The last 4 computers I've purchased at home I've built myself. If you ever want to save money on a system, learn a little bit about computers and get more power for your buck… click the barebones link on any major online computer store. With my son heading off to IUPUI (tonight), I wanted to surprise him with a great system!
I had some money in my PayPal account, so I decided to search for a computer store that utilized PayPal as a payment method. Perhaps the most popular is TigerDirect, a massive online warehouse for electronics, computers and parts. I chose a barebones system called “The Gladiator“, a stylish case that requires no tools (all of the drives and components slide and snap in utilizing special brackets.
Today, my son received the last of the components from UPS and began putting the beast together. Things have changed since the last time I bought a barebones system, though! Before I even got started, I was getting TigerDirect emails stating I had to click a link to pay my invoice. The problem? The money was already taken out of my account!
I called the support number and sure enough the purchase was on hold until I called. Imagine that! They TOOK my money and but wanted confirmation before THEY sent their stuff. Nice huh? I complained to them that they should have stated that was going to happen in the email. Oh well.
I remember when you used to buy a barebones system, you could simply throw a few more parts in the system – usually a hard drive and a DVD-RW, and you were ready to go. This barebones kit even came with a hard drive, though… kind of.
If you go to the product page, you'll notice two very strange things that the average person (like me) would miss:
- There is no fan for the processor! This is an absolute necessity for any modern processor and there's no reason why it should be left out of a barebones kit.
- Remember the hard drive? They provided a 200Gb Maxtor EIDE hard drive. Sounds good, huh? Perhaps… except that the system is optimized for Serial ATA (SATA)! With my son's additional components, he doesn't have anywhere to plugin the hard drive.
So my son headed off to college today without the computer. It's sitting in many pieces upon the kitchen table… of no use to anyone. Arrrgh. The documentation even sucks. I remember when you used to get a book with a motherboard, now I have a poster with no details. This was disappointing. Of course there are no returns on the Hard Drive, either. Ugh. Perhaps I'll give it away on the site if I can't find a use for it elsewhere.
The only thumbs up I have for TigerDirect was on the swift delivery of the parts. From payment (release) to front door, only 2 business days went by. Not too shabby. Here's hoping the next couple parts make it here by Saturday! Bill will be back Sunday – hopefully I can have his system up!