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Input needed: I’m buying a laptop tonight

After a series of unfortunate events, I am buying a new laptop. And, because we’re leaving on vacation tomorrow and I need to have it in hand as soon as we arrive home, I’m buying it tonight.

I knew this purchase was inevitable as the problems with my laptop have continued to increase and the 3-year warranty is almost expired. The plan was to buy one before the end of the year and I have had the money set aside for it for a number of months.

Being the frugal person I am, though, I held out for as long as possible but the time has come to hold out no longer since my laptop is completely shot. (I’ll spare you the extensive run-down of problems it’s experiencing, the biggest of which is that you cannot get on the internet and it randomly freezes up after around 2-3 minutes of use.)

So, Jesse and I will be ordering a new laptop online tonight and I thought I’d ask all of you bargain-shoppers here for some input on how I could snag the best deal. I’m really great at scoring grocery deals, but electronics are a bit out of my league.

I’ll be getting a Dell (sorry, Mac people, it’s impossible to change my mind so don’t even try!) and I need something that can withstand lots of use and abuse and last me for at least a few years.

Where should I look? What should I get? And how can I score the best deal? Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated.

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113 Comments

  • says:

    I had a dell notebook for years until the motherboard went out! The motherboard costs as much as a new computer…ouch! We ended up buying a gateway notebook way which is wonderful! We bought it Presidents day weekend and got a hefty rebate. If you really want to save look for rebates, use ebates of course and search online for coupon codes to cut your cost.

  • dymphna zaydon says:

    Hi Crystal, I know you want to buy online but we always get great deals with “open-box” items. You just go to any electronics store (e.g. Best Buy) and you ask them if they have any open-box computers.

    Thank you for your wonderful website. I have not fully implemented the suggestions but I’ll get there. I go to your website every day and yesterday I wasn’t able to because I was babysitting a friend of mine’s daughter and I had to keep her and my two daughters busy and safe. I missed out on your $5.97 deal, which I would have definitely done.

    Good luck and God bless… Regards, dymphna, mother to Sophia (almost 4) and Sienna 20 mo

  • says:

    I use multiple resources when I am making a purchase like this, such as buy.com & overstock.com. Also – Don’t forget to check out Dell’s website directly… They should have a “Clearance Center” which has discontinued products, returns, refurbs… People often shy away from these, but they generally still come with a full warranty, they are the equivalent of new, and you get more bang for your buck. Also, don’t forget to check into corporate discounts… does your husband have any? I know that even with my part time home based business (Avon) I get discounts on everything under the sun, including Dell PC’s… Hope this helps & Good luck!

  • Jennifer says:

    I bought my first laptop ever this year and the best deal I found was at Staples. I got a Compaq for around $450 (with some rebates) and also got a free HP printer with it. It’s not the fanciest printer, but it prints coupons just fine and that’s mostly what I use it for! The people at my Staples were very helpful, and I have been very pleased with the computer so far. I know this is not the brand you said you wanted, but I mentioned it because it was the best price I found anywhere at the time, and the service was great. One of my rebates would not go through, so the manager gave me the cash in the store. Hope you find a great deal!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I would look at slickdeals.net if you want to buy online. If you want a dell you can go to their website and use the small bus. discount since you run a home-based bus.

  • Jenn says:

    Ahhh, we are in the same boat! I bought a new Dell – Inspiron 1525 yesterday. Dell is currently running a sale – buy one Dell, get one 1/2 off. Another great way to get a discount with Dell is to go through an academic institution. If you (or a close family member who owes you a favor) are enrolled in an academic institution (or teach for one), you can get 12% off of your order, free shipping. That’s what we did and get a great deal!!

    Good luck!

  • Liz says:

    Our household has both Dell and Gateway notebooks. Four years later – my Dell has just about died and the Gateway is still going strong. I guess it depends if your decision is more geared towards durability or price.

  • Eden C. says:

    WHAT? You don’t like macs? 😉 Just kidding…I just happen to love them, but that’s fine with me!

    My brother bought one on ebay for pretty cheap, however you really have to watch out what for frauds. He almost got suckered into getting one from someone who was just frauding.

    Craig’s list is a great one too.

  • says:

    Oh Crystal, you’re missing out by not considering a MAC. All the schools are on MAC.

    You take it out of the box, plug it in and it works. No set up, no viruses, few problems. And any Apple Store can help you with whatever…free!!

    I switched a few years’ back and would NEVER go back to PC.

    Good luck with whatever you choose, though.

    Robin

  • Rose says:

    I just purchased a new Dell about a month ago and I searched flamingoworld.com and also couponcabin.com and one other – can’t remember…and found the best $$/off coupons I could find (I used a $350 off any Dell Inspiron of $1000 or more) for Dell.com, then of course, I ordered after going through ebates.com to get a small rebate back too.

  • New England Girl says:

    We got our desktop on the dell.com site from the Dell Outlet section of the Small Business site. We got a great deal on a refurbished computer that had a few extra bells and whistles that we didn’t really need but were happy to have, and it’s done very well for us. Definitely look there. And I know you’re looking to buy tonight, but if you had the time, it’s worth browsing it for a few days until you see exactly the computer you’re looking for, since new computers show up on there all the time.

  • says:

    We’ve had several Dell computers (desk top and lap top) and have been very happy with them. But there has been a problem with the Dell laptops overheating after awhile. This has happened to my almost 3 year old Dell and for now we got a laptop fan it sits on to keep it cooled. My husband owns a technology company and after researching the problem, found that overheating does happen frequently to laptops after so much use but especially to Dell laptops. He bought a HP laptop last year that got better reviews but I believe they are slightly higher in price. We’ve found great deals ordering directly from Dell and HP. Good luck!

  • says:

    Good Luck with your hunt. I am no good at finding electronic deals either…HOWEVER, I am a MAC owner and LOVER! My first MAC was purchased 10 years ago and it was excellent. We upgraded at the beginning of this year to a newer one but I still use the older one too. I don’t plan on having to upgrade for a really long time, maybe even another 10 years on this one.

