Dell PC -- Are they what they used to be?!?!?!?!!?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Darren Yatadooet, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. Darren Yatadooet

    Russell Guest

    You should ask yourself five basic questions when considering a new computer
    purchase, ranking them in order of importance to you:



    1. What will be the computer's intended use?

    2. What is your budget?

    3. Is upgradeability (room for growth) important to you?

    4. What level of technical support do I need for my level of computer
    hardware/software knowledge?

    5. Is the prospective manufacturer/builder reputable?



    The important thing to consider is that you should end up with a system that
    meets your unique needs, not the needs touted in the marketing fluff of the
    particular seller. Technology advances rapidly; therefore, when thinking
    about what to buy, you should also consider your needs over the next three
    to four years on average, as you would for any other "appliance" or
    automobile that you'd like to be able to actually keep using for awhile.



    When it comes to computers, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. It's not realistic to
    expect top-flight performance, reliability and customer support on a minimal
    system with a low profit margin. These types of systems are developed,
    marketed and sold with "budget buyers" in mind, those who just want a basic
    setup in order to join the ranks of the casual computer users who surf the
    web, compose e-mail, balance the checkbook and write up a letter or two and
    maybe play a game once in a while that doesn't require high-end components.
    It's not fair to Dell and other "budget" system builders to expect premium
    support and performance if you haven't bought a premium system.



    Look at the automobile industry: the Hyundai or Kia owner isn't likely to
    get the same level of performance and service from the car and dealership as
    a new Lexus or Mercedes owner would justifiably expect to receive. That isn
    't to say that the Hyundai/Kia offerings are bad; they're just developed,
    marketed and sold with "budget buyers" in mind, those who value a low
    initial ticket price for their particular transportation needs more than
    future reliability, performance, prestige and service.



    Before buying online, check the company's reputation, warranty, return
    policy, and support services. An excellent resource for independent,
    verifiable consumer reviews for a particular reseller is Reseller Ratings
    (http://www.resellerratings.com).



    The New Low-End Home System Target Consumer:

    Your basic novice or casual user, like Aunt Myrtle, will want something that
    she can readily afford on her fixed income that will allow her to finally
    e-mail the family, find a new tuna casserole recipe online and maintain her
    Quicken/Money retirement income and expenses. She might get interested in
    playing a game or two of Solitaire or Blackjack, but she has no interest in
    Superhero role-playing in an interactive 3D virtual reality with DTS Digital
    7.1 surround sound or editing her own digital video masterpieces. She's
    likely been recruited into the computing world by another family member or
    friend, and probably has a fairly knowledgeable nephew or niece that can
    come by to fix her "broken" computer as a result of downloading some
    spam-originated ill-written shareware. Stereotyping? You bet.but you get
    the gist of the example. Aunt Myrtle will probably spend $500-$900 on her
    computer system, depending on from whom she bought it and the goodies
    included in the deal.



    The New Mid-Range Home System Target Consumer:

    Although a PC can play many roles in the home, most families will be best
    served by a mid-range mainstream model. Spending from $1,000 to $1,700
    provides a household with enough power to run productivity apps, view and
    edit vacation photos, manage MP3s, write and read CD/DVDs and play many of
    today's games satisfactorily. The minimal warranty should be OK for this
    type of system.



    The New Mid-Range Business System Target Consumer:

    Graphics and sound are less of a concern for most businesses. They'd want a
    system with enough power for multitasking daily office chores, so they'd
    configure a system that's heavier on the CPU/memory/hard drive performance e
    nd, using the money that they saved by sacrificing the higher-end
    graphics/sound options, and maybe springing for a higher-end LCD display
    that displays text well. The business client is more apt to select an
    extended service warranty, and will probably spend $1,000-$1,700 on average,
    plus extended service contracts.



    The New High-End/Gaming Rig Target Consumer:

    Serious gaming, graphic design, and video editing all normally require a
    high-class PC with an equally high price tag. A fast processor, lots of
    speedy memory, a top-notch graphics card and digital 24-bit surround sound
    card might be foremost on the checklist. If there are plans to transfer and
    edit home movies, massive hard drives with RAID striping, FireWire ports,
    and fast CD/DVD burner coupled with another optical drive to burn on-the-fly
    would be in order. Mr./Ms. Geek might enjoy building his/her own system
    from the ground up, or perhaps buy a system from a boutique builder that
    specifically targets this type of end user. Either way, the final system
    could be anywhere within the larger $1,800-$4,000 price range, depending on
    the caliber and number of each component. Warranties and tech support aren'
    t as important for this type of consumer, as they often tinker around,
    frequently upgrade components and overclock the CPU and memory out of spec
    anyway, effectively voiding the CPU/memory manufacturer's warranties.



    I'm the owner of one of these smaller "boutique" outfits, and our target
    customer is the upper mid-range to high-end/gaming consumer. Our online
    pre-configured system options can allow for a system ranging anywhere from
    $850-$4,000 or more, with the average sale ringing in at somewhere near the
    $2,000 range. We can and have built a few custom "low-end" systems for a
    particular customer, but that isn't our target consumer, and I usually
    recommend that they look into the entry-level systems that Dell offers.



    Dell does an excellent job of building a budget system, and we can't always
    get the same components used at the same price, due mainly to the price
    leverage they can use in buying up massive quantities of the parts used to
    make these babies. Support, upgradeability, performance and reliability are
    not foremost on the low-end consumer's mind; they've prioritized the five
    questions listed at the beginning of this message, and are going to buy the
    system that best fits into that scenario.



    Michael Dell's business model from the beginning has always been offering a
    PC into the mainstream at the best price possible, and this hasn't changed.
    In order to remain competitive in the market, Dell has developed several
    systems that can be sold at rock-bottom prices, which necessitates slashing
    after-market support expenses. The consumer has spoken, and he generally
    wants the most inexpensive computer he can find to do what he needs to
    accomplish. You can bet that if the majority of consumers valued higher-end
    systems with premium retail components and support, that's what Dell would
    be pushing more enthusiastically. Their current higher-end home systems are
    more or less afterthoughts, attracting the occasional consumer that
    perceives the Dell name as the "best" mainstream manufacturer. Think of
    these systems as the equivalent of the Toyota Avalon: the high-end of the
    mainstream manufacturer offering, not far in ticket price from the low-end
    of the Lexus (upscale Toyota division) luxury manufacturer offering. You
    either want a Toyota or a Lexus if you aren't a "budget" consumer.



    When it comes to computers, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Prioritize the list
    at the beginning of this message, and then do a little research, if so
    inclined. OK, I'll step down from my soapbox now.



    Respectfully,

    Russell Sullivan

    http://tastycomputers.com
     
    Russell, Apr 18, 2004
    #21
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  2. Buy from whomever you want to. If they have, or would have, a
    dedicated newsgroup like this, I suspect you will/would find
    about the same percentage of satisified/shill/however
    characterized posts, versus X is a POS company with POS products,
    and POS support with any of them that you find here.

    Personally, if I hit the lottery so that I could afford one I'd
    give

    http://www.alienware.com/, or
    http://www.pugetsystems.com/gaming.php, or someone similar a
    chance by buying one from one of them.

    Since it's not likely, I plan on checking Dell first when I need
    a new computer, and then Gateway, HP, and whomever to see if they
    offer a better price. Dell gets the nod in any tie, because I
    know them, and they haven't disappointed me in the seven
    computers I/the company I work for have bought, quality or
    service.

    But if I'll save big bucks by changing, I'll take a chance with
    Gateway, HP, whomever.

    Better yet, why don't you by a Mac? Every Mac user that's ever
    posted on the Usenet - that I have seen - /swears/ that Apple
    makes a superior machine, a superior OS, and provides superior
    support. How could you pass that kind of feedback up?
     
    Ogden Johnson III, Apr 18, 2004
    #22
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  3. For those that have helped, thank you. My problems are like this:
    Blue screen of death occasionally when I boot up, seemingly hit or
    miss. Internet Explorer (the bulk of my usage, of course) keeps
    giving me the "An error has been encountered and the program will shut
    down, would you like to send a message to Microsoft?" If I do or
    don't send, the program closes and reopens and gives the same error.
    I installed Netscape, which, knock wood, is working fine.

    I've also run an online virus check, adaware, and the search and
    destroy spyware programs and come up clean.

    It's a Dimension 500 P3 machine.
     
    Darren Yatadooet, Apr 18, 2004
    #23
  4. Darren Yatadooet

    Tom Scales Guest

    Have you considered backing up your data, reformatting and reinstalling? In
    situation likes these, it's always a good approach.

    Tom
     
    Tom Scales, Apr 18, 2004
    #24
  5. Darren Yatadooet

    Colin Wilson Guest

    I've also run an online virus check, adaware, and the search and
    Did you try the IE repair tool ?

    Not sure where it is under XP, but in 98SE its under

    programs/accessories/system tools/system information

    ....under the tools menu / IE repair tool
     
    Colin Wilson, Apr 18, 2004
    #25
  6. Courtesy of MVP Doug Knox' excellent Web site.
    How do I repair Internet Explorer in Windows® XP?
    http://www.dougknox.com/xp/tips/xp_ie_reinstall.htm

    --
    D

    I'm not an MVP a VIP nor do I have ESP.
    I was just trying to help.
    Please use your own best judgment before implementing any suggestions or
    advice herein.
    No warranty is expressed or implied.
    Your mileage may vary.
    See store for details. :)

    Remove shoes to E-mail.
     
    HillBillyBuddhist, Apr 18, 2004
    #26
  7. Darren Yatadooet

    Rerat/Rich Guest

    Darren,
    1. You can manually turn off the "Error Reporting" by doing the following:
    From the Desktop> Right-click My Computer> Properties> Advance tab> Error Reporting button> Select Disable Error Reporting.

    2. You should not rely totally on an On-line AV program, but install one onto the PC. There is a free application w/free updates that works fairly well.
    AVG Anti-virus:
    http://www.grisoft.com/us/us_index.php

    --

    Rich/rerat

    (RRR News) <message rule>
    <<Previous Text Snipped to Save Bandwidth When Appropriate>>


    For those that have helped, thank you. My problems are like this:
    Blue screen of death occasionally when I boot up, seemingly hit or
    miss. Internet Explorer (the bulk of my usage, of course) keeps
    giving me the "An error has been encountered and the program will shut
    down, would you like to send a message to Microsoft?" If I do or
    don't send, the program closes and reopens and gives the same error.
    I installed Netscape, which, knock wood, is working fine.

    I've also run an online virus check, adaware, and the search and
    destroy spyware programs and come up clean.

    It's a Dimension 500 P3 machine.
     
    Rerat/Rich, Apr 18, 2004
    #27
  8. Darren Yatadooet

    Dan Guest

    Dan, Apr 19, 2004
    #28
  9. You cut out the part of my post that said
    ;->

    But if I /were/ into high-end gaming, and tagging on heavy-duty
    graphics work, etc., I'd certainly have to look at and even
    budget for a suitable computer, including those found on your
    pages. As it is, I'm an old fogey whose game playing days ended
    when a table-top, coin-operated "Space Invaders" game beat the
    s[tuff] [and $10 in quarters and $30 in beer] out of me; and who
    had trouble making even Instamatics behave. So plain-vanilla
    Dells [or Gateways, or HP/Compaqs, or ...] are more my speed. ;->
     
    Ogden Johnson III, Apr 20, 2004
    #29
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