Once upon a time, mainstream stores carried computers and almost no one sold decent components. Then the direct model arrived and systems were sold online. Smaller stores began to stock components locally and every town had at least one ‘cool shop’ with a few boxes of the latest kit, nestled among the dusty shelves. One a recent trip to one of the bigger stores in London, KitGuru discovered a different trend. Here’s what we found with an Oyster card.
With John Lewis winning IT retailer of the year, year-after-year, the launch of Best Buy and Dixons Stores Group’s statement of intent in opening even more PC World mega stores – the battle to sell you complete systems (be they netbook, notebook, PC or whatever) is well and truly under way.
Online competition to sell components has never been fiercer, with a load of multi-million pound turnover companies slugging it out at every opportunity – from Dabs/BT Store and Overclockers, to Scan and eBuyer.
But there’s a new trend.
While some components sold will be used for repair and upgrade, a solid number are for customised new builds. Hardcore enthusiasts, professionals, noobs and wannabes all like the idea of investigating the various components on major technology sites like KitGuru, then creating their own special blend.
OK. All well and good. But where’s the ‘new’ bit?
Walk into YOYOTech in Windmill Street, just off London’s famous Tottenham Court Road, and you will see straight away how much of the shelf space has been taken over by bundles. It’s quite virus-like actually. Encouraged by an ultra-violet glow, these special bundles are spreading across the back wall and beyond.
What’s different about these bundles is that they are (a) on the shelf – ready to go, (b) pre-built, including the cooling solution and memory, (c) pre-clocked to a stable speed and (d) guaranteed by the store itself for 12 months.
We’ll say that again. The bundles are guaranteed at the speed sold. No messing with BIOSes and clocks here. If you know what hardware you want and you know what speed you need – just pick up the bundle and away you go. Could it be easier?
Sure, it’s not possible to offer every variation. Even if there were only 4 cool CPUs, 4 useful coolers, half a dozen mainboards and the same number of memory module options – you’d already have 4 x 4 x 6 x 6 =576 variations.
What the YOYOTech engineers have done is taken the most likely combinations – based on what is actually selling in store – and pre-built those onto the shelves, ready to go.
Does it take all the fun out of the building process? Not really. With Zardon’s excellent, in-depth articles on clocking processors like the 2500/2600k and the latest Phenom II X6 chips, anyone can simply open KitGuru and alter their BIOS to match (how many publications give you the same level of detail in their overclocking features? Not many!).
Having someone else mess with the clocks and guarantee that they flipped the right bits? Now that’s just taken all the hassle out of your hands and made you the manager-of-the-build-process rather than a risk-running-wrench-monkey.
Quite a few companies have offered bundle solutions online, but seeing them on a shelf – next to all of the graphic cards and chassis – makes the selection process quite a bit easier. For example, you immediately know that the cooler chosen will not bump into the memory selected. Always a possibility with modules like the Kingston HyperX T1 units – with oversized fins.
With a pre-built bundle, and a store full of graphic cards and cases, you can be sure that it all fits together – before you take it home. Useful stuff.
YOYOTech is based near Goodge Street station (Northern Line) in the centre of London, but it’s also close to Tottenham Court Road (Central Line) and only 2 stops along from Euston Station. Essentially, if you live inside the M25, then you can probably get to Tottenham Court Road in under 30 minutes. But how can you be sure that, when you turn up, the O/C bundle you want – will be sitting there waiting on the shelf?
Well, we spoke with a friendly chap called Ravi on the phone and he told us that the web site shows ‘live stock’. So what you see online is what’s on the shelf in store. He also said that they have a reserve and collect system, where you can hold the product in store until you get there – so you are 100% guaranteed that what you need is sitting there when you arrive. Simples.
Looking through the site, overclocked bundles seem to start around £275 and the Intel Core i7 2600k offers start around £509.
KitGuru says: We’d love to hear about other stores in the UK that are doing what YOYOTech is doing – pre-building overclocked bundles on the shelf – ready to take away. If you have a favourite local store (especially if it is outside London and definitely outside the UK), then please let us know and we will do our best to check it out and promote it as appropriate.
Comments below or in the KitGuru forum.