The $300 Desktop Computer

Computers have dramatically come down in price. My desktop computer at home gave outafter about 5 years, and since I have a new laptop, I was somewhat reluctant to replace it. But I was browsing a discount web shop and came across a number of desktops computers being sold for $299. The computer that has just died on me was about 9 times that price when I bought it less than 5 years ago. My monitor was still working fine, so I ordered the $299 computer (no monitor included), paid about $40 for shipping, and I had it within a week.

Of course there is a rub – $299 gets you less RAM than you probably want, and small cost-saving measures by the manufacturer. Example: the computer comes with no re-installation CD’s. There is a section of your hard drive partitioned (sectioned off) that has all the reinstallation files in case of a total system software crash. Apparently, this is becoming popular with a number of vendors. The system does let you burn CD’s (7!) or DVD’s (2) with as emergency installation disks. But, they make sure that you understand that you will only be able to burn one copy of the disks. Once that happens, you can never burn another set of disks, so don’t lose that set! I suppose you could try copying those disks for backup. It is amazing to me that a vendor would be so restrictive over software I paid for. First of all, the computer should ship with the CD’s. Secondly, I should be able to create backup CD’s. If I break one, I should be able to burn another copy so as not to be stuck having to buy Windows, again. Come on Compaq , shame on you. Time to get a lot more customer supportive.

I must say that it was nice to have a new desktop, but I did end up order some extra RAM to get the thing a little more decent speed. So bump the cost up to $299 + $40 shipping + $50 of ram. Still, for under $400, not too shabby.

arvind s. grover

I am a progressive educator, a podcaster (, a blogger, and dean of faculty of JK-11 school (building a high school) in New York City.