NOVA computer store

Browsed the forums and saw some suggestions that NOVA computer arcade near Taipei Train station is a good and cheap place to buy a laptop computer.

Is this really so? Is it really cheap when it is in the middle of the city?
Can trade shows be a good time to buy? Is there anyone coming up?
Any other suggestions regarding this? What is your favourite laptop brand?

[quote=“ailixin”]Browsed the forums and saw some suggestions that NOVA computer arcade near Taipei Train station is a good and cheap place to buy a laptop computer.

Is this really so? Is it really cheap when it is in the middle of the city?
Can trade shows be a good time to buy? Is there anyone coming up?
Any other suggestions regarding this? What is your favourite laptop brand?[/quote]

NOVA is very price-competitive. You might find something a tad cheaper at Guanghua Shangchang, but the difference is next to nothing.

I’ve personally been happy with IBM ThinkPads. If you’re a Linux user (small chance, but there are some of us), you might be interested to know that I managed to get NT$500 off by having the vendor delete Windows, remove the Windows sticker and CD recovery disk. I wouldn’t suggest doing this if you really intend to run Windows.

Of course, there’s always Macintosh, but that’s another world, and I can’t give any good advice about that.



NOVA is a good place to shop. You might save a few dollars if you spend hours looking elsewhere, but it’s probably not worth the hassle. Sometimes one hears of good deals coming out of trade shows, but it’s hit or miss.

You’ll certainly want to go with one of the bigger brands and avoid the tempting cheapies with apparently great specs but questionable workmanship. The only major brand I’d advise against is Sony. I’ve heard too many horror stories from people who bought the things. IBM is an excellent choice and very competitive price-wise. My IBM notebook is 3 years old and still going strong. Plus, IBM’s local support is excellent, in my experience, including top notch over-the-phone support.

One very important consideration is most noebooks are pre-loaded with Chinese systems. So, make sure to tell the vendor you want them to install an English system instead. They can often do this, but there’s a problem. In the case of IBMs, the Chinese OS is on a separate (hidden) partition on the hard drive, serving as the recovery OS. So, if your system goes kaput, you’re going to have to manually reinstall an English OS, rather than using the built-in recovery OS (unless you want it to be Chinese). I’ve asked IBM vendors if they could swap the Chinese recovery set-up with English, and they can’t (or won’t). But who knows - it might be possible to get someone to do it.

One very very important consideration about IBMs and other notebooks - make sure it has a dedicated video chip/video ram. The cheaper notebooks won’t, which means the video duty is taken up by the CPU. This can have a dramatic slowdown on performance, particularly if you do any serious video, gaming, or graphics work.

I’d also advise against systems with Intel Celeron chips. The small price savings just isn’t worth it considering the poor performance compared with standard PIII, PIV or M chips.

The only other thing I don’t like about buying here is the bopomofu set up on the keyboards. But that’s a small issue.

Buy a Dell online. No hassles, a 3-year international warranty, English OS, English keyboard, no bullshitting sales pitch! … l=en&s=gen

Recommend staying away from Dell laptops. Go for IBM, Toshiba, Sony/Fujitsu in that order. If you need to buy anything else, then it really doesn’t matter, just go for pricing. I’ve seen the Twinhead brand sold here and it’s interesting because a number of years ago, they sold direct in the US and were quite good but then they disappeared. Twinhead is a major laptop OEM so they might be worth a shot.

This is why I would shop there. I did end up picking out parts for my PC, but if I was buying something name brand (ie IBM, Sony, etc.) I’d just got to nova. I’ve actually bought a lot of things there. My PDA (which came with a free digicam whish I then traded for a PS1), digcam and printer/scanner come to mind.

Some people like looking around for deals and haggling. I don’t. Just get an idea of what you’d pay back home and go from there. I do my shopping around online.

You can also usually haggle a little bit in Nova (not a lot - and you’re probably more likely to get them to throw in a few extra bits rather than reduce the price).

If you’re buying a laptop, then the other reason for going to Nova, is that you get to see/play with a wide range of possible products. This is important because things like the size/weight/aesthetics are more important in a laptop than, say, a Hard Disk, and those things are much harder to evaluate without getting your grubby little paws on the thing.

