For the last three years, I’ve been the semi-proud owner of a Dell M1730. Bought it back in 2008 when laptop gaming rigs were all the rage, and I figured that within the year I’d be out in Regina freezing my butt off trying to prove I was worthy of wearing a red serge. As you can probably gather, things didnt’ exactly worth out that way (although the long move happened in another direction), and the once wise purchase has turned into a bit of a boat anchor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent machine that for 90% of the folks in the world would exceed their needs, but for the role of developer that I find myself in nowadays, it doesn’t measure up. It’s a bit slow, a bit hot, the battery life isnt’ too friendly and while I’m sure my optometrist would disagree with the reason why, I find that a 17 inch screen is just too small any more. And so I’ve been casually looking around for replacement options, although the options are few and far between, being a broke bum that I am.

That is, until now.

With “The Great Move” (aka moving to a cheaper apartment), now at an end, I’m finding that my disposable income has increased by leaps and bounds. And with my plan to pay down my debts over the winter well on pace, I’m going to need something that can handle the load, and wont’ have me needing glasses come April. So it’s time to take the mostly paid down credit card, and for the first time since Apple was only known for iPods and RIm was relevant in the mobile marketplace, it’s time to….

Go Back. To the Desktop!

(nod to Back to the Future there. Did I oversell it? Maybe a little.)

Now if this was the last time (aka 2006), I would have just driven down to RBComputing, the computer shop that I’ve used since I first started building systems in the 20th century and be done with it. However with them being a bit of a drive away, and no local alternatives available (or at least, none that I’ve heard good reviews about), it’s time to hit the internets and compare! After all, having information at your fingertips is the main thing about the internet, right? So here are our contenders that I used to compare prices:

RBComputing - My go-to shop since rockin it in 1999, they’re proof that customer service is the best way to grow a business. Even being 2k kilometres and one time zone away, they’re still on the list. And they offer flat shipping rates, which doesnt’ hurt in the least.

NCIX - A semi-recent edition, was first informed about them form contacts at the last place of employment. Based out of Montreal, they’re well known for having some decent combo deals off and on, and my previous office was pretty much filled to the brim with their products. And since we’re not ordering server products (dont’ ask, horrible memories), they’re on the list.

TigerDirect - Personally I am not a fan of this company, from experiences with them during my all too lengthy time in call centre hell. But with the twitching lessening whenever I hear a phone ring, and multiple friends that know where their computers power button is located at recommending them, they make the list.

Newegg - Another recommendation from my techies that I’ve been leery about, they’re known for having decent pricing, so once again, they’re on the list.

Amazon - As one of the largest online retailers, I wonder if they’re book deals slide over to hardware deals as well. Only one way to find out, in to the comparison box they go.

For those wondering why I’m not ordering from the states, the unholy combo of warranty hell and customs more then negate having my dollar commanding respect at the cash register. Well that and telling their online ordering system that Canada is a country that actually exists.

For the layout, I’ve taken the base setup that was featured two months ago on codinghorror, and modified it to taste. As I’m not gentle with my systems, I figure it would make sense to follow recommendations from those that are of the same ilk (and folks using DB’s in the gigabit sizes would fit nicely).

So with that, let’s go shopping!