    I have never, ever, ever had a problem with my MAC computers. They are sleek and beautiful and do an abundant amount of things that PC’s cannot.

    Good luck and I can’t wait to hear about what you find.

  • Shayleen says:

    This may not work since you have to buy a laptop tonight, but has lots of great deals on Dell’s. It might be a site that you need to track for a bit to get the best deal though. Good luck!

  • Renee says:

    My husband is a techbargains.com junkie. It is our homepage! LOL Anyway, check their b/c they have the best deals on the web.

  • says:

    I highly recommend buying a Dell notebook from their online outlet store. My husband purchased mine (an Inspiron)there and we received an amazing deal. Most of the items there are computers that were canceled and they have to sell them cheap. A few may be refurbished, but they also indicate that and will guarantee it 100%. Good luck and happy hunting.

  • deano says:

    Maybe you’ve heard, but not everybody likes (read: lots of people hate) Windows Vista. There’s a bit of a backlash at Vista going around. If you can’t buy one that can downgrade on purchase to WinXP, try to find one that is still compatible with XP and find a friend to help you reload it with XP.

    To run XP, you’ll need half the memory which will save you a decent amount of money. Trust me, the memory usage headache is just the beginning…

    If you have to get it with Vista, 1GB of RAM is MINIMUM to just get started, go for like 2gb for best results.

    And, just for me, try looking to HP. Broaden your horizons. You’ll get better support too. And you won’t end up with a “computer from Dell”… 😉

  • Jennifer says:

    If you or anyone you know has a AAA membership, you can order through AAA and get a 6% discount on Dells on top of the lowest advertised price you can find. I did this for my own laptop for Mother’s Day last year and then again for my father-in-law late last year. Just go to the AAA website to get the number to call, tell them the advertised and they’ll tell you your new price after discount. It was easy!

  • says:

    We’ve always gotten Dell products. However, our dell laptop has been the biggest pain. Although their customer service has always been exceptional. The first laptop we bought had problem after problem, they sent out replacement parts, technicians etc to fix the problem but nothing ever helped. So they completely replaced our laptop..with a new version b/c ours didn’t exist anymore (even loaded with new software! This is a blessing!) Since then we’ve had a few problems and they’ve always sent us replacement parts (AC adapter, helped us fix our DVD drive etc). So be warned, you may experience troubles but as long as it’s under warranty they are great about getting it fixed. I’d rather not deal with the trouble in the first place though. Our PC on the other hand has never had ANY problems! And on another note: if I ever get a new printer, it won’t be a Dell, I’m tired of having to order my ink (yes I know Staples has it but it is much more expensive!)

    JMHO!

  • says:

    Check out the inventory Dell has on their outlet page. Our last 3 laptops we have bought were refurbished Dells. They have the standard 1 year warranty included (you can also upgrade the warranty) and they last just as long as the ones you buy brand new. You just get a lot more computer for your money when you buy refurbished!

  • says:

    I got mine at Staples store last year with a mail in rebate. Don’t know where you are located, but SC & GA are tax free days this weekend for Back to School shopping. A computer would certainly fall into that category! Good luck.

    Thanks for all your great advice…am newbie to living super frugally, but am loving it!!

  • says:

    Crystal,
    If there is any way you can wait until tomorrow – it is tax free weekend this weekend and you would save a good bit of money. Computers count and I’m pretty sure Dell lets you do it online.

  • says:

    Hi, Crystal, sorry to hear about your laptop! I used to work for an IT consulting company and we always used Dell laptops. There are a few retail sites I can recommend that have good deals on electronics and are completely aboveboard. You might take a look at MWave.com, Newegg.com, and TigerDirect.com. Best of luck!

  • says:

    I just forwarded an email to you that I get from Dell with their current sale. Check your inbox.

  • says:

    Crystal, my Dad and I both have Dell B130 laptops. You can customize them for exactly what you need. His only has Microsoft Works while I had Microsoft Office put on mine since I needed it for school and now for teaching. He’s had his for three or four years now and I’ve had mine for almost two years. I would recommend them.

  • rachel says:

    Isn’t the MO tax free weekend this weekend? I would wait to purchase a laptop until that takes effect.

  • momof5 says:

    I second dymphna zaydon’s comments about the clearance center. I am really pleased with my outlet Inspiron from Dell. I ended up with a lot more stuff for less money and the warranty is the same as on the “new” ones. I figured if it was sent back for a problem, they went through the whole thing to fix it, so it should be fine. And it has been. Good luck with your decision! And thanks for the time you spend keeping your site! I love it!!! 🙂

  • says:

    If I were you and didn’t have a tech savvy hubby (which I do), I would go to C/Net shopper to compare Dell Notebook computers.

    Good luck!

  • Kia says:

    Don’t know if this is helpful but we’re in that market as well and have been looking into buying from as they have been highly rec’d by Christian Computing Magazine. (www.ccmag.com).

  • Barbara says:

    My best suggestion is to be sure to get a laptop with a sufficient amount of memory because in the long run thats going to be your biggest issue. Be sure to look for some codes.

  • says:

    First, consider getting something refurbished with a guarantee – much cheaper!

    To find the best deals online and in-store at this moment, I highly recommend combing the posts at these sites:

    Slickdeals Homepage:

    SlickDeals Forums:

    DealNews Laptop Page:

    Maybe even before you look at the deals, definitely look at the reviews:

    CNET ()

    Consumer Reports (if you have a subscription)

    I personally highly recommend Lenovo (IBM) brand laptops. They tend to be really lightweight, tough, and have the best tech support I’ve experienced so far. ()

    Good luck!

  • Kate says:

    Get a Dell 1525 w/Core 2 Duo for $600 at Bestbuy. Most stores will have the bacl one in. I got one there a month ago and I love it. My husband is a network administator, so anything that he says is good (that he’ll let me buy ;-)) is good.

