Pretty obvious but worth discussion....

By nickslick74 ยท 21 replies
Jul 27, 2006
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  1. Having been a member of this forum for about 2 months now I have noticed a very interesting trend. It seems that a majority of the questions/problems with oem systems pertain to either eMachines or Dell computers. Now, you're probably thinking "well, duh!", but bear with me. I see a few possibilities of why this is (and I'm sure these have occured to many others).
    A). They are inexpensive to buy, usually less than $500 on sale.
    B). They are assembled with crappy components.
    C). All of the above!

    My choice would of course be C. But this also brings a few questions to mind. How can the general public not realise that you get what you pay for? If you buy a Dell for $300 doesn't the little voice in your head say "bad idea"? I wouldn't trust one of those machines to play solitaire on for fear of being electrocuted when the power supply blows (slight exageration :p)!

    Since computers are such a big part of everyday life now (and getting bigger) why don't schools teach general computer maintainence? This would solve a ton of problems. Instead of buying el-cheapo dells and emachines people might actually be comfortable building their own machines. The first time I disassembled and reassembled a computer a few years ago I couldn't beleive how easy it was!

    My last gripe about the cheapo's is the utter lack of decent tech support. Don't get me wrong, I know there are plenty of decent tech support peeps out there. They just don't seem to have jobs at the major retailers. I am amazed at how many folks would rather hunt around the internet looking in forums like this for help with problems instead of calling support. Is it because they don't want to sit on hold for 35 minutes, they don't want to struggle to understand the person on the other end, or don't want to fell belittled for actually having a problem?

    All that being said, I do love to help folks with their computer problems. While I don't repair computers for a living, I do have a decent understanding of them and like to share my knowledge with those who need it. That is one reason I joined this forum. The other is that people here are also very friendly and knowledgeable and have greatly added to my knowledge.

    Okay, I'm off my soapbox now! Feel free to agree or disagree with my observations and discuss at will.:bounce:
  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    I can`t disagree with anything you`ve said.

    The general computer user doesn`t know a great deal about the machine he/she is using.

    They see a Dell/HP/Gatway etc at a certain price and just decide it must be good because they`ve heard of them and the price isn`t too much. They think they`ve got a bargain and often they are completely satisfied with the system, untill either something goes wrong, or they decide to try and upgrade it. That`s when the proverbial hits the fan.

    I believe it`s all down to the marketing the oem manufacturers use.

    I agree it would be a very good idea for schools to teach computer maintenance and how to build a system.
    I`m pretty sure some schools already do this, sadly not enough of them.

    Alas, as long as the oem manufacturers are around, people will carry on buying their products. Ignorant of the alternatives available.

    It seems to me that people buy the computer first and then start learning about them, only to discover at a later date the limitations of what they have bought.

    Regards Howard :)
  3. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 575

    OEM's are what help keep us in business (so to speak!).
  4. pctec

    pctec TS Rookie Posts: 20

    And business is good :D
  5. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    What do you think about $100 laptop then?
  6. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 575

    I almost fell outa my chair when I saw the hand crank on it! But seriously, I think this is a great idea for third world and developing countries where they don't have the resources we do in the developed countries. I am curious about what type of security these comps will have. Since they are going to have broadband and broadcast to other laptops in close proximity I would think that keeping personal info to a minimum would be a must.

    If they are used in developed countries then I think this could possibly be a security nightmare. To many hackers out there would use the mesh network to hijack bandwidth and do their dirty deeds.

    This could be a huge inovation in the notebook arena. Reading through the FAQ's it was interesting to see how and where they are paring things down to make it work with 128MB of ram and a 500mhz processor. Some of this could no doubt help the notebook/laptop industry.

    These $100 laptops are different beasts than the crud Dell, eMachines, etc... sell, though. For one, the $100 laptop uses inovation instead of just plain old cheap parts to keep the price down. It will never be a gaming machine, but I am inpressed at how they came up with the inexpensive lcd screen. It also appears as though you won't have to worry about the power supply going out either. If it does, since there is no hdd you don't have to worry about losing data. Just go to school and get a new one and hook up your usb hdd if you have one. Or use the hand crank to power it.

    I hope this laptop helps unlock the potential of many gifted children throughout the world who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to do so.

    As a side note, a friend of mine came over last night and happend to mention that he was going to buy a $300 eMachines! What timing. I think I was able to convine him that he and I could build a much better machine for just a bit more money. Friends don't let friends buy eMachines! lol
  7. XenaWP

    XenaWP TS Rookie Posts: 53

    Actually it seems to me that about 1/2 of the questions are about homebuilt computers not booting, etc. Most of the rest are about how to get rid of spyware, trojans, viruses, etc. A very small number seem to be about problems with commercial pcs ... and most of those are for help with upgrading them.

