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Franko170 May 24, 2012 3:57 PM


Originally Posted by jack55 (Post 1302654)
I HATE:mad: Nikon's practice of putting a camera on the market when they aren't ready! I know of several that have been waiting for their D800 for over 6 weeks now. I absolutely won't by a new Nikon for that reason for at least 6-12 months for that reason and time for them to work out the bugs (firmware).

NOW is the time to buy the former greats, D700, D3 as those folks are needing $$$ for the new stuff. Which I just did yesterday. Got a great deal on a low shutter count, like new D3. :D

An acquaintance of mine picked up a D800 almost a month ago, but checked with a half dozen sources before he found one that he could drive to in about a half hour and pick it up (along with a nikkor 24-70 2.8 lens).

JimC May 24, 2012 6:17 PM


Originally Posted by jack55 (Post 1302814)
...Now Jim, I'm like you with computer's & cell phones... gotta have the latest and greatest ASAP... but even then still wait three months or so before getting one.

I'm the opposite with computer stuff.

The last 4 or 5 computers I've bought (several desktops and more than one laptop) have all been purchased in refurbished condition from Dell Outlet, always waiting for a coupon code for more off (usually around 20% off the already discounted refurbished price).

You can get on the Dell Outlet mailing lists here (so that you'll get e-mails when they have coupon codes for more off on refurbished models), and I'd sign up for both the Dell Home and Business mailing lists so that you're notified of any coupon codes for both (and you can buy from the business side for personal use, too):

You can't build them for what you can get them that way for, even using cheapo parts, and if you're not buying the "latest and greatest" model, you can save a lot, while still getting most of the performance you'd get with new machine. ;-)

For example, if you wait on a coupon code (and they have them around once/month for 20% off on refurbs), you can pick up something like a Dell XPS 8300 with a Core i7 2600, 8GB of DDR3 (and you can add more yourself for very little money), dedicated video card (various models starting from an ATI 6450 or Nvidia GT 620, up to an AMD HD 6870 or Nvidia GTX 560Ti, depending on the way a specific refurb listing is equipped), 1TB or larger drive, Wireless N card, 64 Bit Win 7, DVD Writer, and more for around $600, including a 1 year on site warranty. Then add to it as desired (another drive, more ram, etc., using parts from or similar vendors. Also note that the PSU in the XPS 8300 has dual 6 pin connectors and will handle video cards drawing up to 225 Watts (unusual for a 460 Watt PSU, meaning a lot of higher end cards will work in it).

You could pick up a Core i5 2xxx XPS 8300 model equipped about the same way for closer to $400 after a coupon code if you're on a tighter budget and don't want to splurge on a Core i7 2600. The Core i5 based models are a "steal" if you wait for coupon codes to take more off of the already discounted prices on refurbished machines.

It's hard to justify spending more on a newer box at prices that low, or building one yourself (as once you factor in the case, psu, motherboard, cpu, operating system, drives, video card, memory, etc, you'd be spending more, even using low end parts. Basically, you could get around 80% of the performance of a higher end custom build for around half the cost.

jack55 May 24, 2012 8:26 PM

I build and repair computers. Have one desktop and 3 notebooks.
I can build them much cheaper than you can buy them. Notebooks, I usually wait until the first wave is gone, about 6 months and then get one.

JimC May 25, 2012 9:29 AM


Originally Posted by jack55 (Post 1303064)
I build and repair computers. Have one desktop and 3 notebooks.
I can build them much cheaper than you can buy them.

I dunno about that. Try pricing out the parts for something like a box with a Core i7 2600 in it and see what you get.

The Motherboard and CPU alone are going to run you around $400, even going with a cheaper MB. Add Win 7 in, and you're at closer to $500 , not even counting the memory, drives, card reader, video card, case and PSU.

Dell has some refurb XPS 8300 boxes right now for $659 (before any coupon codes) with a Core i7 2600, dual 500GB drives in a RAID 0 config, 8GB of 1333mhz DDR3, HD 6450 video card, case with a 460 Watt PSU with dual 6 pin connectors able to handle video cards drawing up to 225 Watts (and they sold them with Nvidia GTX 560Ti and Radeon HD 6870 cards in them), 64 bit Win 7 Home Premium, and a 1 year warranty with in home service.

