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nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

Computers for Home/Small Business

I have a small home based business. In the past I've used Dell Vostro's which I was happy with, but they've ended that line. Was shopping at the OptiPlex but dealing with Dell has just been painful. I really get the feeling that aren't interested in my business other than selling me an extended warranty.

I'm thinking of just looking at a smaller custom build company. I don't need anything powerful (just for desktop applications). Most custom companies I've at least heard of just deal in gaming systems.

Any recommendations on a company that can build a decent computer and stand by them? I don't need front-line/windows support, just a company that will be willing warranty a hardware problem and promptly take care of it. There are plenty of them out there, just looking for a recommendation or two.
--
This Space for Rent...

aguen
Premium
join:2003-07-16
Grants Pass, OR
kudos:2
Not too many good options out there anymore I'm afraid (imo). This crowd is probably one of the last decent independent builders/retailers. Unfortunately, the nearest one to you is in Tustin, Ca. »www.microcenter.com/site/stores/tustin.aspx
They can sell you most of the major brands and they also have their own store brand (PowerSpec) equipment.

Good Luck in your search.
--
Stupid people shouldn't be allowed to breathe


nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
reply to nightdesigns
I miss Microcenter. I used to visit that very tustin store as I lived near by. They usually had better prices than Frys and even dell on dell systems.
--
This Space for Rent...


Oregonian
Premium
join:2000-12-21
West Linn, OR
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to nightdesigns
Have you ever heard of Carey Holzman? He runs a computer repair store in Phoenix. He also will custom build PCs for individuals or businesses. He has quite a few build videos on YouTube and seems to be very knowledgeable and take a lot of pride in his work. I have never used him so can't really recommend him but thought that, seeing as you are in AZ, you might want to check him out.

»www.webpronews.com/carey-holzman···-2003-05


Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2
reply to nightdesigns
said by nightdesigns:

In the past I've used Dell Vostro's which I was happy with, but they've ended that line.

Not that I am particularly recommending Dell, but the Vostro line was just Inspiron that shipped with less junkware. The hardware was identical. And in the past year or two, they even had the same junkware and overseas tier 1 support. Something is going on with the Inspiron 660 (the non-micro box version), even Dell doesn't seem to have them.

If you are going to use a smaller shop, use one local. A warranty won't do you much good if your systems are down for 2+ weeks of shipping time.


Wily_One
Premium
join:2002-11-24
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to nightdesigns
I don't have to deal with procurement directly, but my company used Optiplex's for years. They are the "business line" for desktops. Nothing special, but overall pretty reliable.

If you don't want to deal with Dell anymore, I'd say stick with one of the other top brands (Lenovo, HP) for the warranty support piece of mind.


nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
said by Wily_One:

I don't have to deal with procurement directly, but my company used Optiplex's for years. They are the "business line" for desktops. Nothing special, but overall pretty reliable.

The computers are good, but the customer service in just trying to get the thing delivered has been horrendous as of late. It's obvious they just tell the representatives to make things up if they don't have an answer. I got tired of the lines of BS they were telling me and cancelled my latest orders from them.
--
This Space for Rent...


Wily_One
Premium
join:2002-11-24
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
I see - I've only dealt with Dell on enterprise server support, which meant I get to talk to someone in the U.S. We had 24-hour (or less) turnaround on any hardware replacement. But I know they had problems when they outsourced their consumer support to India.

If you're a big enough account to rate premier support your experience will be better than lesser customers.


howardfine

join:2002-08-09
Saint Louis, MO
Reviews:
·AT&T Southwest

1 recommendation

reply to nightdesigns
Just buy a Mac. I don't own one. I build my own. But my son has one. Buy a Mac. I can't emphasize it enough.
quote:
Apple was the most reliable among desktop brands. It also had the best technical support, so Apple owners are far more likely to have a positive tech-support experience than those with Windows computers.
--Consumer Reports


nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
said by howardfine:

Just buy a Mac.

Pass. I also work in TV and use Macs daily for video work. They have higher hardware fail rates of any PC that I've used. If you aren't on applecare, repairs are a fortune. The OS does not integrate well into Windows networks at all. And basically, if you come across a problem, they make it like you don't know what they're doing instead of fixing the issue.
--
This Space for Rent...


howardfine

join:2002-08-09
Saint Louis, MO
Reviews:
·AT&T Southwest
said by nightdesigns:

They have higher hardware fail rates of any PC that I've used.

