In a previous post I outlined the ways in which Dell's customer service sucks. I finally got my computer yesterday, a Studio XPS 9000. Here are my first impressions.
This computer weighs so much I almost hurt my back lifting it. I thought computers were supposed to be getting smaller and lighter?
The HD indicator light is tiny and on the top of the case. I can't see it with my computer under my desk.
The optical drive is behind one of those stupid plastic flap door things. So there isn't even an indicator light for the DVD drive. I'm seriously considering taking a screwdriver the case to fix this.
It didn't come with a Windows install disk or a driver disk. It only has a recovery partition on the HD.
I found an order form which I think will get me my disks. In the mail. Seriously, Dell? Seriously? Why not come to my house and kick me in the balls while you're at it?
The recovery partition doesn't help you worth a crap if you want to do things like repartition your drive to put Linux on it. Windows7's sucky partition shrinking app wouldn't shrink it lower than 500GB.
The Dell recovery program is called DataSafe or something, and when you use it, it tries to upsell you like crazy to get a "pro" version that has a bunch of useless backup features. Uggggghhhhh.
The side of the case is white. In 10 years it's either going to be yellow with age, or scuffed up beyond hope. Kind of ugly, but I don't care much. The front of the case looks OK though. Black with red highlights. About as good as I could expect.
It came pre-installed with some crappy "Dell Dock" knockoff of Apple's Dock. Worthless and instantly uninstalled.
This thing caused the desktop icons to be hidden by default. Who would possibly want to do this in Windows? I can image everyone and their grandmother being awfully confused by the missing icons.
When quitting this dock, it said "Undo is not possible". I love a program that has no going back once you quit.
I wanted to find drivers for the wireless card that came with the Dell. So I went to Dell's support site and typed in the tag number on my computer. It gave me a link to drivers for the wrong card. I had to google all over the place to find the right ones. Way to go.
Dell's website is a labyrinth full of outdated information and dead pages in general.
The instructions I got with the computer reference Vista. I don't have Vista.
There's a "Windows inside" logo on the case. It will be removed shortly. They leave an awful lot of glue behind.
The i7 is about as fast as I had hoped. It only took a half-dozen cores and 12 GB of RAM to let me watch full-screen flash videos on Youtube. I feel so modern.
The inside of the case is OK. There are a lot of hard drive bays and lots of extra screws. It should be easy to expand if I need to.
It came with bloatware and crapware, but actually far less than I was dreading. And most of it was trying to sell you Dell crap.
In the olden days you'd get a hundred links to AOL and other 3rd-party crap. I saw a link to Skype and the obligatory nag to buy an anti-virus subscription (fat chance), but not much else.
Dell delivered the computer 2 days past the original estimated delivery date. So in spite of all the bullcrap and phone-jockeying I had to go through for billing, I can't complain about how fast it got here. Two days late isn't bad.
I've heard rumors that these computers are built in Malaysia, and mine was definitely shipped from the US (per the Purolator tracking site). So I'm surprised they can get these things delivered as fast as they can given that it was shipped halfway around the world first, and had to go through Customs at least once coming from the US to Canada.
Purolator was the only shipping option for Canada. I would've preferred to rush it. But maybe that's not possible given that it's coming from the US. Oh well.
It runs pretty quiet, given how huge the fans are. We'll see how hot it gets once I start putting some load on it.
It came with a DVI to VGA adapater and a DVI to HDMI adapter. I thought that was a nice touch, though it could be that they come standard with any nVidia card nowadays.
Works OK with Linux. It took 20 minutes to set up. (Not counting wiping the Windows partition and re-installing on a smaller partition from my own copy, minus the crapware. That took over an hour.) Sound, video and wireless work out of the box in Linux. All 12 GB of RAM are usable, given a 64 bit OS. (I discovered this the fun way, by unthinkingly trying a 32 bit OS first.)
It didn't burst into flames (yet).
It has a peanut tray on the top. Or MP3-player tray, I guess. But I really want to put peanuts in there.
Brian, you're stupid!
So why did I get a Dell? Because I had good experience with them in the past, at home and at work. Given, that experience was 5 years in the past, and a lot can change. And I'm new to Canada, and relatively unaware of what options exist here.
The other (main) reason was that they were far, far cheaper than going through newegg.ca to get the same hardware. But I guess you get what you pay for. Caveat emptor.
I wouldn't recommend Dell to anyone else, given how chaotic the whole buying process was. Too much uncertainty, too much room for mistakes.
Dave asked in my previous post why I didn't just a computer myself, like I had in the past. I said I didn't have time, but what I meant wasn't build time, which should be an hour or two max. I meant research time. Trying to match up compatible hardware, trying to find the best prices on all the components, checking for Linux compatibility, this takes forever and a half. I don't have hours / days to dork around with this any more.
On the other hand I can just google "xps 9000 linux" and see instantly what problems people had. I can be semi-confident that the hardware would all be compatible. And that did work out OK.
And the last reason I got Dell is that unfortunately I need Windows for work and gaming. Blarg. Paying the Windows tax to Dell is bad enough, let alone buying one off the shelf for $6,000 or however much they cost nowadays.