Possibly against my better judgment, I bought a Dell... I guess eight months of looking created enough "shopping fatigue" that pretty much the first company that would have offered what I wanted, even close to my price range, would have gotten my business. And I need something to replace this crippled Frankenstein I'm currently using.
The machine I bought is not a quad core, but at the delivered to me price of $1,104.13 I'll take it. I didn't buy any of Dell's upgraded warranty contracts as, a) I'm not hard on machines and b) they want over 10% to bump you up one level. (One level upgrade is from one year to three years.)
Although them wanting an extra 10+% to warrant the machine for longer than a year somewhat frightens me. The implication is Dell's quality is so bad now that they expect about 1 in 10 machines to break after a year? Or they're money grubbing and think their customers are that stupid?
Okay, after writing that, I went and looked up the first level warranty upgrade price. It is $119. And while I was there I realized the regular price of the machine is $709, which I wasn't taking into account above. I did add some fairly beefy additions costing an extra 43% of the base price. So redoing the warranty costing, the extra warranty is not quite an extra 17%, which translates to Dell expecting about 1 out of SIX! notebooks to go 100% toast after one year? (Maybe that's two years? I'd have to dig up a statistics book to give you a perfect number.)
Now I'm very much less happy with my purchase and I'm hoping, really, really hoping, that Dell thinks their customers are total morons and that's why they are charging such a ridiculously high warranty upgrade price.
Also note, you can't actually find this machine on their site. A reference to a configurable Vostro 1720 comes up in a search for WUXGA (thankfully), but none of the listed Vostros have the option. Eventually I had a text chat with a sales rep and got this link:
Dell Vostro 1720 w/ WUXGA option
(Edit 4/16/10: Link is dead, "The product or offer you are attempting to locate is no longer available.")
(But! If you search for "WUXGA" on the Dell site, Vostro 1720 still shows up, so you can probably "chat" with them to find another link.)
Guard that link with your life! :) As, based on me ordering it yesterday (1/23) and it scheduled for shipping in March (3/12), they're having these swum in from Malaysia...
Final build below.
On the off chance you see this page... You "lost" a bunch of money on me. I would have upgraded the machine to a quad core, but it wasn't an option. (And no, I wouldn't have bought the bloated Mobile Desktop / Precision instead.)
Actually, what I'd really liked is a complete build it myself concept. Let me select everything that I want in the machine, and then you give me the link(s) to machine(s) that satisfy it. Track that to final purchase and that'd be some valuable market research data too, dude.
You know, that would be so dead simple to create. A bunch of radio buttons to select components for each of a notebooks major components. CPU, GPU, Screen size, Screen resolution, HD speed, HD size, and I think that might be it.
Oh, well, if you use it, send me a tricked out Alienware with an i7 and a WUXGA (or better) screen resolution ;) That'd be cheap for kick ass marketing knowledge.
Here's my final build and some notes on the order process
$1,020 for Vostro 1720 (After tax: $1,104.13, Starting price: $709)
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo P7570 w/VT (2.26GHz, 3MB L2, 1066MHz FSB)
1 Year Basic Limited Warranty plus 1 Year Mail-in Service
17.0 inch Premium UltraSharp™ WUXGA Display with TrueLife™
4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz, 2 DIMM
NVIDIA® GeForce™ 9600M GS 512MB
320GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive with Free Fall Sensor
You should carefully read each offer during checkout. Maybe I did an accidental mouse click, but, I really didn't want "my system Dell ServicesReady." Which after reading is a creepy service anyway.
And why is there a "Purchase Intent?" Both options, "Purchase is Not Intended for Resale [Included in Price]" and "Purchase is Intended for Resale add $0" cost you nothing. I'll admit I didn't want to open any cans of worms, I just selected not for resale.
During checkout, make up a company name and fill in the box, or it get's grumpy and makes you fill one in later anyway.
Why can't you tell me Shipping & Handling before I pay for the order? Ah, come on, you could ask for the shipping address before the credit card ya know. (It ended up as 3-5 Day Delivery: $8.00 - $8.00 = $0.00)
Don't forget check something in "Terms and Conditions of Sale" and "Trade Compliance." I'd bitch, but I guess them not having any default selection is legitimate.