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A client of mine who had bought to 2 Dell Computers phoned Dell support to ask why he couldn't copy a file on a floppy from one Dell PC to another. He quickly surmised that the Dell with win Xp on had a faulty floppy drive. The person he spoke to at Dell advised him to make a boot disk on the win98 Dell PC and boot from it in the xp PC and 'his problem would be solved'. He called Dell again to ask what to do next. The other person on the help line told him to format the XP PC and re-install XP. Unsure about this, not only because he had critical data on the HArd Drive, he rang around various computer suppliers to get a second opinion and quickly arrived at the conclusion he had a faulty floppy drive. On challenging the support team at Dell he was then told that there were critical floppy drive settings that could be the cause. This, he later found out, was a load of complete rubbish. Frustrated and angry he demanded Dell come and replace the faulty floppy drive. Oh no, it's not that simple. 'We will send you a floppy drive by courier and you must remove the faulty drive yourself and give it to the courier when he arrives'. He thought that DELL offered 'on-site' warranty. and now understands that 'on-site' means sending him the replacement part to his site. He has had to do the rest. Diagnose the fault, remove the faulty part, fit the replacement part himself. In other words Dell back up and support means that end-users, when they get a computer problem, have to get a diagnosis based on local expertise, inform Dell to replace the faulty part following the diagnosis, and then use local expertise to properly fit the new component after it has been delivered by a courier from Dell. All in all the cost of getting a floppy drive replaced cost him nearly £100. The actual value of a floppy drive totals no more than £10.
I’ve been a computer enthusiast for about twenty five years. I say enthusiast because I’m technically inept, understand very little about how they work, yet still get a tremendous amount of pleasure, enjoyment and usefulness out of them. I originally had access (I couldn’t afford my own) to an early Spectrum ZX, great fun, but it took about half an hour to load a really simple game. In the mid eighties I purchased an Acorn Electron, they were on sale for a knock down price of £150. This was absolutely brilliant at the time, with fantastic games, which loaded relatively quickly as long as you got the volume control right on the portable cassette recorder which needed to be used to download them. I still have fond memories of me and my son (who was then six) spending hours upon hours during the winter months playng ‘Chuckie Egg’. We were as hooked on that then as we now are on dooyoo). The Electron was replaced by an Amiga, which I thought was fantastic because it had 3D arcade type games as well as spreadsheet, database and word processing applications. An IBM 465 was purchased whilst I had the Amiga. This was incredibly reliable and was my first real ‘business’ computer with a hard drive. I purchased it from an advert in the paper complete with dot matrix printer for £599. Following the development of the web, faster processors and software which needed a lot more memory, a friend of mine built me a modern computer with a Pentium processor to which I later added internet access. This lasted six years with absolutely no problems until the hard drive went about eight months ago. Its demise sent me in search of a new computer and I finally decided about six months ago on the Dell Dimension 8100 Pentium 4. I bought it purely on the strength of comparing all the different specifications in the computer magazine adverts and associated prices and the fact that I had read somewhere th
at it was the computer the US government used. It arrived in about ten days at a cost of approximately £1,000 after I had upgraded it to include a separate CD writer. I found it incredibly easy to put together, with a comprehensive solutions guide and really useful software, including the ME edition of windows. One of the first things I did was to look at a specialist computer review site – something I would and should have done before I made the purchase and was amazed by the poor customer reviews it was getting. I quote from some of them: "a complete disappointment" ‘had four service calls to fix a "known issue" ‘replaced mother board twice, then network card, then video card’ ‘still have glitches and cannot print on my new epson printer’ ‘they finally send me a new system---same problems’ ‘customer service has been appalling’ ‘have been trying to solve these problems for 2 months, no response from dell to emails I have sent to customer service’ As you can imagine, this caused me few sleepless nights, wondering whether or not I’d bought a ‘pig in a poke’and each time I switched it on I anticipated one of the ‘known faults’ – particularly the dreaded blue screen which most people referred to. However I’ve now had the computer over six months and I can say I’m absolutely delighted with it. It fits the bill perfectly for me, fast processing (1.4ghz, 17” colour monitor, 56k V90 Data Fax modem, 128mb Ram, 40GB Hard Drive, CD writer and a built in DVD Rom drive. When I originally ordered the system over telephone the rep came across as very friendly, not in hurry and gave me good advice over what options to take. He advised me against most of the advertised options such as the digital camera, saying I could buy them cheaper else
