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 Post subject: How Noisy are Dell Computers?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 9:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 12:25 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Boston, MA
When I first started looking at getting a new computer, I came up with the following system:

Athlon XP 2400+, Asus A7N8X, Antec Sonata, and a ATI All-in-Wonder VE, 512 SDRAMM PC2700, 60 gig Barracuda

I'd also get a quiet CPU cooling fan, but I haven't gotten around to that part yet. When I priced out what I was looking for, it came out to around $700ish.

Then I saw an ad for a Dell Dimenson 8250 for only $600:

P4 2.53 ghz, 256 RDRAMM PC1066, ATI All-in-Wonder 9000 Pro 64 MB, 30 gig HD

I'd most likely buy another HD and add more memory eventually to the Dell.

I've always heard that Dell's are quiet computers. Do you think there is going to be a significant/noticible noise difference between the two? Once I add another HD and more memory, the price/value/performance difference would probably equal out. However it would be nice to get a pre-assembled system instead of having to assemble a system myself.

Thanks for the advice!


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 Post subject: Dell's are quiet, BUT...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 10:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 7:11 pm
Posts: 7335
Location: Maynard, MA, Eaarth
Hello:

Dell's are quiet, but there is a lot more to this than meets the eye. Dell's are quite proprietary:

1) they use motherboards that are made just for them
2) some are split so that they work in those "clamshell" case can open, they sometimes have just 1 or 2 PCI slots open
3) they use "closed" BIOS's -- virtually nothing can be tweaked
4) their power supplies are *not* the same as standard ATX and if you use a standard ATX PS, you may just destroy the MB.
5) they preload all the OS and software onto a hidden partition on the HD and this keeps you from ever using all of the capacity, and you can never reformat -- you will loose your copy of Windows if you did!
6) Rambus RDRAM is more expensive, and you might not have any open slots

The choices you are presenting are almost polar opposites: one is predigested and the other DIY. Also, I'm partial to Athlons. :o

For your extra $100 you get double the HD and RAM, and you have the ability to expand in a Sonata. And if you want to save some money, consider the Evercase 4252 with a Fortron P300XFPN 300watt PS, and possibly a Tbred 'B' 2100+. The systems in my signature cost me ~$525 each and with a 60GB instead of the 120GB that I have, they would be ~$425! :) I would have liked to upgrade to the A7N8X Deluxe, which would have bumped it up to $500 again. Also, you could save some on the RAM if you got a 266mHZ bus Athlon and don't plan on overclocking, but you should buy a 333mHz FSB model if you can afford it.

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Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 10:51 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2002 9:52 pm
Posts: 2057
Location: United States, Mobile, AL
No manufacturer on earth is going to sell you a computer that you couldnt build cheaper yourself. Dells are sometimes quiet, it all depends, ive had 2, and ive worked on a dozen or so more, and it just depends. Some of them are actually quite loud. Plus even the quietest dell will not be anywhere near as quiet as one you build yourself. Also What neil says it true, my brother had a dell that recently went apeshit, and I cant be certain if its the hardrive or the mobo or the powersupply because everything is tied in together. You cant just put in a new power supply, you have to use a dell power supply, or buy an adapter. Their software is the same way. I have a dell 98se disk that wont load on a computer unless it has dell bios in it.


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 Post subject: Re: Dell's are quiet, BUT...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 12:25 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Boston, MA
Neil, thanks for the advice. Although not in order, what's below is my thoughts on your points. I'm sure I'm missing something, so please feel free to give me other ideas of what I'm missing out on.

1) I doubt that I'm as hardcore as most of the people on these boards are about upgrading. I currently have a celeron 366 that's a couple years old. Over the past few years, I've added more memory, a new HD, and a CDRW drive, all things that seem to be easily doable on a Dell. From what I've heard, you can easily reinstall Win XP after reformating your HD.

2) I'm not really interested in overclocking, so I'm not sure why I would want to tweak things on the BIOS.

3) Is there a reason to switch PSUs? The only thing I could think of is if the PSU fails and you need a replacement. If the Dell PSU was noisy, then I'd be concerened about switching it out.

4) Are proprietary motherboards that bad? I'm thinking in the lines of #3 above.

5) What do you put in your PCI slots anyway? A sound card? I don't know about most people, but if your ethernet connection is built into the motherboard, and your graphics card is in some AGP slot, the only thing I would be putting in a PCI slot would be a sound card.

6) RDRAM being more expensive is definitely a bummer. It is supposed to have some performance edge over PC2700 SDRAM though which I guess is a good thing. I think that's why I'd get 256 MB now and wait for the other 256 later.

