Technology moves forward very quickly. In doing so the price of components goes down”,” and the performance increases.
LaptopOne of the main questions I get asked on a regular basis is”, “What computer should I buy?” To solve this question I have decided to keep my eye on the price of computer part throughout 2008 and update the prices of computers you can expect to pay for a quality machine that will work for a few years and do everything you can through at it.

Each month I will compare the price of a Dell laptop to a desktop computer that is comparable. Taking into account a desktop will be used for more system intensive uses and will get better performance it will not be a one to one comparison, however it will give you a good base line for what to look for when you buy a new, or even your first computer.

The reason for a Dell laptop being in each comparison is four fold. First I have a Dell laptop as my field computer and it hasn’t had any problems that I myself haven’t caused. Second I have recommended Dell’s to many clients, all of which are very happy with their purchases. Third, there is not much chance of Dell going out of business any time soon, so it will remain some what consistent. And fourth, I’m not a big fan of Dell desktop computers.


Each computer must have certain things.

1. Each computer must come with Windows Vista.

2. Each computer must come with a commercial Word processing and spreadsheet programme.

3. Each computer must come with a monitor.

4. Each computer must come with a printer.

5. Each computer must come with a keyboard and a mouse.

6. Each computer must come with speakers.

7. Each computer must come with a fully made, Windows running and with a warranty.

With all 7 of these requirements met, the computer you buy will work as soon as you get it, weather you have had a computer in the past or not, and you will not have to buy anything extra for it to do most everyday tasks.

Internet connection is not included with the planning of the computer purchase. This is just for the computer itself.

This month I have decided to use a Sydney based online computer store,” i-tech for the purchase of the desktop computer.

Desktop computer.

Processor: Intel DUAL-CORE E2180 2.0GHZ $125
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P31-DS3L $125
Monitor: Acer X193WS 19″ Widescreen LCD $276
Case: KME CX-7859 ATX Miditower Case Ivory/Blue with 400W PSU $41
Memory: Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400C5 4GB PC-6400 DDR2 RAM $209
Hard Drive: 2 X Samsung 320GB SATA II 7200rpm”,” 16MB Cache (640GB) $204
Optical Drive: PIONEER DVR-212 Burner $46
Video Card: Gigabyte GV-NX86T512H Geforce 8600GT 512MB $169
Warranty: 2 Years Parts and Labour On-Site $155
Printer: Epson Stylus CX7300 $125
Software: MICROSOFT WORKS 9.0 $48
Speakers: Auditek SP-3400 180W Speakers $12
 Total $1″,717

Parts Explanation.

All parts are from the current market leaders. Intel, Gigabyte, Nvidia and Corsair.

The 2 hard drives included in the computer is to allow for future use including games and video editing.

Dell Laptop.

Due to the way the Dell website works,” the individual part prices are not included.

Processor: Intel DUAL-CORE T7250 2.0GHZ
Monitor: 17″ Widescreen LCD
Case: Black or White with 2 Mega Pixel Webcam
Memory: 4GB DDR2 RAM
Hard Drive: 320GB SATA
Optical Drive: Dual Layer DVD Burner
Video Card: Geforce 8600M GT 256MB Dedicated Memory
Warranty: 3 Years Parts and Labour On-Site + Insurance
Battery: 9 Cell 85Whr
Printer: Lexmark All in One
 Total $2″,668.60

Parts Explanation.

The smaller screen on the laptop is a limitation to allow for portability of the computer.

The single hard drive is due to the lack of room inside a laptop when compared to a desktop. While it is possible to have more than one hard drive in some laptop computers it is not advisable due to the drain on the battery and the the increased heat produced.


At this stage of the year it is possible to see the price difference of not quite $1,000. This is expected ue to the extra year of warranty as well as the “Accidental Damage Protection” Dell is giving for 3 years on this computer.

Both of these computers are able to play the latest games, edit and watch videos and use Windows Vista in the correct way.

It is quite possible you can find the desktop parts for less than what I have here. Add to that the delivery costs of the desktop,” which I have not included if you are not picking up the computer.

I hope this makes any new computer purchases you will make a little bit easier. I will update the parts in the coming months to help you track what changes occur and  help you make informed decisions.

By Matthew