DELL good or bad???

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
new guy
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 1:01 am
Location: philadelphia
Contact:

DELL good or bad???

Post by new guy » Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:56 pm

Alot of you guys bad mouth DELL products. I am the average consumer who doesn't know how to diagnose and repair a computer problem, be it a software or hardware glitch. So I depend on companies like DELL or GATEWAY (I own both brands) to help me fix my computer, or fix it for me under warranty(that I pay extra for). If I were more computer savvy I would love to "BUILD MY OWN" and repair it myself, but I am not at that level yet. So I have to rely on others for the help. Maybe it would be a good idea for someone to be an independent consultant (and) warranty company for the average "joe" like myself, but you would have to offer this service for less than DELL or GATEWAY. PS. I do come to you guys (NUTS and VOLTS) for help after the warranty and I thank you veeerrry much.

stevech
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:27 pm
Contact:

Post by stevech » Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:03 pm

My company buys a lot of PCs - like thousands, for emplolyees. I don't hear more complaints on Dell than other PCs. I will say that the Compaqs we used to buy had more problems than I'd like, such as proprietary goofy things.

But like cars, every manufacturer has a model lemon or buys a batch of subcomponents that are failure prone or have a bad design.

I'm sure you know the difference between a Pentium and AMD based PC. I always use AMDs - they work well, cost less and keep the prices down. What would a Pentium chip cost if AMD did not exist (Intel would have a monopoly).

As I recall, Dell only lately began to use AMD in some models.

User avatar
moe
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA
Contact:

Post by moe » Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:35 pm

Have 5 Dells happy with all desk and lap tops. Had a HP that was the pits from day one had a in home service contract with it they would never come out to service it. HP will never get a buck from me again.
Moe

Robert Reed
Posts: 2276
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:01 am
Location: ASHTABULA,OHIO
Contact:

Post by Robert Reed » Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:32 pm

Well, New Guy You have opened up a controversial subject. You will probably get as many different opinions as replies. But here is my two cents worth: I bought a higher end Dell two years ago and went to their support Department shortly thereafter. Some guy from India, which I could barely understand who did not seem to know as much about computers as I did and I am on the low end of the food chain on this subject. 8 months later my "E" drive blew out. Dell sent a repairman to replace it. 6 months after that the damn thing blew out again. Dell would not honor their work and said it was out of warranty. They told me it was a software problem ( which it wasn't) and to talk to some guy in India again - this time for $40. Took it to local repair shop and "E" drive was replaced. Working better than ever now. It has been a virtual nightmare dealing with Dell from the 'get-go'. Hours and hours of menus ,being put on hold, horrible music, misinformation, uninteligidble conversation (I think the guy was reading step by step from a book). Basically the machine has performed OK, but I would never by from Dell again Because of Their supportand underhanded tactics. Consider this - any add by Dell shows only some pothead 20 yr. old playing games or multimedia and this is the market their after. When it comes down to serious use as most of us on this forum are probably looking for, I don't think they are interested!

User avatar
jollyrgr
Posts: 1289
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Northern Illinois
Contact:

Post by jollyrgr » Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:30 pm

I, like most of my immediate coworkers, build my own PCs. My current "main" home computer is built with an MSI motherboard, AMD chip, LiteOn DVD burner, Western Digital HD, and a power supply that I cannot recall the name of (I got the supply because it was rated as 535 Watts and very quiet). RAM is CORSAIR brand; 2GB worth, and video card is ATI Radeon PCI Express. I chose my MB after a bit of research. The final determining factors were the overall benchmarks and the fact that the soundcard chipset (integrated on the MB) was a Soundblaster Audigy.

Not everyone can build their own and I can respect that. But it is quite fun to have UPS drop off several boxes of parts that are assembled into a working computer within a couple hours.

The latest work computers we buy are HP 5150s. The HP motherboard is made by MSI. The CPU in the ones we buy are AMD 64. When we add "high end" video cards they are ATI or nVidia. The "basic" built in chip set can be Intel, ATI, or nVidia on the HP motherboards. So what does this mean? Buying HP or Dell or Gateway or whom ever the big name is you like, you get BASICALLY the same thing.

