR Gainward Geforce4 Powerpack! MX/440
    Integrated AC97 6 Channel Audio Controller
    Video Logic ZXR500 5.1 Surround Speakers
    56K V.90 Conexant Internal Modem
    Microsoft Internet Keyboard
    Microsoft Intellimouse
    4X USB Ports (2 front, 2 Back)
    MS Windows XP Home
    Holly Recovery CD
    3 year Onsite Warranty

    available from and they do free delivery... There are other good deals about too....
  8. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Dollar is losing its value now, Euro is stronger now. That might affect prices somewhat in the near future (if it hasn't affected already).
  9. ptitterington

    ptitterington TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 255

    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Sorry but It may not have been clear,
    It was a laptop that I am talking about, but I thought it more general than laptop specific as that area does not seem to get visited often.
  10. Spliffmeister

    Spliffmeister TechSpot Paladin Posts: 508

    aaaah, a laptop, my apologies. Then yours looks like an even better deal. I might look at a few reviews first to see if the one that is on offer is any good.... I can'r be much more help than that i'm afraid...
  11. Cucumber

    Cucumber TS Rookie Posts: 154

    Was that supposed to have applied to me, when i bought my Ti.4600 from America:rolleyes:

    Although, the price difference between the two countries has become SOOOOOO much smaller over the last few years! I posted a thread about this about 2 months ago, but since travelling to America, ive seen that the difference is so small, and most of the time non-existant! I would say, that somewhere like ....the prices are cheaper, before Tax than the before tax prices in America, and the only thing keeping our prices higher (if at all) is the 17.5%VAT rather than the average 8% tax that Americans pay
  12. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    I believe that items under a certain amount don't have to be declared and have the 17.5% tax payed. I think if I remember rightly (forgive me for not going and checking) that you have a certain allowance for gifts. I brought about $350 worth of snowboard equipment back from Houston about a year ago and never had to pay any tax.
  13. Spliffmeister

    Spliffmeister TechSpot Paladin Posts: 508

    From the UK Customs and excise web site


  14. ptitterington

    ptitterington TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 255

    I have tried to buy from the USA in the past online but found too many obsticles places in my path with shipping and payment, I have managed to get some parts from Canada but the shipping was a bit dear.

    I have been checking the prices available and £795
    Acer Aspire 1203xv looks good;
    1.3cel 128mb sdram 20gb dvdcd 14.1tft davage4 16mg Graphic modem Li-ion battery 2hrs xp home and norton av

    Similar spec machines are looking dear.
    Im not sure about the celeron, have they got any better.
  15. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Dell Inspiron 2650
    Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor 1.6GHz, 14.1" XGA (1024*768) Screen, 384MB SDRAM, CD-Rom, Modem, 20gb HD, Works 6.0 and MS Windows XP, nVidia Graphics with 16Mb Video Ram. (home/home office section)

    You can get a Dell Inspiron 2650 1.6Ghz P4 with free 256mb of memory (384mb total) for about £960 (including a £30 discount offer) which would be much better than the mobile celeron. Saying that it depends exactly what purpose you want the laptop for... if its just a school computer then I think the celeron would be sufficient and the saving of £200 by getting the Acer machine could be used to buy educational software or PC accessories (printer/scanner etc).
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