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Old 04-01-2008, 07:13 PM   #61
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I read some stuff on THG every now and then, but I dont read them often enough to say if they cover what machines are best for what games.

You could PM me with which games you're interested in and I could see what might line up. Or just get a fast quad core with a decent graphics card like an 8600.

If your games/apps are super high processor demand, get one of these:
The Dell Online Store: Build Your System
and bump the graphics card to an 8600GT and maybe bump the disk a little bigger since those upgrades arent that expensive.

If your processor demands arent that big, it wants a lot of memory, and the 3d graphics demands are really minimal, then this:
The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

Pretty good CPU, lots of memory, and the x3100 isnt that bad for 2d performance and some lower end 3d stuff. Its actually a darn good piece of hardware, the driver support is just about 18 months dragging behind schedule. Very low power consumption. If you need more, bump to the ati 2400 pro.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:15 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
...90% of the people who lay out $2-4k for a "workstation like" mac pro have absolutely no need for the horsepower and just want to look wealthy.
Actually the true Mac poser fashionista's are into the Mac Book Air these days. Brawny desktops are soooo last century.

Apropos todays date, and the subject, I leave you some humor on a lighter note:

(not a rickroll, etc...)



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Old 04-01-2008, 07:16 PM   #63
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This thread is the most helpful if it does not turn into a Mac vs. PC argument. Instead, it is about specific inexpensive systems people might be interested in buying. I suggest that we keep the thread to that topic. So, if someone has a specific Mac or a specific PC to recommend, go for it.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:19 PM   #64
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JohnDoe, if thats your real name...

Compaqs are HP's low end line. I think the HP branded machines are now decent again after a few years of sucking. The compaqs are a little less so.

Check this out:
The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

More memory, slightly smaller (but upgradeable) hard drive, includes a 19" flat screen...everything else seems about the same. Warranty on the compaq might be a mail-in, the dell is on-site. Mail in warranties on a desktop are a PITA, especially if they make you eat the shipping to them.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:47 PM   #65
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Of course that's my real name.

I like that Dell setup. I did have to add the Dual drives for $60. I assume there is tax and shipping so it's about $100 more. I'll have to think about it.

Thanks.
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:07 PM   #66
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Tax is in any state that Dell operates in, which is many of them. Sometimes theres free shipping. This one gives you free shipping if you configured it over $399 which it sounds like you did.

And it even comes with SPEAKERS! Thats worth an extra $700 right there!
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:23 AM   #67
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JohnDoe, if thats your real name...

Compaqs are HP's low end line. I think the HP branded machines are now decent again after a few years of sucking. The compaqs are a little less so.

Check this out:
The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

More memory, slightly smaller (but upgradeable) hard drive, includes a 19" flat screen...everything else seems about the same. Warranty on the compaq might be a mail-in, the dell is on-site. Mail in warranties on a desktop are a PITA, especially if they make you eat the shipping to them.
CFB,

Did Dell scrap that config? Looks like they bumped up the processor and the base price by $70.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:08 AM   #68
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Could be. These sub $400 deals with the big screens are generally clearance/excess inventory sort of thing and are often available only for a few days or until a unit sales goal is hit.

Another cheap deal should be along in the next week and I'll post it when I see it. In the meanwhile, peruse the Dell Outlet. I just saw a handful of similar setups to the expired deal that were in the $250-300 range, but without a monitor.

Never had any trouble with dell refurbs or canceled orders. Many of the refurbs are machines people bought and returned without turning on, or after only using for a few days and decided they didnt like it. Nice part is the refurbs have any problems resolved and are run through another test and burn-in, so they've been checked twice. Just make sure you pick a current model and not something they havent sold in a year+. I've bought Dell refurbs and I know a few other folks here do, like Twaddle...with no bad results. I've also noticed that a lot of refurb machines are offered with better warranties and/or buying a 2-3 year extended warranty is really cheap on them.

Nice thing with the refurbs/canceled order units is that they ship the same day, and its usually free.

Also, make sure when buying one of these dell deals that you sign up for a Fatwallet.com fatcash account and link through their web site to buy the system, you'll get 1.5% cash back on refurbs and 3% on new systems from either Dell Home or Small Business. Add your own rewards credit card for the purchase and you can have another 4-4.5% off.

Dell also has a "DPA" credit card thing that gives you a percentage off or deferred credit by using it with a system purchase. I havent ever gotten one but if you're planning a large computer purchase or buying several, and arent concerned about yet-another-credit-card, it might be worth your while. Right now they're just offering a six months no pay/no interest on regular systems when you get an extended warranty and one year no pay/no interest on XPS systems.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:31 AM   #69
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Oh, and AAA has a 6% discount as well. Road, Travel, and Financial Services - AAA
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:41 AM   #70
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Thanks!

I did notice they have a refurb (ordered new) that is only $289.

Can the DVD/RW, drive read and write CD's as well?
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:44 AM   #71
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Yep. I've never seen a dvd burner that couldnt read and write cd's as well.

Note that the outlet systems dont include a monitor. And they go away pretty quick if they're a good deal, but they'll sit in your shopping cart for 15 minutes if you add them to it.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:05 AM   #72
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Yea, the one for $289 is gone already. lol

I already have a 19 inch crt so I don't need a new monitor.
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:02 PM   #73
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Here's a potentially (shudder) useful post on how to get a deal on a Mac...

1. Used: Macs hold up their value reasonably well, but there are usually deals to be found on ebay or craigslist. The used market in Macs is very strong. A reasonable 1-2 year old iMac will be discounted 20-30% or more.

