Over the past couple years we have been asked about Alienware parts quite often. When Dell first bought Alienware it was difficult to find used and refurbished Alienware parts. Well we finally have good news. Now that Dell has fully absorbed Alienware and is manufacturing the high end laptops such as the M11x, M14x, M17x and M18x parts are becoming available. A quick search of DiscountElectronics.com for Alienware returns over 100 matches. Now Alienware users can get great prices on replacement parts too.
Is the PC dead?
Not by a long shot. The worst numbers I’ve seen indicate a 7.6% decline in PC sales. Some people would have you think that many of us are throwing our laptops and desktops into the landfill and replacing them with tablets and smart phones. That simply is not the case.
The slowdown in PC sales is the result of a couple things that have nothing to do with the world abandoning their computers. For one, most of us have computers. There are very few first time buyers left. Secondly, the computers we have work just fine, and if they don’t, we can get them fixed or upgraded. There just isn’t anything out there to make a person desire a new PC right now.
It is going to take some new technology that my PC doesn’t have to make me buy a new one. Some analysts thought that would be Windows 8. Clearly, it wasn’t. There are some things on the horizon that could spark a surge in upgrades. Google’s fiber network is one. (fiber.google.com) I don’t think you will get those gigabit download speeds on your (not so) Smartphone.
The thought that a Smartphone can replace a computer is ridiculous. Yes these gadgets do many of the same things you were doing with your PC, but there is just too much you can’t do efficiently with a touch device. I often wonder what devices these bloggers are using to write their ‘Death of the PC’ stories. My guess is they are using a good old fashioned computer keyboard.
PC and automobile sales are similar in that they both started out a luxury item and became a necessity. After WWII, when automobile production began again, automobile sales grew year after year at steady pace until 1967, when the number of unit sales dropped in the US by nearly 10 percent. The pent up demand had been met and fewer people needed cars. That wasn’t the death of the auto industry. Although there is no longer explosive growth in US auto industry there were 50% more new cars and trucks sold in 2012 than in 1967.
Smartphones are to computers as bicycles are to cars. 20 years from now you will still have some form of computer in your home and your office. To quote Michael Dell ‘Overwhelmingly, PCs are still how business gets done around the world.’
Dell laptops are known for their hardiness and ease of use. In fact, for business people who are always on the go, Dell notebooks are among the top choices because of all the beating that these laptops can take. Dell notebooks are not that expensive, but if you are strapped for cash but still want to benefit from the rugged build and portability of most Dell laptops, you can opt for refurbished units that are just as good.
There are many advantages to buying a refurbished Dell laptop. These include:
- - Lower cost
- - Smaller footprint
- - Immediate support from smaller companies
- - Same quality as brand new laptops
- - Same warranty as brand new laptops
Refurbished Dell laptops are sold at lower prices than brand new laptops since they are not exactly brand new. Some laptops could be defective units that were pulled off the shelves, while others could be display units that the store has finally stopped using. These laptops are often brought back to the factory so that they can be refitted with new parts, if some parts are defective, before they are repacked and then sold back in the market. In some cases, refurbished laptops are even better in quality than brand new laptops since they have undergone double the amount of checking and have had their parts replaced with brand new, working parts.
Despite the fact that refurbished units are not brand new, Dell still offers their company warranty with each refurbished laptop that they sell. This means that even if you buy a refurbished laptop you still get the same kind of warranty that accompanies brand new Dell laptop. This is a great incentive for most shoppers who want some assurance that repairs are going to be handled by the company itself since the unit is still under warranty. When you buy a refurbished unit, you are also causing a smaller carbon footprint compared to buying a brand new unit. For those who are concerned about making a small carbon footprint as possible, buying refurbished laptops is a good option.
You can expect better aftermarket support with refurbished units since you will be dealing with smaller companies. Smaller companies are better able to offer personalized service, which you will not often get with the manufacturer itself. Most companies are also local, so you have a higher chance of getting great service with people who are from your neighborhood.
In a world where almost anyone uses a laptop, you have the chance of getting a more powerful laptop with more memory for a price that you can afford. With refurbished laptops, you get more value for your money, as well as the warranty and service that only used to be available to brand new units. You also help the environment since refurbished laptops have a smaller footprint compared to brand new computers. If you are planning to buy another laptop, why don’t you try buying a refurbished Dell notebook this time to see the benefits for yourself.
To repair or replace, that is the question. I watch people contemplate this decision daily. Their PC has broken. Parts and labor bring the bill to nearly $100. They look across our store and see that for less than $200 they can get a better PC with a year long warranty. What to do?
There is much to consider. What about all the applications you have loaded on your PC. Assuming your troubles are hardware and not OS related, fixing your PC leaves all your software in tact. There’s nothing to re-install, just put it back where it was and go back to work.
Buying a new PC may make better financial sense. After all, $200 will buy a darn good computer at DiscountElectronics.com and it comes with a warranty that assures you’ll have no repair bills for a year. It’s probably better and faster than your old one, so why not?
If there is any truth to the saying time is money it is certainly applied here. Anyone who has had to start from scratch with a new PC understands how much time is involved setting the new machine up. Few of us have that extra day it will take to locate and re-install all the software needed to do what we do. There will be that scratched or missing CD or the application that has reached it’s limit to the number of installs.
I was told yesterday that Office 2013 is now a single use application. If you are going to install it a second time you will need to prove to Microsoft that your old machine broke. One source said that, even then, you could only re-install the software if the computer had broken under warranty. Yikes!
