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Step By Step Guide To Ordering A Dell PC: Video Killed The Radeon Star

Updated on January 17, 2009

Part 8

The only even remotely reasonable alternative is the 4650 512MB, which although still way overpriced at a $100 uptick (effectively $135.99) lands in the somewhat approximate vicinity of fair deal as the lowest priced newegg.ca version is the MSI R4650-D512 Radeon HD 4650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card at $79.99.

I don't game. Period. I have no interest in grisly 30fps disembowelments at 1920 x 1200. That's not what I use my PC for. My everyday needs do not extend far beyond web surfing and Open Office applications. About 5% of my time at the PC is spent in Photoshop, and that is the main (in fact only) reason why I'm shelling out the money that I am for this system, otherwise I could very happily still be cruising along on my Winchester 90 nm Athlon 64 3200+ Socket 939 CPU running Windows XP on 1 GB RAM.

(BTW, if you have just fallen off your chair in reading that I, the vehemently and viciously vitriolic AMD critic, actually owned a Green Team processor in the past, you can dust yourself off and stand up again. I have owned several AMD CPUs up until the time that the Core 2 series premiered and loved them. It's just that once the Penryns premiered, AMD just got left at the altar, pregnant and with an overdrawn checking account.)

Therefore, with my fairly modest video processing needs, the GPU in the 4650 more than adequately does the job. I had to bite my lip as what I really wanted in this system was an Nvidia 9800 GT, but that was unfortunately not an option, and I would much rather just order the graphics card from Dell directly rather than get the system with the 3450 256MB which I would then end up using for nothing more than a trash can decoration.

At this point in the Dell order process you can either go through the rest of the useless junk that Dell tries to get you to "upgrade" to, which is mostly things like $129 for "software support" which entiles you to 13 months of speaking on a line with some guy in Mumbai who not only doesn't know anything about software but couldn't speak comprehensibly even if he did.

What really floored me was the Installation Support. Ok, I know that many Dell users aren't exactly in the major metros, but this is completely ridiculous:

  • PC Installation w/Data Transfer Quantity 1 [add $329]
  • PC Installation Quantity 1 [add $299]
  • Additional Wireless Installation, Same Site/Visit [add $189]
  • Wireless Standalone Install With Travel [add $129]

What Dell is basically telling you that if you want some guy to come over to your house, install your PC, transfer your old data to your new rig, and plug in a wireless card, you can pay them $518 for the pleasure.

Install your PC entails taking it out of the box, plugging in about five connectors and pushing the ON button. The wireless installation, if it is a USB key device, entails plugging it into a USB socket and running an automatic launch CD to install the drivers. There is no way that any reasonably competent person would need to take more than five minutes to do all this. If the wireless is a card rather than a USB, then ten minutes.

For five hundred and eighteen dollars???

Next: $61,750 Into Dell Hell

Or Start From The Beginning Again

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