  • Jennifer says:

    I purchased a Dell this past Christmas thru Dell online. I have a refurbished unit that came with a warranty. They have a whole page on their website devoted to scratch and dent and refurbished units. I paid a fraction of the cost of a new unit and didn’t have to compromise with the accessories, it is fully loaded.

    Another site that helps me in searching for great prices on electronics is Buy.com.

    Good luck.

  • Julie Gildea says:

    My husband just purchased a new dell computer a couple of weeks ago online. Here are some tips from him.
    Where should I look:
    My husband suggests googling dell special offers and pick out 2 or 3 of the codes. Dell allows you to stack codes so you can use 2 or 3 on the same computer. If you don’t need the absolute latest model there are alot available on ebay so you can compare prices that way. He suggests buying new, not refurbished

    What should I get:
    If you are not a gamer, you only need a computer that surfs the net and does word processing etc. Like I mentioned if you don’t need all the bells and whistles there is alot available. IBN lenobo was one my husband was looking at

    How can I score the best deal:
    Using the codes. My husband got free shipping, $150 off, a printer for $30. The codes change everyday so good luck!

  • says:

    We bought two at the same time about 6 months ago from dell directly. My husband delt with them over the phone, and he haggled haggled haggled. We ended up shaving about 1200 off the price. We got two laptops for around 1000.00–my husband is big time computer geek–he is a database manager for the US gov. works specifically on stuff for the white house–so he knows a lot about computers and he got ours with all the stuff we needed, would use and none of the extra junk they try to throw at you. He also souped them up with memory and hardrive space. I know he was on the phone a good 3 hours but the money we saved was worth the time. His brother listened to the entire conversation with his mouth hanging open at the deals my husband scored. So know your stuff and what you are willing to spend and call and haggle….that is the best advice I can give you. Good luck!

  • says:

    You’re shopping at a good time. This is back to school season and there are deals to be had. I would shop solely on the way that you intend to use the computer. If you need to lug it around a lot, go as light as you can. If you think it’s going to take abuse, go as cheap as you can. Pretty much any computer you buy these days will have the horsepower to do your day-to-day things. I don’t think you’re looking at hardcore gaming or video processing.

    Someone else mentioned slickdeals.net… I kind of prefer fatwallet.com, just because I’ve been there longer.

    Oh, and Robin and Alisha, it’s a “Mac” not a “MAC.” “MAC” is something you put on your face. 😀

  • says:

    My hubby is a computer tech and we just scored a SUPER DEAL on a wonderful laptop last night at Office Max. It’s not a Dell (which we also usually buy) but an HP and my educated and oh so frugal hubby says it’s a steal of a deal for the quality of the laptop. It’s the HP Pavillion with a 17 inch screen for $679.00!!!! They also have the smaller screen for $649.00 (both are originally in the $800’s but there is an instant $200 rebate)Lots of memory and a great PC.
    It’s worth a look…or a trip to Office max for sure.

  • Sherry says:

    I agree with the previous poster. I have ALWAYS used CNet. You can input your zipcode and it will find local deals (as well as online, if you were to have enough time to do that).

    I think they give great advice, both Editor as well as User reviews. Used them for digital cameras, laptops, desktops and printers.

    I found a printer for work that was $300 cheaper than the other we were previously looking at with more add-ons and it is working great.

    I’m a big fan of CNet.com

  • Colleen says:

    I have to put in a vote for HP laptops. I’ve banged mine around for the last two years and haven’t seen so much as a hiccup — I suspect I’ll have it another two. They’re easy to find, and there are lots of great deals on them at the big box stores like Circuit City, Best Buy, Office Depot, etc.

  • says:

    I don’t have a lot of advice, but this is a great time to buy computers, since every major retailer is having back to school sales.

  • says:

    I know you said you’re set on a Dell, but I would strongly urge you to reconsider. As a WAHM, I put a lot of hours on my computers before replacing them, and while I LOVE my 8yo Dell desktop, their laptops are not up to the same standards.

    I just replaced my last Dell with an HP Pavilion on the recommendation of a couple of good friends who are very experienced computer geeks, and I LOVE it. The HD BrightView screen is AMAZING!

    My best advice is to get the biggest hard drive you can afford but the cheapest amount of RAM because it’s much cheaper to upgrade that yourself yourself.

  • momoftwoboys says:

    Have you checked costco.com? They usually have Dell deals or coupons going. Especially with back-to-college now, they probably have laptop deals too.

  • Dana~ says:

    This is perfect timing as I’m also looking to buy a new laptop – and would love to find THE*BEST*DEAL=) I don’t have the time crunch you do – but it’s tax-free weekend here – which has me motivated! =) Please keep sharing all the great ideas!

  • Jon says:

    After watching Dell’s quality and customer service go steadily downhill, I bought a Mac about 3 years ago. Having been on both sides of that fence, my recommendation is to buy an HP laptop. Dell brought their customer service back over from India, but there are still plenty of “quirks” we run into every day with them at work. Our HP servers have yet to let us down and we’re counting the days til the contract on buying workstations from Dell ends.

    The best thing I can say if you’re dead set on buying Dell is that at least they fixed the battery bursting into flames problem.

    keep in mind also, that in most cases, you can’t buy an OEM computer with Windows XP anymore unless you want to pay a downgrade upcharge. Vista has been through it’s requisite year of patching and updating so give it some serious thought before paying the extra money to go back a step in your operating system.

  • shorty says:

    I didn’t read the comments but thought I would pass along where my hubs gets all his great deals for electronics. newegg.com

    good luck
    shorty

  • says:

    I always search the hot deals forum at

    I’ve gotten great electronics deals from there.

  • says:

    I just heard that August 1st is a tax free day on laptops..not sure if its true, but it’s worth cheching into and waiting until Friday.
    Let us know the deal you find…I am in the market for one too!

  • says:

    I just wanted to remind you that Aug 1-3 is tax free weekend at least in KC. I think it’s state wide, but I don’t know for certain. Anyway. You can a little by waiting.

