Long ago, I used to hunt for killer prices on computer equipment, and when I’d find something good, I’d post it here. It seemed to be a fairly popular feature. I haven’t done that in a long time, mostly because I haven’t been in the market for anything.
So today, when I noticed a couple of DVD+RW drives under $200 on Compgeeks.com’s DVD Drives & Kits Category Main Page, I debated whether I’d link it. Finally I decided I would. It’s about a $50 discount over retail.
These are DVD+RW drives. There’s a war between the dash-r and plus-r standards. Both create discs that are readable in your regular DVD-ROM drive. Dash-r disks are a little less expensive. Plus-r disks are compatible with a slightly wider variety of DVD drives, and the rewritable disks are more convenient, but they cost more.
Your best bet really is to buy a dual-standard drive, one that does both. Then you can take advantage of compatibility when you need compatibility, and you can take advantage of cheap dash-r disks under those conditions when those work fine.
But the plus-r drives cost a lot less, because they’re suddenly the second-most desirable type of drive on the market, not the most desirable drive on the market like they were last summer.
If you’re willing to live with that, you can get a new NEC for $199 or a refurb HP for $170.
If you’re looking for a cheap computer to run Linux on, you can find several on the Systems & Servers Category Main Page. You can snag yourself a P2-400 for as little as $65. Higher-end PCs are available too, if you’re looking for more speed. Some of them come with an operating system and some don’t. Many of them don’t come with a keyboard and mouse, but you can get those from them too.
I don’t unconditionally recommend everything ComputerGeeks.com sells. I’d be very wary of their memory, unless you need SIMMs for a very old PC, because commodity memory can be flaky. They have some of the best prices on ATX cases I’ve ever seen, but cheap power supplies lead to unstable systems and cheap cases can cut you up when you’re working inside them.
But I’ve bought keyboards, mice, hard drives, CD-ROM and CD-RW drives, SCSI cards, motherboards, and systems from them over the past five years, and their service has always been great.