(Not) Getting a New Computer

John Scalzi

My desktop computer has been slowing down a bit recently, and my graphics card is now several years old and questionable for a number of new games I wanted to play, and my C drive recently informed me it had only 5GB of space left on it. So I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to get a brand new, top-of-the-line desktop computer, and since I have neither the interest, or, frankly, competence, to build my own (I’ve tried it before, it ended… poorly) I went ahead and ordered it from Alienware (i.e., Dell). They took my money and told me it would be out for delivery by the 18th of this month.

Then on the 20th (i.e., after the 18th), I got an email informing me that the computer would be delayed until well into September, which is to say, more than a month after I had placed the order. I went to Dell’s site to see where we were in the production of the computer, and it turns out they haven’t even begun assembling it yet, i.e., there was no computer, yet, and no one had put in the labor to make it. The only actual thing that had happened at this point was Dell charging my credit card.

I had no real confidence that Dell would actually make the new delivery date, and by this time I was asking myself if I really wanted to spend as much money as I had laid down. After much soul-searching, and reminding myself how much the church renovation was costing us, the answer, it turns out, was “no.”

I canceled the order for the new computer and decided to make do with what I had.

So what to do with this older, slower, fuller computer? Well:

1. I purged the C drive of a whole bunch of memory-gobbling programs I had downloaded but either never used, or were obsolete versions of programs I did use. Lo and behold, a third of my C drive suddenly became free, which is more than enough space for my current needs and purposes.

2. I did the same to my D drive, which is mostly Steam Games, punting off the games that I hadn’t played in a year and/or opened up, played for a little while, and then never played again. Deleting them isn’t a problem these days since my settings for the games are stored with Steam, so if I reload them later, all my configurations will be ready to go.

One side effect of all the purging on both drives: The computer accesses the remaining programs faster. I especially notice this with Photoshop.

3. That doesn’t solve my older graphics card problem, however. My current computer is a compact chassis, and I’m not 100% sure that it will fit the current generation of graphics card, or that the motherboard will work with them even if I did make one fit. And anyway, as stated earlier, I am hilariously not competent in building/fixing computers.

So for that, I punted: rather than trying to buy a current-level graphics card, I’m renting one. Which is to say I got a GeForce Now RTX 3080 account, which allows me to stream a significant portion of the games I own on Steam with all the graphical bells and whistles, including ray tracing. There are some limits — my Internet account is only barely fast enough for it, which means I’m streaming games at 1080p rather than in full 4k glory — but at the moment it’s good enough. Also, because it’s streaming I’m not bound only to my desktop to play games anymore. I briefly played one of my games on my Chromebook last night, which, conceptually, was delightful. I’ll do a longer review of the GeForce Now service once I’ve lived with it for a bit, but so far I am not at all displeased.

Will I eventually get a shiny new computer? Of course. Computers don’t last forever, and there’s only so far purging one’s storage will go. Also, I am a nerd and I like shiny new toys. But at the moment I am feeling relatively smug that I got most of what I wanted out of a new computer, not for thousands of dollars, but for $99 (the cost of the 6-month GeForce Now subscription) and a couple of hours on a Sunday, clearing out unused programs. That seems like a reasonable compromise for now.

— JS

54 Comments on “(Not) Getting a New Computer”

  1. As an aside, one of the effects of this entire adventure was to make me ask myself what I actually use my computer for on a daily basis. They are:

    a) Writing
    b) Social media
    c) Photography
    d) Music
    e) Games

    Writing and social media require almost no processing power at all these days. Photography for me requires Photoshop, but my current graphics card can handle that load without any real problem. I have a separate computer for the music stuff (a Mac Mini M1, which handles that stuff swimmingly). So the only thing I really needed a whole new computer for was games.

    Which is to say that if the GeForce Now subscription actually pans out for me, then it really will make me re-evaluate what I need out of my future computers.

