US$300 PC is here; UK stiffed again

Written by Geoff Richards

June 13, 2005 | 16:36

Tags: #celeron #cheap #chips #ipod-mini #monitor #x800-xl

Companies: #dell #ebuyer

How low can they go, asks Wall Street Journal writer Lee Gomes, after discovering last week that Dell is offering a US$299 PC with monitor. The system is no slouch either: the Dimenion 2400 features a 2.4Ghz Celeron, 256MB of DDR, an 80GB 7200RPM hard drive, 48x CD-RW drive and a 17" monitor. The deal, which is US$243 off the normal selling price of US$542, is for a "limited time only" and is available using a special redemption code.

UK readers doing the currency conversion might get excited at the sub-£170 price, but will be gutted to hear that the price is more than double that of our US cousins: a British Dimension 2400 costs £373 including VAT & shipping.

Admittedly, our spec is slightly different, yet not all in a good way: the 48x DVD combo drive is a welcome improvement, but the 40GB hard drive is half the size of the US deal. If you had showed me this deal last week, I might've been impressed by the specification for a PC at a sub £400 pricepoint, but the idea of a perfectly usable, modern PC for less than £170 including monitor just resets all expectations.

We're talking about an entire system that would suit all the needs of your average Mum & Dad user for the same price as we would spend on a 6GB iPod Mini or X800 XL graphics card. Stop and think about that for a minute.

If you're a UK reader and this news has made you realise you no longer need to put up with that crappy Pentium 3 buzzing away under the desk, all is not lost: eBuyer is having a sale on an ESYS Celeron system of similar spec to the Dell for £160 inc VAT; you could use your existing monitor, or add a low-spec 17" CRT for £60 extra. The ESYS may still not be as cheap as the Dell, and interestingly comes with Mandrake Linux rather than Windows XP Home, but either system will consign that noisy clunker to the scrap heap.

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