Sep 20, 2004, 12:24 AM
Post #9 of 18
I've been an advocate of "building your own" for some time now, but I have to say, living in Mexico is likely going to change my perspective. Dell.mx makes it really easy. I've made posts to the contrary here before, but I was wrong...the product line they make available to you here in MX is as near as I can tell identical to what they offer you NOB (one exception: NOB they let you reuse your existing monitor, SOB they make you buy a new one.)
This is also a difficult time to be building your own computer. We're making the transition to 64-bit, and it's driving a lot of people nuts. In my last box I've really only gotten to reuse a couple of components: the case and the hard drives. Upgrade anything else and you end up having to upgrade *everything* else. Want the new CPU? Great. But it won't make sense (or even work) unless you get the latest motherboard which supports that FSB clock and then you need to get the latest RAM too; and then you have to hope it all works. What Rolly says is absolutely right: I've pulled out a lot of hair over these systems. Even if just one component fails it can be very difficult to diagnose; if two fail, or are misconfigured, or you don't know what you're doing (happens to me constantly) then you are in a world of hurt like no other. And you are totaly on your own.
Then you have to ask yourself, why are you doing this? In my case it makes (made) some sense. I wanted to be able to play the latest games on my system, and I wanted to get the best performance for my dollar. So that meant overclocking the system. Dell will never support such a thing, and for most people it isn't advised in any case.
Yes, what you get from Dell won't be easily upgradable. You should be able to add RAM and an extra hard drive but that's it. Then again, why is that really a problem? Unless you're a gamer or you're heavily into multimedia or its equivalent a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 should last you at least until Microsoft comes out with their next cut of Windows (Longhorn), and that won't be 2nd half 2006 at the earliest, and there's no way you'll be able to buy a machine today that will be able to run Longhorn. The hardware requirements Microsoft announced are ludicrous by today's standards.
I've been gung-ho about homebuilt for the last four years. If I were NOB, I'd continue doing it that way. Yeah, it can be frustrating, but it can be fun too. But SOB, man, it's just too hard. Getting stuff shipped here is a real hassle. You'll get bad components when you put these systems together yourself, so now you're talking about having to possibly return some of the stuff you had shipped, and then take delivery again, certainly paying shipping both ways, and possibly paying duty twice for the same product. And then there are the delivery times. Inevitably, when you build your own system you always forget something. NOB, you can have that something FedEx'd next-day-air and have your box working the day after. Here... you're waiting weeks maybe.
And then what if there's something else you forgot? A mounting bracket for the CPU fan, or maybe thermal grease. Then you're maybe waiting another two weeks. And during all this time, you're logging onto a website like pricewatch.com and watching the items that were top-of-the-line when you bought them either drop in price -- often dramatically -- or become 2nd best, or even obsolete.
Is your Spanish good? If so, then you could get involved with the homebuilt/overclocking community here SOB. But even then there's a lag on products available here over MercadoLibre vs. NOB, and when they are available here the price is so much higher.
Dell.mx only offers ATI graphics cards. I'd want an NVidia. Dell.mx, like almost every other vendor, doesn't appear to be too concerned with case noise. I'd like a water-cooled system, esp. if I'm overclocking, to keep the noise to a minimum. Dell.mx won't offer a Linux option instead of Windows. I'd rather not pay for Windows if I don't have to (or more accurately, if I already have an OEM copy I can use.) All of that being said, my next PC is probably going to come from Dell. Building your own already puts you in the position of having to fight all these battles to get the box built. Here in Mexico, those battles double in number and even basic issues become real braintwisters. I'm sitting here dreaming about a watercooled CPU/GPU/Northbridge, meanwhile, I don't even have grounded outlets in my apartment. I'd like to install a wireless router so I can take my laptop to the roof and surf the web while watching people surf the Pacific but I have to worry first about the torrent of virii/worms being hosted by all these Internet cafes in town trying to break into my home network... I'm currently experiencing something an attempt every second!
And then there's the humidity. Oh yes, and the heat. Not to mention the geckos... don't ask me why, but they seem to really like my Mac... I can only imagine being creatures of impeccible taste that they'll take to my homebuilt Athlon system as well. And then what? A homebuilt system tends to have all kinds of unshielded fans and open PCI slots... there's gonna be little bits of gecko all over the place in there. Unless I first gecko-proof my PC. So we're looking at yet another order over the web which will take two weeks to get here.
I know I'm a newbie and I've only been SOB for six weeks or so, but nonetheless I have developed a strong sense about how things work down here and it can be summed up in one simple phrase: Sometimes, Mexico wins.
Dell.mx isn't ideal, at least not for me, but man, the alternative is frightening. When you think about it, we're really lucky to have this option. Imagine what it would be like to ship a Gateway computer across the border and back to have it serviced. Between shipping and duty and insurance and what not you're talking about at least a month and easily $500US, minimum.
Ride the escalator.
To boldly go where no wig has gone before.