I ordered a new PC via the Dell Outlet last week.
I went for the outlet option because my existing AMD Athlon 1200Mhz desktop (midi-tower) was starting to groan at the slightest bit of hard work. Even a rebuild didn’t seem to help it. I’ve since found out that the northbridge chipset fan has given up the ghost…which is interesting because this particular motherboard was swapped out because the original motherboard also had a dodgy northbridge chipset fan. After my first motherboard was swapped out, I went out and bought a Zalman heatsink for the chipset – looks like I’ll be fitting it after all.
So my search for a replacement base unit started late 2005 and saw me looking at the likes of Mesh, Evesham, eBuyer, Vadim and a handful of others. I really fancied a AMD 4400 X2 (dual-core) processor with a couple of gigabytes of memory, a decent sized hard drive and a couple of graphics cards. However, all the machines that I spec’d up were coming in at well over £1,000. Even dropping back to a single graphics card and a smaller hard drive didn’t shave much off that price.
Then I noticed the Dell Outlet – granted Dell [currently] only deal with Intel, so my hopes for a AMD 4400 were dashed. I had a frank conversation with myself (yes, yes, a sign of madness I know) and realised that what I needed was a reliable machine that was fast enough for my needs – it didn’t have to be all singing all dancing. So I browsed through the options at the Dell Outlet – they’ll let you reserve a machine (by putting it in your shopping cart) for 15 minutes prior to purchase, after that, it goes back on to the shelf for others to see. Initially I lost the machine I wanted, I guess somebody else put it in their cart after I had let my 15 minutes expire. Luckily, it came back on the market and I was able to order it.
The Dell Outlet was the solution: I found a current-build Dimension 9150, Dual Layer DVD writer, 2 * 1024MB (533DDR2), 250GB SATA hard drive, 24-bit SoundBlaster Live and a 256MB ATI Radeon graphics card, keyboard and mouse…all for £530. I was able to re-use my existing monitor, 5.1 speakers (keyboard and mouse too). Delivery was rapid, from order to delivery, the turnaround was less than six days (I ordered late on a Friday night, the delivery was the following Thursday – four working days.)
Yes it’s an Intel, and yes it does run hot, but with a processor heatsink that is the width of the unit (pretty much 6 inches) it’s nowhere near as hot as the Mesh with the faulty fan! Now things are happening (or not as the case may be!) even faster! And it’s oh so quiet.