Consumer Reports says that's not true based on thousands of surveys of its paid subscribers as I quoted. That's been true for the past 10 years.

said by nightdesigns:

The OS does not integrate well into Windows networks at all.

Windows networks don't integrate well with any others, either. What use do you have for one?

said by nightdesigns:

if you come across a problem, they make it like you don't know what they're doing instead of fixing the issue.

Again, that flies in the face of what Consumer Reports has found for the past 10 years or more.

Professionally, I own a web dev company and all our freelancers use Macs. Almost all our clients use Macs. My son has one. I have three iPads and one iPhone for the company. I've never had or heard of any issues that you speak of.

I used to work in TV and radio (and film) years ago.


nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
reply to nightdesigns
All of these issues happened 1-2 years after purchase.

G5 circa 2004. Memory issue, confirmed by third party. Apple refused to acknowledge the problem and repair. Failed monitor after 1 year.

Mac Pro circa 2006 - Failed Hard drive, Failed Monitor

iMac Circa 2006 - Random lines on screen. Known issue, Failed Hard Drive

iMac Circa 2008 - DVD recorder failed, replaced under apple care warranty ($700!), failed again a year later.

Mac Pro Circa 2008 - Both DVD recorders have failed, Ram issue, video card failure.

On all systems, frequent OS/finder crashes, spinning wheels, lots of issues with file transfers between systems and SAN. OS 10.8 has an issue with SMB to windows shares with the reading of directories being very slow. Worked fine on 10.6, reformatted to 10.8 on 2 systems, and it's very slow now.

And a big one: we were a Final Cut house and they ended that software and replaced it with something inferior. We've fully switched to adobe. And because that software is cross platform, we will be moving to PCs on our next upgrade round.

Oh, and the yearly OS release cycle drives us and our IT folks crazy. Most software only supports 2 releases.

--
This Space for Rent...


howardfine

join:2002-08-09
Saint Louis, MO
Reviews:
·AT&T Southwest
Your last two issues are software related and not hardware. Actually, your Final Cut issue is not a failure but you don't like the new version. Yes, I know a lot of people didn't like the new version.

The rest of your problems, I don't know. I only know I've never heard anyone ever say they had a lot of problems with them and I deal with a lot of Mac users. Plus CR has rated them #1 in every category for over 10 years including reliability. So that can only make me think it's your location or business that had issues.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
said by howardfine:

Plus CR has rated them #1 in every category for over 10 years including reliability. So that can only make me think it's your location or business that had issues.

I once made a comment in the automotive forum here about seeing a lot of Honda/Acura vehicles that smoke excessively, especially on take off. I was curious what, if any, Honda/Acura or related vehicle I should avoid. You know what I was told? "Honda's don't smoke." Soooooo, every one I see must be an illusion? Whatever.

The moral of that story is don't put 100% stock in a single source. Yes CR tends to be one of the more reliable sources, I've used them when shopping for a new TV or vehicles. I don't consider them to be THE source to go to though as they tend to get hung up on things and ignore others as if they have blinders on. Case in point, I read one of their "must have tablet accessories" list. Key word there: tablet. You know what EVERY item in their list worked on (and only worked on)? The damn iPad. Sorry, but the iPad is NOT the only tablet in the world and IMO not even the best.

As for his issue with Mac in general, maybe it is his location. We don't know what his location is like. It could be a dusty, hot, damp environment and otherwise horrible for a PC (or a human lol). I don't see how the business itself could be the issue, please explain.

said by howardfine:

Windows networks don't integrate well with any others, either. What use do you have for one?

I'm curious what you're getting at here. It appears you are asking him why he runs a Windows network? Why does it matter anyway? He apparently runs a Windows based network and you want him to change everything because they don't integrate well with others? Seems kinda presumptuous to me, if that's really what you're getting at.


howardfine

join:2002-08-09
Saint Louis, MO
Reviews:
·AT&T Southwest
Too often people complain that a Mac or Linux computer doesn't run a particular Windows program as if it was a fault while ignoring the fact that Windows computers don't run a lot of Mac and Linux programs but that's not a fault.

