Are New Computers Cheap Or What?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chuck C, Jan 29, 2002.

  1. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    I was just reading an add in USA Today for a Dell Dimension with copious periphs and baggage (1.1 GHz, 20 gigs, monitor, CD-RW) for only $700! Now I know entry level computers in the past have started at about $1k, but $700 is a sign of good times. Has Dell spent the money for efficient production processes to reduce costs in the long run? Has the price of technology come down faster than expected? Is it a combination of both? Shit, for about $1,500, I could get 10 times the computer I spent twice as much on 18 months ago...and it's a Dell, dude. [​IMG] Hell, at this rate, everyone will be able to afford that sweet HTPC to go with their front projector.
    any comments? any proud Dell owners?
     
  2. Rob Varto

    Rob Varto Supporting Actor

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    Im not a Dell owner, but I did make the mistake of purchasing a "big brand" computer. The thing runs well enough, even though it's a little on the low end side these days but the fact that I can't upgrade has got me severly monkey-assed!

    For $1500 you can get an awesome computer for a reputable vendor that will blow away that Dell - and you won't be stuck with mid and low-grade components. I will give Dell credit for their customer service, from what I've heard, it's great.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  4. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    I love my Dell Inspiron 8100 (notebook) and would highly recommend Dell to anyone.

    I am wondering if Rob's "big brand" computer is a Compaq. They are still somewhat proprietary I think, and I have had nothing but problems with the 2 Compaq's our church bought (I am the defacto network admin). In fact, with all the problems we were having with them, I recently sat down to reformat the hard drive and reinstall Win2k (not from OEM disk), well the cd-rom I had was not a bootable version since it was an MSDN disk and had 3 different operating systems in different directories, so I made a set of boot disk floppies only to get a Disk I/O error on both Compaq's... All new floppies, Sony pre-formatted, I tried 3 different sets, all freshly made, none worked. But those same disks worked on every other system I used them on. Also, other non-boot disks worked fine on the Compaq, I put in other disks just to see if it would read it, and neither had a problem. Just wouldn't work with the Boot Disks.

    Bottom line, in my experience, Compaq's are just too buggy. As far as buying a non-major, I can only assume you are referring to a local chain or mom & pop? I was bitten once buying from a mom & pop store and 8 months later when the mobo went bad, I went back to have it repaired under warranty only to find the computer shop had been replaced by a florist.

    Go with Dell!
     
  5. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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  6. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  7. Eric Stuckey

    Eric Stuckey Second Unit

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    I currently have a Gateway 400 mgz , 196 SDRAM , 20 gbit hard drive, cdr/dvd , 15in (13 view ) monitor. And of this coming weekend I will sell my Gateway and be a proud new owner of a new Dell 4400 series with a Pentium 4 , 256 sd ddr ram 40 gbite hard drive 17 in monitor and a cd-r drive. Lots of extra's and when I said to the Dell operator that I was looking at Gateway, he through free stuff at me.

    I got full virsions of roxys easy cd creater and music match juke box. Free shipping, free 10 pack of cd-rs, free surge protecter and the advertized free cd-r.

    This system will blow my gateway out of the water. Im sure Ill love my Dell. Oh ya, I spent less on my Dell then on my Gateway only 1.5 years ago. Go figure.
     
