Best Buy ''Optimization'' A Waste of Money

The word "fake" probably isn't the suitable description for Best Buy's "pre-optimization" of PC's sold within its walls. However, The Consumerist and Consumer Reports secret shoppers report that Best Buy's so-called optimization really showed no improvement when compared to identical, non-optimized factory PCs. In one case, reports The Consumerist, a Best Buy-enticed laptop actually performed 32-percent worse than the original factory model.

Is it just a pre-paid gimmick to offer "pretend" low prices? That seems to be the case. The report also indicates that Best Buy's post-optimization service--allowing consumers to bring in their rigs for Best Buy's $39.99 tune-up--just doesn't hold up to its claims of boosting processor speed by 200-percent, reviving "incomplete" computers, and more. Ultimately, the optimizing performed by Best Buy specialists is just a big waste of money--before and after a PC purchase.

But that wasn't enough. The Consumerist and Consumer Reports wanted to find out just what Best Buy performs in its optimizations. The Geek Squad blog says that the agents perform up to "100 system tweaks that improve PC performance and functionality." There are also various plans of optimizations, ranging from $29.99 to $219.99. Documents provided by the Geek Squad were both confusing and intimidating, replicating that experience of "having your car serviced."

The Consumerist's report is indeed disturbing. One pretend shopper was told by a Best Buy salesman that her laptop would be incomplete without their optimization. One shopper was told that manual updates via Microsoft would take around two whole days to complete. Ultimately the Consumer Reports electronics testing experts purchased three "optimized" laptops at a local Best Buy and concluded that the optimizations are not a good deal for most consumers.

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  • Abrahm
    Best Buy has always been a huge rip off when it comes to computers and computer accessories. I can't say I'm surprised by this finding.
  • dtemple
    There's not enough information here to say that the optimization that Geek Squad offers is a bad thing. I know a guy who works at geek squad, and I asked him about this whole thing. He said that the optimization is 40 dollars in-store, no matter when you have it done. It doesn't get rid of viruses (which is a software repair closer to 200 dollars) and it won't speed up your computer 200 percent. It DOES give you all the Windows updates, they disable startup items that aren't necessary, they uninstall the trial bloatware, and then run a registry patching program that speeds up everything just a tad - making the computer devote more CPU time to foreground apps than background apps. If you get it done with the computer brand-new in the box, they also set the date and time, as well as configure it for automatic updates and configure your username and password for you.
    Did the geek squad guy say Windows Updates could take 2 days? Maybe if the consumer said they have dial-up. Maybe the person who they said the computer would be "incomplete" without the optimization meant it wouldn't be 100% ready to go out of the box without it, since you have to go through the initial setup process.
    For 40 bucks, people who dont have time to clean out bloatware, do updates, and configure the initial settings are getting a deal here. For most Toms readers, it's a waste of money.
  • jsc
    I shop at Best Buy - for CD's, DVD's, and other minor parts and accessories. But for major computer parts, my vendor of choice is newegg.
  • Other Comments
  • Abrahm
    Best Buy has always been a huge rip off when it comes to computers and computer accessories. I can't say I'm surprised by this finding.
  • dtemple
    There's not enough information here to say that the optimization that Geek Squad offers is a bad thing. I know a guy who works at geek squad, and I asked him about this whole thing. He said that the optimization is 40 dollars in-store, no matter when you have it done. It doesn't get rid of viruses (which is a software repair closer to 200 dollars) and it won't speed up your computer 200 percent. It DOES give you all the Windows updates, they disable startup items that aren't necessary, they uninstall the trial bloatware, and then run a registry patching program that speeds up everything just a tad - making the computer devote more CPU time to foreground apps than background apps. If you get it done with the computer brand-new in the box, they also set the date and time, as well as configure it for automatic updates and configure your username and password for you.
    Did the geek squad guy say Windows Updates could take 2 days? Maybe if the consumer said they have dial-up. Maybe the person who they said the computer would be "incomplete" without the optimization meant it wouldn't be 100% ready to go out of the box without it, since you have to go through the initial setup process.
    For 40 bucks, people who dont have time to clean out bloatware, do updates, and configure the initial settings are getting a deal here. For most Toms readers, it's a waste of money.
  • walt526
    "For 40 bucks, people who dont have time to clean out bloatware, do updates, and configure the initial settings are getting a deal here. For most Toms readers, it's a waste of money."

    FWIW, I think that your conclusion is spot-on. If my parents didn't have me to basically do that for them (for free), then I'd suggest that they would pay someone to do that.