    I don't disagree that a $300 pc is a baaaaddd idea.

    I am curious though, about how all these pcs get infected. Doesn't anyone other than me have a full-time virus protection/firewall running?
  8. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 575

    I would guess that most people don't know how to configure and run them. Some others don't ever bother to install anything. This goes back to the comment I made about having actual computer classes when you are in school. You could solve a lot of problems with a class that combines hardware, software and typing.
  9. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    I'm afraid that having those is not enough. The first and most important tool against Malware is that of common sense. The trouble is, in computer terms, common sense is only common to those who know a little about computers.

    Most new threats these days seem to have a bit of a trojan element to them. Winfixer is a prime example. Better examples can be found with those new additions to the "family" that utilise new exploits and holes to download and install entire packages of malware to a machine, which can include (depending on the intention) ad-serving malware, rootkits, a keylogger, the originating web-based trojan that gets the whole installation started and download additional malware if desired later, and perhaps a little program to connect the machine to a botnet for remote control, etc etc etc.

    Even someone such as myself could be unlucky enough to stumble on such an infected website if I wasn't being careful, only to find that once I'd come back after going away to make coffee while the page loaded, my computer would be full of crap. Of course, that's not entirely likely in my case having as I do a good sense of intuition and common sense that I've developed over a few years, while also being unlucky enough to happen on a site using an undisclosed/undiscovered new exploit, but still it's plausible.

    It's a constant battle where the AV companies are always playing catchup. People who''ve just gone out and bought their first $300 Dell won't have the experience or common sense to understand and realise this from the outset, and so the infections spread.

    There's that of course, and then there's surfing for pron, and then there's those that simply don't care if they are infected (and I've met a few of those too! Nomatter how much I've explained why it's bad, I've still wanted to throttle them for being complacent with virii on their machines (and even more, being complicit in spreading them as a result).
  10. xpgeek

    xpgeek TS Rookie

    The first computer I ever bought was an on sale commercial OEM system, and I knew nothing about computers at the time so didn't have a clue what I was buying, and did regret it later.

    I've had a couple systems since then, some all built by me, some still OEM companys, but I know exactly what I'm getting these days, what the hardware specs actually mean, and have gotten some pretty quality systems, even from Dell, because I always always customize the system to what I want so I know exactly what I'm getting.
  11. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    My first pc was an HP, I've built several since for myself and for others, and my most recent is an HP Media Center comp. Its got beautiful hardware specs, but it sucks for recording and playback of tv - something I think is screwed up with microsoft's proprietary pvr file format. Everythign else on it works perfect, I'm going to put SageTV on it to get around that issue and I'm sure it will be a great computer.

    The problem comes when people try to take an OEM PC and upgrade it. The hardware on OEM PCs is hardware that will work out of the box, once you start adding other things thats when you run into problems.

    People having issues with OEMs here arise from them wanting to do something with it that it couldn't do the day they bought it. If you think you are going to want to keep the same system and just have it evolve over time, buying an OEM rather than building one is stupid.
  12. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    My first PC was a Tandy.

    Built like a rock. Even worked 20 years later when I pulled it out of the closet, despite a bad CMOS battery. :)
  13. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    My 1st pc was a P1 166MHz custom made (local pc shop, put it together for me from my selections).
    My 2nd and 3rd (current)pc was made by yours truly.

    People see PCs as a black box. Plug a keybrd and monitor into it , type and stuff comes out on the screen. Most want a pc now to get on-line send pics and email friends. So really a Dell or whatever is just fine for them. I mean how many here know how a TV works, or a microwave oven or the Carnot engine cycle? Most don't. And really why do you need to know,,, you plug TV in press on and vola.

    What happens is Johnny hits 16, gets a good part-time job, has his own money now and runs out and buys latest great video game. He then finds out the graphics in Dad's Dell won't cut it and the trouble begins. (que the spooky music).

    Another big ticket item here in the forums (IMO) is BSODs. Ppl upgrade a video card and then are stunned to find out the 200W PSU that came with the OEM piece o crap they bought isn't enough power.

  14. Erlehacker

    Erlehacker TS Rookie

    The ignorance of how anything tech works is truly amazing. You hear of people calling the monitor the computer or the CD drive "a cupholder." It's just sick.
  15. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Lol. I think I stumbled into another jokes thread here, after reading Erlehacker's comment :D:D:D

    But yeah, I think schools should teach basic computer troubleshooting in grade 9 or something. But think about it: why the hell would they want to do that? Yes, people do get into computer problems, but it isn't really an essential skill to have. We do see alot of complaints about computers not working, but the majority of computers do work, and will continue to until the end of their working life.

