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  1. UPDATE!: I finally purchased a computer... It has 2 year warrenty, 512 MBram, 160 GB HD, 17" LCD MOnitor, DVD rom, CD RW, Floppy, Speakers, Graphics Card (non integrated)... So now I have one, thanks for all the help... All I have to do is order a DVD Burner from Newegg and I am set!

    I am sure everyone is happy that its over, and now this post can finally die!



    Awhile ago, I posted on which computer should I buy. Whether it be custom built or store bought. Well, now I am leaning more towards buying one.

    Well, anyone know any ideas where to buy one? I am not exactly rich, so it does not need to have everything I want. But for sure I am looking for:

    DVD+/- RW (I know where to buy one, so does not need to be included, just needs a space for it)
    512 MB ram
    100+GB Hard Drive

    Anyone know where I can find a good quality PC for a good Price? I want this computer to be able to add things I want in the future. (I.E. extra drives and such)...

    LMK

    Chris

    ***NEW QUESTION: Dells can not be upgraded right? What about like DVD drives and cards readers etc.?
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  2. DVD Ninja budz's Avatar
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    get one custom built for you if you want to add components in the future. i don't recommend purchasing a dell pc if you're looking to upgrade components. dell doesn't use industry standard components on their pc's so you're forced to purchase your upgrades through them & it's expensive. if you try to upgrade on your own by buying components at your regular store or online pc store, you could end up frying your pc. this is because they don't use industry standard components on their motherboards and power supplies.
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  3. Originally Posted by budz
    get one custom built for you if you want to add components in the future. i don't recommend purchasing a dell pc if you're looking to upgrade components. dell doesn't use industry standard components on their pc's so you're forced to purchase your upgrades through them & it's expensive. if you try to upgrade on your own by buying components at your regular store or online pc store, you could end up frying your pc. this is because they don't use industry standard components on their motherboards and power supplies.
    When I said upgrade... I just meant new DVD drives etc. Nothing really major. Thanks for answering the Dell question... I was just looking at Dells!

    If I custom Build... Who can Build It?
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  4. Member sacajaweeda's Avatar
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    A lot of computer supply stores have deals on bare bones systems (case, PSU, mobo/CPU combos) and you can mix & match whatever RAM & peripherals you want. They charge anywhere from $20 & up to put it together for you. Most places want at least 20 bucks or so just to mount a board in a case for you and set the CPU chip, and the rest of the stuff really isn't that complicated....you can do it if you're at least half way handy with a screwdriver. If you go the custom route, you should let them set the board & chip in the case and get it to POST, that will eliminate a lot of headaches for you as far as getting a bad piece of hardware out of the box. If they set it up it and get it to POST you can easily take it from there.
    "There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon." -- Raoul Duke
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  5. Originally Posted by sacajaweeda
    A lot of computer supply stores have deals on bare bones systems (case, PSU, mobo/CPU combos) and you can mix & match whatever RAM & peripherals you want. They charge anywhere from $20 & up to put it together for you. Most places want at least 20 bucks or so just to mount a board in a case for you and set the CPU chip, and the rest of the stuff really isn't that complicated....you can do it if you're at least half way handy with a screwdriver. If you go the custom route, you should let them set the board & chip in the case and get it to POST, that will eliminate a lot of headaches for you as far as getting a bad piece of hardware out of the box. If they set it up it and get it to POST you can easily take it from there.
    Could you point me in the direction of a good supplier who will do this? Thanks for the help too!
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  6. VH Veteran jimmalenko's Avatar
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    Any non-chain computer shop in your town or city can custom make one for you.
    If in doubt, Google it.
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  7. Originally Posted by jimmalenko
    Any non-chain computer shop in your town or city can custom make one for you.
    Can you say Duh! I did not even think of that...

    Dells can not be upgraded right? What about like DVD drives and cards readers etc.?

