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Old 05-31-2005, 01:59 AM   #1
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Default buying a media center PC

I need a new PC for college, and I was wondering what the best option is. I know of a kid that would build me one for not much over the cost of materials, or I can just order one off the internet and customize it.

If I order one off the internet, what is the best brand? I am on a Dell now, and their customer service is terrible, and we have an old Gateway, thought I am told that their customer service is also bad.

Any help would be appreciated. I would like to keep the total cost under $1500US
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Old 05-31-2005, 02:34 AM   #2
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If you'd like a decent laptop, they have a deal on a 600m right now for about $1100, which I would recommend. I bought one for a guy at work and it works very well. I have bought 5 gateways myself, but I would not buy another laptop from them, as my laptop succomed to heat issues 1 month after the warrenty expired. If you get a laptop, get the 3 year warrenty and accidental damage plan. Warrenty wouldn't hurt for the desktop either.

With a desktop, if you purchase one from a retailer, it might be harder to upgrade a lot later on. If you have someone build it, it is easier to upgrade, but you don't have the support, so it is a dual edged sword. I would recommend dell or gateway for a desktop and dell, toshiba, fujitsu, avertec, and sony for laptops.

I recommend 512mb of ram at minimum. and shy away from celeron.
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:06 AM   #3
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heh, i say go with dell if you want a brand name. i say dell is the most computer guru friendly of the bunch, although compaq is stepping up some now too. i say get the guy to build yours, that way you can give it strengths in the areas that you want it to have them. what are you majoring in anyway?
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Old 05-31-2005, 11:07 AM   #4
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I'm partial to Gateways, but I'm with Jimmy about buying the extended warrenty. I've been very happy with Gateway'* service but have never needed to deal with them out of warrenty so I'm guessing they would be significantly less helpful without the warrenty. Only downside I know of is that Gateways tend to be a bit more pricey, but that might have just been when I was looking (3 1/2 years ago).
My parents had their latest computer built and that thing is awesome. As long as the person building it know their stuff (and I'm assuming your guy does), then the only issue would be the cost of everything you want to put on the computer. A built computer needs (typically) a purchase of Windows (try to get a Student Edition...its cheaper) as well as every other program that you want...it can amount to a major expense.
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Old 05-31-2005, 11:55 AM   #5
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I'll go ahead and agree with having someone build it for you, if it'* a desktop. It is a heck of a lot easier to upgrade, and if any problems arise, just ask the person who put it together for you. If they know what they're doing, they'll be able to help you without sending you to India for customer support (Dell). And, as mentioned earlier, you can customize it much better with much better parts than can be found in most buyable machines. You can put the best of everything in there and will still be cheaper than Dell, Gateway, or Sony. As for laptops, I would just buy one whole. Those are much more difficult to do anything with and are way more fragile. The choice is yours, young Padawan.
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Old 05-31-2005, 12:10 PM   #6
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1. All major computer makers customer service is going to be terrible.


With that said if you want support I would make sure you have the nearest neighborhood geek build something for you or the local computer store, that is if you want "customer service"

Thing is why would you ever call in for customer service or tech support?

if it is "how to use your computer" then they cannot help you anyway, that is microsoft'* job (dont get me started there)

or the reason would be something is broken, like a burned up ram chip or power supply.


Whether you call gateway, dell, or hp, you are going to go thru someone that barely speaks english (if you order a home pc that is) and they are just going to send out a technician and throw in some new parts.

ok problem resolved.


Important Note: Since most modern pcs use crappy components, make sure you get at least a 2 year or 3 year warranty. Dell for example will charge you $199 per service call and $39 per phone call assuming your system is out of warranty. Others do the same.
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Old 05-31-2005, 12:44 PM   #7
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I agree with JimmyFloyd, I have a dell 600M and it is awesome. It has the Pentium M and it runs really cool. Its set up for wireless, dvd rom and CD burner, 512 ram, all the goodies, and its also super thin
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Old 05-31-2005, 02:21 PM   #8
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i have a sony pcv-rz44g w/media center and it'* sick as hell... had it for a year and a half now and no prolemos whatsoever.. i love it
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:36 PM   #9
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If you are looking for cheap, use ibuypower.com. They might be competitive with the geek next door. And if you need "tech support" your geek friends can help you out.

I have heard mixed feels about ibuypower though.
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:57 PM   #10
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How far are you from

80 East Ogden Avenue
Westmont, IL 60559

Microcenter has thier own "In Store" brand (PowerSpec) that ain't bad for the price. You can get anything from a very basic system, to a pretty well decked out one.

Picked one up for the Mother in Law, and was fairly impressed with features for the price.

www.microcenter.com
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