where, but did recommend I purchased a separate CD rom drive rather than the dual use one they were offering a good deal for an extra £40. The actual time unpacking the unit from its container took longer than the setup of the computer. If you have never setup a system in the past, Dell includes a large graphical description of each component and how to connect each. Within ten minutes the system was hooked up and powered up. Furthermore, it came with a one year on-site warranty and two years collect and return, as well as having pre loaded software which includes Microsoft works, Word 2000, Microsoft Money, Publisher, Clipart, Autoroute and Encarta. For the first time I’ve actually had the disks provided with preloaded software The computer looks great, you’ve probably seen the adverts depicting a black monitor and a black and silver computer. The main DVD-CD ROM Drive performs perfectly and with the added internal CD-RW making copies or backups is simply a dream. The whole system looks and feels quality, its fast, its quiet and unlike other reviewers I have no faults at all to report On the one occasion when I did have to contact the helpline (because of something I’d done wrong) they were extremely helpful, sorted it out straight away and e-mailed me as a follow up to confirm their response. Dell also provide a really useful ‘solutions guide’ which comes as preloaded software and in booklet form, which is in effect an idiot’s guide. Very easy to access and easy to understand. Just the ticket for someone like me. All in all, I’m really pleased with my purchase, and though I would recommend it to a friend, I would suggest that they looked at the more specialist computer hardware review sites to get some of the alternative opinions before deciding. Personally I feel a lot of the problems are caused by the users experimenting or changing configurations without reading o
r understanding the manuals – me, I tend to let sleeping dogs lie, perhaps that’s why I haven’t had any problems.
Inside the Dimension 8100's black and silver minitower, Dell has built one of the best gaming performers i've seen yet. With top-notch home theater components and solid, if not exceptional, performance, this system has a lot to offer multimedia and gaming enthusiasts, as well as small businesses and families. The Dell Dimension 8100 makes its mark as one of the best game performers i've seen, with exceptionally high scores on our Quake III Arena tests. It also blows away almost all other hard drive performance i've seen to date; the only systems that surpass it have been running Windows 2000. Unfortunately, its stellar hard disk throughput doesn't seem to translate into equally stellar everyday performance. It's clearly a fast machine, but not outstanding in its class. Its real strength is that it comes as a very potent home-theater configuration. Smooth, stutter-free video playback is a given for this class of computer, but that's only the starting point. Dell's P991 monitor is an excellent display, and its 17.9-inch viewing area is a reasonable screen size for even letterboxed videos. The clincher, however, is the awesome audio from the ADA-885 speakers. There are 120 watts of THX-certified sound available from this five-piece system. The only thing Dell doesn't supply is the popcorn. There's also a Sony CD-RW drive on board for backing up your important data and making your own audio CDs. Dell has switched from its dowdy beige case to a new black minitower with a silver face and matching black monitor and speakers. With the floppy, DVD, and CD-RW drives, only a single 5.25-inch accessible bay is available. A vacant 3.5-inch bay resides inside the case, which you get to by pressing a button at the bottom of the front panel. (The left-side panel slips up and away.) Three PCI slots are unfilled, though the graphics card's large heat sink makes one of them kind of a tight fit. The Dimensi
on 8100 is covered by a three-year warranty for parts and one year for labor through phone diagnostics and parts shipping. You can change that to three years of onsite service. Other optional plans are available that will let you extend the coverage to four or five years of onsite service or parts shipping. Toll-free support for factory-installed software and the operating system (Windows Millennium Edition or Windows 2000) is provided. The Dimension 8100 isn't the best performer in its class, but for gamers and living room cineastes, it puts on a pretty good show.