    I saw a ton of Dell 4600's on Ebay for good prices... I looked at aol's computer buyers guide, and the 4600 is #1... ???
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  8. DVD Ninja budz's Avatar
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    i wouldn't buy a dell if someone paid me. here read this about dell:

    http://www.upgradingandrepairingpcs.com/articles/upgrade3_01_01.asp

    dells can be upgraded but as i said the upgrades have to be purchased from dell because of the motherboard and power supply. they don't use industry standard components on them. therefore to like get a dvd burner you may need a bigger power supply because the power supply may not be sufficient enough to power the dvd burner. so let's say you decided to just buy a power supply from your local computer store and got it installed in your dell pc. you run the risk of frying your computer because dell doesn't use industry standard components on their motherboards and power supplies. i wouldn't purchase a dell pc from ebay either. they're probably selling it because it's a junky pc to own.
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  9. VH Veteran jimmalenko's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Bearbegr
    Originally Posted by jimmalenko
    Any non-chain computer shop in your town or city can custom make one for you.
    Can you say Duh! I did not even think of that...

    Dells can not be upgraded right? What about like DVD drives and cards readers etc.?

    I saw a ton of Dell 4600's on Ebay for good prices... I looked at aol's computer buyers guide, and the 4600 is #1... ???
    If you want to buy a brand name, don't let me stop you.

    You'll be better off $-wise and have more flexibility if you don't though.
    If in doubt, Google it.
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  10. VH Veteran jimmalenko's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by budz
    i wouldn't buy a dell if someone paid me. here read this about dell:

    http://www.upgradingandrepairingpcs.com/articles/upgrade3_01_01.asp

    dells can be upgraded but as i said the upgrades have to be purchased from dell because of the motherboard and power supply. they don't use industry standard components on them. therefore to like get a dvd burner you may need a bigger power supply because the power supply may not be sufficient enough to power the dvd burner. so let's say you decided to just buy a power supply from your local computer store and got it installed in your dell pc. you run the risk of frying your computer because dell doesn't use industry standard components on their motherboards and power supplies. i wouldn't purchase a dell pc from ebay either. they're probably selling it because it's a junky pc to own.
    Not to mention warranty issues either.
    If in doubt, Google it.
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  11. Originally Posted by budz
    i wouldn't buy a dell if someone paid me. here read this about dell:

    http://www.upgradingandrepairingpcs.com/articles/upgrade3_01_01.asp

    dells can be upgraded but as i said the upgrades have to be purchased from dell because of the motherboard and power supply. they don't use industry standard components on them. therefore to like get a dvd burner you may need a bigger power supply because the power supply may not be sufficient enough to power the dvd burner. so let's say you decided to just buy a power supply from your local computer store and got it installed in your dell pc. you run the risk of frying your computer because dell doesn't use industry standard components on their motherboards and power supplies. i wouldn't purchase a dell pc from ebay either. they're probably selling it because it's a junky pc to own.
    Okay! I wont Buy a Dell! LOL... So now I am back to square one...

    So I should go to my local store aperently... Ill have to look into that... Anyone have a good computer from an online retailer?

    www.computergeeks.com has a special for 378.00... What do you think about that pc? Is right on the site if you go to it...
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  12. VH Veteran jimmalenko's Avatar
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    The whole point of going local and not doing it online is that if there are any concerns whatsoever with the PC, you march straight back into the shop. No postage and shipping or anything like that.
    If in doubt, Google it.
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  13. I am not a Dell fan. But for your info, few years ago, the company I worked for we leased about 500 Dell's G1, G110, etc. Frequently, we added different types of peripherals - CD writers, harddrives, video card and NICs... - which were not from Dell. They worked just fine.

    This is true experience and not something I read - unlike some of the posts here.

    Also for your info, many years ago, AST did the stupid thing and Dell learnt from it. AST made sure that you bought from it and they modified just about everything that went in to the PC. Similar to what IBM had done with the MCA technology.

    I am not a Dell fan. And I don't own a Dell. All my PCs are custom built.
    It's time to kick some butts, and presto ( if you know what I mean )
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  14. Member sacajaweeda's Avatar
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    The last time I bought off the shelf was a brand spanking new Packard Bell 120 mhz with 32 mb RAM and a quad-speed CD-ROM drive.

