Buying a computer - Is a Dell really that bad?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Wuzz, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. Wuzz macrumors newbie

    Wuzz

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Hey there

    Right, I've got an ibook (G3 600Mhz) and the HD has died, so I'm looking for a new computer to buy. I'm not bothered by laptops/portability so a desktop is fine.

    However, I'm being swayed by Dell and the bastard child of Bill.

    For £600 I can get a Dimension 3000 Dell: 3Ghz P4 with 1Gb Ram, 160Gb HD, Combo drive, Integrated Intel® Extreme Graphics cards, and a 19" Ultrasharp Dell flat panel monitor.

    Or with Apple, I could get a mac mini, upgrade the ram, and perhaps get a similar monitor.

    To be honest, I wasn't too impressed with Tiger compared to Panther on my ibook (okay, maybe because it's an old mac). I did love my ibook for what it could do, but now it's about getting the best for my cash. The software I need to use at med school is compatible with either PC/Mac, so at the end of the day, what am I going to be happy with? For what I need to do, I think either a pc or a mac is going to be okay, it comes down to personal preference.

    I'm thinking, get the dell, wait for the new mactel machines next year and then switch back.

    Sorry if I'm rambling. It was only an hour ago, while looking for news on the mac mini updates that I stumbled onto the dell website.

    Does anybody have any opinions either way? :confused:

    Thanks!
     
  2. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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  3. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a

    MUCKYFINGERS

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Location:
    CA
    #3
    My parents and sister have Dells. My sister's Dell laptop and Dell desktop have been working fine, she's had the desktop for I believe 1 year now, and she's had the laptop for 5 months I think. My parent's Dell desktop is slow and has some issues with the fan being pretty damn loud. At school the Dells we have in the computer labs are great, although to be fair they are top of the line.

    Why buy something to "hold you off," when you can use that money to get what you really want? It's not the smartest thing to do IMO ...
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #4

    You have read the site's URL, haven't you?

    In all seriousness, the Dell will suffice but I think you would prefer the mini because, even though it's no powerhouse, it runs Tiger and it runs Tiger well. Windows XP can be run relatively safely nowadays and it has even become a relatively competent OS but it's by no means comparable to OSX. Do you really want to go back to Windows?

    Also, remember that there are other costs of computers such as additional software (mini comes with apps that must be bought on the Dell such as AppleWorks and iLife which has no Windows equivalent). Then there is the added cost of a virus scan subscription. It's not much, but these things add up.

    The Dell will be faster at most things but you have one of the biggest bottlenecks ever seen in the form of that Integrated Graphics™ part. Admittedly, the mini's pokey 32MB GPU is hardly anything to write home about. They're probably on par in terms of performance in that respect.

    If you're not so worried about the LCD screen, maybe have a look at the eMacs. They're quite a bit faster than the minis. :)
     
  5. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #5
    Remember you'll have your edu discount with Apple to take into account if you're a student which might make the Mac mini option more appealing. Even with the Intel Macs next year, the mini is likely to hold its value better than a low-end Dell - and may mean you can put off buying an Intel Mac until they've been through a revision and worked out any kinks... or keep using it as a music server once you buy your new one.

    One question for you - do you know what you're doing with regards to Windows security? If you're confident enough that you can keep your system clean (it is possible as even users on MR will point out if you know what you're doing), then fine. If not, then stick with the Mac - you'll waste less time tracking down problems.
     
  6. Wuzz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Wuzz

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #6
    I need a computer now, so I really can't hang around playing the waiting game. I also can't afford to get a nice iMac/PowerMac. £600 is stretching my budget as it is. I think the Dell combines some nice features for that price, and should last me nicely for the next couple of years (given that I'm not really into gaming, just the typical websurfing, report writing and storing photos/music with some simple medical software thrown in for good measure).

    I hate to be typing this, as I really loved my ibook, but for a desktop machine, I don't really see much option, unless you guys can suggest something?
     
  7. risc macrumors 68030

    risc

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #7
    So is the medical software for Windows or for OS X? That is the only deciding factor here. Buy which ever machine runs the software you need. If the software is available for both I'd get the Mac since web surfing, Office, and photo/music software is just so much nicer (and dare I say it SAFER) on OS X.
     
  8. powerbook911 macrumors 68040

    powerbook911

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    #8
    Wuzz,

    A dell is your typical windows box. Nothing is that horribly wrong with it. It would probably get the job done nicely.

    However, the Mac Mini sounds like it would do what you need too, so if you're a Mac addict, you might want to go with the Mac Mini. It would perform significantly better than a G3 iBook.
     
  9. Jon'sLightBulbs macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #9
    Nope. It's really not that bad.

    p.s. I have a floppy I'd like to mail you with an .EXE containing a fun little game.
     
