If you tell enough stories, perhaps the moral will show up.


Choice. I hate it.

I bought a new computer last night. Even though I'm not exactly Mr. Desktop I thought I would be able to make a sensible choice. In fact I was so overwhelmed, I nearly bought nothing.

First: supplier. I've bought from Morgan before and had a slightly patchy experience (but nothing unfair, and nothing that couldn't be resolved with my own skills.) This time I was going to avoid trouble by sticking to brand new stock -- retired from shops after going out of date. I liked the look of the HP media PCs with TV tuners and big plug-in HDs -- they were old enough to be packaged with XP Media centre (I really don't want that "which Vista edition" issue until SP1 --maybe not then), they were fully loaded with ports and the more expensive models had Intel dual cores, 2GB memory and GEForce 7600 with 256 MB. I didn't want a screen package because the more mad son has a history of headbutting flatscreens to death: CRTs are tougher and I have them already.

So I thought that was pretty cut and dried. But I can't resist a quick visit to Dell.

First impressions are low price -- Dell include VAT, and Morgan exclude it (which I think is a tad dodgy on consumer kit sold retail). Now I know that Dell charge a shameless £50 for delivery but it turns out it's free until the end of the month. Second thing is that XP is back on offer -- it was Vostro-only in September but now the consumer pages have it too. And it's XP Pro which is a big plus.

So into the configurator to be faced with all those tough choices. Many of the base builds lack 2GB and the prices start notching up as I make those tempting choices. Not all models let me configure "no screen" and if I'm having a screen maybe I should get the posh graphics as well.

I finally settle on a bearable heuristic. I'll only get factory fitted upgrades where I haven't upgraded myself successfully in the past.

I end up with PC Duo 6550, 2GB (I've had problems with dodgy 1GB parts), the base graphics (because no-name GEF8600 will be cheap and good in a years time), the base HD (definitely getting NAS ....) And a screen, which was too good to give up for £80 and I will put on the PC upstairs to keep the less mad son happy until he gets his laptop.

All that choosing left me emotionally committed to the Dell. I matched it to an HP package from Morgan and found it close (screen to placate LMS with graphics upgrade option in the future vs. no screen, and better but obsolete graphics now; no media centre tuner remote & wireless vs. XP pro and the confidence I wouldn't use that stuff; in stock vs two week delivery ouch) but a few pounds less.

So I bought the Dell. But it wasn't easy.

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