I recently purchased a Dell Dimension 8100 with the Pentium 4 1.7Ghz processor, 1Gb of RAM, and 40Gb 7,200RPM hard drive. The intended purchase was for supporting my work and hobbies. Dell's ordering process is quite good, and is possibly one of the better of the large PC manufacturers. As soon as the order has been put through, you can track the status and delivery of the order through their Order Watch which explains in quite some detail what your PC is going through (production, post-production, etc). The order had to be delivered on a Saturday since the courier cannot accept any other signature other than the purchaser's which is handy for security, but a pain having to wait four extra days so that you can be available to receive the goods. Usually the neighbours are good enough to accept orders on our behalf and vice versa. The machine itself is of excellent build, although the silver and black decoration is not going to be everybody's cup of tea. The cooling fans are relatively quiet, and the hard drive is berely audiable. The system is fast and quick to respond. Default systems come with Windows ME which professional reviewers have commented to have shown some performance degredation. However, I have opted for Windows 2000 and this just flies with the 1Gb of RAM :) 3D performance is supplied by the nVidia Geoforce 2 GTS/Pro and boy is it fast! It's certainly capable of handling any 3D game thrown at it and works very well at 1,024x768 in 32-bit resolution. The 17" Dell Ultrascan monitor has one of the crispest (or crispiest) displays I've had the pleasure of using, and my decision to go with this rather than the TFT display has been a good one, I feel. Overall, the system is great. With the three year on-site warranty, I am safe in the knowledge that I've got Dell's support should anything go wrong. However, the build quality of this machine is excellent and I dou
bt that I will need to have to use this. Performance wise, not the best, even with the processor, video card and RAM combination, but it still beats the living daylights out of other similiar specced systems. Highly recommend this system to anybody looking for an all-rounder of a PC.
I bought a Dell 8100 before they even began advertising the Pentuim 4. I would just like to say that it is the fastest and best computer I have ever had the pleasure to deal with. Shortly after I bought mine, my dad bought him one and he is a computer freak. Neither one of us has had a problem with out computers. They are really top of the line in my book. The only thing is that the mouse will not hold up. I also like all of the disk space that is available for this model. I know there is no way I can ever run out of space. If I do, it will be a miracle.
I bought an 8100 PC from Dell, my first experience had been good (a 4100), early delivery, a few niggles but I was happy with the ease and success of the whole process. A couple of weeks later I ordered this second PC delivery was arranged and failed to appear three times and finally came two weeks after the promised date. The PC looked great, but some of the kit was missing. When I started the PC could not find the modem installed and therefore was unable to connect to the internet. I had difficlty loading the drivers for the printer and scanner as the DVD drive would not read the CDs. I had the same problem on the first PC but got thedrivers of the web. I also got talked into getting the Handspring Visor but the screen was broken. It is now 3 months since the delivery I have phoned more times than I can count and they still have not authorised my refund, e-mails get bounced back and it is generally a very bad experience. On my first PC the drivers keep vanishing as do the programs, but that is another tale.
I have recently purchased a Dell Dimension 8100 with 1.4Ghz processor and 256MB RDRAM (128 MB of which came on a free upgrade deal on at the time. I am happy as larry!! I purchased it to replace a Gateway Solo Laptop which was running Windoze NT (crash-proof I hear you say). I dont think so!! I ordered on-line through Dell's website and was very pleased with the treatment from Customer Services. The on-line tracking process was quite exciting too, tracking the PC through all stages until it got to my door(3 days ahead of schedule)-impressive. I purchased a Dell because their warranty was the best around and the spec was the best for the price. The RDRAM option is extremely costly to begin with (it runs about 5/6 times faster than standard SDRAM and will be expensive for the forseeable future due to high manufacturing costs.) The sound card is phenomenable and puts many £1000 plus systems from university colleagues to shame. With 2 outputs and one digital output, I have it hooked up to hifi and the optional Harmon Kardon speakers (also recommended). The sound quality is superb, and there are alsorts of features to play with (like reverb and echo to name but a few.) The DVD Drive has been overused and provides stutter-free playback on all DVD's I have tried so far (about 35). Gets bonus marks for being innovative too, and coming in a funky black and silver case-cooool! This thing goes like brown smely stuff off a digging implement, it is quick! Noticeable advantages over fellow students sytems is visible when playing LAN games:loading Tiberian Sun takes about 1/2 to 1/3 the time it take colleagues' sytems to load. Still no major problems to date. The virus free upgrade cover has run out, however it is fairly easy to sign up for continuing this I hear. I am not overly pleased with the P4 processor, it has power alright, but due to current software design, it is in the wrong areas. The processor
is exceptional at multi-tasking and multimedia/gaming, (one of Windows' downfalls). Although I knew about the P$ being 'slower' than equivalent Athlon's I still felt that technology and software would follow suit, and that the RDRAM memory has more advantages than disadvantages. Performance over high production prices. In turn, I would appreciate it if you would provide some positive/constructive feedback. Anything which you think should be added, or you need to know. Many thanks-(and buy this PC!)