While I like the idea of DIY and would prefer an Athlon over a Pentium, it's still a difficult choice. And while I bought my current computer with the intention of OCing and upgrading it, it never really materialized. Realistically, I'm thinking that while I'll probably want to upgrade the HD, memory, and possibly install a DVD writer in the future, I can't think of much more that I would do before buying a new computer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2003 4:04 pm
Posts: 105
Location: MN
All i want to say is thank you to everybody - now i'm forever dissuaded from buying a Dell for my home :D (that and their support sucks)

Although it does look very tempting to get all that stuff + OS for 600 bucks. :oops:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2002 9:52 pm
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Location: United States, Mobile, AL
If you are confident in your ability to build a computer then I would say its a no brainer. You can build a cheaper faster quieter computer than dell can.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 2:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 4:00 pm
Posts: 918
Location: Madison, WI, USA
Their support sucks? you must be talking about a different Dell than I'm thinking of, the one I've experienced has excellent tech support... My parents office did pay extra for a better tech support plan, but they're replacement hard drive was installed for them the same day the old one broke.... On the standard set up they also have pretty good tech support.

But yes, if your smart about it you can get quieter, but theirs is pretty good, I think 2 NMBs run everything....


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 Post subject: Re: Dell's are quiet, BUT...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2003 5:26 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2002 6:33 am
Posts: 8636
Location: Sunny SoCal
abcb wrote:
Neil, thanks for the advice. Although not in order, what's below is my thoughts on your points. I'm sure I'm missing something, so please feel free to give me other ideas of what I'm missing out on.

1) I doubt that I'm as hardcore as most of the people on these boards are about upgrading. I currently have a celeron 366 that's a couple years old. Over the past few years, I've added more memory, a new HD, and a CDRW drive, all things that seem to be easily doable on a Dell. From what I've heard, you can easily reinstall Win XP after reformating your HD.

2) I'm not really interested in overclocking, so I'm not sure why I would want to tweak things on the BIOS.

3) Is there a reason to switch PSUs? The only thing I could think of is if the PSU fails and you need a replacement. If the Dell PSU was noisy, then I'd be concerened about switching it out.

4) Are proprietary motherboards that bad? I'm thinking in the lines of #3 above.

5) What do you put in your PCI slots anyway? A sound card? I don't know about most people, but if your ethernet connection is built into the motherboard, and your graphics card is in some AGP slot, the only thing I would be putting in a PCI slot would be a sound card.

6) RDRAM being more expensive is definitely a bummer. It is supposed to have some performance edge over PC2700 SDRAM though which I guess is a good thing. I think that's why I'd get 256 MB now and wait for the other 256 later.

While I like the idea of DIY and would prefer an Athlon over a Pentium, it's still a difficult choice. And while I bought my current computer with the intention of OCing and upgrading it, it never really materialized. Realistically, I'm thinking that while I'll probably want to upgrade the HD, memory, and possibly install a DVD writer in the future, I can't think of much more that I would do before buying a new computer.


Sounds like a Dell would be a good choice for you. There's nothing wrong with that, whatever's best for you. I build computers as a side job and I point a lot of potential customers towards Dell if it seems like that's what would work best for them. If you're going to buy prebuilt, Dell's probably the best choice although you might want to look at MicronPC too. They're slightly more expensive than Dell but you have many more hardware choices (including AMD processors, if that floats your boat) and I think you get a "real" OS disk with the computer.

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Music Server: Intel DH77EB + i3-3220, 2xSamsung 2TB F4, Pico PSU, Fractal Define Mini, 2xScythe Fans @250 rpm.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2003 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 12:25 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Boston, MA
Well, I ended up getting a Dell. We'll see how satisfied I am with it after it arrives in a few weeks. When it came down to it, being able to get a new computer for ~$400 after selling my old computer overrode a lot of the doubts I had. Of course, if it doesn't live up to expectations, it'll be time to try building one :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2003 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 9:47 pm
Posts: 33
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Nothing wrong with Dell's. I just bought one for my father - he lives 300 KM away, and I really don't have the time to be his help desk (I wish I did...) so the warranty and 7x24 support helps me too. Also, we run them at work and they're solid and quiet.

Me, I'm still building machines for myself, but the last 3 people who asked about PC's, I sent to Dell.

Result - 3 happy PC owners. Good strong basic machines with an excellant warranty, good service and 7x24 support ( I do hear rumblings about that on the net though). :?

Not everyone needs best of breed for every single piece - sometimes it's the ensemble that matters.

my $0.0135


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2003 9:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:13 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Los Angeles
abcb, I posted here a few days ago and it seems like it got lost in the new server transition. Anyway, I have a few 4550's and most are very very quiet. I posted a couple of threads of the different Dell 4550 fans and noise. Do a search under my name if you want to read them. I am pretty sure the 8250 and 4550 are exactly the same configuration except for the rdram....

The 4550's do have a standard ATX power supply now. I just switched one for a Nexxus a few weeks back and it works well. I also have read in the Dell forums that the 8250 are standard ATX too. They do have closed Bios though which stinks, and I have 3 open pci slots....

Also I have had nothing but great customer service from them for almost the last decade now. Although now that I am becoming more of a tweaker, I am not sure if the Dells are for me anymore. I can't check fan speed, temps, change CAS ram settings etc. from the Dells. That doesn't mean that you won't like it though.


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