    Hugs,
    Melinda

  • Mandi says:

    My husband is in the IT field and often helps friends and family members with their computer purchases.
    He ALWAYS goes to the Dell refurb or outlet computers. Apparently they aren’t always returns. Alot of the times they are just cancelled orders and since they allow you to customize they then can’t sell it on their main page.
    Hope that helps. Good luck.

  • Sheri says:

    I bought 2 new Dells at Staples. We got a great deal on both of them. I will never shop anywhere else for a laptop. The service is great and so are the prices. When you buy one, they offer 3 additional computer items at 20% of the price. That included our computers and the protection plan!

    My previous computer totally crashed and I received good service. They couldn’t fix it so I received a gift card for my next one. We used that to purchase 1 of the Dells.

    So my recommendation is go to Staples!

  • says:

    I know I’m probably a bit biased, but my cousin works for Dell’s order center. It seems like the offer very comparable deals and you can get the computer the EXACT way you want it. He started working there shortly after I got my current laptop, which I don’t like. When this one dies, I plan on getting a Dell as well.

  • says:

    I thought this was the Mommy SAVING Money blog… Have you had the computer checked by a professional? My guess, is that since it’s still under warranty (according to your post), it’s not a hardware issue (if it is, get the manuf. to fix it), have you checked for viruses with an updated program (trendmicro is free, but internet based)? Random freezes and lack of internet could be virus problems, it could be a program file that got accidentally deleted. Both problems are cheaper to solve than buying a whole new computer and transferring all your data to the new computer.

    -Lou

    P.S. I’ve been using DOS/Windows computers since the early 1990’s and when I wanted (not really needed) a replacement for my 6 year old Dell Laptop, I bought an Apple. It’s as easy as they say. I use OpenOffice (free) to open up all my old MS OFFICE files.

    PPS Have you checked your firewall? If you surf the internet without one, you are asking for your PC to get hijacked. I recently read about a Windows patch that interacted with ZoneAlarm and shut down PC users internet access.

    ********************
    December212012 here: Yep, to all the above. You don’t even want to know what we’ve been through to try and get it fixed… We’ve done every fix known to man and it’s not getting fixed. The problem is not something covered by the warranty either. And the three-year warranty on it is just about up so I want to get a new one before it runs out since I don’t like having a computer without a warranty.

  • Rebecca says:

    I purchased a Dell laptop in May of 2004 and in October of 2007 my motherboard went out and I had to get a new one. From reading other comments, this is a common problem with Dell laptops…

  • says:

    Hi,

    I know you’re reading all the replies, but there are so many, I skipped them and hope I am not duplicating a suggestion for you.

    This is one of those that “saves money in the long run”
    Buy the on-site warranty for three years.
    I had a Dell bought in 2000 and loved it. Having handled computer repairs for the military before, I learned the value of having on-site repair rather than taking it to someone else, so I bought this with my Dell. I was in an MBA program where some students tried to save a few bucks and not buy that warranty if they bought one at all. Unless you LIKE having your laptop mailed off somewhere and waiting a few days to get it back (and in whatever state your data may be in, there is usually no guarantee with this), the on-site is quick and they usually have any parts mailed to you (or to them) within a day. You really feel like you’re not being led around because you see the repair happening and see the parts being installed. I had to have this done several times – connectors, mother boards, the connection to the screen that opens, hard drive….I used this laptop daily and abused it a lot by just carrying it around constantly for 2 years. I would also suggest you get the biggest battery you can buy and a back-up. Then as much memory as you can afford (tho never get less than you can live with). The last two are not cost savings, but sanity savers. The on-site 3-year warrantly is both a sanity save and a cost saver. All the parts are replaced free-of-charge and you KNOW when it’s being worked on. I think the keyboard was even replaced once. Enjoy!

  • Andrea says:

    My husband bought our dell directly from them, but was able to get a really good deal. Apparently corporations, schools, etc. buy in bulk and there are often computers that are left over. We were able to buy one of these, with the option of adding certain software, etc. for a fraction of the cost of having one made for us.
    If you want more info, send me an email and I’ll get the specifics from dh.
    Hope you find a bargain!
    Andrea

  • Carrie Bennett says:

    We love dells at our house but we buy the buisness laptop which have a harder shell so they are great for travelling, carrying around your house (wireless). Google for Dell coupons before you buy to find out some deals going on right now and you can probably get some things added free or at least free shipping

  • Birgitte Sciarretta says:

    As an IT professional who has spent a LOT of time trying to fix laptops, I recommend buying an Acer laptop. I have one myself now after trying both HP, Dell and Compaq. We tried two HP laptops in a row and have decided never EVER again.

    I have an Acer Aspire 6920 with a three year full guarantee and I am very happy with it.

    Good luck!

  • Amanda says:

    My Husband sells refurbished IBM thinkpads that are really nice. Most of them are off of corporate lease. Depending on what you need they run anywhere from $300-$420. He does this on the side we are full time pastors but if you are interested or have any questions please email me and I will get you in with him.
    [email protected]

  • Lisa says:

    I just did lots of research and finally got a Dell Inspiron. I spent the money for the visual (can’t remember the terminology after a long day at work) upgrade because of my eyes straining at most computers. It is so clear, efficient, and lightweight for its size. I love it. I’ve always had good experience with Dell. I also sprang for the mouse because I really hate touchpads. Don’t pay for a color no matter what the reviewers say, the black is nice and sleek.

  • jenni williams says:

    i got a compaq from best buy cheap! i love it!!!

  • says:

    Check online for coupon codes (slickdeals.com as already mentioned.) Because it is the end of the month there are usually deals, and it is close to the new college school year.

    What ever your choice make sure you run the to get any junk ware off the computer after you purchase it (this is a free download).

  • HTB says:

    Every once in a while you can find a promotion code at xpbargains.com for a discount off computers at Dell Outlet for a refurbished computer.