2. Flip it: Take advantage of the strong aftermarket in used Macs. Buy a new one, use it for 2 years, and sell it used on ebay for 80%. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. I've heard of people doing this continually for the last 7-8 years. Basically for about $100-200/year you can have your self a nice new mac forever!

3. Refurb Deals: The online Apple Store has a "refurb" section which offers 20-30% discounts on current models complete with 1 year of Apple Care. They also have occasional clearance sales on past models.

If you're really advanced, you could combine 2&3 (buy refurb and flip after a while) and maybe come out pretty close to even!

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Old 04-02-2008, 12:49 PM   #74
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I've quite successfully flipped 2-3 year old Toshiba, Dell and HP "cheapies" for more than half of what I paid, even though they'd received heavy use, and then reinvested the proceeds towards a new cheapie machine that was twice as powerful.

Which is why it pays to buy a first tier machine like Dell, HP, Toshiba, or IBM with a good cpu and a decent size hard drive, and measure that resale value against what you'll get for a second/third tier machine. You'll get more in 3 years for a core 2 duo intel Dell system than a 3rd tier celeron/sempron machine. Sort of like buying a toyota instead of a ford. Costs more, but you'll get more on resale.

I note that a lot of folks also like to buy and hold their computers for a long time. Makes sense there to pay a little more for a better quality machine.

Just not TOO much more.

John Doe - I usually peruse the outlet and if I see anything, I slap it into my cart and then go investigate whats in it. It'll fall out but you can put it right back in again if you're quick.

Dont be too fearful of the "scratch and dent" models either. I havent bought one but a good number of other people have and I havent heard anyone get anything badly banged up. Its usually a scrape on the side or some other minor cosmetics. I've seen a few desktops in the scratch and dent with reallllly ridiculously low prices. My bet is those were banged up a lot.

Worse comes to worse, you can send it back to them and get a refund.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:47 PM   #75
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I had to switch to the slimline model to get the same deal as yesterday. $465 with tax and free shipping.

Has everything the mini had yesterday except only 1g mem.

Not suppose to ship for a week so if something better comes along they said I can call in, cancel and reorder. They told me AAA discount didn't apply to business models and if it did, it would be off the starting price, not the discounted price. Sounded like a bunch of crap, though. I had to call in the order because online wasn't giving me free shipping.

Thanks for you help.

EDIT: I found my AAA discount code. I can get the Dell Inspiron 530 for $15 more. Has Vista, 2gb mem, 19" Digital monitor, 3yr onsite, and 160gb HD....Hmmm
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:46 PM   #76
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Yeah, you have to go to the AAA web site, then follow their link to Dell Home and apply the coupon code they gave you at checkout. I think if you go to Dell Home directly and try the code it might not work, and it doesnt work on the Dell Small Biz site. Not sure if it "stacks" with other discounts, but usually systems that are discounted off the top do take a stacked discount like AAA or fatcash. Its only when Dell sends you a promo code in email that you have to type in during the checkout process that the stacking might not work.

If you're still employed (no such luck here) your employer may have an "Employee Purchase" plan with Dell, which is through their EPP program. Some tasty deals there but I have no idea how it works...either you have a code from your company or a link from your company's web site or some such. Current and former military also can buy Dell gear through the militarys version of the EPP program.

The non-slimline 530 is a nice box. Its very quiet. Good expansion. Easy to work on. Unless they've changed it since the last time I saw the innards, it has a single large fan on the back with a cowling tube down to the processor area and no separate processor fan, which are usually small and noisy. If you stick with the x3100 onboard graphics, that means one big fan pulling air through the system. Thats about the same setup as the HP desktop I bought early last year. With a core2duo, 2GB of ram and a raid 1 sata pair, it runs about 103 degrees in the box and pulls 67-75 watts with the monitor off. With that thermal and energy profile, you dont mind leaving it on as a home server.

I'd cancel and get that 530 to get the better specs and the much longer warranty, keep which ever monitor (your old or new) looks better once you fire it up, and sell the other one on craigslist for $100-125. It'll go pretty quick.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:24 AM   #77
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I didn't know how fast these prices on Dell change. The 530 I was looking at yesterday went up $20 today. I ended up canceling my order and went with a cert refurbish. $309

Vostro 200 Mini
Core 2 Duo
2GB SDRAM
160GB HD
16X DVD +/- RW DL
XP Home

Not sure if it has a 10/100 card. I want to wire this one since it will be sitting right next to my router.

Sometimes I think Dell logs hits and bumps up pricing accordingly.
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:27 PM   #78
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They do a lot of dynamic price adjustment based on production line utilization, component stocking, who is looking at what, and who is ordering what. If you dont like the price on something, wait a while. I dont think they use any user cookies, but I havent checked into that recently...

I havent seen anything made by Dell in the last 5 years that didnt have at least a 10/100 port on the back. As far as I know, all the Vostro's have at least a 10/100 and some have a 10/100/1000.
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:38 PM   #79
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Uh oh.

The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

530 full tower, Core2 quad processor, 3gb ram, 500GB drive, x3100 graphics, dvd burner, no monitor...$499. There ya go ClifP...

Add a 19" monitor with or without the glossy finish for $190.

Warranties are expensive on this.

And it probably wont be there tomorrow, if its even there later on today.
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Old 04-03-2008, 05:36 PM   #80
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How are you getting to these cheap builds? I've tried many different paths and the cheapest quad I could fine was 599 or 699 to start.

I think I keep what I got and spend the extra 200 on something else.
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