  10. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #10
    Well, I don't like Dell one bit. My neighbor comes to me all the time for help. Their motherboard has been replaced twice, power adapter once, and has to be reformatted on a regular basis (no internet, either) as much as once a month. I'll never get a Dell. If I were you, I would get a refurb eMac -- comes with a screen and is faster. (7200RPM drive)

    I wouldn't get a Dell. You'll regret it ;)
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #11
    I don't think that getting a Dell now and switching back to Mac later is a bad idea. My Uni gave me a fast, very nice Dell, but I wouldn't get a cheap, bottom end Dell. They use crappy enough parts as it is. If you get a mid-range Dell, I guess it'll be okay. However, I think the Mac Mini will provide a good, worry-free experience while the Dell is a bit more likely to suck.

    For what you do, I actually like the 12" iBook even if you don't need portability, but if you want to go Dell, it's not so bad as long as luck is on your side.
     
  12. Chrispy macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

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    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #12
    I second this statement.
     
  13. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #13
    Ya, Dells are really that bad. My family had two top-of-the-line Dell Dimension 8200's (together they cost about $5,200-$5,400). Between both computer within 2 years we had over $1,000 worth of repairs (thank God we went with a 3 year warranty!). To top the repairs off, there was the constant "funs" associated with running Windblows XPee. :rolleyes:

    So go with a Mac Mini, it should work very nicely for you! :)
     
  14. switchr92 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    #14
    mac mini

    well, the dell is definetely stronger, and i would definetely hear your arguement if you were at all interested in games, but for you, I would say go for the mini. Like you said,
    I would argue that the mini was built to do those things exactly. You might not be getting as much for your money, but you won't notice a difference anyway, not with your purposes. Another thing, don't forget how much better the mini will be at storing photos and music with iLife than any software for a dell PC. And don't think any PC will outlast any mac, no matter the specs, cause you'll be wrong. I would say the mini will be so much less of a hassle, much safer and more reliable, and it is the better deal for you. Oh, and dells are that bad. I swear, just earlier today I was reading an article in newsweek about how badly rated dell's technical support is. I would go mini.
     
  15. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #15
    Ah, I forgot to mention Dell's technical support. Or perhaps I should just say lack thereof. :rolleyes: I never, ever got one person who could speak passing English! :eek: :rolleyes:
     
  16. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #16
    Dell is not that bad at all. The problem is that you're reading a Mac site, which means they are bias--and rightfully so!
    To get a Dell now to hold you off...spending $600 now and then dropping what $2000 in a year? It doesn't seem like a bad idea. The question is, do you need a laptop, if so, get the Dell. If not, get the desktop and go Mac Mini. I would not drop $2000 on a powerbook right now if in less than 12 months there will be such a huge change in the way Macs are built. It's different than a speed bump or a memory increase...it's new architecture. But that is just me.
    Dell is no worse than any other windows machine.
     
  17. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #17
    Well, why don't you just get a new 100gig or 60gig 7200rpm Hitachi Travelstar hard drive for your (apparently) perfectly good iBook 600 G3 (I know they are good, I had one), with a three year warranty, and cruise through with a modest investment on your iBook until you see what you really want? You can always take the new hard drive out when you know what's up. Just because your hard drive died doesn't mean your iBook is dead.

    Or was there something else wrong with it?

    Personally, that's what i would do -- you can get a fast 60 gig 7200rpm drive for around 160 bucks, plus installation, you're looking at 200 US$ or less if you shop around real good. PLUS, you can take the new drive with you as an external...

    Love my iBooks.
     
  18. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #18
    £600

    Yeah, I was thinking new hard drive too. My Mom still has a 500MHz G3, and it's still working fine. Tiger is a little more whiz-bang on a new system, but you'd be running XP on a Dell. Depends on how you feel about that. We have Dells at work. They're ok. Not something I'd recommend though. If you're going to go cheap, build your own. Or get a refurb or used Mac.
     
  19. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #19
    I think if you're going to buy a PC you might as well buy a good one.. most cities should have the local computer "sweat shops" that will sell you a pretty decent system with good brand name parts for not much more (maybe even less?) than a brand name PC such as Dell. You'll be able to pick and choose parts (I want ATI, Maxtor, Plextor, etc.) and have control over what you want or don't want.

    Edit: more notes - if you get good brand name parts - a good motherboard, chipset, video card, and so on - there's no reason why your PC hardware itself couldn't be just as stable as you expect your Macs to be. Just don't put Windows on it ;)

    Dell's are decent - I owned 3 Dell laptops in the years before I bought my Powerbook - but not "great". I always preferred to build my own PC's part by part. This way I also had the freedom to buy a cheap no-name crap part knowing that it could hold me over until later when I could afford to buy a better one, thus allowing me to spread the cost around. I remember at one time building a PC with a 750 MHz Athlon chip, at the time pretty much the fastest you could get without paying a fortune, and hooking it up to a 50 MEGABYTE hard drive I had lying around - I had to wait until the next paycheck before I could afford the $200 it cost for a "real" 20 gig hard drive.

    Those were the days. I still have that PC, and it hardly looks anything like what it started as, though it's still an Athlon 750. That, and the Powerbook, are going to hold me over until I can get a nice new Intel Mac.
     