If we happen to buy a home PC prebuilt it will be a name brand vendor such as Dell, Gateway, or HP. The first two things to go are the power supply and video card. In one case one of my coworkers bought an eMachine computer and new video card. Along with this he bought a new power supply as the one included was underrated. If all you planned on doing with the computer was browse the web and type up Word documents, an eMachine would work fine out of the box. Any type of gaming or video production/viewing requires a better video card and beefier power supply. In the case of the eMachine the motherboard was standard as were the hard drive and DVD-burner. Another person bought the same exact computer and complained about the poor performance and what a "piece of junk" it was. A new power supply and high end video card later and the machine ran smooth.

My brother needed a computer. I sent him to Dell. This computer has been working fine (execpt for World of Warcraft) for four years. The only after market upgrade needed was more RAM. When I upgraded the RAM for him it cost one fourth the price it would have cost from the factory. And it was the exact same brand and model RAM.

My boss is a big computer builder having many computers from "toasters" (a mini game machine built in a case the size of a four slice toaster) to big Full Tower plus computers. He has a work supplied laptop from HP. But when he bought his own laptop he got a Dell (this was two weeks ago). Other coworkers with personal laptops get Dell. Based on my viewing of this laptop if someone needed one, I'd have no problem suggesting Dell.

At work the "standard" is HP. But I and my coworkers are from the IT department. When we get to order our new computers every three years we "beef" them up. I go with bigger hard drives (mirrored with a Promise RAID controller), DVD burner, and as much RAM as we can afford. The latest thing we are going with is bigger power supplies and multimontior video cards. Three monitors at once are very useful when performing remote installs on two or three servers at once. Again the factory power supplies can't handle multiple hard drives and video cards.

So what am I getting at? When you buy a basic computer you get a basic computer. There is nothing wrong with that. But if you want more out of it, you will either have to spend more upfront and pay for the upgrades (great if you have the money) or wait and perform the upgrades yourself. If upgrades are something you are not comfortable with, the two biggest things you can upgrade from the start (when ordering the computer) is RAM and video card. Unless you know the person you are buying from, don't buy a "white box" from the back of a newspaper ad. Get a Dell, Gateway, or similar.

In the case of my latest computer I could have spent $600 on a Dell basic unit. Instead I ordered the parts the way I wanted it to be. It cost me over twice the basic computer price. And this is just for the CPU box; no monitor, printer, etc. But I have a computer that runs quiet, has no lag (yet) from the programs I run, has a fast disc IO bus, and I can actually process video to burn to DVD.

As Mr. Reed points out suppport is likely in India for most computers now. This is true of Compaq/HP except on their server side. (The server guys are out of Canada.) I hate having to call support to get replacement parts and use the Web to do exchanges on PCs. In our case we get 50 to 500 of the same model computer when we start ordering replacements at work. There are certain things you get to know about computers when you do this, as what is likely to fail on them. For instance we got a batch of computers that had hard drive failures. A hard drive failure is not a fun problem to have but is routine when you support 2500 computers. In this one batch of computers the hard drives started failing after one year of service. The hard drive was all the same model 20GB Western Digital. All the computers were in the same serial number range. The "guess" we had was that someone dropped a skid of WD drives and these were the ones we got. There were the same WD 20GB drives in computers outside the range that are STILL in operation now. Sometimes you just get lemons.

But service is bad in MOST comuter related fields. I needed to download a program for my Linksys router. The program was pointed out in my manual as being on the Linksys web site, it was pointed out in the online manual as being there as well, but the program was nowhere to be found on the Linksys web site as it stated in the manuals. So I go to the Linksys support site and ask in LIVE CHAT where to find the file. The guy asks what model and version of router I have (even though I had provided this information ahead of time). So I tell him again. He then asks me to login to the router support web page on my router. (Again, I had asked him where to download a file off their web site and he gets me into my router page.) He then tells me to change the MTU setting of my router. Talk about a guy not knowing English! So I disconnected and tried another support person. They had me hold a second then said "It is not at the web site anymore and it is at their archive FTP site." The support person then sent me a link and a couple minutes later I had my file. So you do get the good with the bad.
No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. But billions of electrons, photons, and electromagnetic waves were terribly inconvenienced!

stevech
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:27 pm
Contact:

Post by stevech » Sun Jul 16, 2006 10:32 pm

Sad to say, but today most all commodity PC stuff's support is outsourced. So you shouldn't judge the product by the support. IMO, all the offshore support I've used is worse than awful. This was the case for help I needed with HP all-in-one printer/scanner. I persisted by email (never waste time on the phone), and just dropped and reentered a new support request until after 3 or so tries I get someone in the US who will tell the truth about known bugs in their Windows drivers and how best to work-around.

This happens with all of them, I believe.

