Thursday, June 17, 2010

Computer upgrade, just not as I planned...

At work, there was talk of our personal computer hardware. I said I was planning on upgrading mine. I just did so, but not in the way I intended - though I still plan on doing that later.

There has also been talk of using a second computer for side tasks, like email or minor web browsing, to take those tasks off the main computer. Not just a seperate monitor, but a separate PC. I decided to follow up on that idea, and started at, where they sell cheap refurb systems, like an HP P4 3.2GHz for $99. That would work fine for web browsing. But after upgrading the memory from 256MB to 2GB and the HD from 20GB to 200GB, it would cost closer to $250.

So I decided to look at the Dell Outlet. Sorting by price quickly showed a computer at $289 for an Athlon Dual Core processor with 4GB RAM and a 250GB hard drive. I did some comparisons between models, decided I liked the cost/performance Inspiron Desktop 570, and filtered to them to try to find the one I looked at earlier.

Because of the place I had been in the list, I was at the end after applying the new filter. And I saw the one at the end, for $399. I wanted to see what made it worth $100 more than the one next to it. And I found it had an Athlon II X4 630, 2.8GHz quad-core, with 6GB RAM and 1TB drive. Either the processor or the extra RAM is worth the $100, but this has both. Additional bonuses over the cheap one at PacificGeek include DVD-RW, 7.1 audio, and both VGA and HDMI. And I added the 3yr support for $99, since I prefer 3yr warranties to 1yr on stuff like hard drives. I figured the $50/year for years 2 and 3 is worthwhile since some drives will die in that time and, and the warranty will pay for itself. (In comparison, any component warranty would require I mail the old part off, at a cost of another $10; this includes next-day in-home repair.)

And I added a nice Dell 21.5" full-HD monitor for $139, which is less than the generic 21.5" I got last month from TigerDirect (my job practically requires multiple monitors; it becomes much easier with 3). And all of it was with free shipping - the stuff's supposed to be here Tuesday. And 5% cashback by using a link from was a nice bonus.

It is all $668, with sales tax. Just for comparison, ordering new would cost $990, for the same stuff. $399 for the PC, $139 for the monitor, $99 for the warranty, and $31.85 in sales tax. OK, so it's $668.85...

I normally build stuff myself. Simple breakdown, based on cheap prices: $90 for Windows 7 Home Premium, $80 for the hard drive, $25 for the DVD-RW, $150 for the RAM ($50/2GB), $35 for the case, $20 for the power supply... and I'm out of money already. Still have to get the motherboard, processor, keyboard, and mouse. And some of those parts might have 90-day warranties, certainly not three-year on-site. So, I might could beat the normal price, but not the outlet price - not even close.

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