Buying new gaming computer from Dell.. and have the fear

I’m shopping at Dell online and customed two systems.

Small Business 4600: 3.0 gig, 1 gig ram, 120 gig hd, ATI Radeon 9800

XPS: 3.0 gig, 1 gig ram, 120 gig hd, ATI Radeon 9800

Same system essentially. I think the XPS had a basic dvd player also. But other than that, I believe exactly the same on paper.

But the XPS was around $400-500 more.

That scares me. Why is that? Obviously the savings lights my eyes up but then I worry that the 4600 is a piece of junk built with hard drives made of cardboard.

Help :)

Might have something to do with architecture, maybe the chipset or the sound card. Who knows. I’m sure there’s some reason there.

I know that the new XPS systems have a pretty nifty case. I don’t think that’s worth $400 though.

What’s the ram on the XPS 9800 as opposed to the 4600 9800? There might be a significant difference there. Or perhaps its all in the monitor. Maybe DVD Burner? Not enough information.

Same ram for both, or so it says. Dual Channel 400 MHz.

No monitor for both.

No DVD Burner.

Exact same system! :)

Probably better components with the motherboard, and memmory etc.

I would call them and ask.

I would build my own.

Seconded. It’s really not that tough, and you’ll probably save quite a bit of money.

Not if you pay for software. WinXP Pro is $300 retail for the full version.

Why in God’s name would one buy WinXP Pro to run games at home? You can get the full WinXP Home for $90 if you buy it with PC parts at almost any online retailer.


I didn’t, but that’s what it retails for.

I got my copy for $30 so :P

Three hundred dollars? Is that Canadian? I’ve seen XP Pro listed for $149, or thereabouts.

As for the Dell thing, I also suggest you build your own – then there isn’t all this questioning about what is actually going into the box. You can research all the components and build a kick-ass machine for about half of what Dell is charging.

The Full (Non-upgrade) version of XP pro MSRP is $300US. That’s just one example of expensive software, other stuff that comes bundled with Dell computers (Office for example) is equally as expensive when bought from a store.

I’m sure you can find the software cheaper if you dig far enough, and I do build my own computers, but I don’t suggest it for everyone. Also don’t forget Dell comes with Tech Support, something you won’t get if you build your own computer.

WinXP Pro, full version: $139.00 US.

It’s OEM, so you have to buy it with hardware. Not a problem if you are building a new system, though.

You obviously haven’t bought software from online retailers like…ever. You can get OEM version of Windows, Office, etc. when you buy hardware (even just a hard drive or something like that) from almost ANY online retailer. Like Ben linked to…$140 is about what you’ll pay for XP Pro. You absolutely cannot compare the retail price to the price you’ll pay when building your own box. If you don’t buy OEM, you’re just…dumb.


You don’t think the OS is figured into the price of the system? Note, they kick the price up $60 if you opt for XP Pro. Let’s take a look at your Office example… they offer Office XP Pro w/Money added to your system for $349. I can get Office XP Pro for $190 here, Money for $16 here (just a quick search). I wonder how much they added for XP? I wonder how much I am overpaying for the hardware?

Oh, and I can get XP Pro here for $160. You should really start backing up your numbers, and your arguments.

It’s really a matter of whether you have the free time and dedication to build a system yourself. Arguing the monetary savings is pretty foolish.

It’s OEM, so you have to buy it with hardware

That reminds me. Newegg has this funny little trick where you can buy a power Y-splitter to satisfy the “must buy with hardware” requirement. Even better, the power Y-splitter is $5 with $5 instant rebate. Hee.

Yet another reason to love the Egg. As if we needed any more.

I was actually just looking at buying a Dell computer as well – as a Canadian, most online retailers such as newegg ain’t available, and if you actually choose the “Dell4U” pre-made systems (which have a fewer customizable components), you can get a great deal.

For instance, for about US$1,500 dollars, including shipping/tax, you can get this system:

  • P4 2800, 800FSB; 1,024 gb dual-channel 400mhz RAM, 120 GB drive, 128 MB ATI Radeon 9800; Dell 19" M992 monitor; CD-RW; 16x DVD-Rom; Audigy 2, quality speakers/modem/ethernet card, etc.

Not bad at all – note that if you try to build the system yourself at Dell, it’ll cost you almost $1,000 more. Couple questions/comments for you wise men:

  1. I can’t find any specs on the Radeon 9800 (non-pro) – how does it compare to the 9700 Pro, for instance. I think there’s no difference from the 9800 Pro other than clock speed;

  2. Do all Dell systems (not just the “shop4U” ones) now require you to buy a monitor and speakers? I presume that’s not the case if you call them up, but online it definitely seems to be the new rule;

  3. This one has kinda been answered here - but Cdn $150 seems like a high premium to bump from XP Home to XP Pro. I’d like XP Pro because I like to use VPN to log into my work network and need domain access. I don’t think that you can “upgrade” from XP Home to XP Pro without doing a complete reformat, correct?

  4. I know the P4 3.2 is due out as early as the end of next week, which may affect pricing, but is there any other decent reason to delay purchasing (aside from the new Prescott P4s. I doubt I’m going to wait that long (Q4).

It may be a different motherboard. But the XPS also comes with different support, one more tailored to gamers who generally have more technical skills than the average Dell buyer, or at least it was supposed to. Maybe it doesn’t redirect the call to India, I don’t know.

It may be a different motherboard. But the XPS also comes with different support, one more tailored to gamers who generally have more technical skills than the average Dell buyer, or at least it was supposed to. Maybe it doesn’t redirect the call to India, I don’t know.[/quote]

We actually just bought a Dell Optiplex GX 260 rather than the home PC that had similair specs and the 400-600 dollar price difference. The Dell small business rep basically echoed what has been said above. Many of the components, while still quality parts, in the home models are not tested as thouroughly and held to the same standards that the Optiplex parts are as Dell realizes the small business versions will be stressed much more than your PC at home.

That’s what the reps say, FWIW. Not sure if we are talking about the same rigs, but there you go.

The Dell XPS is built using Dell’s workstation chassis and power supply. It’s a much beefier case, with a fair amount of internal room and a 460W power supply. The case is larger, with room for more storage options than the 8300 case. If you get it configured with RAID, you still have the ability to add a third physical drive if you want a backup drive.

As someone else noted, when you place a support call, you get kicked up to someone who can actually troubleshoot on the fly (in theory), not a first level tech who will read from a script.

Also, when I configure near-identical systems (note that the default sound cards are different), I get a $200 difference, not $400. Whether the beefier case/PS and supposedly improved tech support is worth it to you is your call, but it’s a bit better than $400.