I do think that HP/Compaq has very irregular quality because the switch component suppliers very frequently within the same PC model. This includes motherboards.

I too always build my own to (1) reuse the Windows license I have and (2) so I can select the motherboard I want and get high quality hard disks - cheap hard disks are just not worth it - when the day of failure comes you want it to be as far in time out as possible. And always have a drive image no more than a week or two old (Acronis or Ghost).

The root of this is that the PC business is such a commodity with small profit margins that they have to shave every penny they can to turn the dollars that Wall Street demands.

There doesn't seem to be a "Lexus" PC where you know you're paying more for quality and service.

hp
Posts: 245
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Friendswood, TX
Contact:

Post by hp » Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:58 pm

I personally love dell. I personally use dell products with no problems. Although dell did forget to send me a cd that I paid for one time, so I did an online support chat (I don't want to try deciphering india support) and they sent me every cd possible for my computer (which is worth alot). You just have to be very nice and know what you are doing when dealing with dell.

If you are going to buy a dell, try to find a 35% off coupon. You can get these on ebay for about 17 bucks, which will end up saving you around 400 - 700 bucks on a good dell computer. Generally dell sends coupons to valued customers. Sign up for a dell prefered account (dell credit card thing, and you get an extra 2% off). It ends up being cheaper than almost all of the other computer manufacturers and is almost cheaper than anything you can build. Of course this is counting the really nice 19" lcd monitors that most dells come with now.

I used to do alot of computer support and ordering for my high school. The school district only ordered dell because texas public schools get a pre certified contract with dell, meaning less work for the ordering people. I managed to help switch 2 of the school's old apple labs (os 9 computers, which totally stink) to new windows xp pro dells. This was an order of over 60 small form factor desktops and one dual xeon dell server. The labs run great (definately better than 2 other labs that use 'clone' pcs from 2 different companies).

Overall dell support and quality is still better than most other choices. If you were to build your own computer, you would defiantely have a hard time trying to get everything to cost less than a dell with the correct discounts. People argue about the cost factor all the time, but these are the people who go configure an xps with everything and then say they can build an ugly bulky desktop using some cheap msi motherboard with cheap oem ram that works better.

Also remember that dell has legendary online support. They have a patented service tag system that works extremely well. You go to the website and enter in the tag that is unique to every type of computer setup and you get a customized list of downloadable drivers, manuals, and software for your dell. They don't drop support of old systems either. I have a dell from 1994, and I can still enter in the service tag and get driver downloads. Even hp doesn't have this (they have a horrible search system that finds an estimated list of drivers for your computer).

Just a note about HPs: The hard drives they use (maxtors) have been known to fail. I alone have had 2 HP hard drives fail (and these were high end desktops that costed 2k each). My friend has also had the same issues, and their warrenty services stink too. They send you a SATA drive when your motherboard is clearly IDE only... HP stinks when it comes to reliabilty.

Harrison

User avatar
Chris Smith
Posts: 4325
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Bieber Ca.

Post by Chris Smith » Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:17 pm

No one make their own parts for any PC these days, so all are the same, while the service is always different.

Habib from India, or Ismail from the Philippines? [forget US English?]

I make my own, I try to only use the best or proven, and I give my own local service not via India in pure english so all my customers are happy. [just miles away?]

All the parts are made by the same companies but some dealers like Dell and Compaq don’t learn as fast, and still make lemons.

All I do is watch their mistakes and never repeat any of them.

I even take their lemons and turn them around by fitting back in the correct parts.

So who is better? NONE.

Who is the best country to talk to, just Ask you?

What is the best computer around,...the one that is tried and true.

My hard drives like all are made in Malaysia, My motherboard is Chinese, My power supply who knows, My case can be from anywhere cheap, My floppy is Japanese, My mouse and key board vary faster than time, and Im sure half the chips come out of India?

Ohh yeah, half the American parts are also made over seas these days so the only difference is it try and then chose the best?

Mike
Posts: 1813
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Illinois
Contact:

Post by Mike » Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:27 am

Dell is the second worst PC you could possibl buy.

HP/Compaq are number 1 in the list of lowest quality, followed by Dell.

Dell is one of those terrible companies that used to let themselves get paid off by Intel to not use AMD chips. As you can see the scam was exposed and now they're using AMD in some of their computers. I have yet to see one though, besides an Alienware that Dell now owns.

