I know this is old news, but I was surprised to encounter a young guy today who didn't know about monoprice.  One of the important things we geeks have learned over the years is to never buy computer or AV cables from a "Big Box Retailer."  As anyone stuck buying a $20 ethernet cable at BestBuy or Radio Shack in an emergency knows ... it's an eff'ing rip-off.

A salesman acquaintance of mine explained to me that the huge markup is the only way an one of these outfits can squeeze out a bit of profit.  They sell the big TVs at cost+change to get you in the door, then score 80%+ profit on cables and accessories (worth a buck twenty-five) to connect them.  Alright, so I understand why they do it.  Unfortunately, while I don't buy many TVs, I do buy cables somewhat frequently.  It's not my responsibility to prop up their fragile business model.

So, if you haven't heard yet, please allow me to introduce you to monoprice.com.  This probably sounds like a sales pitch, but I've really got nothing to do with them except being a satisfied customer.

Disclaimer:  monoprice had a security breach a year or so  ago, which I take seriously.  However, I believe they have learned their lesson.

If you're not in North America, look for similar outfits in your area.

Upgrade your laptop at Kahlon.com

Another place I've found that was very helpful was Kahlon.com.  While perhaps not 90% off like monoprice, it has great deals on hard to find parts.  For example, a while ago I needed to replace the power supply and battery on a trusty ol' aging laptop.  Sony of course wanted $100 each, but at Kahlon the total was only $69.95 (before tax).

Further Reading:

  • Slaying the Cable Monster: Why HDMI Brands Don't Matter
    The second thing to know about HDMI cables is that they are almost always expensive when you buy them at brick-and-mortar stores. If you walk into a Best Buy or Radio Shack, you can expect to pay at least $40 for a 6-foot HDMI cable. Even at discount stores like Wal-Mart and Target, the cheapest, most generic HDMI cables retail for $15 and more. Online, you'll do a lot better on prices. Amazon.com and Monoprice.com (the "ancient custom installer's secret") slash even Wal-Mart's HDMI cable prices into tiny bits. Both sites sell several models of HDMI cables for as little as $1.50.

Go forth and save money, young geek!


  1. ok ok how much for the ethernet cord for XP Compaq?

  2. where is the best place to get a reasonably priced ethernet cord for XP Compaq?

  3. An ethernet cable is an ethernet cable, doesn't matter what kind of computer you have. In that regard we're lucky they are standardized.

    Monoprice should be a good choice, although if it is an emergency you could always get one locally for $10-20.