  2. I ordered a top of the line desktop. Delivered prior to delivery date. They usually are good. Dell has been my to go computer place. This is my 6 or 7th computer I have ordered from them

  3. It’s really too bad about Dell buying Alienware. For a while that was a reliable place to get a good quality PC if you were willing to spend the money.

    I don’t want to switch entirely to Apple, but that seems to be the only way to not have to deal with these kinds of hassles (plus the lack of quality control hassle combined with the terrible customer service hassle that I’ve been reading about Dell having on Twitter). I did not enjoy dealing with getting a broken new PC from HP many years ago and the idea of going through that again with another company … ugh.

  4. If you do decide to get a new computer, I would recommend looking at ecollegepc.com – Dell build quality has been outright bad of late and I was quite satisified with the system I got from eCollegepc.

  5. There’s no dishonor in tweaking the computer you have while you carefully shop to replace it. That gives you time to make a good choice.


  6. Hey I have a 11 year-old Dell with a 8 years-old graphics card, 4 year-old memory and a 5 year-old SSD.
    The computer was slow as heck, but I did what I didn’t want to do and reinstalled Windows using a downloaded media from Microsoft made using my 11 year-old Windows 7 licence ported to Windows 10.
    Result: this computer is like a new one. It used to take 15 minutes to boot, now it takes 45 seconds. Everything is faster. Except of course recent games, you can’t bypass transistor speeds. At least it’s usable for Fortnite and Roblox.
    I think reinstalling the operating system from scratch purges old entries in the registry which slow down the operating system considerably.
    I suggest you try that.

  7. Alienware is a ripoff, just go to your local microcenter or peruse buildapc.com and select all your parts. Building your own pc is trivial these days

  8. I love the concept of game streaming and would probably start doing more of it, except all of my data plans have caps that we already hit in a month with lots of work and Netflix/etc, so adding to that with gaming is just a no-go.

    That said, make sure you know if you have a cap and how you can monitor your data usage. Those overage fees are no joke on a lot of plans.

  9. You’re better off. I went through three Alienware computers over the course of 6 years before I finally learned my lesson. I had a BSD issue with a gaming laptop gaming card and even after sending it to them they sent it back without fixing the issue and I had to come up with my own workaround. The graphics card on the last “desktop” I owned blew out and I couldn’t replace it because of Alienware’s custom form factor. I put “desktop” in air quotes because after I opened up the case I discovered that it was in effect a laptop in a pretty case.

  10. If you live near a Microcenter you can pay the staff a reasonable fee to build your PC for you.

    I built a PC recently, and while it was intimidating there are so many Youtube videos where someone is building and you follow along, that it isn’t so bad.

  11. I assume you’re already using SSDs for your PC instead of spinning disks? If not, they’ll probably make more difference than anything else, though I don’t know if how old the SSDs are makes any difference.

  12. mrcompletely:

    “Building your own pc is trivial these days”

    It’s really not, and there’s a reason I stated clearly in the piece that I have no interest or competence in building my own.

  13. Your ordering experience sounds similar to the last time I ordered something from Dell. They put the laptop on the loading dock and charged my credit card on December 31 (so they could record the revenue on year-end financials and not report the inventory for tax purposes) and then it didn’t actually ship out for three weeks. And it was a total POS when it did arrive, so bad that I wound up replacing it within three years, which is far less time than I expect to get out of a laptop. I’ll never buy another Dell.

    Glad you wound up getting a “new” computer just by judicious rearrangement and pruning of your data. I am all in favor of frugality and resource preservation.

  14. Re: building your own computer

    I think it’s actually gotten harder, not easier, because quality control is so terrible compared to 20 years ago. Some part you buy is not going to work, and unless you have EE testing equipment or a bunch of spare parts that you know work to figure out what is dead, you’re not going to know what piece(s) is/are broken. So not worth it.

  15. I’m a bit of a tech guy and prefer building my own PCs (and a few for friends) but I’d definitely say it’s not always easy. There are a lot more tutorials online than there were in the 90s but it’s not trivial.
    That said I wouldn’t have even thought of streaming a ‘video card’, but I have been trying streaming games on a console lately and it was completely playable. I was pleasantly surprised.