    And it was the envy of all my peers.
    "There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon." -- Raoul Duke
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  15. Have you checked your area for computer fairs. I've gotten some good deals at computer fairs.
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  16. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    I know quite a few people that work at Dell. The systems are just fine, and depending on the package you buy, can easily be upgraded (and with off-the-shelf parts, nothing proprietary). I have no idea what these people are talking about. (In fact, if you want a salesman to call you ... somebody familiar with video, a good friend, a guy that will not screw you over, PM me with your phone number.)

    However, if you want to pick out EVERY SINGLE PIECE of the computer, and get for cheapest possible, buy it piece by piece and assemble it yourself. Just be careful, as you cannot just by "whatever" and make it work.

    In all honesty, for primary systems, I still prefer a pre-built by Compaq/HP, Dell or somebody. For all the secondary ones, I make them myself from sales items.

    I've upgraded my Compaq more times than I can count. It's a workhorse. In fact, not much inside is still original parts.
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  17. VH Veteran jimmalenko's Avatar
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    Each to their own I guess.

    My experience has been that you can get the exact same performance for a lot less dollars with a lot more flexibility by buying a "generic" PC from a local supplier.

    I have seen a few Brand Name suppliers crack the shits and claim that the warranty is void if we even just remove the tower case cover. I didn't think removing 4 screws could stuff a PC...

    Just my experience though.
    If in doubt, Google it.
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  18. *** Edited to make the point more clear ***

    I am not a Dell fan. But for your info, few years ago, the company I worked for we leased about 500 Dell's G1, G110, etc. Frequently, we added different types of peripherals - CD writers, harddrives, video card and NICs... - which were not from Dell. They worked just fine.

    This is true experience and not something I read - unlike some of the posts here.

    Also for your info, many years ago, AST did the stupid thing and Dell learnt a lesson from it. AST made sure that you bought from it and they modified just about everything that went in to the PC. Similar to what IBM had done with the MCA technology. Dell did not make them propietary, that is, you could buy things off the shelf and install them. You should not run into problems.

    I am not a Dell fan. And I don't own a Dell. All my PCs are custom built.[/quote]
    It's time to kick some butts, and presto ( if you know what I mean )
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  19. Dells and most other OEM manufactures do use nonstandard parts for their computers. Usually its the motherboard, case and powersupply is nonstandard. Does that mean you can't upgrade? No, it just limits your options. Make sure the motherboard has extra slots for upgrading parts. If you plan to change the case, motherboard, or add a powersupply prepare to shell out double what you pay for a standard component. If you just want to upgrade a dvd drive, that shouldn't be an issue though. These "turnkey" systems have an advantage though, you don't have to spend time configuring(usually) them if you don't mind all the crap software that is preloaded in.


    If you don't mind spending some time, its much better to configure a system by yourself. You can pick the parts that you use, unlike getting some mystery parts from an OEM manufacturer. It can be less expensive that a comparable prebuilt system. Don't customize, unless you paid the local shop to do it, if you don't know anything and don't plan to. If something goes wrong, you have to have knowledge how to fix it(although tech support lines aren't much better, they at least can guide you if you know nothing).

    BTW, if you want to be prepared for the near future I suggest getting an AMD 64 bit processor. Windows 64 should be comming out soon.
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  20. OOps, dosun said the AMD word, That'll ledt out Dell for sure.

    Of All the AMD processors the only one I'd try is the new 64 bit ones and even then only the ones for the latest socket.
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    Hi there,

    My two cents (or euros depending on which side of the pond you're reading from)

    I currently own a Dell 4550 that I bought from E-bay about a year and a half ago. I have yet to have any problem with it. Normally, I would build my own computer, but when I added the cost of the operating system back into my price, it was cheaper to buy this Dell. This is my first Dell, but it will probably not be my last.

    As for upgrading, I have upgraded this machine from the base 256MB to 768MB ram using generic Ram that I bought from Best Buy (just had to match Ram speeds). I replaced the stock ATI card (32MB non accelerated yuk) with a Geforce 3. I've also added a second 160GB IDE as well as yanked out theCD-rom and replaced it with a DVD player. I added my generic CD-RW and replaced that late last year with my DVD writer. Recently, I just changed the Geforce 3 to an MSI made ATI 9800 PRO(according to the ATI software it reads as a 9800 XT). Almost forget the sound card, added my old SB live card and disabled the onboard.

