I recently spent a lot time (days) trying to get a computer going for some friends for whom I am basically the IT support. I commented briefly about this in my posting “Big Gaps Between Postings” (here).
In the end, after about three days trying, I decided that I could not cobble together a reliable working computer out of all the computer components that I had left lying around and, as they live 160 klms away (100 miles for my US readers), it would be a really silly thing to provide them with a computer that I did not consider 100% reliable. Because, as any person who supports friend’s or relative’s technology will know, in the end there is very little you can fix over-the-phone (much to the disappointment of the person on the other end of the phone). In the end you always have to go to the PC or have the PC brought to you.
So I checked a few local computer shops who have online sites and I was pretty amazed at just how little it costs right now for a fairly decent home computer. I realise that the Aussie dollar is trading at about $1.03 US dollars but I was still surprised at the low cost. In the end I picked up a computer from Austin Computers in Cannington for $417. Seriously. $417.
This was with an ASUS P5G41T motherboard, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, an Intel E5400 Dual Core 2.7Ghz CPU with 2MB L2 cache, Western Digital Caviar 500GB hard disk, Samsung CD/DVD Reader/Writer, 8x Full-speed USB 2.0 ports, on-board Nvidia graphics, and a 400w power supply. All with 2 years labour and 1 year parts return-to-base warranty.
I can recall a time not so long ago when you could not buy a half decent 180GB hard disk drive for $417. Now you can buy a whole computer and this is not one of your entry-level 2GB of RAM Celeron computers.
Okay. This price does not include an operating system but I have spare Windows 7 Home Premium operating system licenses laying around that I will most likely never use—so I put one of them on.
This computer has Office 2003, Publisher 2010, and Outlook 2010 loaded, along with all the basic stuff you need to load onto a new computer (FireFox, Opera, Adobe Reader, IrfanView, Paint.NET, Flash, QuickTime, VLC, required printer drivers, etc.,) yet it boots Windows 7 up to the desktop in 22 seconds and launches Publisher in less than a second.