I personally prefer the shops around GuangHua (on BaDe & Xinsheng intersection), but there ain’t that much difference between there and Nova.

So is Nova any cheaper than 3C?


My experience is that 3C is about NT$300 more expensive than shops at Nova or GuangHua. Why? Sales tax. You get a price break on the whole from not paying the sales tax. However, I need the receipts. And if that is the case, the discount I get from Nova or GuangHua is then sooooo small that it usually just worth it to buy at 3C, as I know returns are a matter of policy and not haggling.

I shop at Nova and GuangHua if I need expert help in putting togther something custom, like a PC. Otherwise, if when I’m buing a wirless card or Pioneer DVD drive or whatever that is an individual purchase, I shop at 3C.

Ooops :blush: , I meant 3C. :laughing:

I shop at Nova too. I bought my cellphones there. Well my point is whenever I go buy something I already know what I want and how much I’m going to spend. I don’t like running around looking for prices. My computer’s from Bade Rd. area. That other stuff in my previous post was from 3C and Nova’s nice because it has all of those stores so close together.

I remember answer168 in Nova having good prices. You can’t haggle much, but if you have a problem with something you can always go back to them.

3C has a range of products, but not as much as the combined product of the Nova notebook sellers. Plus, at Nova you can negotiate quite a lot of things besides the price, such as customizing your machine with whatever specs you want. Not so sure how easy this is to do at 3C.

3C put me off by three things:

  1. Insisting I check in my man-purse (gotta love that term!) with the security fellow. I’ve never allowed this and have walked away several times rather than be subject to this insult. Fortunately some of their stores have relaxed a bit of late.

  2. The STUPID membership thing, which is mostly a thing of the past (fortunately).

  3. The redrum inducing advert pumped through their stores ad nauseum. Can cun! Can cun! Can cun! :raspberry:

Facing stiff competition, they’ve started changing their ways, which benefits us all in the end.

But anyway, when you buy a brand like IBM or Toshiba, the critical thing you get is the manufacturer’s warrantee, not the local store’s return policy. Make sure it’s an international warrantee before buying.

3C’s sales people are incompetent, however, you can use a credit card and kai fa piao without adding any money. Almost every shop at GuangHua and I assume Nova add money to the bill if you want to use a credit card or kai fa piao. When I need a tong yi bian hao, I shop at 3C. Otherwise it is always Guanghua or Nova which are both about the same price.

Quick question - when y’all say “3C”, which one do you mean? “3C” seems to be a Chinese shorthand here for consumer electronics, and there’s plenty of chains that use 3C in their names… Tan Kuen (sp?), Sunfair, Mingren, Aurora…

Thanks for all the input!

I will probably go to Nova this weekend.

One question for Gubo:

The problem with the built-in recovery OS in Chinese, is it specific for IBM laptops or do the other major brands have the same problem as well?

I’m afraid I have to claim ignorance on that question. I can tell you IBM started this policy a few years ago when they stopped giving out CDs with the OS on it. At that time, one could still ask to have a CD sent to them, and IBM would oblige. Not sure anymore. Now they install the OS on a hidden partition, which is safe and sound regardless of what happens to the system. But the catch is we (usually) don’t want the Chinese OS, but we’re stuck with it. Hence the need to see if the local sellers will help you get around that problem.

As to other vendors, I would assume it’s the same case, since almost all notebooks come proloaded with some OS as part of a bundle deal. The best thing would be to head to Nova and ask around.

Yeah, that’s bugged me too. 3C is about as specific as saying “grocery store”. 3C stands for Computers, Communications and Consumer Electronics. It was a byword of old government initiatives to modernize Taiwan. Any store that sells some combination of computers and electronics is a 3C store. Tsann Kuen is the one with the big yellow signs that features the 3C logo most prominently, but that is the type of store, not it’s name.

Aha, so the third “C” is Communications! I’d worked out Computers and Consumer electronics, but that third was eluding me…

If you are going to Nova near the main station check out K-Mall, just beside the Shin Khong (Xin Guang) Tower, formerly Asiaworld. Don’t miss the basement where you find the PC components. There is also a DVD shop for anime only, mostly those of the adult kind.

Well, my wife always calls it “san c”.