Gateway vs. Dell -- how can Gateway be so much cheaper ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tom Meyer, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    So last night I ordered a Canon S9000 photo printer and a Epson 2450 photo scanner. realizing that my 4+ yo Dell 266 PII probably wouldn't cut it for hardcore negative/picture scanning & printing, I checked out some new systems. When I priced out a similarly configured Dell 4500 and Gateway 500XL, the Dell was more than $500 more. Here are the specs I used:

    2.4GhZ PIV
    512MB RAM (+$130 Gateway/+$160 Dell)
    120GB HD (standard in Gateway, +$210 Dell)
    DVD-RAM/R + 24/10/40 CDRW (standard in Gateway, + $349 Dell)
    128MB NVidea 4200 video card (standard in Gateway, + $310 Dell, but 4600)
    18" LCD flat panel monitor (+100 Gateway/+ $150 Dell from 17")
    Logitech optical mouse (standard Gateway/+$30 Dell)
    Gateway sound card comes w/ FireWire, Dell does not.

    Total Gateway: $2259
    Total Dell: $2770

    Anyone compare these two models as well ? How can the Gateway be so much cheaper than the Dell ? I've only had a minor CD-ROM problem w/ my Dell like 4 yrs ago, but $500 is $500.

    I guess my question is: How can Gateways be more than $500 less ?
     
  2. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    Well, since so many of the parts are "standard" in that model Gateway, that is part of the savings. What you need to do is try and find a comparable Dell that has more of the parts you want. Any deviation from the standard means more work for the company, which means higher prices.

    All the rest probably comes down to what parts each company uses. The graphics card is the most obvious. There is about a $150 difference between the 4200 and 4600 retail if you tried buying those cards alone. Likewise I can easily find a few hundred dollar differences between various models of the same components.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've not priced GW computers recently, but the past several years they were more expensive than Dell. I'm surprised they are cheaper now.

    What's the warranty, bundled software? How about RAM type, monitor brand, HD brand, soundcard, etc?

    Dell also has a much better service reputation than GW, so what's that worth (monetarily)?

    GW might just be cheaper than Dell, but if so, I think it's a new turn of events.
     
  4. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    It may just be in your specific configuration, but I've mentioned it on another thread here, I just ordered a Dell after a 3 month research on prices, including EBay barebone build it yourself, and Dell still ended up cheaper. And this is not an isolated incident, as this is the third time that I do this exercise in the last 6 years. I always looking to get something different, and always ended up with Dell because of the price.
    The one thing that I do agree with another earlier poster, I will not buy "add on" from Dell, as they are significantly higher than what you can get outside. Another svaing from Dell is they are forever having promotions on free upgrades (usually DVD or CDRW), plus free shipping, and in my case those two alone is worth almost $200 bucks, and I am also happens to be in a state that they(Dell) do not collect sales tax, so there's another $$$.
     
  5. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    Actually if you do your price comparison correctly Gateway will almost always come out cheaper IF and this is the big if you can find a comparable system. That is something that both manufactures dont want to give you is a fair comparison because it makes each other look bad.

     
  6. Brian Teal

    Brian Teal Extra

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    Danny brings up a good point about the quality of components. Since they use a lot of re-branded items, its nearly impossible to find out what you are really getting from Dell or Gateway. I'd recommend a DIY frankenstein if you don't mind the loss of tech support. Also, I'm sure there is a local computer store around you that would put one together for you. Nothing better than having complete control, and not having to pay for useless stuff like 56k modems [​IMG]. Not to mention all the crap they (Dell, Gateway, etc.) put on your HD before they send it to you.
     
  7. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    Tom I sent you a PM

    KyleS
     
  8. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    let's see -- they both are DDR SDRAM. Only the top models for both have RDRAM. I could get the 700X for $20 less and get the RDRAM but only a DVD-ROM.

    Also, I've done the DIY approach and I kinda vowed never to do it again. Just too much of a PITA.

    Gateway does only default to 1yr support while Dell has 3 yrs, so that'd be $139 more for 3 yrs. I dunno, I usually have pretty good luck w/ electronics (never had a tv, stereo, computer, monitor go completely kaput), so maybe I shouldn't push my luck !

    One thing I did like about the Gateway was the firewire port on the soundblaster soundcard, which I'll need when I get my iPod (+ XPlay software). Another was that their standard is a 17" LCD vs. 15" for Dell and it's only $100 to go to 18". That may actually clinch it for me.
     
  9. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    As far as ram goes don't buy it from dell...expensive, expensive, expensive. Config the machine for the absolute minimum then go to crucial.com and buy the memory there. You'll end up knocking 100 or more off the price.
     
  10. AaronNWilson

    AaronNWilson Second Unit

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    It is interesting that you had problems with your cd rom, because I also have a 266mhz p2 dell and that had to be replaced in my system.

    I definitely wouldn't pay the prices that dell is charging nowadays. If you have been using computers for 4 years I'm sure that you would be able to build your own system for cheaper.
     
  11. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    Dell also has a much better service reputation than GW

    If you are at all knowlegeable about the inner workings of a PC, then you shouldn't care which you get. Both Dell and Gateway will express parts to you without trouble if you provide them with a good diagnosis. I've had no trouble getting either company to respond to my needs.
     
  12. Paul Spurgeon

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    Some of the price difference probably occurs in the "invisible" computer specifications, ie speed of RAM (2100,2400,etc), manufacturer of motherboard, quality of motherboard.. really, unless you ask for the exact specs of every damn part it's impossible to do an accurate price comparison.

    In putting together a new computer for myself at newegg.com I picked only the highest quality components and was able to get EXACTLY what I wanted because I'm willing to put it together myself. This was not a big cost-saver, it just allowed maximum quality control and customization since I'm willing to pay for the best in each component. It's really not a difficult thing to do; there are tons of guides out there that spell out every step in the process, from research to final tweaks. Of course, there is an inherent "geek factor" involved that many people just don't seem to (want to) possess.

    A little off-topic here, but keep in mind that for the past 4 years or so Dell has used custom power supplies for their computers, making it impossible to upgrade the motherboard without going through Dell. This majorly limits upgrade options for a computer >2 years old, and is quite annoying in my opinion, since upgrading through Dell is quite a bit more expensive than the alternatives.
     
  13. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    Paul, I agree with everything you said in your post, but I ended up getting another Dell, here are some of the DIY caveats:
    1. In all the deep discount places I know (including newegg.com, which has great reputation and I browse over there multipe times a day), if there's any problem with anything, you have to pay shipping to send it back, regardless of reason (BTW, I do not disagree with that policy, in order to keep cost down), and it can take long. This really does not happen that often, but when it did, it's a real pain.
    2. Yes, the proprietary PS with Dell is a real pain, on the other hand, I upgrade my system every 3 years or, and Dell commands a reasonable used price on EBay. So on the one hand, you can buy the nest quality case and PS and change the "guts" every so often, but on the other hand, I just swapped the whole thing every 3 years, no fuzz, if I made a bad choice, Dell is very good in taking the system back, only one place to call and no fuzz.
    3. Yes, it really gets down to the geek factor[​IMG] .
     

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