GW2K or Dell?

Mike Mitchell mdmit at
Tue Dec 9 17:48:02 EST 1997

At 01:39 PM 12/9/97 -0800, you wrote:
>On Tue, 9 Dec 1997, John Williams wrote:
>> This being the case why buy named clones, where you may well pay for the
>> name,  have no control over the parts used, and which often cause
>> problems with their proprietary solutions. I'm sure a local dealer would
>> be glad to make your machines, and you can meet the people who assemble
>> the computers and make sure you're getting the best components. They are
>> also just around the corner when it comes to servicing.
>> Is there a problem with this, apart from the difficulty a small shop may
>> have in quickly meeting very large orders?

Well, here in New Braunfels I suppose we can have the best of both worlds as
far as local vs. name-brand since Dell is pretty much local to us. However...
        I've bought several computers for our library in the past couple of
years. The first one was purchased from a local firm because some other city
department head recommended them. The thing never did work right, DOA in
fact because they didn't set the voltage regulator properly. They fixed it
and returned it next day. Then a couple of months later when it
intermittently refused to start, we found out that the "firm" was really
some guy named Roger who had disappeared along with his firm. That computer
is now a parts donor. Glad it was only one computer.
        Next ones were from a "third-tier" company in California. Quality
components, excellent warranty (on paper), and cheap price. Well, they
didn't install NT like they said they would, didn't include a compatible
soundcard, wouldn't respond to e-mail or phone calls for weeks. They
wouldn't switch out the soundcard or defective monitor without a credit card
to secure the shipment, etc. But, since nothing in the computers is
proprietary I've been able to solve anything that's come up since then
myself. Actually they've been pretty trouble free after the initial
problems. Their service may have improved since. The service guys told me
that they were just unable to handle their sudden popularity after a
favorable rating by PC Mag or one of those.
        Since then I've bought Gateways and a Dell. Only one Dell because
Gateway is almost always cheaper for apparently comparable equipment. The
monitors and keyboards are not very good (we got the cheapest) but the
computers from both companies seem to work very well. We did have to return
a monitor to Dell who promptly replaced it. There was a day's delay because
they almost shipped us a refurbished monitor until someone caught the fact
that we were still within the 30-day grace period for new parts. Gateway has
also responded promptly to replace a defective monitor and a defective
keyboard. I do have the feeling that the Dell Optiplex is rock-solid whereas
I'm just glad the Gateways are still working. That may be some sort of
emotional, irrational Texas thing though.
        My boss won't OK it but if I had my way I'd probably buy cheap used
computers for the public and repair/upgrade them as needed with the money
saved over new ones.

Mike Mitchell
Tech Services Librarian/System Administrator
Dittlinger Memorial Library
New Braunfels, TX 78130
mdmit at

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