  8. Greg Rakaska

    Greg Rakaska Stunt Coordinator

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    Regarding "upgradability" of Dell, Compaq, HP and Gateway: motherboards and power supplies can be difficult to replace/upgrade on many models of each of these brands. As a matter of fact I have never personally seen a Compaq with a standard motherboard!
    I realize that this is a very general statement, but it is the best I can do. I work on a lot of PCs for friends and family, and these are the usual obstacles I encounter. It really varies from year-to-year and model-to-model.
    Many Dells, Gateways, Compaqs, and HP I have seen use "split" two-piece motherboards rather than standard one-piece units, and some have power supplies that have non-standard connectors. As others have mentioned, some lack AGP slots.
    Some models may have standard ATX, micro-ATX, flex-ATX, motherboards and power supplies, and if so, the motherboards can usually be upgraded. Pentium systems have at least four different socket configurations that limit the type of CPU that can be used on a given motherboard. You can usually upgrade the CPUs within the range that will fit into a particular socket, but if Vcc, FSB, or socket config changes, you are out of luck if you cannot easily change out the mobo and/or P/S.
    The best answer for a fully upgradeable system is to buy a custom built unit from a reliable dealer, or build it yourself. Alas, reliable dealers may be hard to find in some areas. The downside of custom systems is that they may cost more than off-the-shelf systems. The upside is that maintenance and upgrade costs are lower, especially if you can do it yourself.
    It all boils down to economics. As cheap as some of the major systems are, they can almost be considered "disposable" rather than upgradeable. If you are in a financial position to replace them every couple of years, then being able to upgrade the box for an additional few years service may be moot.
    I build my own for the fun of it. I am not sure I actually achieve any real savings in the long run. I do end up with a lot of spare parts to build "Frankenstein" boxes to give to friends and family that otherwise may not be able to afford a PC [​IMG]
     
  9. Jon_R

    Jon_R Stunt Coordinator

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    nothign beats the old packard bell cases. I've worked tech support a long time and when I was in college I would still get a case that it would take me a while to open.

    If you are sneering at that, some of these cases have a wrap around shell that has 2 screws in the bottom, no back screws, you have to turn the machine upside down and take off the panel. Many times however packard bell put the non slip feet over one or more of those screw holes so if you don't know they aren't there, you'll never find them. Not to mention all the innards are razor sharp. still, i love those cases. I let the new guys sit and stare, because they really honestly make no sense. Don't get me started on drive rails, proprietary motherboards and soldered ram. Things have gotten lots better since then but this thread is right, the late Compaq has always used proprietary stuff, including keyed cables (my least favorite thing in the world).

    Jon
     
  10. Rob Varto

    Rob Varto Supporting Actor

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    Actually, I have an HP Pavillion. Like I said, it runs well enough and Brian E made a good point about upgrading memory and hard drives (both of which I have done). Upgrading the cpu is a joke because the mobo is crap and I could only install up to 384 MB Ram - due to the mobo limitations. Hey, if you like Dell, more power to you - but if you want customization and high end components for the same price or less, good vendors can be found.
     
  11. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    Chuck (& Co.) ....

    Man are you right on with the low prices on new computers right now. I have bought 2 full systems this month.

    For me ... a Dell Dimension 4300 (1.6GHz P4, 40GB hard drive, CD-RW, 256MB SDRAM) a really nice package for $640 delivered! Then I added a flat panel display for $400.

    For Mom ... last night I bought the eMachines 1GHz Celeron w/ 17" CRT monitor for $399 (after 6 rebates). Even came with a free printer ... Amazing! The salesguy (very intelligent college kid) at Best Buy told me they are making NO MONEY on the computer at all. They make it on the service plans (declined!) and cables/ink.

    There's a great article in the 21-Jan issue of Fortune Mag. about Dell and the computer market. Basically, beginning in late 2000, the economy slowed dramatically and people really held off on buying computers. Dell slashed prices and then did it again after Sept. 11. They've led the transformation of the PC to a commodity. Today, there are 10 major US mfrs/suppliers of PC's in the US and only Dell & Apple are making money. The rest are losing on every unit they sell. At the end of 2001, Dell had 25% US market share. Apple is making modest profits, but only has a 4.2% share of the market.

    Happy shopping!

    Scott
     
  12. BrendanW

    BrendanW Extra

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    Most machines are easily upgraded. Somethings you may need to change.....possibly a motherboard if it doesn't support the chip you are upgrading to. I could always build my own computer for cheaper than dell/compaw/etc
     
  13. Rob Behm

    Rob Behm Extra

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    Building is the way to go. You get the lowest price, best hardware, and it really is simple. If you can hook up a vcr, you can build.
     

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