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Micro Center’s 18-minute pickup works spectacularly

It was like ordering Chinese takeout.

I wrote yesterday about how I needed a motherboard to try to solve my ongoing webserver issue. I don’t live or work anywhere near Micro Center. The computer store near my house closed, and I don’t like the one near my workplace anymore since they jerked my friend around. Frequently I order computer equipment online, but Micro Center’s pricing is really good right now, so I asked my wife if she would mind trying a pickup order.

It worked. Splendidly.

I went to the web site, created an account, then added the items I wanted to my cart. I’ve known for a couple of days that I wanted an Asus P5G41T-M LX motherboard, a Pentium E5700 CPU (two cores of 3 GHz goodness for 65 watts and 50 bux0rZ), and 8 GB of Kingston DDR3. I also added a 32 GB SDHC memory card for my wife’s new camera, to make the trip worth her while. I added my wife as an authorized pickup person and created a PIN for her.

Seven minutes later, I received an e-mail message saying my order was ready.

She went to the store, walked right up to a sign at the front of the store that read Internet Pickup, handed them her driver’s license, told them her PIN, and they grabbed a pile of stuff with my name on it, put it in a bag, and handed it to her.

And I know now that you can place your order and pick it up any time within three calendar days.

I already have a 40 GB SSD and a Corsair power supply I’ve been saving for the project. Now I just need to find an ATX case to gut, put my pieces together, install Linux, and I’ll have a new web server.

SSDs trend closer toward $1 per GB

In March, I predicted that we’d see SSDs selling for $1 per GB by late 2012. I’m happy to say it’s possible we may get there sooner than that.

In fact, if you shop around now, it’s possible to find USB flash drives for very close to $1 per GB, and sometimes you can get an SSD for $1 per GB if you find a sale. It will be short-lived, you can’t be picky about brand or controller, and you’ll probably have to deal with a rebate, but you can do it.

Read More »SSDs trend closer toward $1 per GB

Is that price a good deal or not?

So you’re shopping online, and want to know if you’re getting a good deal on something. It’s pretty easy to shop around, and check multiple web sites to see how they’re pricing an item. But sometimes prices change over time, and wouldn’t it be nice to know if pricing on the item is relatively stable, or if it’s something that frequently goes on sale for less?

Enter the Camelizer.
Read More »Is that price a good deal or not?

PC Magazine’s sub-$200 PC

PC Magazine has reprised its sub-$200 PC. I think it’s a good guide, and a savvy shopper can potentially do a little bit better with some care and some luck. At that price, it’s running Linux, but it also serves as a good guide for upgraders looking to upgrade an existing PC inexpensively. If you have a case and hard drive you can reuse, you can either buy better parts, or just pocket the savings.

Here’s my take on their selections.

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A bargain SSD for the masses

I spotted a bargain SSD: The Kingston SSDNow V+100 96 GB  is available at Amazon for $130. (It’s available other places for about the same price, but with Amazon’s free shipping, it’s probably cheaper there.) It uses a Toshiba controller that (by some accounts) lacks NCQ, but other than that, it’s a modern controller, and it has a good track record, having been the controller Apple used in its Macbook Air.
Read More »A bargain SSD for the masses

64 bits or bust

I’ve resisted the pull to 64 bits, for a variety of reasons. I’ve had other priorities, like lowering debt, fixing up a house, kids in diapers… But eventually the limitations of living with 2003-era technology caught up with me. Last week I broke down and bought an AMD Phenom II 560 and an Asus M4N68T-M v2 motherboard. Entry-level stuff by today’s standards. But wow.

If you can get one, an AMD Phenom II x4 840 is a better choice, but those are getting hard to find. And if you can’t afford a $100 CPU there are bargains at the very low end too: A Sempron 145 costs less than $45, and a dual-core Athlon II x2 250 costs $60.  The second core is worth the money.
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The amount of system memory has changed – Dell

I added some memory to a Dell Inspiron E1505, an aging but serviceable Core 2 Duo-based laptop. And it greeted me with this: THE AMOUNT OF SYSTEM MEMORY HAS CHANGED .

IF YOU DID NOT CHANGE MEMORY
TO RESOLVE ISSUE RESEAT MEMORY..

And then it appeared to freeze. The problem is, I did change the memory! And it was Kingston memory, straight out of another working machine, so I knew it was good stuff.

Read More »The amount of system memory has changed – Dell