Hondas don't smoke and I've had a few of those.

said by JoelC707:

Yes CR tends to be one of the more reliable sources

That's my whole point. They do far more testing/analyzing/surveying than any other source so their statements should carry a lot of weight. You'll find people on this board who will diss CR and say it's untrusted, unverified, unreliable, etc., and, instead, will rely on comments here from anonymous posters.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
said by howardfine:

Hondas don't smoke and I've had a few of those.

Genius...

said by howardfine:

They do far more testing/analyzing/surveying than any other source so their statements should carry a lot of weight.

What skills or training do these people have to perform this testing? Let's take the Mac vs. PC thing. Are they a bunch of Mac users who dislike the PC? Are they a bunch of PC users who have never used a Mac before? Neither one is a good sign for proper testing. Do they hire in a bunch of temps that come from different backgrounds and can be objective in their analysis?

said by howardfine:

You'll find people on this board who will diss CR and say it's untrusted, unverified, unreliable, etc., and, instead, will rely on comments here from anonymous posters.

I'm not saying to ignore them and I sure don't put more stock in anon posters here or elsewhere. What I am saying is don't put 100% stock in them (or any one source, no matter how reliable). If that one source says one thing and every other source says the opposite, which one do you think is probably right?

To be honest, you can argue that CR (or insert any other favorite source) ranks Mac better than PC until you are blue in the face. Personal experience overrides anything testing methodology indicates. Let me give you another example. I don't know how CR ranks HP laptops but I have had nothing but problems out of every single HP laptop I have owned or known about through friends/relatives. Because of that experience with them, I flat out refuse to buy another HP laptop.

said by howardfine:

Too often people complain that a Mac or Linux computer doesn't run a particular Windows program as if it was a fault while ignoring the fact that Windows computers don't run a lot of Mac and Linux programs but that's not a fault.

True, that's not the right way to make comparisons and it's not a fair comparison but I think I understand WHY those comparisons are made. Through the use of WINE, Linux (and possibly Mac) can run Windows programs. The results of this are of course hit or miss and is honestly a fault of WINE, not Linux or Mac.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to nightdesigns
I wonder if the Dell Precision line has US or overseas support? You'll pay more for it but it's also going to be more reliable because, especially in the higher end models they use server grade (Xeon) components.

As for finding a system builder that isn't the likes of Dell/HP/Lenovo, they often focus on gaming systems. You might be able to find low end systems from them but they aren't likely to carry many choices or have the long warranties their high end systems offer.

If you decide to roll your own system, Asus sells "Corporate Stable" versions of their boards. They tend to be the previous generation but that is OK because that means they should have ironed out all the bugs in various firmwares on the board. The other benefit to those boards is Asus offers advanced replacement on them (they send you a new one before you send back the defective one minimizing downtime). Some RAM vendors offer that and I know most hard drive vendors offer it, I'm not sure about Intel/AMD though. That option makes it so you can have a decent warranty (the replacement is usually shipped to you via next day/2 day air) and still build your own.


OvrQualified
Slightly Ahead Of Time
Premium
join:2002-01-27
Winter Park, FL
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
said by JoelC707:

I wonder if the Dell Precision line has US or overseas support? You'll pay more for it but it's also going to be more reliable because, especially in the higher end models they use server grade (Xeon) components.

My current desktop is a Precision T7600, I did put ProSupport on it (it wasn't very expensive to upgrade from 3 year basic to ProSupport), and it is US-based.
--
The enemy of my enemy is my WHAT?!


howardfine

join:2002-08-09
Saint Louis, MO
Reviews:
·AT&T Southwest
reply to JoelC707
said by JoelC707:

What skills or training do these people have to perform this testing?

About CR
iirc, they have a few PhD computer scientists on staff.
said by JoelC707:

Personal experience overrides anything testing methodology indicates.

That's why they do an annual survey of their subscribers, all who pay for the magazine. The survey never asks for opinion but asks questions like, "Did you ever get this fixed?" and "How much did it cost you to get it fixed?". There are one million surveys returned.

said by JoelC707:

I have had nothing but problems out of every single HP laptop I have owned

CR agrees with you and downgrades mostly for poor performance.


