Re: deciding on a new amd64 system
On Mon, May 21, 2007 at 11:24:11PM -0700, Alexandru Cardaniuc wrote:
> Hi All!
> I've been using HP Pavilion zv5260 as a desktop replacement for a while
> and now decided to get a real desktop. I am not sure if I should build a
> new box myself or buy a pre-built one. I need a home workstation that is
> going to be used primarily for writing and debugging code, browsing
> internet, occasionally watching dvds. I don't edit video and don't play
> video games. So, I figured that I don't need that powerful and expensive
> computer. In this case does it make sense to build one myself?
> I googled and found that Dell offers Dimension n Series E521.
> It comes with no Windows OS preinstalled. And Dell claims that it is
> "ready" to work under linux.
> Does anybody here have this machine? Are there any compatibility issues?
> I plan to use it with Debian Etch. Etch comes with linux kernel 2.6.18
> Googling I found out about a problem with USB freezing mice and
> keyboards, but it seems that this problem was solved with BIOS update
> that Dell issued in January, 2007. Google doesn't show any more problems
> with it...
> I am thinking about choosing these parts:
> Dell Dimension E521N AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+
Personally at this time I would buy a Core 2 Duo instead. Faster and
Oh and it's a Dell, so the pwoer supply and mainboard and possibly other
things are probably proprietary and never replaceable. And the power
supply is probably only barely large enough to handle the system, so
upgrades could be tricky. At least that is how Dell Dimension PCs were
in the past.
> Operating System: FreeDOS included in the box, ready to install
> Memory 1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz- 2DIMMs
Why does Dell (and other rip of the clueless consumer name brands)
insist on putting slow ram in machines with fast CPUs? 800MHz ram
doesn't cost that much more. I guess they figure their customers only
care about price.
> Dell USB Keyboard and Dell Optical USB Mouse
> 19 inch SP1908FP Silver Flat Panel Monitor TrueLife (Glossy Screen)
> 256MB NVIDIA Geforce 7300LE TurboCache
And then they slow down the ram some more by making the video card
borrow from it.
> Hard Drive 250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache
> No Floppy Drive Included
> Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
> Modem 56K PCI Data Fax Modem
> CD ROM/DVD ROM 16x DVD+/-RW Drive
> Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
> Speakers Dell AS501 10W Flat Panel Attached Spkrs for UltraSharp Flat
Well all that stuff is probably typical.
> Limited Warranty, Services and Support Options 1Yr In-Home Service,
> Parts + Labor - Next Business Day*
> FREE GROUND SHIPPING!
> Total Price (taxes included) $757.30
> It seems like the price is right. Before I always built computers
> myself, but now would I actually be able to build a box myself for this
> price ? Well, I don't necessarily want cheap, I just don't need a very
> powerful machine for what I am using it...
The difficult part in getting a price like Dells is that most people
building a computer aren't willing to cut the corners Dell likes to cut.
Let us try though:
Athlon 64 X2 4000 $122
2 x 512MB DDR2-6400 800MHz OCZ platinum ram $80
Asus M2V mainboard (10/100/1000 ethernet, 5.1 audio) $90
WD 250GB SATA $79
LG 18x DVD+-RW $38
Antec SLK1650 (case with 350W PS) $70
USB mouse/keyboard $30
7300 video card $63
19" LCD screen $200
Total: $772 (canadian) which is about $730 US.
Significantly higher quality components than the Dell, but you would
have to buy and assemble parts yourself, and you don't get tech support
and warrenty (well warrenty on the parts not the system).
But overall, Dells price is just OK, not great. Remember the Dell is
full of cheap junk which helps them keep the price down.
Modem (if you actually need one) which is actually a hardware modem that
works with linux is probably $75 or so. Haven't bought one in years. I
tend to assume most people don't need it so I will ignore it. I would
be surprised if dell included anything other than a winmodem in their
Personally I would go with spending more on a Core 2 Duo if I was buying
one, but I am not at the moment. :) And I would get a 7600GT rather
than a 7300, and I would go for a silverstone TJ04-B case and probably a
silverstone 450W power supply. And I wouldn't go for less than a 20"
screen since I hate 1280x1024 screens, while 20" gives you 1600x1200.
Of course those changes would probably add another $500 to the price.