Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Computer Question

After asking for computer advice in the past, we are finally going to buy a new computer in the next few days if not sooner. While everyone who uses a Mac tells me that I should get one, they seem to be much more expensive than a PC. After buying a home, we don't have a lot of extra money around. Therefore, we're considering buying a Dell since we have a discount from the "Dude, you're getting a Dell" guy.*

Since we only use a computer for the internet, including my blog and watching TV shows online, storing pictures and using Word/Excel on occasion, is this something that would make sense for us?

Inspiron 13 - Intel® Pentium® Dual Core T4300 (2.1GHz/800Mhz FSB/1MB cache)

Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic Edition SP1

Display and Camera
Glossy, widescreen 13.3" LCD (1280x800) w/ 2.0M pixel Camera

Combo or DVD+RW Drive
8X Slot Load CD / DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Drive)

3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 (2 Dimms)

Hard Drives
Size: 320GB2 SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)

Video Card
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100

Anti-Virus/Security Suite (Pre-installed)
McAfee SecurityCenter, 15-Months

Wireless Networking
Dell Wireless 1395 802.11g Mini-Card

Primary Battery
85Whr Lithium Ion Battery (9 cell)

System Color
Pacific Blue

Hardware Support Services
2 Year Basic Service Plan

I honestly have no idea what most of this means including the color. I know navy blue and blue blue, but what the heck is Pacific Blue?

Anyway, any advice and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

* What ever happened to that guy?


Captain Easychord said...

the first thing that jumps out at me here is that this machine comes with plenty of obsolete technology... I never used windows vista myself, but it's reputation is so bad that it's basically the crystal pepsi of the tech world... its replacement - windows 7 - came out back in october to some very good reviews... if I were buying a windows machine today, I'd insist on getting the current operating system...

also, I didn't realize that anyone was still selling computers with pentium processors... gizmodo sums up the current status of the pentiums thusly: "Pentium is dead, except it's not, living on as a zombie brand for chips that aren't as good as Core chips, but aren't as crappy as Intel's low-end Celeron processors. If you see a machine with a sticker for Pentium or Celeron, run."

I checked the dell website and priced out the system that you described... before any discounts you might be getting, I'm seeing this as a $589 system... and at that price, you should be able to find a better machine (like a souped-up version of this toshiba satellite)... heck, with the education discount, you can get a spiffy mac mini for less than that...

Captain Easychord said...

oh, and as a mac user, I'm also going to put in the token apple recommendation... the refurbished mac section of the apple store has some great deals on machines that come backed by apple's same certification and warranty that the new machines have... mac minis from $429... macbooks from $749... sweet!

Sean said...

Captain (and anyone else who wants to comment), would you feel better about the Inspiron 17?

Intel® Core™2 Duo T6600 (2.2GHz /800MHz FSB / 2MB)

Operating System
Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English

17.3" HD+ WLED

8X CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)

4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 800MHz

Hard Drive
500GB2 SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)

Video Card
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD

Anti-Virus/Security Suite (Pre-installed)
McAfee SecurityCenter, 15-Months

Intel WiFi Link 5100 802.11 Wireless-N Mini Card

Battery Options
Lithium Ion Battery (6 cell)

Hardware Support Services
1 Year Basic Service Plan

Integrated 1.3 MP Webcam

Captain Easychord said...

wow... going from a 13" to a 17" laptop? I take it that size isn't a consideration at all?

to be clear, the initial machine you picked out will meet all of your basic requirements as far as the technology goes... with enough memory and a good video card, a five-year old machine will meet your needs... the only real problem is that it's inferior to what you can get elsewhere at the same price point... the OS in particular is one place where I would want to be up-to-date... the second machine you picked out is will easily meet all of your needs...

but at that price point (again, depending on the discount you're getting), you're in the same ballpark as a macbook and you could probably get a lesser current machine (perhaps even an HTPC?) and save some cash...

my other thought was that dell laptops don't exactly have a great reputation... I'd certainly put asus and toshiba ahead of 'em in that regard...