  20. Winstonp macrumors 6502a

    Winstonp

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Boston
    #20
    get the 700m or get nothing.

    I had an inspiron 2500. Repaired it under warranty prolly 10-12 times. Dell is horrible, which is why a warranty is a MUST!

    if you dont get the warranty, you're pissing time and money into the wind.
     
  21. iDM macrumors 6502a

    iDM

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2005
    Location:
    The Commonwealth of PA/The First State-DE
    #21
    Alright where do i start ok how about the beginning.

    Best Friend in college bought the top o' line Dell laptop. Within 3 years he has gotten the HD replaced, the power supply replaced, the hinge can't support the monitor so he has to lean it against a wall, had to buy an external keyboard because random keys stopped functioning. Never could get the S-Video to play, even after hours on the phone, and attempts to download ever single video driver they had. I know because he use to call and then come sit in my room and play playstation while waiting.

    Ex-girlfriend Formatted and reinstalled OS more times then I could count because of software issues ok granted not Dell's fault but can be attributed to the OS you'll be using if you buy one. Spilled a glass of wine on the corner, which then found it's way inside and ruined almost ever internal component(this has relevance if you read the bottom of my post) Even new with all the crap that ran in the backround the thing never was as fast as when she turned it on the first time.

    Current roommate bought the best 15" widescreen dell laptop. It is one year old. It's right next to me. His screen has a think yellow line in it that is on from boot-up to shutdown. His keyboard bends and flexes as you type on it, this is his second keyboard.

    Current girlfriend has a dell. 4 years old(not her, the computer) speaker out does not function unless cord is placed properly, multiple formats(OS issue). Slow slow slow, you literally boot up a webpage and go to the other room to fix a drink before it loads.

    I know one person who bought a dell this summer but i have not spoke with them.

    Oh and i should probably mention also the case on ever dell laptop i have seen is well......hideous, bulky, and obstrusive which i guess is fitting considering the OS they run.

    Alright now lets see, bought my Pb 15" in September 2003. I did buy the first Revolution which was my mistake, but the only issue i've had with it were the white spots on the monitor. Which even after one and half years(no applecare) Apple replaced free of charge, meaning i now i have a new monitor to extend the life of this machine. I in a rather drunken state spilled a beer, not a drop a 12 ounce bottle of beer on the keyboard. Guess what i'm typing this on? That same keyboard using the same logic board and all the same internal components.(knock on wood)

    Now is Dell that bad, or is Apple that good who knows but i do know which one is better, from my exposure.

    Last example now i don't have any solid evidence of issues or troubles but since I've gone to this school they have upgraded their Dell PC's 3 times. They still have the same iMac G4's in all of the labs they've never been upgraded yet are still more then usable. Is this because Apples are less used, yes to an extent, but why would they have to upgrade their Dells....the only thing i can think of is hardware break down, or software slow down based on it being a Dell or using Windows. That is my rant, hope whatever you decide turns out for the best.
     
  22. iDM macrumors 6502a

    iDM

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2005
    Location:
    The Commonwealth of PA/The First State-DE
    #22
    Yea i second getting a warranty but you shouldn't have to buy a warranty based on the fact that you know it is going to break down....such as the case of the dell
     
  23. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #23
    See, this just proves that you'll get the good and you'll get the bad.

    I don't doubt the previous posters' bad experiences with their Dells.

    But here's my data points: Over the past five years I've bought a Dell Inspiron 8000, a Latitude CSx and a Latitude D800. The latter was a widescreen machine with an LCD resolution of 1920x1200 -- the same resolution as Apple's 23" display. The Inspiron 8000 had a screen resolution of 1400x1050. Beautiful screens. It was the one feature I had to give up when I switched from the Dell laptops to the Powerbook.

    The only issue I ever had with my machines was one of them developed a faulty AC adaptor after a few months, but Dell's customer service promptly sent me a replacement.

    Interestingly, of my 3 Dell laptops, with their super-high resolution LCD screens, I never had a single dead pixel. Not one in all those millions of pixels. Also not a single dead pixel in my 20" Dell 2005fpw display.

    Then I bought my 12" Powerbook with its 1024x768 screen -- not quite 800,000 pixels -- and one of them was dead. I was so disappointed.

    So, with any company, you get the good and you get the bad.
     
  24. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #24
    So .... are you getting the Dell or the Mac mini?
     
  25. Lukasha macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #25
    I'm a PC/Mac consultant and I've dealt with a lot of PCs and Dells are decent computers, but you can put together the same exact thing from HP/Compaq for cheaper that's the same quality and reliability. And if you choose an AMD processor, you get 64-bit and another $100 off the price. As an experiment, go to the Dell site and config a system. Then go to HP and config an identical system and see the price difference. Then choose the comparable HP model that's equipped with an AMD 64 and see the price difference.

    Unfortunately, you're still stuck with Windows with either box.

    Jeff
     

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