You'll see a listing like that in this screen capture I just made:

They have 20% off coupon codes on the refurbs around once/month. So, a box listed for $659 like that would only cost you around $529 after the coupon code. That's the way I always buy them (waiting for a coupon code for more off, since they have them on a regular basis).

Try putting together a box like that and see what the parts cost you. Chances are, you'd be after over $529 by the time you bought a Motherboard, Core i7 2600 CPU, Win 7 and video card (even going with the cheapest MB and HD 6450 you could find), and you'd still need a case, PSU, memory, card reader and drives. If you don't like Dell's memory replace it, as memory is cheap anymore. ;-)

They have some listed with an HD 6870 for a little more (I see one for $729 right this minute, which would only cost you about $584 after a 20% off coupon code). Try pricing in a card like that HD 6870 after buying a case, motherboard, psu, Core i7 2600, 64 Bit Windows 7, drives, etc, and try to build one for $584. :-)

Chances are, you'd be at around $584 for the CPU, Motherboard and Video Card alone, and you'd still have to buy Windows, Drives, Case, PSU, RAM, etc..

Sure, you can build a faster box yourself (at a higher cost), so you'd have overclocking, PSU supporting even better video cards, more drive bays, better ventilation, etc.

I used to build all of my own systems. But, I figured out a while back that it's easier and cheaper for my needs to go with the refurbs (making sure to wait for a coupon code, since they have them often), then upgrade more often as needed.

I've bought multiple desktops and notebooks that way from them (refurbished using coupon codes for even more off), and they've all arrived in like new condition working just fine.

Heck, even the refurb I mentioned in this post is still working fine (purchased from Dell Outlet in 2004):

I just don't use it for much anymore, since I've bought multiple machines since then that are faster. Heck, the next box I bought as a replacement had a Core 2 Quad (Q6600), dual SATA drives, card reader, Windows and more for $398 after a coupon code, and that was 4 years ago in May 2008 when the parts would have cost you a lot more for a box like that. That one did have a weak PSU in it (350 watt). So, I just replaced it with one from (they use standard ATX PSUs).

I bought a slower but similar desktop as a spare a couple of years back for only $235 delivered with a slower AMD Athlon X2 240 in it, 4GB of memory, 64 bit Win 7 Home Premium, dual SATA drives and DVD Writer using a coupon code for more off when I spotted one like at a good price in their refurbs list.

If you don't need the fastest box around (since you can't OC a box with a Dell BIOS), I've found that you just can't build one for what you can get a Dell refurb for after coupon codes if you're a good shopper. Then, just upgrade it yourself (memory, drives, video card, etc.).


Notebooks, I usually wait until the first wave is gone, about 6 months and then get one.
I do the same thing with them (buy them refurbished from Dell Outlet, waiting until they have a coupon code for more off the already discounted refurb prices).

For example, I bought a refurbished Dell Inspiron 1720 in December 2007 from Dell OUtlet (using a coupon code for more off the normal refurb prices). It has a Core 2 Duo in it with a smaller 120GB Drive. My wife has used it almost every day since then and it's still working just fine (and the original battery still holds it's charge, too). It had Vista on it, but I set it up with Linux for her instead.

Heck, last year I bought a little Inspiron 11Z from Dell Outlet with a 1366x768 WLED backlit display, 160GB Drive, 2GB memory (single SODIMM but you can replace it with a 4GB if desired), HD 4500 integrated graphics and 64 Bit Win 7 Home Premium (not the starter edition some netbooks ship with) for $153.22 delivered (including tax and shipping), after a coupon code for more off.

I was using a little Eee PC 900 16G that the SSD failed in, plus I had cracked it's display. So, I went shopping at Dell Outlet when I got an e-mail with the latest coupon codes in it and bought that little 11Z. It's faster with better graphics and it works just fine for what I use a netbook for (mostly keeping up with the forums if I'm going on short trips), and I like it's slightly larger display (the Eee PC was a pain since it's display was only 1024x600).

You can get on the mailing list for Dell Outlet coupon codes here (and I'd sign up for both the Business and Home Side).

