As far as I'm concerned, poor after-sales/customer service is the biggest sin that any retailer can commit; customer service is particularly important with companies that trade over the internet such as The Overclocking Store, given the logistics and geographical distances usually separating buyer and seller. My experience of the best/worst protagonists in this area are dabs and eclipse, dabs having outstanding after-sales and eclipse poor. Usually when I purchase online, I am looking for the best price and service is a secondary consideration; however, anyone who buys pc components with regularity knows that faults and problems with hardware are commonplace. I have already bought and returned two faulty graphics cards this year. My beef stems from a graphics card that I bought recently, a radeon 9600 pro. It developed a fault after a few days, but I thought 'no problem, i'll simply email TOS and get an RMA number' - but no! - TOS has the usual returns policy for regular items, but for motherboards and graphics cards you have to fill in a ridiculously pedantic form listing every last detail in your system. When i had to return a card to dabs, it was simply a matter of explaining the fault and they'd send you an rma number. Anyway, I waited about 3 days with no reply - dabs get back to you the following day - then decided to phone them up. The guy on the other end said that it would take a couple of days to answer my form query; i gave them the benefit of the doubt and waited another day, then sent an email to remind them of my problem. It's now almost two weeks and it appears that they can't be bothered to get back to me. Fortunately, I managed to locate the fault myself - it turns out to be my crappy motherboard - but this is with absolutely no thanks to TOS. I get really angry when, after having spent hundreds of pounds of my hard-earned money, retailers cannot be arsed to provide a little bit of after-sales. Alright, its not a true horror story, but please be aware that if you buy a graphics card or mobo off these guys and it goes tits up, you're looking at weeks of hassle to get a replacement. Anyway, i'm getting my stuff from dabs in future.
Is your PC looking tired? Does your cream case seem boring? Do you want more megahertz for you pennies? Do you long for a bit of individuality on your desktop? Yes? Then you need The Overclocking Store. TOS (The Overclocking Store) specialize in PC hardware for; yep you've guessed, overclocking. For those of you new to this - it means ramping up your PC to a higher level or speed than the components were originally specified to run at. Now this might sound like a crazy idea and many think it is. However, for those of us who want to risk our silicon it is quite a challenge. TOS offer all the bits and bobs you could ever need to squeeze that hardware as far as you can. Favorite lines on the site include rounded IDE cables, fans, Arctic Silver compound and a full range of coolers. Based in Sheffield, they have set up shop as a purely web based outfit. The overall look of the site is of a good professional standard, with clear text, good links and a search facility. The range of parts and accessories offered is fairly comprehensive. All components are catagorized logically to help you find what you need. Each product comes with a reasonably good description and this is normally supplemented by excellent buyer comments. If you want to ask a question or make a comment about a product just add your thoughts to the product description. Prices are average or slightly lower compared to the competition. They have recently slashed the cost of some parts, as they noticed the difference between themselves and their rivals. Postage and packing is free along with online order tracking. Delivery is normally next day on orders placed by 12:00pm, but allow three working days for order completion. Where TOS really stands out is in the area of case modification. They stock a large range of parts from USA based PCmods (www.pcmods.com). These include neon lights, fan grills, fan ducts, rheostat controllers, and best of all, Window kits. You can take your mediocre cream box and turn it into a customized monster with a few clicks of the mouse (and a Dremmell Multi Tool, some sandpaper, spray paint, sticky plasters and an understanding partner of course). Check out some of the custom cases they supply - these are quite expensive at upto £300 (yes its true - you can pay £300 for a PC case) but will give you some inspiration. Watch out for their crazy RAM prices while you’re on the site - recent offers included 512Mb of PC133 for less than £50! (I know, we are looking for PC150 or DDR RAM now - but it was still a bargain) The Overclocking store has to be one of my favorite sites these days and the first port of call for my new PC parts. Try them when you're next looking for bits, or when that cream ATX case starts to look a bit dull, and I expect you'll soon be a fan too.