About my Dell computers

I many times considered buying a Dell computer from Dell. And I never did. Dell carge reasonable prices for their computers, yet they rip you off with additional costs of which warranty and shipping are the worst.
And this has always pissed me off. After having spent an hour on the Dell website, configuring your computer of choice, you end up with a reliable system of hard to match quality, only with the wrong operating system and an unreasonable shipping charge.

So that forced me to acquire my Dell's in an experienced state. All the Dell's I have ever bought were at least second hand. And I never regretted it. At a certain moment I came to the conclusion that Dell is the most abundant brand in this house!

I got my Dells from several sources:

Computer Type Processor Source
Latitude CPi A366 XT Laptop Mobile Pentium II, 366 MHz http://www.nowthatsit.nl
Latitude CPx J650 Laptop Mobile Pentium III, 650 MHz http://www.marktplaats.nl
Optiplex GX260 Desktop Pentium IV, 2 GHz http://www.nowthatsit.nl
Latitude CPi A300 ST Laptop Mobile Pentium II, 300 MHz http://www.marktplaats.nl
Latitude CPi A233 XT Laptop Mobile Pentium II, 233 MHz http://www.marktplaats.nl
Latitude C600 Laptop Mobile Pentium III, 1000 MHz http://www.nowthatsit.nl

marktplaats is the national kind of Ebay. You can bid, but you have no obligation to buy. Sounds silly? It is silly! Mostly second generation immigrants like to be the jokers and place fony bids on articles, often exceeding the new-price. Which disables serious bidding.


Anyway: I found one very good bargain there (the 300ST) and one reasonable bargain (the CPx). My luck here was the unprecedented quality of the Dell's. Even the CPx could be beefed up again apart from the completely worn out USB connector. To repair that one I need to fully disassemble the laptop. Until now I didn't disassemble for more than 95%...

The topics

Below are the topics covered in this section. The topics are mentioned in chronological order: newest edition is further down the page. I think that makes easier reading.

Latitude CPi A300XT

I bought this one around 2005 at Now That's IT, when they still ran their shop in The Hague, in the former streetcar garage. Marjanne and I went there by train and tram and collected our first laptop ever. It was not very cheap, but it came with all you ever needed, plus a docking station. And more warranty by Now That's IT than Dell was willing to give on a new machine...

Latitude CPx J650

This one I bought second hand on Marktplaats. The guy showed it working and told about the broken USB port. He didn't mention the fan was broken... And the CD-ROM drive. Still, I managed to fix both. The USB port is too much work. I got this one too expensive.

Optiplex GX 260

After my bad experience at marktplaats I still needed a replacement for Neon and came across this Optiplex at my favorite shop: "Now That's IT" in The Hague. And I never regretted it. If these guys sell you a PC it is GOOD. No surprises. At least: no bad surprises! The positive surprises: totally silent machine with a fast processor for a low price.

Latitude CPi A300ST

After my lessons learned at marktplaats I came across this one. I just asked the owner 'How much?' and he replied €40. OK, this machine is old. Low on resources. Yet at that price it was a steal. I ran preliminary tests and everything works just fine with Damn Small Linux.

Latitude CP M233XT

This machine as used by an electrical engineer to run his Fluke ScopeMeter software. It came with an original Dell laptop case and the powersupply. The battery was acceptable. The CD-ROM drive is questionable. Still, the price was good: € 50. The laptop case alone is sold at € 45! The machine is named 'Niklaus' and it runs Oberon, Slackware 11 (textmode only) and perhaps Minix. Bought it at Marktplaats as well.

Latitude C600

This was a bargain, offered by "Now that's IT". A 1 GHz Dell Latitude from the C series. It meant that I could use all my other drive bays and batteries in the process and still gain a reasonably fast system. The price was good. Higher than on Marktplaats, but Now that's IT has a one year warranty period. Compared to 1 minute at marktplaats.

Multibay adapters

At Ebay I got myself two Multibay HDD adapters. They have the form factor of the floppy or CD ROM unit yet they accept a 2.5" HDD drive.

Solid State disks

I am running tests with three different kinds of solid state disks: 2.5" form factor and CF/SD cards on a dedicated adaptor. See how long they last....

Dell specific gadgets

The CPi series is like a box of Lego: everything fits on eachother. So my advise: stick to one series! All my battery packs, CD-ROM and other drives fit the same kind of bay.

Odd ball OS

One of the CPi's was intended to run with the odd ball operating system under the odd ball operating systems: Oberon or Bluebottle.

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