Recently my family purchased a PC from Dell.IT has 933MHz speed,20gb haedrive etc etc.We got a wide variety of games ranging from the superb shoot-em-up 'Soldier of Fortune' to the excellent 'Fifa 2001'. Also, we got a wide variety of software.The system also came with a Digi Cam and.We set up the computer and had been playing on it for a couple of days.Then,we had a problem with our keyboard.It stopped working.As this was a brand new system this shouldn't of happened.When my mum came to phone the DELL helpline(charged at national rate) she found the call was somewhere in Ireland.To make things worse she was on the phone for over an hour.She kept getting put on hold.This anoyed her. When,she did get through a polite man explained over the phone how to go into DOS and reconnect the keyboard connection. this didn't work so he said he would send a new keyboard out immediatly. The very next day we recieved the new keyboard.We were very suprised at the speed of the delivery. Apart from the hour long phone call we are very happy with our new system and would encourage anyone to buy from DELL,not only do you get a superb machine but also a 3 year warranty. Cheers, Matt
First, some background, why did I buy Dell? To summarise; I bought Dell as their warranty was far more comprehensive than the nearest competition, their web site was clear, easy to use, and gave me the custom price immediately, and the guys on the telephone did their best to be helpful and provide exactly what I wanted. After some sorting out of my custom order my PC finally took 4 days to arrive from order to delivery at my door. So, excitedly ripping open the boxes, I became the proud owner of the Dell Dimension 8100. First impressions of this machine were “wow its black”. The mini tower case is black with a brushed stainless steel effect front trim. The screen, keyboard, and mouse are all black. Surprisingly the black surround to the screen makes viewing easier on the eye. Each item was packed with care and every item on the inventory was present and correct. Plugging in the system was so easy as Dell colour code each lead with the relevant slot, so even a guy like me who never reads the instructions can have this machine up and running in about 10 minutes. So what makes up this PC? Let me break this down into hardware and software: Hardware The mini tower is (Height) 499mm x (Width) 222 mm x (Depth) 450 mm and comes in black with a bushed stainless steel effect trim as already mentioned. There are 3 x 5.25-inch external bays for use with either CD-RW; CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive (CD-ROM is standard but I specified CD-RW and DVD-ROM instead) and 1 x 3.5 inch integrated floppy disk drive. The power switch is located just above a button that according to, the finally read, instructions connects to the Dell Help Site. How this connects to the Dell web site I have no idea but presume automatically opens the Internet connection. I will update this review when I have used their help function! At the rear are 1 x AGP and 5 x PCI expansion slots as well as 4 USB ports and a hub connection. The mo
use keyboard and screen plug via the usual serial connections. Hard Drive: 20.4GB 7200 EIDE, UltraDMA, ATA-100 ich showed 18.4GB after installation of all the Dell provided software and the extra software I installed. At the rate we have used the 1.6GB of memory the spare 18.4 should last until I am 105! Intel Pentium 4 processor 1.3GHZ with 256k cache. 400MHz system bus speed, Intel 850 chipset, Includes MMX technology, Motherboard with integrated networking. Memory 128MB Rambus RD Ram that transfers data at speeds of up to 1.6GB per second – this is alleged to be 100% faster than PC100 SDRAM. Providing better simultaneous processing of multiple tasks and is geared for the software of the future, such as streaming multimedia, speech recognition and multi-threaded applications. CD-RW (Optional Extra) 5.25” 8X recording speed (CD-RW), 12X recording speed (CD-R), 32X maximum reading speed (CD-ROM), 650MB - 680MB maximum data capacity, 600KB - 3600KB per second data transfer rate. Enabling creation and copying of music cds, not that we would of course! DVD-ROM (Optional Extra) DVD-ROM Drive 5.25” 16X (DVD-ROM), 40X (CD-ROM) maximum play speeds, 17.0GB (double layer, double sided) maximum data capacity, 11.08MB - 16.6MB