Wily_One
Premium
join:2002-11-24
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
said by howardfine:

iirc, they have a few PhD computer scientists on staff.

If you're trying to make the point that they have no real world expertise or experience in operations, then you have succeeded! LOL.


howardfine

join:2002-08-09
Saint Louis, MO
Reviews:
·AT&T Southwest
Of course not. They need people who understand the science of computers just like they have scientists for all the sciences such as medicine. The testing labs are for comparing what one computer does against another. That's where usability engineers are.

Apparently you've never looked at CR before. CR has 8 million paid subscribers. You should get a copy.

dave
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-04
not in ohio
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 edit
reply to howardfine
said by howardfine:

Too often people complain that a Mac or Linux computer doesn't run a particular Windows program as if it was a fault while ignoring the fact that Windows computers don't run a lot of Mac and Linux programs but that's not a fault.

Too often people get on a hobby-horse about one OS or another, forgetting that business computers are generally purchased to run particular applications.

If the OP's looking at Windows systems, I suspect it's because that's what he needs.

In summary, the proper order is to first choose the software you want to run, then figure out what you can run it on.


howardfine

join:2002-08-09
Saint Louis, MO
Reviews:
·AT&T Southwest
said by dave:

If the OP's looking at Windows systems, I suspect it's because that's what he needs.

He's never said a Windows system is what he needs nor that any other OS is out of the running.

Oedipus

join:2005-05-09
kudos:1
He has been buying Dells. I'd say he needs Windows.


howardfine

join:2002-08-09
Saint Louis, MO
His only reason for not choosing a Mac was his employer had problems with them, not because he needs Windows.


Zenit

join:2012-05-07
Purcellville, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon Online DSL
reply to nightdesigns
Have you checked if any of the offerings from Lenovos business line would work?
»shop.lenovo.com/us/en/desktops/thinkcentre/

Right now the product line is transitioning from Ivy Bridge to the new Haswell chips, so a few models are unavailable, yet. The ThinkCentre tiny is a neat desktop if you dont need PCI-E expandability.

My experiences with Lenovo support have been very good - I needed recovery disks ASAP for my ThinkPad x230, and under a standard warranty they sent them to me overnight air for free.

I know that right now, Lenovos shipment times are a mess. A friend ordered a last-gen ThinkPad T430 last month, and it took Lenovo a month to build it and ship it. This may just be for ThinkPad laptops...Lenovo opened a factory in North Carolina to speed up shipment of desktops and laptops (Think line) but not all models are being assembled there. I think all of the ThinkCentres can be made in the US facility, but its luck of the draw.

dave
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-04
not in ohio
kudos:8
reply to howardfine
Well, that and the stated suboptimal interoperation with Windows networks, which probably tells you he has a Windows network.


howardfine

join:2002-08-09
Saint Louis, MO
Reviews:
·AT&T Southwest

1 edit
That doesn't mean he needs a Windows network, which is why I asked if he really needed that.

He was looking for a better built computer which Apple products are. Whether he needs Windows networking, or anything that's Windows-only, is up to him to decide, but he did not say, in his posts, that he couldn't use Apple Macs.

Too many times people just jump on the Windows bandwagon .... just because... without considering Apple products. Most of the time I'd bet he'd be just as well served, if not better.

mikefxu

join:2004-10-05
Titusville, FL
reply to nightdesigns
Past 10 computers we bought came from provantage.com, cheaper than dell.com.

»www.provantage.com/scripts/searc···T=CDESKT

You can't build a basic computer with Windows licensing for what Dell sells them for.


nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
reply to nightdesigns
I'll probably be going with AllPCZone/ComputerLX.com . I sent them an e-mail they they replied immediately the next business day. Spoke with one of the sales guys who was very professional, not pushy, and knew their products well.

I compared their pricing versus purchasing the individual products the pricing was only slightly more (which includes assembly and shipping). Yes it's a bit more than Dell, but the customer service is already top notch and lots of reviews on reseller ratings with them rated very highly (9.60/10 on almost 2,000 reviews). I know I can build my own, but really, I don't have time. I'll pay a small fee to have someone else do it, do the burn in, and know that all the parts are compatible.

I'll report back once I have the system in-hand.

And as others have asked, yes I need it to be a Windows based system.
--
This Space for Rent...