    Just so happens there’s one for today.

    8/1 only – extra 15% off any refurbished Inspiron or XPS laptop or desktop

    Promo code XBL23$01RWJX46 Expires 2008-08-01

  • says:

    Hey Crystal-

    How funny! I just bought a new laptop from Dell myself! We used my husband’s corporate discount (which was 16%), (and I know you likely will not go for this, but here it is:) we got the Dell charge card for an exra 4% off. We will pay off the card when it comes in, as we already have the cash on hand for the computer. My husband’s college Dell from 2001 is still going strong.

    I had a horrific (and ongoing!) customer service issue with HP/Compac when I was in college, and I will not use them ever again unless they are the only option. This is just my one experience, however, so YMMV.

  • tanua says:

    Love your blog!! Follow it all the time.
    My husband had a Dell that crashed after 2 years. We bought a compaq for 450 after rebates and it has been awesome. No problems. I also have a mac. But we will go compaq from now on.
    Good luck!

  • Vicki says:

    I got my first hp laptop about 8 years ago. I just replaced it a few months ago with another one. Great customer service…with people who don’t talk Greek…the best deal we found was on . These are refurbished, but from the hp company. So if by chance it doesn’t work(the first one didn’t and we had to send it back, they sent us a new one.) Happy hunting.

  • Carol says:

    This is my first comment here!

    I purchased a Dell in February with the advice from my husbands IT department at work. We needed CHEAP. I bought a Dell Vostro 1000. (look under small business machines) The price then and now (got catalog today) starts at 399. I did upgrade a little, but got a really nice computer for under $500. There is none of the ‘trialware’ like you find on the consumer versions (eg AOL) You only get what YOU want on it. I was also able to get XP at that time, but not sure if you still can.

    And just to weigh in on the PC/MAC debate, I would LOVE a mac, but even old used ones were 5 times more costly than my budget could afford!!

    HTH!

  • Erin says:

    We just bought a laptop at Staples last week, and got the best deal. My husband was price shopping for awhile, and he found that Staples was the best price. The sale may have ended last week, but if not, it would be a good place to look.

  • Erin says:

    PS. We also bought the staples 4 year warranty, where you can turn in your computer at the end of four years and use your purchase price towards a new one.

  • Mel says:

    I’m just one person, but I don’t care for Dell computers. Their reputation has really suffered the last few years, and I can’t say I was impressed with the laptop I had or with the customer service I received (and I paid for the three-year complete care to avoid headaches … what a joke).

    Anyway, my husband got a higher-end (at the time) Gateway more than three years ago and it’s been great. About a year and a half ago, we bought the same model, and it was just $600 (since higher-end three years ago is lower-end now). It’s been stellar. I never imagined a $600 would not be a piece of crap (after dealing with expensive models from Compaq, HP, and Dell previously).

    For what it’s worth, it’s a Gateway MT6705. We bought it at Best Buy … something about buying electronics online makes me nervous (but we have a TV and digi camera from Amazon.com that are both great).

    Good luck and, regardless of what you choose, enjoy your new toy!

  • Jami says:

    Wow, lots of advice. I’ve gotten my best deals by first getting the reviews online from cnet and consumer reviews, then from there use pricegrabber.com to compare online prices. (Then I see if I can buy through ebates…) Also look up any online coupon or deal codes, then lastly check ebay, and call my local stores to see if they can beat the deals online. Most of the time they can’t but a few times, they have been much better.

  • says:

    Joshua bought a Dell about 2 months ago. He is NOT happy AT ALL about the recent news about the faulty Nvidia GPUs that Dell knowingly sold in their laptops. Very upsetting. He could tell you all the details… I think this article might explain a little:

    Basically, be really careful because Dell was selling laptops with GPUs that are breaking down right after the 1-year warranty and their “fix” is to make your laptop cooling fan run constantly to hopefully stop the problem from occurring. (So, like, what’s the point of “hibernate” then?!)

    Anyway, Joshua is really upset about it. I suppose you could just purchase extended warranties so that it’s covered when it breaks down, but he feels like having to pay for a warranty because of a faulty component is wrong.

    I’m sure you can do your own research, but if you have questions I know Joshua would be glad to share… he did tons of research before buying his laptop! I only happened to know about the GPUs because it was in the news recently and Joshua told me about it since it affects him.

  • says:

    Oh, I should add that the last I talked to Joshua (2 days ago) about the Nvidia/Dell issue, he said they were STILL SELLING laptops with the faulty GPUs. If the issue were resolved, I wouldn’t be so concerned… I just would hate for you to be as upset about your new laptop as Joshua is about his!!!! 🙂

  • Rebecca says:

    is the only way to go! We just purchased a new desktop and saved $250 because it was a “scratch and dent”. When we got it it had a little tiny blemish on the one side–hardly enough to call scratched. It comes with a 1 year warranty and an opportunity to purchase extended. Let me also mention that the last computer we purchased was from there as well and it lasted almost 7 years! Works for us! Good luck!

  • Jessica says:

    Like others have said, check out Dell Outlet. You can access it from the main Dell page. If your positive you want a laptop, you most likely do not want an Inspiron. They are not designed for Power Users. I just replaced my inspiron laptop with an inspiron desktop. I had the laptop for 3 years and in that time had to spend 400 dollars to replace the screen, it stopped displaying. For 600 dollars I got a desktop with 2 gb of ram running xp which included a 20 inch flat panel monitor. If you can downgrade to XP you should do it. Vista requires a minimum of 2 gb of memory. I know someone running 1 gb, and it is just miserably slow. Also remember for the type of use you probably have, RAM is way more important than processor speed. Good Luck!

  • Precious says:

    I always buy my laptops here. They always have the best deals for what I am looking for.

  • Michelle says:

    I bought this Compaq deal a few days ago on The Bargain Shopper Lady’s website:
    It was $499 and came with a $16 printer. I love both so far!