  16. My brother faced the same issue with his last computer that was also built around a compact chassis. He found the GPU he wanted wasn’t going to fit. After that he swore larger tower style only. That was a move I made previously.

    I’ll toss in my plug for the folks at https://www.digitalstorm.com/ who we’ve been very happy with. (Note, all our purchases were pre-supply-chain Covid end-times. So I’m not aware of their speed currently in building one’s order.)

    After each purchase and a few years of use I always have to rethink my requirements for my next computer. Currently, large chassis as I mentioned. More freaking storage than seems godly. Yep, current game installs are huge! Plus, future systems I will raise my RAM.

    Thanks for the quick comment on the GeForce NOW service. This is something I really want to look into. My current system (6 years old) is one I’d like to keep for a few more years. But the GPU is a GeForce GTX 1080. Works great for my older games, its also VR Ready. But I admit the new games have to be set down on their graphic options. I’d like to bump it up a bit. A service like this might give me that extra bump that I could appreciate. I’ll need to look into this.

    I would love to see a future column on the games you like. What do you think of the stories (if you play games that tell one). Your top 3 games of all times?

  17. I owned Alienware machines on either side of the Dell divide. Before Dell it was a custom build shop and they slipped deadlines all the time, but it truly was a custom build for you so that kind of hands on kind of made up for the weeks to months of delivery slips. There were some quality control issues with custom builds of course and you just hoped you had better luck than if you did the build yourself (which I’ve done, but never want to do again). After Dell they somehow managed to keep the delivery slips and quality control issues but with standardized assembly line builds. I don’t know how or why they accomplished that worst of both worlds situation, but they did.

    My solution and it may not be yours, has been to move to being primarily an Xbox gamer because Xbox hardware takes a lot of complications out of the process and lets me separate use cases of my PC, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes PC games that play even on older hardware, and includes xCloud for streaming the heavy latest and greatest to PC if you like (not too dissimilar to GeForce Now other than with Game Pass Ultimate being about the same price you get that nice download versus stream option depending on what you think your PC can run and if you want all the graphics whizbang modulo streaming over the internet compression effects).

  18. I retired and built my 1st PC in July 2018. I had decades of IT experience, so I don’t think it is a trivial exercise. I spent a lot of time watching youtube videos. Best channel for me: “Paul’s Hardware”.

    I would never go back to buying a PC for myself. I’ll probably build a new one next year, especially now that video cards are coming down from the sky-high prices of last year.

  19. I used to champion the idea of building your own PC. But along the way, I learned that I’m not great at it. I usually can get everything done, but there will always be one hurdle I can’t clear.

    The last two times I’ve repaired or rebuilt my PC, I had the system checked by a local computer repair store. That step has proven critical.

    As for the graphics card mess…hoo boy. I bought a graphics card in 2019 during the Year Of The Divorce and Move. It’s doing fine for me. I’ll probably replace it at some point in the next two years if/when prices fall, but I don’t need the absolute best graphics card for what I’m running.

  20. A thought if you want your games a bit more portable without the bandwidth issue: Valve is catching up on the Steam Deck backlog, and if you pre-order one now, you should get it before the end of the year.

    You don’t have to pay in full until it ships, so it’s not like you’re sinking the money in immediately.

    They’re not perfect – battery life is, shall we say, less than optimal, and compatibility isn’t anywhere near 100% – but they’re quite good as a portable gaming device that you can use in the living room while still being generally associated with your family.

  21. I find that sites like this:
    can be a good compromise between the “big box” retailers like Dell etc. that tend to do a pretty mediocre job and completely building the thing yourself. You get to pick the parts you want within a budget and they’ll build it for you. Potentially worth looking into when you do decide to actually pull the trigger on a new rig.

  22. If I may, humble advice…

    AMD is coming out with their new line of processors this WEEK (25th). New motherboards too. A whole slew of new upgrades on the underlying technology (drive speeds, RAM). nVidia will be coming out with something new in the coming months.