per second data transfer rate. Video Card provided as standard is the 32MB nVidia TNT2 M64 2X Video Card which gives 1900 x 1200 at 75Hz and 16 million colours maximum resolution 32MB SDRAM memory, AGP 2X interface, 64-bit nVidia TNT2 graphics engine, 125MHz graphics clock speed, 150MHz memory clock speed, 300MHz RAMDAC. I upgraded the sound card, choosing the Creative Labs SoundBlaster 1024 LiveValue Card to allow me to plug in my joystick or games controller pad. The card provides 1024-voice wavetable (64-voice hardware, 960-voice software), On-board connectors: line in jack, microphone in jack, line out jack (front and rear), joystick/MIDI, MPC-3 CD audio in
, auxiliary in, and speaker out. The modem is a V.90/56K Voice/Data/Fax Modem Plug and Play PCI card; this is an upgrade, as I want to utilise my PC as a telephone answering service. For MSN or Net meeting it is not necessary to have a voice modem in order to chat, as that is digitised sound and can be processed as data. It is only if using analogue voice, for instance a telephone. The Network Card is an Integrated Network Interface Card 3COM Etherlink XL. 10/100 megabits per second data speed, RJ45 connector. I have no idea if this is good or not I am afraid, as I do not use networking at this stage but windows ME provides a home networking wizard so may well play with this further. The monitor is a Dell 17" Active Matrix. As I said earlier for some reason the black surround makes the screen seem very sharp and easy on the eye. The picture is crystal clear and doesn’t suffer from reflection or flickering at all. The mouse is a Microsoft PS/2 Intellimouse, 2-button 1 wheel control. My first encounter with a wheel mouse and I have had to upgrade my work one as wheel (sorry awful joke I know). Try it you will be hooked! Keyboard is a Dell Quiet Key, 104 keys layout with 3 Internet keys, Euro currency symbol provided. This keyboard has a very nice feel firm yet springy. Software Operating Systems: Windows ME, (incorporating Internet Explorer 5.5) There are some new features with Windows ME over 98 which I have not yet fully explored but they include Auto Update, Enhanced digital media features, and of course Internet explorer 5.5. So far this system has run smoothly with no glitches, touch wood. The only difference I have noticed is the boot up window. Office Application Suites: Microsoft Works Suite 2000 Incorporating MS Works 2000, Picture It Express 2000, Money 2000, MS Word 2000, AutoRoute Express Europe, Home Publishing 2000, Encarta World Atlas 2000 Virus Protec
tion Software: Norton AntiVirus 2000 Incorporating Bloodhound™Heuristic Technology, LiveUpdate, AutoProtect I installed Microsoft Office to provide Excel, Powerpoint, and Microsoft Outlook. The internet can be accessed via Dellnet and a shortcut option is already installed on the PC. I chose to set up Internet Explorer to access my existing ISP. Service 3 years standard service programme comprising: 1 year Next Business Day on Site. 2 years 6-day Collect and Return. Complimentary services comprising: 24-hour on-line technical support E-mail and telephone technical support during local business hours Conclusion This PC has everything I could ever want, apart from the fact it doesn’t make the tea! I have moved from a Pentium 2 to a Pentium 4. From a PC that takes a week to boot up to a PC that takes 5 to 7 seconds. This PC would chew up my old one and spit it out before breakfast. Primarily this machine is designed for business use I would guess, hence no speakers, DVD-ROM, or CD-RW as standard. Even adding these as extras the price remains reasonable. My advice on speakers is to go out and buy your own as the speaker choice at Dell is limited and there are some excellent offers on the market. After installation of a web cam (OP to follow) giving video clarity so sharp I could cut myself I decided to try the sound. Wow the sound quality from my Labtech speakers, added as after sales(OP to follow) ((creating work for myself here!)) is amazing. I have never watched a DVD before and was so impressed with the clarity and sound I might buy another. What can I say for under £1400 this PC is amazing I would thoroughly recommend the Dell Dimension 8100 to anyone looking for a state of the art PC at a reasonable price. Visit www.dell.co.uk for further details and to spec your own PC.