  • pjat04 says:

    My husband has worked on several laptops, upgrading them with memory and also replacing broken or cracked screens lately. His profession is as an IT manager for a large company and he has even built computers for people way back when it was more cost effective to do so. As a matter of fact his computer skills allowed us to put the down payment on our first home and bought us a truck (a used one, but a good one) and of all the laptops and desktops that he has worked on and built he highly recommends Acer, that is the brand of laptop I am using now and he says that is the best bang for your buck at this moment and he also recommends newegg.com cheap prices, quick shipping and the more you use them the better their service gets. Good Luck.

  • pjat04 says:

    My husband has worked on several laptops, upgrading them with memory and also replacing broken or cracked screens lately. His profession is as an IT manager for a large company and he has even built computers for people way back when it was more cost effective to do so. As a matter of fact his computer skills allowed us to put the down payment on our first home and bought us a truck (a used one, but a good one) and of all the laptops and desktops that he has worked on and built he highly recommends Acer, that is the brand of laptop I am using now and he says that is the best bang for your buck at this moment and he also recommends newegg.com cheap prices, quick shipping and the more you use them the better their service gets. Good Luck.

  • says:

    Yes, definitely recommend avoiding Vista if possible it is horrible!! Comp USA was bought by Tiger Direct and the usually have really great sales as well as many rebates and open box sale with good warranties. My hubby is a serious techie and works with pc’s all day and he recently switched to and Apple this year and he would never go back but they are VERY expensive(his was over $3,000) although as far as we have seen very worth the money. Best Buy is also a good place to look as they have great sales too and have the Geek Squad with great tech support if you opt for it(and I highly recommend it) it is one of those “if you sneeze on it and doesnt work like you like we will fix it for free. I dont have a laptop but bought my pc there and the cd rom stopped working one day and brought it in and it would have cost us at least $100 to replace it and it was free and I got it back in like 2 days like new. So if you dont have a techie in the house this program would be great for you if you have one in the area. I wouldn’t recommend buying a computer or laptop online as it is one of those things I believe you need to see in person, if something goes wrong then you have to send it back and wait for it to come back etc……just a general pain in the butt.

    Well just had to put my 2 cents in.

  • says:

    We just bought an ACER at Staples a month ago for only $700, tons of memory great Harddrive webcam and everything we needed!- absolutly worth it. Before this one we had a Toshiba and it traveled around the world with me for a year and survived much abuse. I’m super happy with the ACER I did some research online and would buy an ACER over a DELL any day – but if we had the money I would have gotten a MAC… someday, some day…

  • says:

    We just bought a dell desktop from Dell and found it was cheapest to build our own. We shopped in the outlet center and noticed that we could not get all of the specs that we wanted, and once we added the warranty, it was less expensive to buy new!

  • says:

    We found that Dell’s small business computers were less expensive than the personal computers (for laptops at least). I have a Vostro and have been happy so far. We bought the longest warranty we could as well!

  • Michelle says:

    Can’t hurt to check pricewatch.com for online deals. I’ve used it whenever I’ve needed to find electronics and peripherals. From the looks of the site, they’ve expanded into more realms than they used to cover.

  • says:

    Seriously, try HP. They have an outlet center, and their prices are great. I have had both Dell and HP before, and I happen to like the HP/Compaq ones much, much better.

  • says:

    Dell has refurbished units on their website. I have a Dell and it is the most stable system I have ever had. You can get out with a laptop as cheap as $400. If you go through Ebates you can get a couple percent back in cash. If you haven’t signed up for ebates (which I am sure you have) can you use my email [email protected] as your referrer? Good Luck!

  • Nicole says:

    My husband is very computer savvy and said to look at techbargains.com and search for dell laptop. He said they have a lot of coupon codes. He also said that latitude and vostro are good models.

  • Jen says:

    Get a Mac. Once you go back, you never go back. I promise you won’t be disappointed. We have ALWAYS owned only Macs. No problems–other than replacing cords, wear and tear stuff, no viruses. NOTHING. EVER.

    . Usually the best deal. You’ll spend more money up front but it will be worth it in the long run. I promise!

  • Cari says:

    I know you say you’re not interested in a MAC… why not? Is there something about them you dislike? Do you know much about them?

    We have 4 desktops & two laptops, all MAC… my family will never go back to PC.

    After all the programs you have to purchase for a PC, you could have purchased the MAC. You will never have any problems… in the off event you do, any Apple store can help you FREE for the life of the system… I put more than my fair share of hours on our computers… as do my three children, ages 9, 6 & 5… years later our first MAC runs like new, without any upgrades:)

  • says:

    I have a Dell. It recently crashed but I would rebuy… I think it was a windows issue as since my reload it is better than ever. I googled and found coupon codes when I ordered mine and got WAY more stuff like a 9cell battery, ms office, a better harddrive and memory etc all for the same price as a standard laptop at a BandM like BBuy.

  • mary says:

    Hi Crystal,

    I quickly scanned your comments and don’t think anyone has mentioned this site yet. I purchased my Dell Lattitude D620 earlier this year after I found a deal on . At the time the laptop was 50% off its regular price of $1200 since they were discontinuing the model (a D630 quickly replaced it, and it looks exactly the same!). I love this laptop! It boots up and shutsdown very quickly, and I didn’t have to set anything up out of the box. I use a free AVG software to protect from viruses and also Spybot Search and Destroy for spyware. I never had any of those programs find anything weird on my computer though.

    Good luck in your laptop hunt! Let us know about what good deal you found 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    We have three laptops at our house. The Gateway has been OK, the Fujitsi stinks, and the Lenovo ROCKS. My husband carries one to work everyday and they get quite a bit of abuse. I would highly recommend the Lenovo. My dad has a Dell and has not been impressed. Let us know what you get. I am on the lookout for a new laptop for myself.