    And if they don't work, PCs at work will have a computer tech to tend to them, and there's that company they bought the damn thing from to flame. Thats assuming they knew nothing about computing. If they did, they'd have fixed the problem themselves, or could have just gone with the flaming.

    Think about it economically: there are so many people with IT degrees out there without a job. Give them a job: fix these poor people's pcs for a living. They should outlaw sites like these, so that people will actually need people with IT degrees. (You know I'm joking right?)

    Besides, I think our teenagers are learning more and more useless stuff in school these days. Sex ed, I don't think cavemen had those when they were a kid.... (ugg, ugg uh ugg *translation: stick that in there, and you'll be a man, my son!)
  16. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    I just sorted an emachines 150dvd for a friend of a friend. According to the emachines website it doesn't exist. I know its not a new pc but it came with xp home on it so it cant be that old???? After taking a good look inside the thing, i would definitely not recommend one to anyone even if i hate them!!!!
  17. Shizat

    Shizat TS Rookie Posts: 70

    Well I currently work where we have about 750+ Dell Optiplex PCs and they are having horrible problems... At least one per day comes down with bad capacitors, and dont' get me wrong I love Dells Warranty/Tech Support. They get replacements out the next day... But the problem is, they obviously hit a bad contract with a bad capacitor manufacturer, but you would think they would learn and get this resovled...But NOOOOO.... half of our New MBs are now starting to go out due to the same problem...

    They are still swapping them out really quick for us, but you gotta think, how many will break before they make a change?
  18. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    Is the insulator on the caps either black with silver print or dark blue with gold print? If so, these duff caps have been made for years by some Taiwanese company. i used to work in the electronics trade and we used to get a lot fail so we went back to the manufacturer who said they would fix the problem and never did so we stopped using that make of cap (cant remember the name of the company, it was a few years ago now).
  19. Shizat

    Shizat TS Rookie Posts: 70

    I think that's similar to what's happening here.. They insulators are all Black.. and you know the "imprints" on the top that they make so if the Cap does expand it will burst there... Well, they started out with "X" and "T" looking imprints, and the new ones are imprinted looking similar to a "K". But they are having the issue as I said. Dell swears up and down they have resolved the issue for future MBs, but we still see new and old ones fail at least daily. Last week we had 1 department alone that brought down 4 in one day!
    Like I said, had it not been for Dell's superb warranty, we would chunk these all out the window. And instead of having Dell just send us the part to replace, my boss dedcided we need to hurt Dell's pocketbook a little, and we make them send a tech for every single call... Well, at least they will notice something :)
  20. talmont

    talmont TS Rookie

    Virus and other configurations.

    As to the firewall and virus question.

    Most of my customer with Firewalls and Antivirus say the same thing:

    "I just say yes, I don't know what the stuff they are asking me about is, and if I say no, then my computer doesn't work."

    As for malware being common, does anyone else remember newdotnet being a virus in 1999, now it is a needed part of three programs I have seen in the past year!

    And as for education of users .... I have had the coffee cup caller (it isn't urban legend) and one of my callers told me their foot pedal was broken ... I almost died when I finally figured out (yes I am that slow apparently) that she meant her MOUSE!

    Education, education, education. Don't download email w/attachments, put all downloads into one folder and scan them before opening, etc ...

    As for which calls I get the most: Dell, crashing, format, upgrade ... but don't have me buy a good computer w/o one of the commercial brand names on it ... how will I ever hold my head up telling people 'I don't have a Dell, I have an unnamed custom build computer that does more then your system will dream of for slightly more ... I want my Dell with Windows 3.0 on it!!!'

  21. Shizat

    Shizat TS Rookie Posts: 70

    Newdtnet was a virus. MS created The Dot Net framework about 4+ years ago as a follow on to VB and other programming languages. The DnF (as we call it here) is needed for many applications, and is used by M$ to trigger some of their Genuine Advantage crap too.
  22. Boogityboo04

    Boogityboo04 TS Rookie Posts: 302

    I think two of the reasons most schools are not teaching a good computer education class is

    1. Most of the staff at a given school know less about computers than thier students, (even the computer teachers usualy don't know all that much about actually assembling a computer.)


    2. A lot of the students don't care about being able to fix thier computers, (as long as they can get mommy and daddy to pay a tech to fix it, they don't care)

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