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Trying to Justify a New Computer Purchase

August 17th, 2010 at 05:12 am

I've had Windows XP since around 2003, I guess. It sucks. Nearly every day, I battle with my computer. It crashes, it locks up, I get strange error messages telling me a script is still running. Most of the time, after failing to shut down non-responsive programs, I have to just shut the computer off and re-boot.

And it is SUPER slow.Slow. Slow.

I guess it was the thought that I might possibly get the freelance writing job with this place I'm going to interview at tomorrow that got me thinking about replacing this wretched beast called a computer.

I'm looking at the Dell Inspiron 570 MT. It comes with 3 GB of memory, 2010 Word, Excel and Powerpoint and free shipping. It doesn't include the speakers or monitor, which I already have and will keep from my current computer. The only accessory I splurged on was a wireless keypad and mouse, which would be great on my cluttered desk. The security software I think I would buy separately as Dell only offers McAfee. The cost for all this is $624.

I'm not a gamer and I don't save videos; mainly, I use word for text documents and like to fool around with photos. So this is supposed to be more than ample for my needs.

It's gotten solid reviews, even the Editor's Choice, from PC Magazine.

It's still a lot of money, and I'm not working steadily. Also, I dread the thought of set-up and transferring all my documents/photos from my old computer to the new one.

If you have any feedback on my choice of computer or have experience with it, please let me know!

12 Responses to “Trying to Justify a New Computer Purchase”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    The choice of OS will actually make kind of a difference. Please try to make sure that it's running some version of Windows 7. If it's Vista, please try to get the RAM up to 4 gigabytes minimum.

    Believe it or not, but XP is actually pretty lean and efficient. It's the loose ends from it and glut from other programs that causes the slow downs. If you still have the original installation disk, I would try a clean re-install after copying over all of your essential data to a back-up drive.

    If that's not an option, try Ccleaner, and then Smart Defrag afterwards. Both are free downloads.

    I know this is a bit laborious, but if it works, it's a great way to save money.

    If you lived closer, I'd come over and help, but you're too far. Big Grin Either way, good luck.

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    I agree with BA. After thinking my Dell was dead, and replacing it, dh reinstalled XP and cleaned it up - now he uses it all the time. (Kind of annyoing - wish he just fixed it for me in the first place). But, it depends. I have a really old desktop that is just ancient and nothing we can do with it.

    By the same token, the netbook I got is incredible. For $400 you can find something that will kick a 5yo computer's butt. Just FYI. I don't have any opinion on your computer choice. Maybe you prefer a desktop. I was just in awe last time we went computer shopping - how small and portable the netbooks were, and how powerful compared to my few years old laptop.

    P.S. Don't buy security software! McAfee has free software (& there are others). Any techie would tell you not to waste your money. Security is VERY important. But, paying for it, isn't. BA may have advice on that, too. I am not a techie - just surrounded by them. Big Grin

  3. Broken Arrow Says:

    Oh yeah, netbooks are very nice, although some may prefer a larger screen as it is more comfortable for their eyes. The keyboard are all different as well. The best way to do this is to go to Best Buy and try a whole bunch of laptops and netbooks. See what feels the best to you.

    Interesting factoid, I actually have a certification in Information Security. Big Grin I'm not using it for anything right now though. Tough economy, and besides a measly certification, I don't years of experience like others do.

    Actually, I don't consider myself to be a true techie anymore, because I don't keep up with it, nor do I dabble in the development side anymore. All that costs money, and it's just not something I can justify right now without adequate interest....

    Still, if there are any other PC questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    Thanks for your tips. I probably should have tried reinstalling XP, but I think by then Id' already ordered the new computer!

    I do prefer a desktop and a full-size monitor.

    I have done a lot of defragging, clearing caches and that sort of thing and none of that helped.

    It's a good thing I talked to a sales guy at Dell before placing my order online. I told him I'd been out of work a long time and needed a good deal. There was an offline promotion going on at Dell so for $10 less than the price I was quoted online when I "built" the Dell Inspiron I wanted, i got an upgrade from 3 GB to 4GB and I got 3 yrs of anti-virus protection instead of 1 year. (Sorry, too late!). I also got that wireless mouse and keyboard and free shipping.