  • Janette says:

    Watch out for Windows Vista and Dell. We have had horrible experiences with a recently purchased Dell laptop. Apparently there are still some glitches with the new Windows Vista operating system that conflict with some Dell programs, leading to MANY headaches. Our computer has crashed at least four times, and my poor husband has spent many, many hours on the phone with Dell service workers trying to get the computer up and running again (every time we just had to strip the hard drive and start over again). We have begged for a refund on the computer, but Dell refuses. My advice if you are set on a Dell: back up absolutely everything. Good luck!

  • says:

    I am on my second dell. This one, Inspiron E1405, is a great computer, BUT I HATE DELL. The power cord has gone out FOUR TIMES!!!!!!!!!!! and has happened to many other people as well. Dell refused to send me a new one, even though all the other times have been documented, but would not send me a new one because my computer was out of warranty (only by two months). I had to purchase a third party one, which cost me $100. Even though Dell’s are cheaper at first, they’re upkeep and service levels are HORRIBLE. Buy something with a better warranty and user friendly (AMERICAN customer service teams).

  • Jill says:

    I bought my first Dell laptop as I was entering college, and now I am about to graduate next May and it still works great! The only problem I have encountered was overheating as mentioned before, but as long as you keep it on a hard surface it should be fine. (keeping it on your lap or bed blocks the vents and causes overheating) As long as you have a virus protection software and don’t download anything sketchy or go to sketchy websites your laptop will be fine! Good luck!

  • dwarren says:

    $450 + tax after rebates

    Can’t beat it! And Dell’s have been poor quality in recent years.

    Processor
    Processor brand
    Processor brand: Intel®
    Refers to the company that manufactures the processor.

    View full glossary

    Processor brand: Refers to the company that manufactures the processor.
    Intel®
    Processor type
    Processor type: Pentium Dual Core
    The generation/basic model of the processor.

    View full glossary

    Processor type: The generation/basic model of the processor.
    Pentium Dual Core
    Processor speed
    Processor speed: 1.86GHz
    The number of calculations that the processor can handle in one second measured in millions of cycles (MHz).

    View full glossary

    Processor speed: The number of calculations that the processor can handle in one second measured in millions of cycles (MHz).
    1.86GHz
    Bus speed
    Bus speed: 533MHz
    The maximum rate of communication between the processor and the rest of the system, measured in millions of cycles (MHz).

    View full glossary

    Bus speed: The maximum rate of communication between the processor and the rest of the system, measured in millions of cycles (MHz).
    533MHz
    Level 2 cache 1MB
    Memory
    RAM 2GB
    RAM expandable to: 3GB
    Memory type (RAM) Info unavailable
    Expansion slots 2
    Available expansion slots 2
    Storage/Drives
    Hard drive speed 5400RPM
    Hard drive size
    Hard drive size: 160GB
    Hard drive space is typically measured in Gigabytes (GB) or storage; the larger the number, the more programs, games and data you can use on your computer.

    View full glossary

    Hard drive size: Hard drive space is typically measured in Gigabytes (GB) or storage; the larger the number, the more programs, games and data you can use on your computer.
    160GB
    Burns DVDs Yes
    Graphics and sound
    Screen size (diagonal)
    Screen size (diagonal): 15.4″
    TV screens are measured diagonally, from corner to corner. HDTVs often look smaller than SDTVs with the same screen size because of the wider 16:9 aspect ratio.

    View full glossary

    Screen size (diagonal): TV screens are measured diagonally, from corner to corner. HDTVs often look smaller than SDTVs with the same screen size because of the wider 16:9 aspect ratio.
    15.4″
    Maximum screen resolution 1280 x 800
    Video memory 358MB
    Video memory type Shared
    Ports
    TV tuner
    TV tuner: No
    A TV tuner lets you watch broadcast TV on the system.

    View full glossary

    TV tuner: A TV tuner lets you watch broadcast TV on the system.
    No
    Express card No
    S-video out Yes
    Media card slot Yes
    VGA Yes
    USB 2.0
    USB 2.0: 3
    USB is a standard connection port on most PCs. This will allow you to quickly and easily connect and sync the device with your computer.

    View full glossary

    USB 2.0: USB is a standard connection port on most PCs. This will allow you to quickly and easily connect and sync the device with your computer.
    3
    Firewire
    Firewire: 0
    FireWire (or IEEE 1394) is a type of data transfer. Devices with FireWire output can transfer footage directly to a PC with a compatible cable.

    View full glossary

    Firewire: FireWire (or IEEE 1394) is a type of data transfer. Devices with FireWire output can transfer footage directly to a PC with a compatible cable.
    0
    Infrared port
    Infrared port: No
    This port uses an infrared sensor to wirelessly transfer information to other computers.

    View full glossary

    Infrared port: This port uses an infrared sensor to wirelessly transfer information to other computers.
    No
    PC card No
    Internet/networking
    Dial-up modem Included
    Ethernet Yes
    Wireless 802.11b/g
    Bluetooth No
    Built-in webcam No
    General features
    Operating system Windows® Vista Home Premium
    Fingerprint reader No
    UPC 884420154310
    Manufacturer’s part number FE932UA#ABA
    Dimensions
    Height 10.1 inches
    Width 14.0 inches
    Depth 1.3 inches
    Weight 5.7 lbs.

  • says:

    I apologize for not having time to read through all the comments here before leaving mine, so if this has already been said, just delete it!

    We have always ordered our Dell computers directly from them. That way, we are able to customize it to meet our needs. We will wait until they are running a “free shipping” special, which I realize you cannot do.

    While scrolling to the bottom of the page, I noticed someone had commented that Dell isn’t the company they once were; however, the only time we did not purchase a Dell, we got burned. Dell continues to have a good reputation as far as customer service is concerned, too.

    We haven’t checked it out since we’re not in the market for any new computers, but have you checked WalMart to see what kinds of prices they have on the Dell’s they sell?

  • Emily says:

    Hi! I got a new Dell laptop in November, I had lots of luck saving money! I went to and saved over $500 on my laptop! I also found a free shipping offer and ordered my laptop directly from Dell and got it within a few days. Best of luck!