You can also find them at Dell Outlet's twitter page here:

Right this minute, the business side has 15% off refurbished Latitude and Vostro laptops and 20% off the Precision models. Here are some crops from the last e-mail I got on May 22 (and the coupon codes expire May 28)

JimC May 25, 2012 9:58 AM


Originally Posted by JimC (Post 1303124)
Heck, last year I bought a little Inspiron 11Z from Dell Outlet with a 1366x768 WLED backlit display, 160GB Drive, 2GB memory (single SODIMM but you can replace it with a 4GB if desired), HD 4500 integrated graphics and 64 Bit Win 7 Home Premium (not the starter edition some netbooks ship with) for $153.22 delivered (including tax and shipping), after a coupon code for more off.

BTW, I just happen to have a screen capture I made of that one when I buying it, so I could show others how to find a good deal there. ;-)

Even without the coupon code, it was listed at a good price (you have to browse the listings often to find the best bargains). It's plenty fast enough for what I use a netbook for (just browsing forums when on short trips for the most part). I've got it setup in a multi-boot config with Win 7, Kubuntu 12.04 LTS and Mepis 11 on it right this minute.

jack55 May 25, 2012 10:06 AM


Originally Posted by JimC (Post 1303124)
I dunno about that. Try pricing out the parts for something like a box with a Core i7 2600 in it and see what you get.

A lot of info there. You put some time and thoughts into that. Thanks!

I live not too far from Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA and have a couple friends that work there and I get Microsoft discounts, at cost, for parts, so I can get them pretty reasonable. My last build was a year ago and once you build one, it's easy to upgrade as new stuff comes out. I also have friends that get good discounts at the Boeing computer headquarters too. Yep, Boeing is close to me too.

If I were to buy another notebook, I may well try it your way... because I tend to walk into Best Buy to get my notebooks if I don't get one from my Microsoft / Boeing buddies.

JimC May 25, 2012 10:55 AM

Best Buy, huh?

They own that you may want to browse through, too. On the surface, my guess is that they're using it to get rid of returns or machines that are more trouble to troubleshoot and return to the buyer in a timely manner when they have extended warranties on them. So, I think they just make sure the hardware is working after replacing any obviously bad parts, and resell them at a [sometimes very steep] discount.

Sometimes they have some good deals on laptops. But, lately, I've been seeing higher prices (for the buy it now type prices, but they also do auctions on that site, where you'll likely get a better price).

You can get on their mailing list and they'll send you better deals on a regular basis on some stuff (tablets, laptops, etc.) via e-mail (they have "deals of the day" on some items). Most of the laptops and desktops come without an OS on them (my guess is that they probably just zero fill the drives). But, if that's not a big deal to you, then it's another place to browse for bargains (and again, some of their recent pricing has been a bit higher than they used to sell gear for).

jack55 May 25, 2012 1:53 PM

I like Best Buy... usually wait for deals... will check what your tips.
Just this year alone, I bought a Samsung 60" Plasma 3D TV, (was $1,999, got it for $999) surround sound system, (was $899, got it for $299) a notebook, and other stuff from Best Buy. Camera gear, I tend to buy my stuff from B&H. Where do you get your camera gear?

JimC May 25, 2012 2:25 PM

The dealer with the best price on what I'm looking for. ;-)

I'll buy from ebay vendors if I have to, or even Ritz/Wolf camera if they get supply of a new camera model sooner than another vendor (and sometimes, they do).

For used gear, I favor as a first choice. But, I've also bought from and These vendors all have good grading practices on used gear. Amazon is also a good choice.

I'd even buy from as a last resort.

For example, I bought my Minolta 100mm f/2 AF lens from them. But, the buying experience left something to be desired, plus I'd trust the gradings from vendors like or more on used gear.

For example, the inventory system used by adorama still had a listing for that lens after I'd ordered it, and I didn't know if I'd actually bought it or not until I finally got e-mails confirming that I got the lens after asking them about it (and it was still listed for purchase on their web site at that time, too).

I've seen complaints from other members here about their used department, too.

So, I'll only use as a last resort, even though they're a reputable vendor in most areas (I'd try to find what I need from Amazon, B&H, Cameta Camera, Ritz/Wolf and reputable Ebay vendors first -- only buying from Adorama if they're the only vendor that has what I want at a good price). They're probably a good choice for new gear. But, I would personally avoid their used department for buying or selling.

jack55 May 25, 2012 2:50 PM

Thanks Jim. I've bought a LOT of gear over the years since the 70's from B&H.
Usually have what I want, good prices and never had one problem.

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