All of us who fiddle around with these boxes have a cross to bear: the friends and relatives who bother you about building them computer systems.
If you’ve reached the end of your rope with such folks, and just don’t need yet another computer-dependent in your life, you just might want to look at this. The link goes to the configuration page for the minimally configured Dell Dimension 4500 page.
This strikes me as being an ideal Joe Sixpack system.
(And how was I so inspired to write about this? I’ve reached the end of my rope and don’t need yet another computer-dependent in my life (just don’t have the time), especially one thirty miles away. :))
What You Get
(Most of the discounts and freebies will expire 7/31, so move quickly if this interests you. Actually, this deal was even better a few days ago (with a 10$ additional discount), but even now, it’s hardly bad.)
The core system is a 1.8A PIV processor and an Intel 845E board. It’s probably an Intel board (Update: it’s an Intel board made for Dell) and thus not easily overclockable, but this isn’t for you, it’s for Joe. A year and a half from now, tell Joe to pay $130 for a 3GHz+ CPU upgrade.
The system comes with 128Mb of RAM. Dell offers you either double memory or a $100 MIR. Take the $100 and buy a 256Mb stick of good PC2100 for less than that. That will give Joe 384Mb, which should be more than enough for his current and future needs.
The system comes with 20Gb; it is a 7200rpm drive, probably a Maxtor. Update: They’re currently Seagate, someone who got a 40Gb drive received a Barracuda IV, but no guarantee on that). You can get 40Mb for only $20 more, but a year from now, 300Gb will probably cost you $100, so don’t stock up on that now.
The video card isn’t much, but if there’s a game-playing boy in Joe’s family, you can upgrade to a Ti4200 for an extra $100.
Since the whole purpose of the exercise is to get Joe off your back, you’ll want to sign up for three years warranty and on-site service. Dell also offers in most states a Complete Care package, which covers against some forms of accidental damage. I’ve seen mixed reviews about this, so look into this more if you’re interested.
Monitor not included; didn’t get too excited about the CRT options available.
The system comes with Windows XP Home Edition and MS Works Suite 2002, which should be sufficent for the average Joe.
When you check out, you might want to add the extra $50 off coupon code you can find here.
Free shipping, too. Probably will have to pay sales tax, though.
Taking the $100 rebate into account, their price when compared to DIY is close; if anything, the Dell system is a bit cheaper (even with a 3-year warranty). Of course, the system I’d put together would let you overclock, but remember, this isn’t for you, it’s for Joe. And what’s the price of getting Joe (largely) off your back?
There’s been a lot of discussion about this over at the Anandtech Hot Deals Forum (search under “Dimension 4500” for threads). This will give you more information, includes some additional possible discounts, and links to technical information.
Over the past few months, there’s been more than a few bargains offered by Dell. Sometimes they’re not quite as good as they initially look (for instance, products, especially hard drives, often don’t come with the full manufacturers warranty), so you need to check carefully.
Nonetheless, they’ve come up with enough true bargains for you to at least check the forum linked above to see what they have before you buy something.
Obviously, they’re also aggressively pricing PIV systems. While these are certainly not overclocker boxes, they certainly are suitable substitutes for you building a system for the Joes in your life.
Not for everyone, but it’s a good option for some.
If anybody can come up with a better OEM deal (especially an AMD deal), drop me a note about it.