They use low end parts. Very low end parts, such as Western Digital hard drives, cheapo RAM, etc. Everything is propritary. For a long time they actually had a proprietary ATX Power cable. Yet it was no different shape. Use a dell power supply in a good computer, you can fry it. Use a good power supply in a Dell, you can fry it as well. I hate how their CPU coolers work. They're this giant plastic thing that goes over the heatsink to a fan in the back. Their cases are flimsy and designed too much for the idiot that things like CD drives and Hard drives rattle because they aren't secured with screws how you should, but instead with litte plastic latches.

Dell laptops have blown up two reported times. It was the battery that caused it, but it still shows how pitiful their quality control is.

You cannot get support on the system no matter what. If you call support, you have one of two problems. 1 - You know more than the tech, or 2 - the tech can't speak english so no matter how much they know, it doesn't matter cause you don't have a clue what's being said to you.

Their computers are slow and bogged down with a bunch of crap. Dell is one of the few companies tha actually support the low cost of their budget computers through instealling spyware. They may not do this anymore, but up to a couple of years ago, it was a huge problem.

They try and take advnatage of their customers and save themselves money when the crap hardware they put in the computer fails. I read a recent website where a Dell tech was told to remove 3 of the 4 512MB memory chips in a computer so they were defective, and not to replace them with new chips. They actually told a tech to leave out 1.5GB of the person's 2GB of memory.

Do yourself a favor and do not buy a Dell. Build the computer yourself. If you don't want to do that, get an IBM. I also can't say anything bad about Gateway, other than they must be getting paid off by Intel not to use AMD as well. Just stay far away from Dell and HP/Compaq.

If you buy a Dell, get an extended warranty. It WILL break. Not might, it will.

The same with HP/Compaq. They cheap out on parts (for example I just worked on an HP with a bad power supply. It was on it's way out and making some really strange sounds. I pull it out, and it's labeled 250W max. A system that required 300-350 continuous was runnng on a supply rated at 250W MAX. No wonder it died after only a year).

User avatar
jollyrgr
Posts: 1289
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Northern Illinois
Contact:

Post by jollyrgr » Fri Jul 21, 2006 3:49 pm

Mike wrote:Dell is the second worst PC you could possibl buy.


{SNIP}
Do yourself a favor and do not buy a Dell. Build the computer yourself. If you don't want to do that, get an IBM. I also can't say anything bad about Gateway, other than they must be getting paid off by Intel not to use AMD as well. Just stay far away from Dell and HP/Compaq.
{SNIP}
The same with HP/Compaq. They cheap out on parts (for example I just worked on an HP with a bad power supply. It was on it's way out and making some really strange sounds. I pull it out, and it's labeled 250W max. A system that required 300-350 continuous was runnng on a supply rated at 250W MAX. No wonder it died after only a year).


Mike echos exactly what is a problem with many vendors. But as far as AMD VS Intel, Intel wins; that is what CUSTOMERS want. They hear and see Intel ads. (Remember the guy in the fire suit? How about the Blue Man Group? And the Intel sound/jingle.) HP/Compaq started providing AMD based servers and desktops and we as a customer started buying them like crazy. Still I have to deal with vendors that insist on Intel as a processor, on a Windows platform. Note that in a Windows NT type environment (WinNT, 2K, XP, and 2003) that programs do NOT get to touch the hardware! That is all done by the Operating System. Yet you have vendors that do not realize this and insist on Intel chips. Microsoft has worked equally well on Intel and AMD.

The point about the power supply is true in almost all desktop computers as I stated. eMachines, HP/Compaq, and likely Dell as well put in supplies that cannot handle extra items like multiple CD/DVD drives, RAID hard drive sets (i.e. more than one hard drive), or high end video cards. BUT from a stand point of buying from a vendor, Dell higher end computers and HP computers will work out of the box fairly well using the standard supply. Do not plan on installing a high end video card, extra hard drives, burners, or multiple PCI cards without checking the supply first. Better yet upgrade that with any extra devices you get. The computer runs cooler, has less unexplained crashes, and the supply will last.

Don't buy a Mom and Pop computer. Do not buy a white box computer unless you know your way around inside to replace what needs to be done.

