Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Dell PC

16th March, 2009

So I live in a house with 3 computer scientists (the kind that like building their own computers and stuff), so I get my fair share of banter aimed at my “little” Dell desktop (for those interested, it’s a Vostro 200 slim tower). You can imagine what it’s like when it goes wrong - like it did this morning. I think the actual quote from one of them was “It’s all well and good having a nice processor and graphics card but it’s no good if the motherboard’s made of cardboard”.But this is the reason I bought a Dell, and why I don’t make my own computers - I’m not a hardware guy. What I want is a nice quiet little box that will sit under my desk, drive lots of apps at the same time, have sockets for me to plug a huge number of peripherals in to and handle 3.5 million pixels of screen real-estate and not make a fuss about anything - which mine does (most of the time). When it does all go to pot though, I don’t want to spend an entire day sitting around fiddling with cables and trying to figure out what’s wrong because I don’t have time for that. There are much bigger problems to be solved, and I somewhat need my computer to do that.

What I do want, however, is a nice person on the end of the phone (because it’s a Vostro I get the Dell Enterprise-level support, which is very useful indeed) to tell me a simple series of steps that I can do to get my computer working again, and who will get it fixed without me worrying whether my hardware will survive or not. This is very much what I got this morning, which makes me happy, because within an hour of my computer refusing to turn on and beeping at me repeatedly it was back up and I’m now sat here working on it.
If I wanted to spend hours at a time fixing issues with my computer, then I would build my own. But I want to do work, which is why I bought a Dell, because I can then blame them when it goes wrong, fix it, and get on with what I was doing. Also, thanks to whoever I was talking to this morning for being so patient.