Step By Step Guide To Ordering A Dell PC: Blu Who Ray?
The next significant component choice in the Dell process is the Optical Drive, and this was definitely a no-brainer choice for me. The Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability is the standard drive, and thus the one that I chose. The other choices were the:
- Single Drive: Blu-ray Disc (BD) Combo (Reads BD and Writes to DVD/CD), add $200.
- Dual Drives: Blu-ray Disc (BD) Combo (BD-ROM; DVD/CD Burner) and DVD+/-RW, add $250.
- Single Drive: Blu-ray Disc (BD) Burner (Writes to DVD/CD/BD), add $350.
- Dual Drives: Blu-ray Disc (BD) Burner (Writes to DVD/CD/BD) and DVD+/-RW, add $350.
Now other than the fact that I really don't understand why getting the Single Blu-ray Disc (BD) Burner (Writes to DVD/CD/BD) costs the same whether you get an additional second DVD+/-RW drive or not (very strange), the main fact for my optical drive usage is that I don't need a Blu-ray or even a DVD drive! I'd be perfectly happy with a good ol' fashioned 48 or 52 X CD-ROM drive as the only reason I ever hit that optical drive button is if I have to install some software from a CD. I don't burn audio, I don't burn video, I don't watch any disc-originating video on my PC and generally have as much practical use for DVD and Blu-ray on my computer as I would for a genuine King Cobra snakeskin keyboard cover, with an extra added dollop of venom.
Now we get to the Graphics Card. Here, the choices are rather bizarre:
- ATI Radeon HD 3450 256MB, which is Included in Price.
- ATI Radeon HD 3650 256MB, for which you have to add $50.
- ATI Radeon HD 4670 512MB, for which you have to add $100.
- ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB, for which you have to add $350.
I can't really say I'm a fan of Dell's choices, or their pricing, for that matter. First of all, ATI Radeon 3xxx and 4xxx series drivers have been shown to have various conflicts with the Core i7 series, and although AMD ATI (DAAM IT) has stated that drivers are on the way to fix these problems, they're not out as of the date of this writing. Furthermore, the choices... yes... reek.
Neither the ATI Radeon HD 3450 256MB or the ATI Radeon HD 3650 256MB can be considered seriously for anyone with the most miserly requirements in order to power a 24 inch flatscreen. (We're not talking gamers here who would likely scoff at any of the four choices.) A quarter gigabyte is not going to do the job of running a 1920 x 1200 pixel screen no matter what you do to it and especially when you mate it to ATI's fairly low range 3x50 series. As for the top end ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB, the only reason I can see that they've included this instead of the far more capable 4870 is to keep their 98 pound weakling of a power supply unit from frying its circuitry. However, to charge $350 for the deletion of a 3450 256MB (lowest newegg.ca price $35.99) and adding a 4850 512MB (lowest newegg.ca price $166.59) is just plain highway robbery. The difference between these cards is barely over $130, not $350!