I'm not sure what IBM is like now, but do note that they are made in China. Just like most computers and parts. I believe the assembly for Gateway, Dell, and HP are still assembled in the US. I still have a bad taste from my dealings with IBM. Many years ago I serviced IBM computers as this was the standard at our location. To repair them we were a "true" authorized IBM service center and I had a direct line for replacement parts, documents, etc. Once out of warranty, I used third party vendors for fixing my mother boards, power supplies, and floppy drives (this WAS a long time ago). This was because the IBM parts were so expensive. A fan died on an IBM Model 50z. The bearings were shot and there was no reviving this fan. The fan was on a plastic carrier and was a "toolless" replacement part. You pulled up to snap pins, pulled up the fan, snapped a new one in place. It took longer to slide the case off and on than to replace the fan. The connector was a two pin job like a card and slid in place when the fan was snapped in. I pulled out the fan and replaced it from my spares part (which was actually a spare PC that sat on the shelf specifically for spare parts). I then went to replace the fan. I find the FRU number and get a price; $512 dollars! I figure it must e a mistake and that the price is $51.20 and some decimals were messed up. No, this was the price. I could not believe that a simple muffin fan on a plastic carrier cost half a grand plus. I held my nose and went to Radio Shack to get a replacement fan to fix the unit myself. I got a fan for $30 to put it on the carrier. When I pulled out the old fan I find out it is the EXACT fan as the RS one. Not just the same size and voltage, but the same exact fan manufacturer, CFM, etc. For this reason and many others I cannot recommend an IBM to anyone. (For those in the computer industry for a long time, you will likely know about the 8512 monitors and what a fiasco that was.)
No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. But billions of electrons, photons, and electromagnetic waves were terribly inconvenienced!

stevech
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:27 pm
Contact:

Post by stevech » Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:59 pm

zap

stevech
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:27 pm
Contact:

Post by stevech » Fri Jul 21, 2006 5:00 pm

I don't agree about Intel is what customers want.
I believe that if we had the facts, they would show that the TOTAL PC market, esp. worldwide, is price-driven. And using AMD CPUs makes the PC cheaper

And overall, people buy on price, unless the product has an absolutely awful reputation, which AMD doesn't.

Indeed, unlike we geeks, I'll bet 90% of PC buyers don't know/care what CPU chip brand is in there.

User avatar
Chris Smith
Posts: 4325
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Bieber Ca.

Post by Chris Smith » Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:13 pm

You need to read up on Intel V.S. AMD?

AMD started the whole mess, and dropped the ball exactly like IBM did in the early stages. Intel split and took over.

AMD was like IBM, they dropped the ball and someone else ran with the ball, namely Intel.

They left AMD in the dust and proceeded faster, better, and cheaper than AMD. [world wide market]

AMD is a fine processor company, so is Apple, but who is on top of it all, who mass manufactures what we want, cheaper, and who has the best the facts etc. INTEL.

I love a good AMD, but the cheapest Intel is better, faster, and more reliable than AMD, except for the top of the line stuff.

Give me a D class Intel any day, same $35.00 cost as the $900.00 chip only a few less transistors actually work, always reliable.

Keep up with the "Jone's", only if your money out weighs your common sense?

This will change with time, Im sure.

I have a complete list of failed hard drives, and every brand, and every country is in this list.

I have a list of processors that have failed, and both [actually all are listed] names are listed.

I have a complete list of Mother Boards that are crap, and China, Taiwan, Korea, India, Malaysia, and the Us are all listed.

Find out what works, put the B.S. aside, and build your own.

stevech
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:27 pm
Contact:

Post by stevech » Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:49 pm

I was taling about PCs at large where most people cannot build their own, want phone support and don't care what CPU is inside.

I always buy AMD because I want a competitor to Intel so they don't get a monopoly - which would hurt everyone. And AMD has been fine for me.

hp
Posts: 245
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Friendswood, TX
Contact:

Post by hp » Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:21 am

Actually, Intel's performance per dollar is somewhat better then AMD's right now. Take a look at intel's midline dual cores and you will notice that they are pretty cheap. Couple that with a ASUS or ABIT mb and you have a pretty good and cheap system.

But I have to admit that AMD had better performance for the price a while ago. I guess it will eventually change again.

It's kind of hard to stick to only one company for a long long time. Each company has their own technologies and eventually beat the other one in performance and pricing. It swaps around, which is why it's best to read reviews and benchmarks on the exact processors you are looking at buying. It really isn't an issue of 'AMD needs more customers' or 'Intel is lame', its more of a 'I think I should get the best computer possible with the money I have.'

And Mike is right about power supplies. Using an underrated power supply can cause problems (my friend had a powersupply that shot out fire and smoke out the back, and sent out a surge on the 12v line that killed both his hard drives).

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests