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My mother-in-law is going to buy a computer, and she asked for my help. She mentioned Wal-Mart; Best Buy and BJs also came up. She wants to spend $600-800 and for the system to include a decent-sized monitor and a DVD burner. Other than that she's not going to be a power user at all. Desktop, Windows (I recommended XP, but she may not have the option), and definite not Dell - we know too many people who've gone through Dell hell.

I did some research and printed out systems from the three stores I mentioned, plus a system from PCs for Everyone. Two of the systems are HPs, as I recall. The superstore prices range from $540 - %590, and PCs for Everyone is $691 (I customized it online). My gut feeling is that the PCs for Everyone system is worth the extra money because A) they use good component, B) they don't sell anything else BUT computers, C) they've been around for a long time now - around 25 years, and D) their service center is in Norwood (MA). From what I've heard, with computers from the three big stores you're more likely to have a problem, and when you do it's more likely that they'll have to ship the system to the manufacturer across the country somewhere.

Thoughts, anyone?

Date: 2009-07-10 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] klyfix.livejournal.com
Hmm...

Since she's not a techie or techie pretender (sort of what I am, what with my willingness to open up the machine and having put mine together myself) service and the need for service becomes perhaps the biggest issue.

I would think that Best Buy would be more likely to provide passable service than the other two chain stores, but then again if anything major needed to be done they'd be shipping the machine to the manufacturer. Barring your customizations providing extra desired capabilities, the extra $100 or so from PCs For Everyone ends up being for possibly better service if something goes wrong and perhaps greater reliability.

Date: 2009-07-10 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oldwolf.livejournal.com
HP... HP... HP... Or Compaq, same company really.

www.hp.com/go/parts then look at Partsurfer on the left.

The 3rd option is to have someone build you a system.

And be sure to fill out and send in the product registration card. It starts your warranty from time of purchase instead of date of manufacture, which can be as much as 4 months! And get the extended warranty too.

Date: 2009-07-10 11:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] donnad.livejournal.com
Re:Dell Hell?

I have a Dell, I have had absolutely no problems with it. I love it.
Granted I live with a self-proclaimed computer geek who works for Dell, but he does not work in the consumer electronics division, he works for a high end systems division (Dell-Equallogic) in Nashua.

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