    All of this was done with generic/off the shelf parts. I never had to buy any parts from Dell. I never had to find any odd memory chips (Anybody else remember buying mem upgrades for the old Tandy machines I do). No I haven't as yet changed out the power supply, but I have been contemplating it. I looked at the PSU last weekend as a matter of fact and to me (Mind you I've been working with PC's, professionally, now for almost 16 years) it looks as standard as they come. It has the standard looking ATX connector with the standard looking P4 supplemental connector. I haven't quite compared the color codes to the ATX specifications yet, but one of these days I might (Kind of curious myself now). Is it the same as an ATX PSU? I honestly can't tell you, but it does looking suprisingly like one.

    I looked at the above link and I don't have a six pronged white/blue and black connector like is mentioned in that review. The company that I work for (Think three Big Blue letters) had an old server class machine that they used to make (Right around the 1998 year that is mentioned in the above article) that also had a secondary blue/white and black connector. I honestly don't know what the other connectors were used for (the only time I saw these were when we were scrapping the older servers).

    Now one thing that does look impossible to upgrade is the Dell case. That is definitely proprietary. Instead of having standard connectors from the front panel to the MB, Dell is using a ribbon cable that connects to the MB. This ribbon cable houses the power button leads, the front panel USB, Sound and LED connectors etc. Also, I do believe that teh Dell MB use slightly different standoff locations so a standard ATX MB would probably not fit into the case either.

    My biggest desire with a computer is that it should function. And while I do upgrade my machines, I shouldn't have to endure undue lockups and HW incompatabilites. I've owned many machines in the past, but this is my first (modern)Intel based one (I've always been an AMD fan in the past). This computer has so far been rock steady. I haven't had driver conflicts like I had with my old VIA boards. I haven't had any SB card problems. I haven't yet seen any problems like I see some people on this board having with incomaptability while trying to do video caps because of the issues with a sound card not like the chipset that is on the machine.

    As I said, this is my first Dell, but probably won't be my last.

    kosekjm

    After writing all this, I remebered another page that I have marked. In it, they host the unofficial Dell 400SC forum (The Dell 400SC is a server version of the 8300) Anyway, in this link:
    http://www.aaltonen.us/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8
    they talk about the power supply for the 400sc (Again, it should apply to the 8300 and others as well) as being an ATX PSU.
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  22. What ever you decide to buy think about what you will be upgrading in the future and ask if it will be possible to do the upgrades. You can find good and bad computers no matter who made it. Another question to ask is how good is the support if you do have problems. I'm a strong believer in buying as much computer as you can afford upfront then you won't have to worry to much about upgrading later.
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  23. Member sacajaweeda's Avatar
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    My biggest complaint about all the off-the-shelf PCs is the incredible amount of completely useless software that most users will probably never use. If I were to ever buy another one I would wipe out the partition table and format the hard drive and start with a virgin install of the OS of my choosing and only add the stuff I need. The rest of the crap they install on store bought machines just wastes resources and bogs the thing down. You can keep all that crap, none for me thankyou.
    "There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon." -- Raoul Duke
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  24. Originally Posted by kosekjm
    Hi there,

    My two cents (or euros depending on which side of the pond you're reading from)

    I currently own a Dell 4550 that I bought from E-bay about a year and a half ago. I have yet to have any problem with it. Normally, I would build my own computer, but when I added the cost of the operating system back into my price, it was cheaper to buy this Dell. This is my first Dell, but it will probably not be my last.

    As for upgrading, I have upgraded this machine from the base 256MB to 768MB ram using generic Ram that I bought from Best Buy (just had to match Ram speeds). I replaced the stock ATI card (32MB non accelerated yuk) with a Geforce 3. I've also added a second 160GB IDE as well as yanked out theCD-rom and replaced it with a DVD player. I added my generic CD-RW and replaced that late last year with my DVD writer. Recently, I just changed the Geforce 3 to an MSI made ATI 9800 PRO(according to the ATI software it reads as a 9800 XT). Almost forget the sound card, added my old SB live card and disabled the onboard.

