Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Why I am not buying a Dell

1. Their technical support is genuinely awful. Two separate techs tried to get me to buy parts that would be incompatible. Six hours later, I concluded that Dell had no compatible parts. 2. Their prices on the box I spec-ed out are about 25% higher than one can get from a custom builder for equivalent or better components. 3. The sales person I talked to tried the old car salesman dodge ("I'll have to talk it over with my boss" to make a negligible concession on price) rather than deal with my concern, namely that I neither wanted to buy an obsolescent system nor pay such an extravagant premium. It's silly. Dell has been filling my in box with larger discounts than this fellow offered. Why chisel? I don't know how the substitute system will turn out, but I do think the computer industry has got to get its act together on consumer protection. You want happy customers, not customers looking for a reason to look elsewhere.
I won't go through Dell for the simple reason that they don't have storefronts staffed with humans to assist you.

I got a new laptop the other day (non-Dell). When it displayed the Blue Screen of Death the day afterwards, I was able to take it to the place from whence it came, where the on-site techs cheerfully tested it, certified that it was indeed dead (massive hard disk failure), and gave me a new one on the spot. (Oh, and both old and new machines were tested before they went out the door; they were somewhat surprised that the HD blew up on the first one, but so far the second is doing OK (knock on wood).)
My recommendation is by a Mac. The current units with intel processors do PC as good as any and the Apple quality is far greater than most other manufacturers. Their apple care warranty also takes care of most problems quickly either through a dealer or via Airborn Express in a few days. The distinction with apple is you get a loaded system to start with. O yes, and if you want to be a bit more creative and productive you can use the Mac side of the machine.
I built my current PC to my exact specifications, and the shadowy and mysterious Codename V's PC, and they both work fine. Mine's at least 2-3 years old, and ran continuously for six straight months at one point.
Wow, Eli! And you're saying that's a Windows box? Six months is pretty good!

Yes, I am trying to have a system built to spec. It's complicated, because I ran into power supply limitations on the present box and want to make sure that the next time something idiotic like that doesn't happen.

As for Macs, they still have problems. I spec-ed out a nice shiny Mac for a cousin, who then discovered that Quicken for Macs is one of the worst-rated programs ever, and converting from PC is a nightmare. The answer is Boot Camp, but Apple has not made it easy enough to use for newbies like the cuz.
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