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Cheap, decent desktop
Old 03-02-2008, 08:08 PM   #1
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Cheap, decent desktop

The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

Pentium dual core, santa rosa chipset and x3100 graphics, a gig of ram and a 250gb hard drive, $299. Small form factor, no monitor.

Includes one year onsite warranty, add a second year to that for $90. Another $69 gets you two years of completecare on top of the onsite warranty, which means if you drop it down the stairs, spill coffee into it or it gets zapped by a power surge, you get a replacement unit.

Not a super duper machine and a little louder than the bigger desktops, but its a reasonably green machine (I'll guess about 60-65 watts), and fairly capable. If you're looking for a new utility desktop to replace a 3-4 year old machine this will probably be a big step up and its better made than a no-name white box or 3rd tier machine.
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:38 PM   #2
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http://www.fatwallet.com/redirect/bo...209&lid=645164

Another cheap, decent desktop for $499. Similar to the one above with a faster processor, twice the memory, and it includes a 20" flat screen monitor (analog). For $40 more you can get a 22" analog screen.
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:34 PM   #3
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Nice little machine for that price!
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:21 PM   #4
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Check out Lenovo desktops and let me know how they compare.
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:34 PM   #5
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Probably cheaper made to somewhat comparable. The lenovo thinkpads are decent but I think their regular laptops and desktops are pretty much run of the mill.

Havent owned a lenovo machine, so I cant give any distinct impression on the current build quality or support.

This is cheap, small, not particularly expandable, not terribly noisy, and has a decent large display. Perfect for el cheapo old people who cant make out the bacon pictures on their small screens...

You can also warranty the heck out of it. IIRC it comes with a one year on-site warranty and you can run that up to 3 years for not a lot of money, and opt for direct access to their second/third level support for a little more than that, if you think you'd like a bit more support and dont feel like dealing with the script guys in some 3rd world country...
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:45 PM   #6
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Okay, you made me look. The lenovo stuff in this price range generally has a celeron or sempron single core processor. Good enough for the basics but I strongly recommend dual processor cores for smoother performance. They have 1GB or less memory, smaller hard drives, slower graphics and no monitor.

A couple I looked at that were in the same price range had a slower single core celeron, 1gb ram, an 80gb hard drive, the old GMA950 graphics and no screen. Another had a slower pentium dual core, a 320gb drive, but stil the slower graphics, less memory and no monitor.

That monitor with this Dell system is around $200-220 at a discount. The $40 extra 22 inchers run around $250-260.

You're basically buying the CPU, the operating system and the screen and getting the rest of the parts, the integration, and the warranty for free.

If you dont need the screen, ebay it for $180-190. Or use it for a tv...

This isnt a good machine for first person shooters or graphics intensive games, but it'll chew up video conversions, let you do a backup or burn a dvd while web surfing and reading email without noticing anything is going on, and still be a darn good machine 3-4 years from now for general purpose stuff. Will also run Vista quite well.
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:32 AM   #7
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Intel« Pentium« Dual-Core E2160 Processor
1.80GHz, 1MBL2, 800MHzFSB
Windows Vista Business
Tower (4x4)
1GB PC2-4200DDR2 SDRAM base memory
160GB, 7200rpm Serial ATA Hard Drive
10/100 Ethernet
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
48X/32X/48X/16X Max CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo SATA HH drive
1 Year Limited Onsite Warranty


I got the system above for $519 total
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:41 AM   #8
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Boy, they sure have gotten cheap since I bought mine for megabucks.
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Old 03-07-2008, 12:09 PM   #9
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Dex - yep, thats like one of the systems I looked at.

The pentium dual core you have is a little slower (1.8ghz) than this and has less cache than the 2.2ghz core 2 duo in the dell. Half the system memory. 160gb vs 250gb hard drive. CD-burner instead of a dvd burner. 950 graphics vs x3100 graphics. Yours does have a bigger and more expandable case.

Did you get a screen with that?

That having been said, your system oughta do 99% of what 90% of people do on a daily basis.
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Old 03-14-2008, 05:10 PM   #10
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The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

I liked it well enough at $499, how about $349 for basically the same config above?

2.2ghz core 2 duo, 2gb ram, 250gb disk, dvd burner, small case, weak expansion prospects, and a 20" flat panel, one year onsite warranty. Double that to two years for $59.