Then you are left with that old PC to dispose of and the data on your old hard drive. You can’t exactly set that by the curb. I realize I have left you with more questions than answers. That was my intention. You will need to think through the repair or replace dilemma on your own considering everything I mentioned and make a decision that best fits your situation.
Whichever you decide to do we are here to help. Every location of DiscountElectronics.com has full service repair for all brands of computers and laptops and all 7 locations can sell you a PC or laptop at a price you just might not believe.
Most Dell laptop batteries have a test light/button that allows you to see how much charge the battery presently has and how many charge cycles are left in the lifetime of the battery.
To check the remaining battery charge, press the button & release. The number of lights that appear will tell you charge amount. If all 5 lights come on the battery is nearly 100% charged. If only one of five illuminate the battery has approximately a 20% charge.
To check the battery’s remaining charge cycles or life, press and hold the button for 4 seconds. If no lights illuminate, the battery has 80% or more of it’s original life span left. Every light that illuminates represents incremental degradation. If five lights illuminate the battery has less than 60% of it’s original charge capacity.
The answer is yes. Lease return computers are the best value for your dollar.
Companies lease computers rather than purchase them because of the tax advantages. Lease payments can generally be expensed entirely while purchases need to be depreciated over 60 months. For that reason the vast majority of computer equipment used by big business is leased not bought. And that is great news for you.
When a company agrees to lease an Optiplex desktop from Dell it is for a predetermined period of time, most often 24 months. So the computers are not replaced because they are out dated or unable to complete the task they were intended for. They are replaced because their time is up.
These corporations send the lease return computers back to Dell and Dell sells them to computer dealers across the US. These used computer dealers in turn sell them to the public. The resulting savings is tremendous. A laptop that retailed for as much as $1300 when new 24 months ago may sell for less than $400 now. Best of all, these are the commercial grade computers and laptops. 95% of the Dell off lease equipment is Precision, Latitude and Optiplex. The crem della crem so to speak.
Imagine you could by a 24 month old company car for 70% off. Who wouldn’t jump on that deal. But like a used car the warranty on a computer is important. Be sure to make your purchase from a reputable dealer that offers a complete year long warranty, and always be sure the used equipment you buy is Dell.
So thanks to Uncle Sam and the IRS, lease return Dell computers ARE a great deal.
We received the Inc 5000 congrats letter today. We moved up to number 1119 nationwide. From 2008 to 2009 (our 12th year in existence) we experienced an 80% increase in sales.
Thanks to all of our customers in Austin and beyond and to all our fantastic employees that make this company the great place it is.
Buying a used laptop rather than new can save you big bucks if you know what you are doing. Stick with the best equipment. Do not buy a used consumer version of a laptop like those sold a big box retailer. A notebook that you buy for $300 that was only $500 brand new is going to be nothing but trouble.
Instead, buy a used business machine like a Dell Latitude. These laptops can be bought at deep discounts when the businesses that originally leased the laptops are done with them. A quality Dell business laptop that was over a thousand dollars when new can be bought for $400 or less when it comes “off lease”. Regardless of the brand, always go for the business line rather than consumer models when buying a laptop. Laptops built for the US consumer are made with one thing in mind; price. The only way to build cheap computers is with cheap components.
The lease companies sell these Dell laptops to computer dealers throughout the US that in turn sell them to individuals and businesses at deep discounts. Some of these dealers offer warranties from as little as thirty days to as much as a year. Find out about the warranty before you buy. Be sure the warranty is through the store directly and not a third party. Otherwise you could find yourself shipping the laptop to a faraway repair facility if a problem occurs.
Make sure the computer store you are buying from has been established and has a good BBB rating. The warranty is no better than the store giving it.
Be careful when buying from individuals. If the machine fails you have no way to insure the person you bought it from will stand behind it. Worse yet, you could be buying stolen property.
Your PC won’t turn on? Well that is one possible sign but sometimes, long before your Dell Optiplex or Dimension won’t power on, you are given some signs.
One of the most common indicators your Dell PCs power supply is on the way out is the computer is off and you didn’t turn it off. If you find your computer is shutting off on it’s own; and when you reboot windows is asking if you’d like to start regularly or in safe mode there is a good chance your power supply will stop functioning shortly.
Notice a blinking amber light on the front of your Dell computer at any point and the chances your power supply is about to fail is even greater.
To prolong it’s life while you wait for your replacement power supply to arrive from DiscountElectronics.com turn your computer off when not in use. Shutting it down will also help prevent possible data corruption from power failure.
If your Dell PC has difficulty powering on and you get the blinking amber light failure is eminent. I have seen instances where reducing the load on the power supply by unplugging unneeded USB and internal devices will put off inevitable.
Dell power supplies are better than most. The vast majority of the machines we see needing replacement are more than 2 years old and come from environments that are dusty, where computers are left on day and night or both. But when they do fail it is most often in the SFF or small form factor desktops. The limited size of these machines means the components are closer together. As a result there is less air and less air flow to dissipate the heat.
All Dell power supplies are easy to change. A swap can be done in less than five minutes with nothing more than a screwdriver.
If you want to lengthen the lifespan of your PC’s power supply keep the machine in a well ventilated area and free from dust. Vacuum out the inside of your computer every couple months. Holding the vacuum nozzle to the back of the power supply itself will help too.
Our own Ryan Dennis is in Guam with his band Drum Jam for a month long tour. They are playing a variety of venues including US Military bases. While he is out circumventing the globe we will miss his creative genius here at home. When Ryan isn’t wowing audiences worldwide he focuses his creativity on Discount Electronics. Ryan makes our print ads, designs the signs for FreeAustinWiFi.com and keeps all of our higher tech stuff up and running.