    All of this was done with generic/off the shelf parts. I never had to buy any parts from Dell. I never had to find any odd memory chips (Anybody else remember buying mem upgrades for the old Tandy machines I do). No I haven't as yet changed out the power supply, but I have been contemplating it. I looked at the PSU last weekend as a matter of fact and to me (Mind you I've been working with PC's, professionally, now for almost 16 years) it looks as standard as they come. It has the standard looking ATX connector with the standard looking P4 supplemental connector. I haven't quite compared the color codes to the ATX specifications yet, but one of these days I might (Kind of curious myself now). Is it the same as an ATX PSU? I honestly can't tell you, but it does looking suprisingly like one.

    I looked at the above link and I don't have a six pronged white/blue and black connector like is mentioned in that review. The company that I work for (Think three Big Blue letters) had an old server class machine that they used to make (Right around the 1998 year that is mentioned in the above article) that also had a secondary blue/white and black connector. I honestly don't know what the other connectors were used for (the only time I saw these were when we were scrapping the older servers).

    Now one thing that does look impossible to upgrade is the Dell case. That is definitely proprietary. Instead of having standard connectors from the front panel to the MB, Dell is using a ribbon cable that connects to the MB. This ribbon cable houses the power button leads, the front panel USB, Sound and LED connectors etc. Also, I do believe that teh Dell MB use slightly different standoff locations so a standard ATX MB would probably not fit into the case either.

    My biggest desire with a computer is that it should function. And while I do upgrade my machines, I shouldn't have to endure undue lockups and HW incompatabilites. I've owned many machines in the past, but this is my first (modern)Intel based one (I've always been an AMD fan in the past). This computer has so far been rock steady. I haven't had driver conflicts like I had with my old VIA boards. I haven't had any SB card problems. I haven't yet seen any problems like I see some people on this board having with incomaptability while trying to do video caps because of the issues with a sound card not like the chipset that is on the machine.

    As I said, this is my first Dell, but probably won't be my last.

    kosekjm

    After writing all this, I remebered another page that I have marked. In it, they host the unofficial Dell 400SC forum (The Dell 400SC is a server version of the 8300) Anyway, in this link:
    http://www.aaltonen.us/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8
    they talk about the power supply for the 400sc (Again, it should apply to the 8300 and others as well) as being an ATX PSU.
    Hey, thanks for the information... I really was becoming interested in the Dell 4600... They have a ton on ebay for really good prices. Do you know anything about that?

    On a side note, I noticed you are in Raligh NC... I'm in Jacksonville area.

    Anyways, any other information you have would be great... Thanks

    Chris
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    Hello to the Jacksonville area (and the rest of the world as well)

    As I said in my previous post, I bought my machine from an E-bay dealer. My machine was brand new in the box and I was even able to transfer the warranty to me. Since then, I have bought three other machines from e-bay for family members and have yet to have a problem transferring the warranty to them (I've even bought a Dell PDA from e-bay and transferred that warranty as well). As with everything on E-bay, research your seller. All of the machines that I have bought have all come from seller who had good feedback and I haven't been disappointed with the machines yet. All four, five counting the PDA, were brand new and still sealed in the Dell packaging cartons and had the remainder of the factory warranty (usually about 11 months or more).

    As to sacajaweeda's post, I agree that most bought machines have more junk than any user will ever use. One of the other things that I like about my Dell is the fact that the reinstall software is not just a reimage of the HD. With my cd's (Yes actual CD's and not a restore partition) that came with my computer the first disk is Windows XP and only Windows XP. None of the Dell bundled junk is part of the reinstall disk. The programs are available on other disks if you so desire to reinstall them. The only thing on the Windows cd was that Service pack 1a was already integrated in to the disk. My brother has an E-machine and when he re-installs his drive, he is stuck reinstalling all of the preloaded software that e-machine's put on his machine.

    The 4600 is the same class of machine as mine, it is just this year's model. Dell seems to have four lines of desktop machines:

    2400 Entry systems no AGP slots
    4600 (or the 4550 from last year) Mid level machine with AGP slot
    8300 (and now 8400) Higher end machine. The 8400 has the new PCI express for it's graphics card, so you can't move an AGP card into the 8400
    XPS Ultra high machine, but from what I've seen for the price difference, I'd stick with 8300

    I think that the 4700 is either out or is due out soon, that should be the newest version of the 4600. As to what changes with that, I'm not really sure. Also, the 400SC appears to be the server version of the 8300. It uses the same MB with a slightly different style case. Those can usually be found relatively cheap, but usually they don't have an OS included.

    As I said, I'm very happy with my machine and will probably be picking another one up off of E-bay within the next two-three months.

    If you want any further in depths details, PM and with alist of questions and I'll try and answer what I can.

    kosekjm

    BTW, on a slighlty unrelated note, I think I may have figured out that 6 pin blue/white-black connector referenced in that other page. The original Intel Xeon chips had a requirement for a six pin power header into the MB. A search through google led to a pin out that referenced a 6 pin blue/white-black header. Probably nobody else cares, but thought I'd share
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  26. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dosun
    Dells and most other OEM manufactures do use nonstandard parts for their computers. Usually its the motherboard, case and powersupply is nonstandard. Does that mean you can't upgrade? No, it just limits your options. Make sure the motherboard has extra slots for upgrading parts. If you plan to change the case, motherboard, or add a powersupply prepare to shell out double what you pay for a standard component.
    This is a bunch of baloney.

    DELL systems (as well as Compaq, HP, Sony, etc etc) all have the same ATX standard cases/PSUs. Motherboards, again, many are using standard VIA and INTEL boards. Same stuff. It's no more non-standard than picking out your own parts at Fry's or CompUSA..

    It just costs more because they put it together, because it comes with a help desk (hint: go for the BUSINESS warranties, and you'll be calling Round Rock, Texas, Washington state, and a few others ... instead of Abu Dhabi, India, etc), and because it comes preloaded with software (and a lot of it is actually quite useful, like MS Office, PowerDVD, Windows, etc).

    The days of proprietary crap (Packard Bell, NEC, etc) have long, long been over. You're stuck in the 286/386/486/PI days. It's just not true anymore. Even those crappy eMachines are made from standard parts (I just upgraded a system for a friend not more than a month ago).
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  27. VH Veteran jimmalenko's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kosekjm
    My machine was brand new in the box and I was even able to transfer the warranty to me. Since then, I have bought three other machines from e-bay for family members and have yet to have a problem transferring the warranty to them (I've even bought a Dell PDA from e-bay and transferred that warranty as well). As with everything on E-bay, research your seller. All of the machines that I have bought have all come from seller who had good feedback and I haven't been disappointed with the machines yet. All four, five counting the PDA, were brand new and still sealed in the Dell packaging cartons and had the remainder of the factory warranty (usually about 11 months or more).
    The second you remove the tower case cover you void your warranty.
    If in doubt, Google it.
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  28. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jimmalenko
    The second you remove the tower case cover you void your warranty.
    That's really not true anymore either.

    Most companies have come into the real world of knowing what a customer will be doing. Adding RAM and hard drives and optical drives (whether you do it yourself or have the doofus Best Buy employee do it for you for $50 rape fees) is unavoidable. They know this.
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  29. VH Veteran jimmalenko's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by jimmalenko
    The second you remove the tower case cover you void your warranty.
    That's really not true anymore either.

    Most companies have come into the real world of knowing what a customer will be doing. Adding RAM and hard drives and optical drives (whether you do it yourself or have the doofus Best Buy employee do it for you for $50 rape fees) is unavoidable. They know this.
    It is clearly stated in the warratny terms and conditions - to the effect of "no repairs or modifications by non-approved technicians..." or words to that effect. As a home user, you are not an approved dell technician.
    If in doubt, Google it.
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  30. Member thecoalman's Avatar
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    If your looking for something that's not going to break the bank go with the bargain basement $500 DELL or Gateway. Those prices are hard to beat even if you put it together yourself.

    If your looking for something with some juice try this site www.abspc.com The reason I suggest them is a few. Number one is the price, compare one of their systems to a comparable DELL and you'll see a signifigant difference. They also use all non-propietary components that comes with all the original manuals and documentation including the one for the motherboard. Their tech support isn't great but they'll get it fixed for you if anything goes wrong.

    -or-

    Build it yourself, it's really not that hard. The only downside to building your own machine is that you won't get a blanket warranty like you would from DELL or other assemblers.
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