Bill Evjen is telling us how to build your own computer. Thanks Bill, I’m sure a lot of software junkies are going to get a lot out of that, although my background is a little bit different.
You could say that I got paid in the early days to work on the systems side of computing so I have a realitively good idea about the workings of the modern mid-range computer system, atleast at the component integration level. In the past I’ve purchased custom systems with a very high success rate so when my wife’s computer recently died I went to one of my favorite online computer stores to spec out the various components I needed.
The components were cheap to be sure! And I felt that I could have ended up with a fairly impressive machine but it would have been a lot of work pulling it all together and to be honest I just don’t have that sort of time, and I don’t like the exposure to risk.
So I sat on my hands for a little while and let my wife struggle away reading e-mail using my iPAQ with Wireless and using my laptop when she needed to do something more serious (like the banking).
Anyway, a few weeks ago I got the idea of going and buying a DELL desktop for her to use with a few upgrades so that I could occasionally use it for running a virtual machine.
Why DELL? Well I’ve actually been a DELL customer for about six years, using both Inspiron laptops and PowerEdge servers and I have to say that they have been the most reliable machines I have ever owned.
My first Inspiron (I think it was a 7500 series) was a real work horse for me – technically it did have one glitch – the power supply cable had a tendency to wear at the transformer end, but it was always replaced (free – next business day) before it became a critical issue. I changed jobs and was provided with a Sony VAIO and all I can say is that it was hell. The VAIO was one of the “wierd models” from Sony and consequently the driver support was shocking and the performance was just terrible.
After six months my request for a replacement was granted and I got my current DELL (8500 series) and the world was good again. After being treated so well by DELL hardware in the past I decided it was time for me to part with some of my hard earned cash and become the actual owner of a DELL system.
We ended up getting a DELL Dimension 3000 series with some extra RAM and hard disk plus a new All-in-One photo printer with a three and a half year next business day parts and labour warranty.
At this point I would really like to specifically thank Ghassan Abu Zalaf from DELL who coordinated the order for me. His customer service was excellent – its the first purchasing experience that I have had that made me feel like I wasn’t pulling teeth to get things done – he (and DELL in general) seemed to actively want to get things moving along.
Well done DELL. Now for some constructive criticism, the web site is a little confusing to use. Placing an order is OK (although the session timeout is WAY too low) but downloading drivers is a little painful. A while back HP used to have a big picture of a disk on their homepage with the word Drivers underneath it – this would be good. Also the order status page didn’t seem to update for me so the order always looked like it was in pre-processing, although the estimated delivery date turned out to be pretty accurate (it was delivered two days early – nice!).
Overall it was a fantastic experience, and those issues wouldn’t stop me buying again but they are things that could be improved.