  • Kim says:

    Don’t have time to go through all the comments, so I don’t know if it’s already been recommended, but I’d suggest you look at . I find lots of great deals on there. Have fun!

  • says:

    Since this has turned into a discussion about favorite computers, I must say that we also had a terrible experience with our Dell laptop– so many problems, bad customer service, and really expensive replacement parts. We’re currently looking for something new, so I’m watching this discussion intently.

  • says:

    I get my best deals on notebooks at Fry’s.

    However, if you are set on Dell, I’m not sure how much of a bargain you can get because I think only Dell sells Dells. Maybe a corporate discount through your husband?

  • Sonya says:

    We purchased my daughter a Dell for Christmas because her met ,by way of our cat with the liquid of a reed diffuser, which melted her keyboard. It has already encountered problems. I don’t know if it is the Vista or what. My desktop also a Dell is shot. I run a virus protection program regularly updated and renewed. I think sometimes it’s because of so much junk on the net and no matter what we do they wind up with problems faster than they did.

  • Chiara says:

    Hi, I hope this isn’t too late. My hubby is a frugal guy and a techie at the same time (no, it’s not an oxymoron :P). Try slickdeals.com or newegg.com, the hubby says there’s a laptop on slickdeals for $400 after rebate (this is on the 27th).

    I have an IBM and I’ve tried various laptops from the ancient MACs to Toshiba (it crashed after only 1 year!). I thought I will never buy anything else but then IBM got bought out by Lenovo and I haven’t heard much about how great or not so great Lenovos are. The IBM ones tend to be pricier (usually more than $1000) but in my book, it’s worth every penny.

    As for Windows Vista, just be prepared. You might find some bugs and things might be frustrating for a while but eventually, you’ll conquer the ‘puter 🙂

    Have fun!

  • jenn says:

    I just got an email from Dell with this link:

    Get coupon codes here:

    Buy through ebates to save even more!

  • Rachel says:

    I used an HP pavilion desktop for over 8 years! It is just now going down on me, so we took the plunge and bought a MAC (but from their refurbished store online). Certified good as new with a warranty but huge savings. My friend just ordered an HP laptop online from Wal-Mart for just under $700 with a few accessories included. I love her laptop! It is really, really nice and a lot of features and quality for the money. She is very pleased with it and feels like she got a good bargain. I am an HP advocate because of my awesome experience with the aforementioned computer. We just decided to try something new at home! But if I would get a laptop, I would go the route she did after playing around with hers and seeing what it features for the money.

  • Amanda Atkinson says:

    My mom just purchased a “bent & dent” for my son this summer. It’s a brand new computer and we have found no scratches or dents or anything wrong with the laptop. I guess it is one someone purchased and returned. She got it much much cheaper than if she had purchased it “new”. Ordered it online through dell.com

  • Dana~ says:

    SO??? Whadya buy??

  • Lea says:

    I JUST bought a Dell Inspiron 1525 I think it was or maybe 1520 < ?> it was $499 at Best Buy on sale! good deal and then if you buy the laptop you can buy a new canon printer for $10.99. I was very happy with the buy it has windows vista and all the perks. It is basic and fast and has enough memory to meet my personal needs. Recommended!!! Again that was at Best Buy

  • Thanks for all the helpful input and info!

    We ended up getting a sweet deal last night on a brand-new Dell. I can’t wait for it to come in so that I don’t have to use this loaner laptop anymore!

  • says:

    I haven’t seen anybody posted this….but, I always read and search for any tech/computer needs….lets say they’re like the moneysavingsmom of technology IMHO…

  • says:

    I wouldn’t own a Windows PC on a bet. The days of owning one of those time hogs for me went out the door seven years ago when I began purchasing Macs. Ooops. I said the “m” word there. For me the hours and hours and hours and hours…… of troubleshooting issues and problems was not worth the money saved because inevitably, there was always just one more thing I needed to buy. Plus, it took away so much time from my family. I shall not bore you with the details. However, my top of the line computer would not accept Windows XP with over ten formats. There were so many days where I was told my only hope was to format the hard drive and start again. I haven’t done that in over seven years. So just suffice it to say that I have friends that still buy Windows and still deal with the issues involved whilst I get my work done and live my life normally. Plus, I have an iPod Touch. How in the world did I ever live without my iPod? Someone asks me for a phone number or address, I have it. If we are stuck in a very tedious waiting situation, we watch a movie. I never lose my notes that I take because they are on my iPod. That’s a $300 item they are giving away at back-to-school a free printer. OK, so you like Dell. Good for you. I love my Mac! As one giving advice, I think it only fair that you tell your listeners the truth about computers. Apple stands behind their product with American speaking people and they are excited about what they can develop for us to make our time on the computer a pleasant one. Dell, in my experience, does not. I owned one for one month and that did it for me.

  • did says:

    I got a Gateway at Office Depot because it was a good deal…and I couldn’t afford to get a MacBook Pro like I wanted. Now I have a $699 piece of junk. It works…but I’ll keep it around just in case I have to run something using Windows software, otherwise, I’m getting a MacBook Pro this semester, I’m getting a 8 gig iPod Touch for free after rebate when I buy my MacBook Pro (I was going to buy one anyway!)

    I wouldn’t be downing Mac’s because if EVENTUALLY (since they have Intel Core Duo processors) you want to run Windows, you can. BTW, Vista is junk!

  • chie says:

    you should make sure to donate the computer (through a refurbisher) once you replace it. the true lifespan of a computer is *up to* 10 years, and, understanding that you’ve run the gamut to fix the laptop, the problems sound fixable. (i have years of experience fixing and building computers.) it’s really good to donate computers, socially, environmentally, and financially (tax deductions).

  • Justin says:

    I know you want a Dell, but if you haven’t bought yet and are mainly concerned with a Windows PC, I work for HP and will loan you my employee discount (an extra 10% off and you still get all the additional discounts.)

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