Well I finally gave in and bought a new PC. The old Dell 8100 still works fine but was definitely old technology, with a 3Ghz Pentium 4 and only 2 Gb of RAM.
So I spent several weeks looking at various models online from a variety of manufacturers. I had many decisions to make and there were a variety of unknowns. Would all my old programs work on a 64 bit machine? Would I hate Windows 7? What type of system would last the 5 to 7 years before an upgrade without driving me nuts?
In the end I settled on a Dell Studio XPS 8100. Then I started looking at the various options and each time I added them up I got well North of $1000…sigh.
So I looked at the Dell Outlet. They offer “scratch and dent” and refurbished models at a not insignificant discount. I found a system that was pretty much what I wanted. It has a Core i5 750 processor, 8 Gb of RAM and a 512Mb GeForce 310 graphics card, running Windows 7, 64 bit. Not the most powerful system, but plenty for the sort of stuff I do. I also ordered a 23” monitor from the Outlet at the same time.
The delivery date was the next Friday. So I waited, and checked the status daily. I noticed that the monitor had shipped but that the computer was still “In Production”. That seemed odd as the systems are sold as-is, off the shelf. So I went to their Facebook page and asked what that meant.
The extremely helpful woman who manages their Facebook presence got right back to me and said that it means they lost the system and were finding a comparable system to send out. Not a problem, these things happen. That Friday I received the monitor and shoved the box in the corner. Then on Sunday I decided to open up the Monitor and hook it up to my old computer to see how it looked. When I opened the box I found that it was not a monitor but was the computer that they had lost!
So I contacted them again to let them know what had happened as I didn’t want them to ship two computers. What happened next was quite unexpected. They told me to keep that system for the price of the monitor, $159! They cancelled the rest of the order. So I zipped over to Staples and bought a 24” Acer monitor.
I just want to say thanks to the Dell Outlet for providing customer service that was personal, timely and above and beyond what I expected.
As for the system…well it took me a couple of days to set the new PC up with all my old programs, passwords, etc. Windows 7 was pretty easy to tweak although many features such as the Quick Launch bar are hidden. I found out how to enable it here.
The dreaded UAC doesn’t annoy me at all but I have to say that I hate the Library file system. I can see how it’s great for people with large amounts of homogenous media types, but most of my folders consist of mixed file types. It’s easy enough to ignore the libraries and directly use the old file system. I’d love to hear how wrong I am about the libraries.
I though the Aero Snap was gimmicky when I saw it touted in ads, but it’s quite handy for my workflow.
So overall I’m just having tons of fun with the new, exceedingly fast by comparison, machine. Now to get back to work and do all the things I put off while learning the new system.
One last note, I’m composing this on Windows Live Writer. Seems like a much easier way of posting to my blogs than the tiny little interface that Blogger uses. Microsoft isn’t allowed to include the Windows Live software with PCs for some complex reason but it’s a free download.
Here’s a picture that I’ll use to test that functionality:
Well that worked.