    Video card prices are crashing because of the crypto crash (but still high for right now.) More options will be available very soon and older parts might get cheaper.

    Finally, if you have a small chassis you can still get a new video card. Just go for the 3060 area, they’re often a lot smaller. (The 4060s from nVidia are likely to come out early next year. Timing depends on some things messed up by pandemic production and cryptocurrency usage).

    Thanks for listening.

  23. When it comes to tech, you are on record for saying (paraphrasing here) that you wait a few iterations for the kinks to get worked out, and then buy the best you can afford for Future Proofing purposes.

    That said, maybe you save some money by buying last year’s top-of-the-line. That’s what I did when we needed a new TV.

    Woot.com has some decent computers at an okay price.

  24. I was finally able to build my new PC yesterday. It’s relatively simple when you have all the parts but I can’t fault anyone for buying prebuilt because:

    (1) depending on your case it can be a pain routing cables depending on how the case is set up, and

    (2) it took ages for me to get all the parts I needed due to delays, etc.

  25. My current beast is a very nice Dell gaming machine. It’s not from the Alienware line but, the components are nearly what I’d have chosen for myself, and it’s been very stable.

    I’ve bought quite a bit from Dell, over the years, and their quality is extremely dicey these days. Computers arrived without parts, or failed a few months later, or turned out not to have enough disk space to even load the latest Windows updates with all other software removed. Admittedly, that last machine was a cheap unit with some of the most bizarre tech specs I’ve seen, and may have been built out of Chinese surplus parts. I still expected the drive to be able to hold the operating system, at least.

    The key point for me is, Dell offered me a very nice line of credit at zero interest. This was ideal, the last time I needed a new computer. So far, I’ve been very pleased with this one, which is not a regular feature of Dell machines.

  26. I’ve noticed that my PCs usually have about a three-year lifespan more or less, from fresh-out-of-the-box to donate-to-Goodwill-for-recycling. My current one (a Lenovo ideacentre 720) is surprisingly still going strong at almost four years, which is impressive, really. Come to find out, running a few system-cleaning programs (AVG & CCleaner) on a weekly basis has helped! :)

  27. If your house is like mine, purging it of pet hair will also give you a speed boost due to not overheating.

  28. +1 on the Steam Deck recommendation. I purchased a docking station (with ethernet) and have been using it as my daily driver computer for the last week. The desktop mode is surprisingly capable and Proton does an amazing job of emulating Windows when needed. I mainly go for 2D games it’s been great (even at 1440p resolution).

  29. That NVIDIA service you linked looks great! But hilariously, I’m not sure an eight hour session will cut it for me.

  30. You’ve said your internet service isn’t particularly speedy, but is it reliable? Kinda top-of-mind for me, as my Xfinity service is currently down. But hey, at least I can play games when I should be working. Are you worried about losing that questionable advantage of having games run locally?

  31. Last time I ordered a new pc, I got it from these guys: https://www.originpc.com/.

    As far as I can tell, it’s a bunch of guys who used to work for Alienware and left after Dell bought it. They worked fast, the options they give you (for example, you can choose which side of the case you want the motherboard on, and which side swings open to give you access), and the build quality was absolutely top notch. Can’t recommend them enough, really.

  32. I agree that building your own desktop PC is not exactly trivial but once you get the hang of it it can become a very addictive activity. I’d built close to 100 during the 20 years or so that I was doing that before I became a Mac convert (other than a brief time in the early PC gaming days playing Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem and Doom I have never been a gamer, so my needs are different).

    I still have the last PC I built for myself maybe 10 years ago and still run Windows 7 Enterprise (my university’s IT version) but I rarely boot it up anymore unless I’m looking for old files, most of which I’ve already transferred to separate multi-TB SATA HDDs which I can simply plug into my iMac or MacBook Pro with a SATA reader.

