I decided to go on a 4-year cycle for replacing my home computer. I bought my first desktop computer (my first computer was a Powerbook 100 in 1991) in 1996. It was replaced in 2000. So I was due for a new computer last year, but I decided it was working pretty well and I could wait (I almost replaced it when Susan gave me the iPod because I didn’t want to pay retail for a Windows upgrade that I needed). But since June last year, I’ve been pricing computers at Dell. I wanted a DVD writer, support for two monitors, 80 gigabyte hard drive, and 512 MB of memory. I also wanted to get another 17-inch monitor, preferably a flat panel, though that wasn’t mandatory.
I started checking the price of that system from Dell and going back every month or two to see how it had changed. Surprisingly, it stayed almost level from June 2004 to March 2005. Part of it had to be the falling value of the dollar during that time, but also Intel hasn’t released any new processors in that time (driving down prices of older ones) and RAM prices have been going up.
Susan found a really good deal from Dell yesterday and I went ahead and got the system with some good upgrades: 1 GB of RAM, 160 GB hard drive, plus the flat panel monitor (which had been a free upgrade some months) and it still came out a little cheaper. Not sure why the big drop in price now. Maybe they’re worried about the avalanche of press for Apple’s latest operating system?
I had thought about getting a notebook but decided against it. Also I briefly considered a Mac mini, but I need to be compatible with work and I still don’t think Office on the Mac has Access, which I use a lot.