“Every time I asked a customer what they wanted in a personal computer I got the same response–everything,” says Ronald McKenzie, president of RAM/ROM International Inc., an Englewood, New Jersey, computer maker and consulting firm. “But then they would start complaining about the price.” McKenzie decided to give people what they wanted. In April 1996, RAM/ROM, an African American -owned firm began selling the Know Brainer to the general public.
The name is derived from the saying “It’s a no brainer,” which, in this case, means something so obviously good for you that you need not even think about it. Available by mail-order only, the Know Brainer is designed to give first-time PC owners all of the components they need in one package, which McKenzie believes distinguishes his company from other PC makers. The Know Brainer is a fully equipped system that comes with a 200 MHz Pentium processor, 32 megs of RAM, a 10X speed CD-ROM drive, 16 bit sound card, speakers, 33.6 data/fax modem and 17-inch SVGA monitor standard.
But, for McKenzie, the coup de grace is the unit’s 2 gigabyte removable hard drive with a tape backup unit. It was included so consumers can perform a full backup of their system in case anything fails, or back up files to another hard drive. “A removable hard drive is faster than conventional tape backups, and more affordable than high-speed tape backup systems,” says McKenzie.
The unit retails for $2,649, and is available via mail order. Software, which comes installed with the computer, includes Windows 95, Lotus Smart Suite 96, and an Essentials of the Internet CD. RAM/ROM provides toll-free technical support seven days a week. The unit comes with a one- year warranty on all parts excluding the monitor, which comes with a three-year warranty–with the first year on site. For $300, consumers can purchase a three-year warranty with on-site service.
For less demanding PC consumers, RAM/ROM sells the Get in the Game Know Brainer. The unit is powered by a 486DX class 120 MHz microprocessor. It’s ideal for people who don’t have a lot of money to spend but want to get into the computing game, says McKenzie. For $800, buyers receive a machine with 8 Megs of RAM, 1 gigabyte hard drive and a 14-inch VGA monitor.
McKenzie has marketed his machines directly to the African American community, hoping to get more African Americans interested in owning PCs. “We’re already far enough behind, we don’t have time to sit and wait,” he says. For more information on the Know Brainer, contact RAM/ROM International Inc. at 800-670-7442.