$400 Computer?

My folks' ancient Compaq is giving up the ghost and they are considering buying one of those $399 Dells. Is Dell the best way for them to go or are there better options?

Their computer usage consist entirely of e-mail/net browsing and Turbotax once a year.

Four hundred bucks goes a long way when you build one yourself.

Staats wrote:

Four hundred bucks goes a long way when you build one yourself.

Yeah, but if all they do is surf and file taxes, then I'd say buy a eMachines or Gateway. THey're like Dell, but I'm still cranky about Dell's consumer PCs. Servers? Fine. Consumer PCs? Pass. Personal experience, anecdotal.

Besides, it didn't sound like bf wanted to build one.

You can get some good deals on HP/Compaq boxes that use the ATI chipset, and since it's just for surfing, who'll care if it can handle Civ4?

Either way. You'll probably save money if you build, and you'll save time if you buy prebuilt.

My parents purchased a Dell a while back which works great, but I've not heard any horror stories about other manufacturers either. I imagine your best bet is to shop around for a good deal from a well know company.

Yeah, I could build one if I wanted too but I would rather have rabid slugs in my underwear than to have to provide tech support for my parents.

I will look into some of the other low cost brands.

Heya ferret, Dell's got a good blowout sale going on some of their desktop models.

Check them out.

2.53ghz, 1gb ram, 160gig HD, DVD Burner, 17 inch flat panel... $349.

Bam.

*edit*
Sale's good through the third.

Would this be deserving of it's own topic?

Careful with those cheap Dell's. The thing they dont make too clear is that they are selling you a refurb with no warranty, but you dont have to dig too deep to find this out. To add a decent warranty onto one doubles the cost, and at that point you could be buying something nicer with the standard warranty included. If you dont need/care about a warranty, build it yourself and dont pay the premium.

If that's the case, pol, I think someone would be better off going to ibuypower.com - I configured a baseline AMD 64 machine without mouse, keyboard, or monitor(they probably have all that, right?) for about $100 over the original post. Granted, the video card was a GeForce 6200, but that's still pretty good.

Go e-machines:

I bought one for my sister for Christmas. I wiped the HD clean, increased the RAM to 512 MB from 256, re-installed Windows, then added Open Office, Firefox, Thunderbird, AVG, and Sysoft firewall for her.

No problems... she uses it for e-mail, surfing, and poker. Cost me $360 after rebates + the RAM was added, plus ~ 2 hours of setting up the thing. Of course the warranty is void.

pol wrote:

Careful with those cheap Dell's. The thing they dont make too clear is that they are selling you a refurb with no warranty, but you dont have to dig too deep to find this out. To add a decent warranty onto one doubles the cost, and at that point you could be buying something nicer with the standard warranty included. If you dont need/care about a warranty, build it yourself and dont pay the premium.

How can you find out if that sale is on refurbs or new pc's?

I don't see any information on the sale listing

I'm not ordering one or anything. I'm set for a long long while, I was just curious.

How can you find out if that sale is on refurbs or new pc's?

This is actually only opinion after seeing the boards that come in these machines. They look like parts have been removed...and where the part used to be (say an agp slot for example) all thats left are little solder points. I'll see if I can get a pic for you....its odd, and a refurbed board is really only my best guess.

Well my folks went with this, http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=7739842&type=product&id=1140392808206
which even with the crappy video card is way faster than mine.