    With sales tax and a black ink cartridge I needed, the grand total came to a shocking $725.75. (And it includes Windows 7 OS plus 2010 Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Deep breath. Does that price sound reasonable to you based on what I'm getting?

    It should be a huge improvement, processing and speedwise, over my current XP, which only has 128 MB. Sales guy said 1,000 MB = 1 GB, so given the difference between my current 128 MB and the new 4 GB Inspiron, it should be 4 times faster.

  5. whitestripe Says:

    even though you've already bought it - just want to confirm that I've never had any problems with my Dell Inspiron 1520. Smile enjoy your new machine!

  6. Homebody Says:

    I still hate my new Dell with Windows 7.... sigh.....Where did my pictures download???

  7. Broken Arrow Says:

    Homebody, if you remember the names of the pictures (or you want to try one with a test image file), you can then search it in the search box. Make sure you are searching your hard drive when you do this. Maybe that will help you track it down. Either way though, I typically have it set to download to my desktop, so I can edit it from there, and then place it where I want it manually. But that's just me.

  8. Homebody Says:

    BA I normally do something similar, but I hit the wrong option and off it went. They were just numbered! Oh well, nothing important.

  9. Analise Says:

    Seven years of use from your old computer is not bad at all. Hopefully the new one will last as long. I mostly use Macs so my knowledge of PCs is limited, but it sounds like you selected a good computer.

    Last year I bought an Acer netbook for travel and have been very happy with it.

  10. Jesse Says:

    You are getting ripped off!! In July I purchased the same computer, but with 6GB DDR3 RAM, a 1TB hard drive, AMD Athlan quad-core processor, built in wireless router, for $579 (before tax).

    However, BEWARE!! If you are ordering directly from Dell make sure and check your computer's system configuration as soon as you get it. You can do this on the Dell support website or you can turn the computer on and look at system properties under My Computer.

    The reason I say this is because the computer I recieved did not come with ANY of the upgrades I paid for!! Literally, NONE!! I called them, and they assured me it was the right computer, I told them they were wrong and they remote accessed it and verified that it was infact wrong. So they issued an exchange. When I got the new computer, it was the SAME problem!! They sent me the most basic of everything! The processor, hard drive, RAM, no wireless, nothing!! I called them back and they said they most definitely did send the correct computer. I told them they were wrong, so again the remote accessed it and verified that yes it was wrong. So they said, "let us send you a 3rd computer, and i assure you it will be correct." I said absolutely not, give me a refund and take these computers back.

    They emailed me UPS return labels and gave me reference #s for the return, and I shipped them back that same day. That was on Aug 2nd. On Aug 4th they recieved the computers, on Aug 8th they issued the refund, and here it is Aug 19th and I have yet to see the money. I called them today and they said "we have already issued you credit. It should be in your account." I told them it wasn't, they said, "sorry, contact your bank, we have done everything correctly, it should be in your account." I filed a dispute with my bank and we'll see how long it takes to get my money.

    Do your homework, don't go by just some PCMag review. Look at the hundreds of web pages dedicated to how bad DELL treats their customers once you give them your money. Look at how many problems there are with their computers failing in a few months. I would rather gouge my eyes out than have to continue to deal with this very sketchy company. They DO NOT care about individual customers. They make all their money by supplying computers to schools and businesses. They will do nothing to help you when you need them. And you will be speaking to people overseas in India that are just reading scripts and cannot do anything competently. It will take talking to at least 3-6 different people to resolve ONE issue.

    If you still decide to buy a Dell, I wish you the best of luck. Maybe you'll be one of the few who have no problems.

  11. jesse Says:

    One other thing that you should be concerned about. On the Dell website, the Inspiron 570 does get solid reviews from customers, but there are only 5 or so reviews total. I tried to write a review of it, and surprise surprise, that model is not listed in the review section at all. So no one can write a review about it!! Very sketchy! Also last month Dell had to pay 100 million dollar settlement for having fraudulent financail statements. The SEC has been investigating them for the past 5 years.

  12. Jerry Says:

    I hope that the new machine leads to satisfaction for you! I have a Mac, so I'm not up on all of the latest PCs, but I can see that they are certainly cheaper. I opted for the AppleCare insurance on mine to get me through school, so it was even a bit more spendy, but it covers my machine. Good luck with the Dell!
    Jerry

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