    Lastly, it’s appropriate to follow a drive designation with a colon and a backslash, as in C:. C’mon Scalzi! :)

  33. Hmm, not operator error: WordPress apparently doesn’t like to display a backslash! Oh well.

  34. After watching the Gamers Nexus teardowns/evaluations of Dell and Alienware’s latest gaming PCs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtnBr-v2ufs&list=PLsuVSmND84QuM2HKzG7ipbIbE_R5EnCLM for a playlist with all of their pre-build reviews), I would definitely NOT recommend them to anyone looking for a desktop PC. The build quality is questionable at best, they’re nearly unserviceable, and the thermal handling (incredibly important for modern gaming PCs) is charitably described as “might have been OK back in 2008.”

    It looks like better options do exist, as well as some other pretty lousy values, but I think it may be time to break the Scalzi streak of Dell/Alienware PCs.

  35. I agree with you John, that was a good compromise.

    I’m thinking of getting a new desktop as my present computer is about 6 years old and sometimes has hiccups. Heat management is the biggest problem, I had to replace the CPU cooler, the original fan melted from the heat! Dust is always a problem. It seems benign, but it isn’t.

  36. I’ve built many a desktop, and I am glad to put those days behind me. It used to be a way to save money, but now? Not so much, in my experience. And the problems of getting components to work well together, while solvable, is not a frustration I enjoy. Maybe things are better now? But even if that is the case, there are still many failure points along the way.

    The bespoke builds now available through various websites can be fun, if one cares about getting (for example) a particular motherboard or brand of RAM. But given how most of use our rigs, that’s something only a true enthusiast would be interested in. It won’t make a meaningful difference in the day to day experience, for the vast majority of users in the vast majority of use cases. Go for it, if that’s your thing — I get the appeal! A customized desktop has an emotional pull that I can’t deny (for me, at least). But that’s something to get because you like it, not because it makes any real practical sense.

  37. I’m not a fan of building either, I just don’t trust myself to not break something important. My compromise has been to get MicroCenter’s store brand, PowerSpec. They build a few classes of PC and you buy it off the shelf. I don’t know if they have a local shop you could get to, but my last PC from them lasted 6 years and I just replaced it with a newer PowerSpec.

    I’m lucky enough to have a branch close to home and they remind me of the old school computer places in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Knowledgeable people who generally want to help you out. Maybe it’s only my store, but I get the impression the chain as a whole behaves the same.

  38. Did you consider to bring your computer to shop and they would upgrade components with something that surely will work

  39. I retired last fall from a career as an IT manager. In my early days I built computers for work and home. Over the years it got to where prices dropped to the point it wasn’t worth my time to build them. I used to like Gateways back in their heyday, but they cratered. The last eleven years the dept. I was in was pretty much a Dell shop. I always tell people Dells are good computers if you know what to get. Never get the consumer level crap, only the pro level (i.e. no vostros, inspirons, dimensions. We only got Optiplex desktops and Latitude laptops). Dell used to have the XPS line as their gaming machines, and they were quite good, but after buying Alienware, XPS morphed into specialty use machines. Alienware made good gaming computers, but they were notorious for bad support after purchase. Dell at least improved the post-purchase support. In leading up to my retirement, I got a Dell G5 gaming laptop and a G-series desktop. Those lines gave me the ability to get the HD configuration I wanted, processor, RAM, and most importantly the graphics card I needed. So, if someone’s not techie inclined and doesn’t want to build their own (I haven’t for over 20 years), you can get a good setup if you get the right line of Dell. Just avoid any consumer grade equipment, no matter the brand. By that, I mean if it’s sold by a big box store (i.e. Office Depot, Best Buy, etc) don’t buy it (unless you want a Mac. I tell people that’s the only brand to buy at these stores).

  40. I’ve been building computers since it required a soldering iron (and the difficult choice between a cassette or paper tape for program storage). So I’m an outlier.

