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Help Make the Final Call...

by waltlopus / February 24, 2004 8:14 AM PST

If you review my previous post, you'll see I've been looking for advice on a new Value + computer. I've narrowed it down to the following and want some final comments and advice:
Dell 4600 (I just got a Dell notebook and have been strongly leaning Dell - I like them)
- P4 HT, 2.8, 800 Mhz FSB
- 512 MB RAM at 400 Mhz
- 80 GB HD at 7200 RPM
- 48x CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive
- 128 MB Nvidia GeForce GX 5200 graphics card
- Sound Blaster Live 5.1 sound card
- Basic software, etc.
- I love the config, but no DVD-RW or FireWire, so I'd have to add those. There are spots available.
- Price after rebate is $738

Sony RS420 from Tiger Direct
- A negative I see is the 4x DVD+/-RW drive, but it's multi-format. Is 4x really a negative?
- Is the RAM negative at PC2700 333 Mhz vs. the Dell above (400 Mhz)?
- Video card is smaller than the Dell (64 MB vs. 128 MB)
- I would need to add a sound card
- Is the Sony a good product?
- For $799 after rebate, can I beat this value? Huge hard drive, P4 HT, multi-format DVD-RW, nice software, etc.

Help me make the call!!!


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Re:Help Make the Final Call...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 24, 2004 8:23 AM PST

Frankly, I'd not do this. You can ignore me, but all my new machine plans for 2004 are 64-bit. I will not be buying any non-64-bit desktops this year. The prices are dropping fast and people may be quite cheesed over this in just a few months.


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Re:Re:Help Make the Final Call...
by waltlopus / February 24, 2004 12:27 PM PST

Well, that's interesting. Wasn't expecting that. Now I don't know what to think...

All that said, when will be 64-bit machines be out and affordable? And what does that add for you?

64-bit notwithstanding, what about my question?

Thank you!


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The Final Call. (for 32-bit)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 24, 2004 8:24 PM PST

The last time we saw such a shift, it happened in about 9 months. The changeover is real and the forces behind it are building and accelerating.

I've given you a storm warning about this and if you buy this, you must be ready to not have buyer's remorse in a few months.


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Re:Help Make the Final Call...
by waltlopus / February 24, 2004 1:47 PM PST

Looks like I'm going with the Sony...too much value at $799

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Good choice IMO......
by John Robie / February 25, 2004 1:50 AM PST

I like (that the $800 Dell doesn't give) the 800MHz Front Side Bus, the DVD

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Re:Good choice IMO......
by John Robie / February 25, 2004 2:26 AM PST
In reply to: Good choice IMO......
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Sony. No nice words from me for them.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 25, 2004 3:11 AM PST

The story is simple. The office did a purchase of 20 Sony laptops and within 1 month 1/2 didn't boot. While I'm sure Sony has improved the product reliability issues what Sony failed terribly on is the service of the product.

After an initial flury of phone calls we finally had to assign the job of getting the units back and forth from Sony to one IT tech. After 6 months, shipping was still a weekly occurance with no end in sight.

The brutal truth about the laptops finally was revealed by a Sony (no names please) tech that the units we had were not designed to run on a desktop for 8 hour straight. We were a little dismayed that a PC (laptop or desktop) would not boot and run for a workday. Sure enough we tried a simple test of just turning off the screen saver and such and wanting to check in at 5 to see which ones were still functional. Over 1/2 still locked up solid.

Sony never resolved this issue and we eventually found that by selective fielding these units to people who could shut them down for lunch, we could put them in service.

There were too unreliable to send out with the mobile force.

I recount this story to anyone considering Sony computers.


To wit: Just try to find your Sony service center.


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Re:Sony. No nice words from me for them.
by John Robie / February 25, 2004 5:23 AM PST

Hi Bob,

I remember you reporting about those Sony Laptops before in another forum. What year model were those Laptops? As you indicate the laptops were not designed for hard 8 hour + commercial business use on a desktop?


In my city we have two privately owned repair shops that are authorized Sony service centers for the 1 year warranty or additional warranties.

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Re:Re:Sony. No nice words from me for them.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 25, 2004 6:39 AM PST

The year was 2000.

Hard usage was Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook. As I noted. Even sitting on the desktop, 1/2 of the batch would lockup.

The office was in Canada, so service varies from country to country...

20 laptops to remember them by...


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Re:Help Make the Final Call...
by John Robie / February 26, 2004 1:42 AM PST

Hmmmm....I subscribe to the ZDNet free newsletter and late yesterday afternoon they sent me an email just notifying and showing a Tiger Direct ad for a Sony desktop model RS410 with a $300 price reduction to $649.95. Comparing against the Sony RS420 you are buying for $799, the $150 difference is well worth it IMO. Only differences that I can see.

RS410 has Pent 4, 2.66GHz, BUS at 533MHZ
RS420 has Pent 4, 2.8GHz, BUS at 800MHZ with HT Technology

RS410 has 256MB RAM
RS420 has 512MB RAM

RS410 has Integrated Graphics and no AGP slot in MB for upgrade to a graphics card.
RS420 has a Graphics Card with AGP slot for upagrades.

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Re:Re:Help Make the Final Call...
by waltlopus / February 26, 2004 1:56 AM PST

Thanks for the info, John, but I ordered a Dell yesterday. See my "And the verdict is..." post.


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Re:Help Make the Final Call...
by dmdelong49 / March 7, 2004 5:55 AM PST

I have never been hosed by Sony, but I have been hosed by DELL. I believe Sony still maintains the high quality standards that made the name famous. The same can NOT be said about DELL, or most other electronics manufacturers. Also, when you call Sony Tech Support, you will be connected with a COMPETENT, ENGLISH SPEAKING, AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL with a minimum amount of automated phone menu button pushing and a relatively short wait time. You will need to pack a lunch if you're calling DELL Tech Support, and good luck trying to find anyone bright enough to help you. I called them 4 times with 4 different questions and was given the WRONG answer all 4 times. Finally, there is NO WAY you could possible notice the difference between 333 MHz and 400 MHz RAM, even if DELL isn't fudging their numbers. In short, go with the Sony. You will be much happier in the long run even if it costs a little more.

Doug DeLong

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