Stupidly cheap. I have a sneaking suspicion this is a pricing error, so I wouldnt dawdle before ordering.
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:33 PM   #11
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...and that deal is dead. Price back up to $499.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:22 PM   #12
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The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

Not bad at 349 but not a super screaming deal. I wouldnt add anything to it at the upgrade prices quoted but decent. Dual core, 1GB ram, 160GB disk, no burner though just a cd/dvd reader. 19" lcd thats worth $140-160 all by itself.
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Old 03-28-2008, 08:06 AM   #13
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My desktop is a $300 (including monitor & printer) e-machine - 2 years & nary a problem yet - It's turning out to be the best computer buy I ever made

granted we don't use it for much other than internet, word processing, spreadsheets, photos, & some not too graphics intensive games

3300+ AMD Sempron
80gb Hard Drive
DVD/CD-RW combo drive
512 mb DDR SDRAM
6 usb ports
Windows XP

Our laptop is more powerful, has more bells & whistles & costs over twice as much - but really doesn't perform any better for what we use them for.
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Old 03-28-2008, 01:00 PM   #14
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I guess I'm missing the point of the post. Are you offering to sell your emachines system to someone looking for an inexpensive desktop?
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Old 03-28-2008, 07:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
I guess I'm missing the point of the post. Are you offering to sell your emachines system to someone looking for an inexpensive desktop?
Nope - just giving a report on my experience with that particular brand - this thread does seem to be about cheap decent desktops.
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Old 03-28-2008, 10:06 PM   #16
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Ah okay, I wasnt quite sure what the message was but if you find a currently available deal on emachines systems, post it. I've heard that a lot of people around here are often looking for a replacement machine but dont visit the bargains web sites as often as I do, so I try to pass along any good looking setups that I see.

I try to steer people towards at least a basic dual processor system, as much for futureproofing as for functionality today. Its pretty nice to kick off a virus scan, a dvd burn or a large file copy and then continue unimpeded with the basic user functions you mentioned. A lot of folks around here looking for a cheap desktop want to get 3-6 years out of it.

On the emachines choice, I've found that they tend to use lower quality power supplies and inexpensive motherboards. While this might not lead to any problems for a reasonable lifespan, power supplies tend to lose about 10-15% of their output capacity per year and one thats iffy and a little weak to start with might start producing glitches, freezing and hangs after 3-4 years. Same with cheap motherboards...they're the potential source of a lot of problems without giving you a huge economic advantage at the time of purchase.

Power wise, it may also be wise to look at a pentium dual core or core 2 duo based system vs something like the Sempron. A sempron based system like the one you bought will probably pull about 95-130 watts for the system unit alone and 20-40 in standby. A system with a quality power supply, motherboard and one of the better processor architectures might pull 60-70 in regular use and <5 watts in standby.

Over 4-5 years of regular use you might recoup the cost of the entire system in electrical savings alone. For someone who leaves it on all the time, maybe less.

I also like to look at warranty options. A lot of systems provide only a 90 day mail-in warranty or at best a 1 year mail-in limited warranty. A one year in-home warranty is a big plus, especially if you're not paying extra for it. An option to buy a 2nd or 3rd year for under $70-80 can be worth a lot to people who dont want to have to deal with computer problems for a while and also tells me the manufacturer feels pretty good about their build quality.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:59 AM   #17
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I operate under the assumption that "extended warranty" is a good idea for laptops but not necessarily for cheap desktops (esp. when your usage is not work-related & some down time not critical)
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:21 AM   #18
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Depends on your hassle factor and technical knowledge. Some may not feel as comfortable as you when faced with a failed system and having to decide between throwing the machine away or finding a tech support company that wants to charge them $150 to diagnose the problem, and then tell them it'll be another $150 to fix the computer they bought for $300 two years earlier.

As far as mission criticality, I could get by fine for days at a time without a computer when I was working. Considering that today I use it to pay my bills, research stuff, communicate with hundreds of people and even schedule tv programs on my DVR's, I'm not sure I'd like to be without it for a week while waiting for a newly ordered one to arrive. Of course, I can fix my own 99% of the time for next to nothing, so I dont need an extended warranty either.

Maybe next time I buy one, if the 2nd year onsite warranty is $59 like one of the systems above, I'll let Dell send someone out to replace a bad dvd drive or hard drive for me.
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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 03-29-2008, 10:18 AM   #19
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On the other hand, an iMac is only $1199. Better display, better hard drive, significantly better graphics, better OS, better service, better reliability. Builtin video chat, backup, video/photo/web editing. Nice retail stores where you can get help... Got one for my folks and they are extremely happy and I rarely get support calls anymore! Definitely worth it for what you save in time and reduced overall techno-stress.
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:48 AM   #20
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Recently I killed my laptop by spilling coffee on it. So I went with a Asus eee $360 and a Lenovo desktop and 19" widescreen monitor $750 + 120 microsoft home office - 80 to transfer my files from the laptop to the desktom total $1,310 (the laptop cost me 1,100)

So after the experience here is what I could have done differently
- keep liquids away from the laptop
- put a keyboard protector on the laptop
- Use the laptop as a desktop - external monitor and keyboard
Any of these things would have saved me 1,300

Gotten a new laptop and used it as a desktop laptop 800, office 120, monitor/keybboard 200 total 1,120

So I'm thinking I could have saved 200 in my current set up or other options.

Learn from my experince on trashing the laptop.
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