    Conversely, I’ve also been stuck doing tech support in Dell-only environments. I’d rather give Charlie and Athena my old soldering iron, a selection of screwdrivers, and a rubber mallet, and tell them to build a new gaming rig guided only by Chinese-language parts flyers and a single randomly-selected Youtube video — quality control would be better (and you’d have better assurance that the parts paid for are the parts in the machine).

    For whatever machine you get:

    You can never have too many I/O interfaces of various types. Ideally, both single-jack and three-jack audio, and probably optical too; 15-pin and HDMI video on the motherboard; at least ten USB ports, preferably a dozen; and more networking options than you can shake a stick at. PLUS the dedicated graphics card.

    Get twice as much memory as you can imagine you’ll need, and make sure it’s expandable beyond that.

    Multiple SSDs — one for the operating system and critical executable files (like Photoshop), one for data… that can be daisy-chained to N for data. (I still use spinning disks for Reasons and because I’m not a gamer.)

    Brands? Everyone has their favorites and hates (Dell is one of my hates); ASUS is much better for their higher-end units than “consumer grade.” Best? Have a trusted local builder custom-build it for you, to your specs.

  41. You dodged that bullet. With everyone working from home, they will take care of the business clients first. You might want to.get yourself a SSHD and SSD. You can use the latter for C to improve boot times and the previous for D. Since it’s a hybrid, it’s not as zippy but you’ll know when it’s dying on you unlike the SSD.

  42. John, I would gladly help you pick out parts, drive to your house and build your computer than to see you waste money on an Alienware machine. The way they choke components is horrifying.

  43. I have no real comments on the build your own PC versus keeping machine you have debate, considering my gaming rig is a 10-year-old Mac Pro running Windows. :-) sounds like you made the call for your situation, I was pleased you found the Nvidia GeForce now option, it’s pretty cool.

    I myself faced a similar dilemma last year with the aforementioned Mac Pro, and the insane prices of video cards.

    So I used the Nvidia GeForce Now service. It’s really phenomenal, I was able to play games that were basically a slideshow on the Mac Pro and it’s 950 GTX 2GB video card (upgraded from the original).

    … And then I saw how much bandwidth it was using. I basically used the same amount of data in a week that I normally took a month to use (something like 400 GB).

    Now, Comcast hasn’t implemented data caps in our area, although they keep saying they’re going to, but that set me aback.

    So I said “to heck with it” and found a cheapish older card (RX 580 8GB) for decent money, and will likely be cancelling the service.

    It’s amazing, in particular, it was nice to be able to run all my PC games “on” my MacBook Pro, and even on a M1 MacBook Pro, without having to run Windows. So I can wholeheartedly recommend it, but MAN does it use data. 😃

    Glad you found a solution you like, looking forward to hearing what your actual review!

  44. I would love to see you interacting with Linus Sebastian during an Intel 5000$ extreme tech upgrade. Heck, I would pat money too see that.

  45. Dear John,

    Not knowing bupkis about your setup, I’m gonna throw the kitchen sink at this and hope some of it will be useful. Or at least, maybe it will be for other readers.

    Getting your Photoshop to run faster…

    The big question is whether or not it’s swapping to disk because it’s run out of RAM. Minimum RAM to keep Photoshop happy is 4-5 times the size of the file you’re working on (that’s the working file size as shown in the info window in Photoshop, NOT the size of the saved file on your hard drive). With some sophisticated filters or plug-ins, that can double. Off the top of my head I don’t know how to check to see if you’re swapping to disk in Windows, it’s been too long since I was running that system. But if you notice some operations suddenly taking a whole lot longer than they did before, you are.

    In that case, the cheapest and easiest thing to do is to max out your RAM. If you are already maxxed and that doesn’t fix things, look to see where Photoshop is putting its scratch file. If it’s putting it on your C drive (its default) and you have an HDD, that’s the worst of all possible situations. You can easily see a tenfold decrease in speed.

    Least effective but easiest thing to do: go into Photoshop’s settings and point the scratch file at a different internal drive (I’m figuring you have more than one). Things will run remarkably better, although still a whole lot slower than running in RAM.

