Here's our Hardware Tip for.. February 23, 2001
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Free Pc Tips--Part 1 of 4
We've all heard about the elusive "free" PC. The truth is that many of the original companies offering no-cost systems have since gone out of business. However, several companies still offer ALMOST free PCs, and these offers might catch your attention the next time you go shopping for a new PC. Over the next few days, I'll pass along some tips to help you decide whether a PC deal is a good one.

First, perhaps the most important section of the contract you sign for a "free" PC concerns your ISP. Most of these deals require that you sign up for a multiyear service agreement with a particular ISP. If you compare the monthly service charge against those of other ISP companies, you'll likely find your deal isn't a very good one. Of course, you must balance the price of the contract with the fact that the "free" PC offer includes some hardware a standard ISP doesn't give you.