holzman_tweed: (Default)
[personal profile] holzman_tweed
Hey, fellow geeks:  Soon it will be time for me to buy a new PC.  I'm looking at a number of things, from the HP Paviliaion d5100t to the Dell Studio XPS to the Falcon NW Fragbox.  I have two questions:

1) What's your favorite muscle box, that you'd recommend I look at?  I'm hoping to keep the whole thing under or not much over $3K.

2) Everyone's offering Vista, and I'm hearing I'll have to jump through hoops, spend extra money, and spend lots of time on the phone to downgrade from Vista to XP.  Has M$ fixed Vista to the point that it's safe to use, or should I gear up for the headaches?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyofthelog.livejournal.com
Vista is an abomination unto the lord (and lady). RUN!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] basbleugrrl.livejournal.com
If you know anyone who can frankenstein a desktop for you, that's the way to go. Cheaper, and you can get XP on it. Vista sucks hard.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 03:38 am (UTC)
wednesday: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wednesday
Two words: Boot Camp.

(yeah, that's better.) </edit>

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 07:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holzman.livejournal.com
No way in hell. [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl's MacBook got bought in August '07, and by August '08 had suffered three catestrophic failures -- it's now on its third hard drive and second logic board. Dealing with Apple tech Support is always a nightmare, requiring a trek to inconvenient locations, and a long wait for someone to tell me they can't perform a 5-minute part swap in under 24 hours... maybe.

By contrast, I'll have had my Dell XPS for five years this January. The one time I needed tech support for someting I couldn't fix myself, a man came to my door the next morning and Just Fixed It.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] demiurgent.livejournal.com
I've been a part of somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 Macintosh Powerbook, iBook, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Quadra, PowerMac 7200-8600l, Macintosh Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Cube and possibly even Performa repairs from 1993 until last week, and I expect I'll have input into repairs this week too. Students like to throw computers.

No, wait. Next week. Unless the faculty throw their computers, I don't rule it out.

Sometimes, it's a hassle. Sometimes, it's way easier than expected. Most of the time, it's a matter of hitting a website and sending it in. It's simple, it's easy, it's convenient.

We have had several workstation class Dells on campus as well, for the Windows folks. We no longer use Dell for any technical support whatsoever -- it's too important that the people who need windows machines have them repaired in a timely and complete fashion, and we have had several disastrous technical support failures with Dell.

Which isn't really an indictment of Dell, because while we had several problems with Dell, we don't have that many Dell computers. We don't have enough experience to have a decent statistical model for recommendations.

It is a truism that some computers -- in particuar notebook computers, which are overly engineered to be small -- can develop endemic problems. We have had that happen, and we've had to say to Apple "this computer is a dud -- it needs to be replaced." Which, if Jadegirl's machine went in three times and none of them involved a cola product going into the heating vents, they should have done and I'm sorry they didn't.

Which is a long winded way of saying "owning one computer from a given company won't really give you a good view of that company." I can understand you being frustrated with Apple over what happened and not buying their products, but do understand that your experience isn't universal. ;)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-25 07:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holzman.livejournal.com
My first syadmin gig was at an options trading firm with Macs on the desktop and a mix of Mac and Unix in the back office. I'm not unfamiliar with the variety of ways they can fail. In addition, [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl's been a Mac user as long as she's owned computers. In the time I've owned my Dell, she's gone through 3 MacBooks. Her current box is the one with a breathtaking failure rate, but all three had to go into the shop at one time or another.

It has always been a hassle. Always. By design. It may be different in your neck of the woods, but here in NYC you need a reservation to get your Mac looked at. You get a reservation by going online and setting it up on their web page. How they expect you to do this with a non-functioning computer, I don't know. When we've tried to do it over the phone, the cyber maze would not let us. What we've wound up having to do is go in and hope they can squeeze us in. Sometimes they can, sometimes not, but we at least leave that day with an appointment. By "go in," I should point out that I mean either an hour-long subway ride or a half-hour car ride with Manhattan parking fees.

Diagnosis has always been easy: fried hard drives and dead logic boards are not subtle. Time and again, after a 2-minute diagnosis process leading to a concrete remediation plan I am told that there will be at least a 24 hour turnaround time for a hardware swap. This can only be by policy, either because management can't be bothered to keep the necessary resources on hand to perform a 5-minute task in 5 minutes, or because so many people are needing the task done that there is a backlog days long.

When the logic board fried last month, I requested a replacement and was refused. The Apple store manager told me that if it fail a fourth(!) time, he'll replace it. I have every expectation that I will have to fight for that replacement, in April if the machine maintains its current MTBF.

In the meantime, I'm left with a very different experience with my Dell. The computer I'm writing on is an Inspiron XPS -- they hadn't yet spun XPS off to its own line. I bought it in January 2004. The one hardware failure it had was a fan, and I had 12 hours of downtime because that's how long it took them to have someone drive to my home with the necessary hardware and fix my computer. It may be that if I had more support calls with Dell I'd have had more experiences as disastrous as what I now regard as a normal Apple tech support experience, but the comparative sample sizes is part of my point.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 09:15 am (UTC)
ext_34769: (Default)
From: [identity profile] gothwalk.livejournal.com
I have a brand new XPS laptop (M1730), which is the bees knees, and [livejournal.com profile] inannajones has a slightly older XPS desktop, which is likewise insect-joint-like. I recommend them highly.

I haven't had any problems yet with Vista, but it's only been two weeks. I haven't really noticed a lot of difference, to be honest.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 02:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holzman.livejournal.com
The PC I get will be replacing my Inspiron XPS as my home machine -- I'll still be using this as a laptop until it keels over dead. It's just that it's 5 years old and not up to speed anymore for full daily use and better to get a new PC when I have a PC. The XPS One and the Studio XPS are both tempting, but the Falcon NorthWest Fragbox looks like it has more muscle.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 04:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dartpoly.livejournal.com
1 Dell laptop and 1 HP laptop -- both had Vista replaced with XP with relative ease. granted, i was a dunderhead and forgot to grab a few drivers ahead of time, and forgot to note exactly which NIC i had, so it took a few hours overall. Dell's website eventually coughed up the goods, and all was well.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] impgrrl.livejournal.com
I read a review for Vista that basically said the User Agreement was signed in blood, and a very important piece of you was kept as collateral...something about a soul...

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 06:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holzman.livejournal.com
You read correctly. I also attended a presentation wherein they demonstrated that the Vista memory security model was flawed in it's design and had to be redone from scratch. (Not to be confused with a bug in the design implementation that could be fixed with a patch.)

I was asking if M$ had noticed that no one's buying Vista and fixed these problems yet.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-24 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caprinus.livejournal.com
When my wife bought her new computer (which came with it) she heard so many bad things about Vista, we insisted on also getting a separate XP install and setting up a dual boot. So far, she's mostly booting to Vista, and it's been much more hassle-free that the fresh XP Pro SP2 install as far as finding drivers, installing new devices, etc. She's had zero problems with it. It doesn't ask for permission to do things incessantly, and that can be turned off.

Mind you, there are different levels of Vista out there (the way XP had Home and Professional versions) and hers was one of the high-end ones. Also, by no means is my wife a power user. But as an average consumer, she's satisfied.

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