Byte Me Article 101 – ‘Bargain’ PC’s end up as an expensive buy

‘Bargain’ PC’s end up as an expensive buy

17 November 2012

Well it has been a crazy week and I can’t remember us being this busy before.  The pre-Christmas rush is already well under way!  Laptops certainly seem to be the flavour of the week and they have been going out the door like hot cakes.  The introduction of Windows 8 has certainly had a bearing on this although we are still finding that the majority of our laptop customers are buying Windows 7 devices – so far.

We had an instance this week of a customer grabbing a budget laptop from one of the chain stores because it was “a bargain” and then bringing it to us to configure.  It was a HP Pavilion, a consumer laptop from Hewlett Packard and it was interesting to see what it was like as it is a model that we can also resell.  It was a good looking laptop but this is where the goodness simply stopped.

2012-11-17 Byte Me Article 101 - Consumer Laptop

We prefer to sell the business/commercial range of HP laptops and they still have a lot of junk software installed.  If fact our techs spend around 2 hours of tech time and around 4 hours of computing time per laptop to configure and update them.  This includes removing all of the junk and trial software and installing and updating essential software, however this Pavilion laptop had double the junk that we normally see.

I don’t like the way our industry has gone down the track of bundling computers & laptops with every bit of software imaginable ‘in case’ the user wants it?  Certainly one of the reasons for this is to make them look ‘pretty’ when on a display shelf and turned on for a customer to look at – normally the uninitiated will say “wow – look at all of the software that it comes with”.

This same laptop had a very flimsy plastic derived lid and keys that felt very wooden to the touch.  We had to install more ram into this brand new laptop and removing all of the junk software took forever – all of this cost the customer dearly.  At the end of the process it took around 1 minute to start instead of 3 minutes and was entirely different to use but it prompted me to look further into things.

For $488 the HP Pavilion had an AMD CPU (the brain of the laptop) rated at only 722, it had 2GB of Ram, a 320 GB hard drive, 14” screen and Windows 8.  Remember, it took hours to configure and extra ram to make it run well.  Our base model laptop is a HP 650 for $649 with an Intel CPU rated at 1,625, 8GB of Ram, a 320GB hard drive, a 15.6” screen, Windows 8 and all of the configuration work already done.  What we had to do to the Pavilion ended up costing a further $350 but we can’t upgrade a laptop CPU so it still has a very low power rating.

Basically any laptop or desktop today should have 8GB of ram and a CPU rated at around 2,000 to 10,000 – why would you want to buy a slow new PC that instantly becomes a source of frustration? 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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