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Last updated: 12/20/99

BEWARE OF COMPUTER FAIRS. Use caution. I am not saying that you cannot buy good quality items at an excellent price at a computer fair or flea market. On the other hand, I have seen many items bought from these sources that are defective. Remember, there are a lot of rejects out there: motherboards that do not pass computer manufacturer quality assurance tests and motherboards that have been returned from end-users, etc.. The adage, "if it seems to good to be true, it probably is," certainly applies.

If you buy something from one of these sources, be sure you know how to you return a defective item after the fair or flea market has left town?

WARRANTY AND RETURN POLICY Any thought of the possibility of having to return an item is often obscured by a focus on upfront cost and is hindsight for many buyers.

LOOK IT OVER.  After you receive the motherboard inspect it carefully. Did you get everything?  Did you receive the correct User Manual?  Is the board really new?  Does the anti-static bag look like the board has been in out of it several times?  Look at the donuts around the holes used to fasten the board to the chassis.  Do you see any signs (screw marks) that it has been in a chassis before?  Is the box in good condition?  Is the board flat?  Any bent or broken corners?  Did you receive the most recent version of the board?  How old is the BIOS?

IT WON'T LAST FOREVER.  You won't be able to buy away obsolescence.  In my experience, a motherboard is obsolete in three years or less.

This is my first draft of this article.  I will try to improve it as time goes on and things change. 

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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.