From Consumerist comes this in-depth article of Best Buy’s pre-optimized computer package which basically seems to be you giving them 40 bucks to run Windows Update and get rid of trial software:
Over the past year, a number of you have been telling us that, due to “pre-optimization” of computers, it’s difficult — sometimes impossible — to walk into a Best Buy and leave with the advertised deal (in effect, you would be paying a $39.99 surcharge over the computer’s advertised price). We decided to look into your complaints. We sent the Consumer Reports secret shoppers to 18 different Best Buys in 11 states, and one of our shoppers was denied the price advertised for a specific model because only pre-optimized computers were available. When the Consumer Reports engineers compared three “optimized” computers to ones with default factory settings, there was no performance improvement. In one case, an optimized laptop actually performed 32% worse than the factory model.
The whole article is quite interesting but not very surprising. I try to avoid Best Buy at all costs. They push that extended warranty program harder than a used car-salesman pushing you to get rust-proofing for your windows.