    Assuming your computer has a USB 3.0 socket, you’ll get much better performance buying the smallest external USB 3 SSD you can, and putting the scratch file there. Massively better throughput and there’s no drive nor bus contention. Do that and you may experience only a twofold speed drop from running in RAM, which is pretty damn good.

    pax, Ctein

    {Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon dictate in training!}
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

  46. John’s current computer is a Corsair One and not really that upgradable especially its graphics card.

    The GPU is mounted with a custom water cooler spec’d just for that card. All of the newer GPUs generate more heat and draw more power than his current card and would automatically trip the overcurrent protection of the power supply.

    Someone up thread mention Micro Center, I would second this recommendation, a quick web search says Sharonville and Columbus branches are nearest to John, they have a good selection of prebuilts or you make your own parts list and have them build it for you.

  47. You might want to see how Photoshop performs on the Mac Mini. If it has enough ram it should be substantially faster.

    About 5 years ago I built my own pc. Cost about $2000. It boots in about 15 seconds, runs nearly silently and has no problem driving a 4k 27” monitor. All of which is why it cost two grand. I figured I’d get a decade out of it. Then Microsoft came out with Windows 11, which won’t run on it. So I said to myself, “If I’m gonna spend 2k+ every 5 years I’m gonna buy a Mac.”

    Hoping to get at least 5 years out of my Mac Studio.

  48. Have you looked at https://shadow.tech/ ? Subscribed for my son and it means he has the same device when he’s at mine, his mother’s or anywhere else. Runs everything he wants to games-wise, and means he can’t use the excuse of not having his logins for schoolwork as their all on one device.

  49. Those chip shortages, they say, are going to last for a couple of years yet. Prices probably won’t go down much even then. Glad you could find an alternative!

  50. Supply / shipping issues have been insane over the last 18 months.
    I got lucky with my Alienware in Jan 2021 and it was only a week delayed. A friend of mine pre-ordered his Razor Blade at the same time (first available in March 21) and got it in July.
    I’ve had other friends ordered computers over the last year and the delays were like yours, if not longer, regardless of the company. Only those who are putting them together in the US are coming close to build/delivery dates but they are showing the delays at the time of order due to material component delays.

  51. I find that the computer I want to do ‘productivity’ work on and be my ‘daily driver’ is quite a bit different to the one that I want to play games on.

    My current daily driver is an MI Macbook Air.
    My games PC is one I bought bundled parts then have been self upgrading.
    (And I also have a home Server system for storage and backups, but that’s way beyond most people’s needs or wants…)

    The M1 is where I spend almost all of my online life. I rarely ever want to ‘pop the hood’ of my daily driver, be it on the software or OS side. It’s got the stuff I want to work in, and it doesn’t turn the room into an oven when I turn it on in mid-summer.

    The PC has now been as upgraded as I can get it without basically having to buy an entire new one. And I’m strongly considering buying pre-made so I’m not the one who has to handle cable management… “Self Build” is certainly not for everyone, but as a lot of people absolutely no one should be buying gaming PCs from Dell/Alienware. They’re just terrible for so many different reasons, from build quality, to bad business practices, and pre-loading the OS with integrated and hard to remove bloatware.

    I would handily recommend getting one of the newer Macbook Air’s to try out as a daily driver for everything that’s not video games.

    For the Gaming PC, I’d recommend looking for a local custom PC builder. Somewhere you can drive to with the thing in the back of your car if it comes to that. Somewhere that’ll assemble things from off-the shelf components, so you’ll actually be able to take it to someone else for upgrades. (Dell in particular are well known to use components and case designs that can not be upgraded)

    However, I’d also recommend not doing that for at least a year or so.

    There’s a massive supply issue with lots of components that’s still unwinding post panini, and some Bad-Buisness-Decisions that focused on power-hungry over priced graphics cards that were aligned towards being sold to cryptominers. There’s a few reasons to expect the market for Gaming PCs to be a much more sane in the next year or so (Not least Intel making viable budget gaming GPUs)

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