Dodge Retort: PC upgrade work & research…pays off


By John Dodge

I just bought a new desktop after eight years living on a Dell 8300 Pentium 4 for which I plunked down $2562 on April 2, 2003.

This time around, I spent $799.98 for a HP Pavilion Elite 410F. My purchase reaffirms Moore’s Law that says PCs double in power every 18 months (technically, Moore referred to doubling the number of transistors on the CPU). So I am paying a third for equivalent power by today’s standards – 6 core Phenom II, 5570 Radeon graphics with a 1GB of video RAM, 1T hard drive, 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, Blu-ray drive, memory slots and three USB ports on the front of the unit…..I wanted a loaded PC because it could be another eight years before I buy another one if they still exist!

But does Moore’s law really apply to the user experience? I think not. Using that logic, the PC should be 4-6x as fast than the one I am replacing and of course that isn’t the case.

Nonetheless, so far, so good. The HP unit is up and running. I will detail more of the travails of working up a new system later in this post. But first, here’s the scoop on purchase experience.

After exhaustive research for more than month which I wrote about Nov. 22, I made my purchase, surprisingly enough, at Staples. I had often casually glanced at Staples’ slim selection of machines and thought they were pricey. For the exact same model, Staples beat Amazon by $45, Walmart mail order by $100 and by $30. And here’s the clincher: the machine I bought is now $920 at Staples online.

Timing is everything I guess and I am very a happy camper. The HP units are getting good reviews and must selling well. And prices are creeping up Christmas gets closer from their lows in the sales just after Thanksgiving. I made the purchase on Saturday, Nov. 27, which was sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

I also bought a 23-inch Samsung Syncmaster XL2370HD LED TV/Monitor for $$230 at Staples. At Amazon and most everywhere else , the same model is $280. At Staples online, it’s now $300! What’s more, the monitor is more than half the story. More on that in a bit.

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10 thoughts on “Dodge Retort: PC upgrade work & research…pays off”

  1. I think that one thing being overlooked is the fact that as the number of cores increases, it allows the manufacturer to slow down the processor speed, and still do the same amount of work. This reduces the power requirements as well as the amount of heat output, which will usually result in a longer lifespan of the components.

  2. Thanks Starskey and Paul. Yes, this is a “computer” forum and if HP is the topic and they take a controversial political position, it is just a relavent as the details of thier products. Or maybe we are just supposed to live in a vacuum because Martin is “tired”. Anyway, because of these posts, I am going to go verify the use of HP profits and not patronize anything HP if these statements are true.

  3. What the hell have the ravings of the red neck gun loonies got to do with how good a computer is.Thats all we want to know. We don’t want to know about your radical politics.American gung ho behavior with guns is exactly why people ARE anti American!

  4. No matter what the product, I always consider what a manufacturers profits go for. That said, if HP is truly anti-American, anti-Constitution, I’ll buy elsewhere! What other recourse do we have when our elected representatives ignore the majority of Americans? Boycotts work!

  5. Good luck and I’m glad your happy. I hope the desktops are better than the laptops that HP make.
    My pv9500’s dvd writer died shortly after 2 years and then the lid/screen hindges broke so badly I lost the use of the screen and have to use an external monitor on this now desktop/laptop… its no longer portable.

    Don’t think I’ll buy another HP

  6. I don’t think much of this HP system, but as long as the user is happy with it is all that matters. I do believe it was a deal for what he paid. While nothing will use 8GB of memory and very few apps currently will use all 6 cores, its possible that will change considerably in the next 8 years (and I believe that’s his intentions – for this system to last for the next 8 yrs or so).

    The 6 cores on the AMD won’t make up for the slower CPU even on the few apps that can use all 6 cores. An I7 would have been faster in every situation, regardless of how many cores are actually used.

    My preference would have been to spend a bit more on an I7 now, and not go over 4GB RAM now (because I expect DDR3 will mature over the next couple years and better products will be available and at better prices), but to each their own.

    As a heads up: Quicktime doesn’t play well with Windows 7. If you start running into your display reverting to basic settings, uninstalling Quicktime will likely resolve it.

    Also I would have traded one of those front USBs for front E-SATA if it were me. 🙂

  7. I will never buy any HP product. Reason – the major owner uses his profits to support most of the anti-gun groups. without his support, most of these would not exist.

    So since I believe in gun rights – I don’t support him or his business.

  8. I bought my first PC, a Pentium III with a 167MHz processor, 512MB RAM & 40GB HDD for $1565 in the year 2000. Six years later when I scrapped it for an Athlon 64 single core 2.01GHz processor, it cost me only $354 minus the monitor which being a Samsung CRT 15″ that has continued to serve me since year 2000. But I wonder what John is going to do with his new 6 core Phenom II, 1GB video graphics that must be requiring a large power supply and a big cooling system. Despite 6 core and DDR 3 RAM, according to John it is not as fast as he had expected. But then speed also depends on the applications that are going to run on it. It all depends on what u want to do with it. As a transcriber working from home I find a single core or dual core with a separate soundblaster sound card more than sufficient for the purpose. However, if one is also in desktop publishing then an addon graphics card is okay. If in addition to all this the PC is also used for multimedia/astronomy (!) then an addon video card would be desirable along with quad core. But six core for what?

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