Please recommend a Dell computer for me

The reason I say Dell, is that my company offers employees a discount on a Dell.

I am looking for something to mainly surf the internet and occasionally burn cd’s. Secondary things I would do would be pretty much run MS Office, and work on my pretty basic website. I’m not really into gaming at all, but I wouldn’t mind keeping that option open if it didn’t really cost that much. I’ll be using a cable modem, if that matters.

What I need to know:

Processor? (I’m thinking Pentium 4, but unsure of how fast)
RAM? (Was thinking 256 or 512, but don’t really know. Any advice here?)
Hard Drive? (I’ll probably get the biggest I want to afford)
Video Card? (have no idea here)
Sound Card? (Again I have no idea. Do I even need one?)

Any other advice anyone can give me? Anything to look for (or look out for?) Any better time of year to buy a computer or anything like that? Any special promotions comming up that anyone knows of?


I doubt you can get a discount as hot as some deals on or
e.g. laptop:

Inspiron 1100
Intel® Celeron® Processor 2.0GHz
256MB 266MHz 2 DIMMS
14.1 TFT
40GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive (Have to upgrade in configuration)
Integrated Network Card
Internal 56K Modem
24X CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive

Price: $999
Shipping: FREE
-$25 off Inspirion (coupon)
-$50 off $999 Inspirion (email)
-10% from SB coupon
Total: $831.60
-$250 rebate
-3% FatCash ($24.95)

Total = ~$556.65

Try’s ‘deal forum’ for the topic " Dell Inspiron 1100 256mb" if you more info.

I’d would recommend the Dell Dimension 4600 line if you were going for a desktop, simply because, in my opinion, the cheaper Dimension 2400 line has poor 2D quality. The 2400 line also lacks an AGP port so you can’t even upgrade the video if you wanted to.

My recommendations for a desktop would be the Dell Dimension 4600:

  1. P4 2.4 GHz - if you are mainly sufing the web and running MS Office, the cheapest processor should suffice
  2. 512 MB RAM - I would recommend you do this yourself rather than through Dell as it will be alot cheaper
  3. 80 Gigabytes of RAM
  4. Never had an Nvidia card, but the ATI card that I use now is fine. I would stick with the cheapest one, since you are not going to do heavy gaming.
  5. Built in sound is fine. No need to upgrade the soundcard.

This should be a good time to buy as there should be a lot of back to school sales.

Thanks for the info.

I’m also wondering about monitors I guess. I would really like to get a flat panel, but I’m wondering if it’d be worth it. Maybe I can get a better deal buying the monitor seperate from somewhere else?

Maybe, try & search by the model number, e.g. 4600 or the monitor model as people sell them there. Monitors are better bought in person so you can see how they look with YOUR eyes.

Blargh. That shoud be a 80 gigabyte hard drive.

As I recall there was a webpage devoted to Dell specials. Maybe someone else knows the URL for it.

Buy your monitor at a local computer store with a good return policy. If you’re not satisfied with it, it will be a lot easier to return than having to ship it back to Dell. (smee thinks a com) buy it , have a geek build it for you. Thats what I did, bad assed machine 700 bucks.

TD used to be cool but not anymore. Check thier reseller rating.

if you go dell check out the refurbished units they have some great buys if you already have a monitor

We only buy Dell’s at the library I work at–the 3yr warrantee is the big selling point for us, but these machines really stand up to the constant use they get. The Dimension 4600 is good. You might want to check their site and see what kind of system you can put together and what the price would be–you can customize it very easily online. I have a bunch of the flat panel monitors and they’ve been holding up really well–the 15 inch are great. Personally, I prefer desktops to laptops because upgrading is easier and less expensive, but I have heard good things about their laptops–reliability, performance…

My recommendation is to get the cheapest box you can get away with that will serve your needs. Then make sure you get a CD burner and back up your files on a regular basis. Dell has taken planned obsolescene to an obscene level and if some part burns out, there is only a limited chance that you will be able to replace it, regardless of your warranty. (Then, when you call to demand some sort of help, they just tell you to buy their newest nifty computer.) We went through that dance with Deb’s computer. It was a really nice computer at a pretty competitive price, but when the flippin’ power unit (with its proprietary connections) failed, they had already “upgraded” all of their systems and could not even replace it out of old inventory or tell us where to get a rebuilt one.

That will be our last Dell, for emotional reasons, but I could see making the deliberate choice to buy a cheap one with a lot of speed and memory as a throw-away, then just transport the old files to the new hard drive when you bought the next model.

I too am considering a new Dell. Dimension 2400, 499 plus free shipping.

My dimension xps T450 is fine really and adequate for my needs but 5 years old and I probably should be thinking of getting on the XP bandwagon. I wouldn’t mind being talked out of the purchase though.

I use it for surfing, and running a couple small businesses.

I was looking at the following upgrades:
256MB Shared DDR SDRAM at 333MHz
40GB Ultra ATA/100 7200RPM Hard Drive
3.5 in Floppy Drive
17in (16.0 v.i.s.,.25dp)M782 Monitor
Microsoft® Works Suite 2003 with Money 2003
Detto IntelliMover with USB and Parallel cable

All of which would bring the price up to 694.00 delivered.

Good choices, or should I just stay with what I have?

If you value your eyesight, do not get the Intel Graphics Extreme. It is by far the worst video I’ve seen. You would be better off getting a cheap ATI card than settle for Intel’s video. I’ve seen it on four different machines and it’s uniformly bad on all four.

peterW, is that with or without ClearType turned on? CT is a display option in XP that makes the display nice.

I’ve tried it with it on and off. It really doesn’t make a difference. I can’t state enough how much I despise it. It might be that I’m just picky.

You could probably go down to your local Best Buy and check it for yourself though. Most of the brand name computer manufacturers use the Intel Graphics Extreme video on their lower end models.