So last week my Hard Drive died, and for anyone that has ever experienced this it's a royal pain in the ass. I depend on my computer very much, being that I am in the tech sector, a writer, and I don't like cable TV at all. It is not uncommon for me to spend 14+ hours a day in front of a computer.
Naturally when this happened I at first went back to Apple to see what they could do. The tech there in Palo Alto was nice enough; he informed me that he could provide me with a replacement HD the same as the one that had just failed for about $300, parts and labor and that it would take 7 - 10 days. While he explained this he also mentioned that it might be worth my while to investigate 3rd party (outside) vendors to see if it wouldn't be possible to upgrade the HD at a comparable cost. To his Sales credit, he did ask if I wanted to speak to a Salesperson on the floor there about a new laptop (and I was tempted, but declined).
So I began investigating my options that night. A new Mac laptop was gonna set me back about $2k for anything worth my while; and after some investigation I determined that a new 80 gig HD installed was gonna run me somewhere in the neighborhood of $260 from All Things Macintosh on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. I had to evaluate my usage of the computer (mainly net cruising & word processing) against my desire for something new and shiny, and in the end I just went for the new HD.
So far I've had no problems. The peeps at ATM were really cool, and they were super helpful. I Yelped them. :) This could have been a much harrier experience, but it went fairly smoothly. As a bonus: while taking my lap top to the ATM offices I took myself on a self guided tour up and down Potrero Hill, which if you haven't seen it, has absolutely amazing views of downtown SF.