[rescue] Slightly OT: Bad Cap Saga

Jonathan C. Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Tue Aug 19 00:24:02 CDT 2008

On Mon, 18 Aug 2008, Joshua Boyd wrote:

>> I think most Dell sales (and HP, etc.) are just because there are no
>> practical alternatives (in the Wintel world)
> No practical alternatives?  How are iMacs, IBMs, HPs, or BOXX machines
> not practical alternatives?

IBM PCs (xSeries only, as they've discontinued the IntelliStation) are
overpriced garbage with fantastically inept tech support.  I have a
whopper of a horror story from the last three xSeries systems we picked
up[0].  I will never, Never, NEVER buy another PC system from IBM.

BOXX, apart from their silly name, don't appear to make business desktop
systems--or anything apart from machines targeted at digital video folks.

HPs were mentioned, and, provided you buy their business-class or
workstation-class hardware, they are very respectable PCs.  HP's low-end
junk is even worse than Dell's low-end junk.

A lot of businesses aren't ready to commit to Macs yet.  Buying an
equivalently priced Mac over a PC for the purpose of running Windows is
seen as "a waste".  I'd agree, but I don't see it as "a waste" in exactly
the same way many IT managers do.

I'd like to see Apple make inroads on the business desktop, but it'll take
a while to overcome the perception that Macs are for graphics folks and
clueless end-users only.

All that said, Dell make a perfectly reasonable PC, provided you know what
to buy.  The Optiplex, Precision, and Latitude systems are generally quite
good, if you can deal with crap audio, loud fans, and so-so display
quality (somewhat less of an issue in these DVI days).  For most business
desktop users, a small Optiplex system is perfect.

Personally, I like having clean audio and quiet fans and video that
doesn't flicker blue static on the black areas of the display, so I'll
stick with my Mac.  If my employer didn't cater to their programmers'
whims (happy programmers are productive programmers), and I were forced to
deal with an Optiplex 745 or Precision 390 instead of a Mac Pro, I
wouldn't mind much.  I might pick up a USB audio interface at Fry's so
that I could listen to music without CPU PLL noise, but it wouldn't be
enough for me to throw a tantrum over.

[0] Sadly, I personally made (and had to fight for) the decision to go
     with IBM over Dell[1], as the machines were to be installed in Taiwan.
     My previous experience with IBM RS/6000 and S/390 hardware (thereby
     reclassifying my previous experience with IBM PCs as being a fluke)
     was that you pay a massive wad of cash up front in exchange for a
     reliable machine that doesn't give much trouble, backed by unmatched
     support.  What I got was egg on my face over unreliable crap backed by
     hardheaded idiots.
[1] $ork was, at the time, a Dell shop.  If you didn't need-to run
     PA-RISC or SPARC code, and you didn't make enough noise to get
     something else, you got a Dell.
Jonathan Patschke | "There is more to life than increasing its speed."
Elgin, TX         |                                   --Mahatma Gandhi
USA               |

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