Friday, June 12, 2009

Navigating the Dell price labyrinth

Last week I bought a couple of big (8-core, 32GB, fast disk) boxes from Dell because they closely match the hardware that we're going to be running on in our data centers. For the speed and quality of the hardware the price ended up being very reasonable $4k/box (when bought with Microsoft discount).

While doing it, I discovered a curious thing - if you configure the box with 32GB RAM upfront, the memory comes up quite costly. If you just buy the server with 8GB default, and buy 32GB RAM separately - the peripherals section of the same Dell web site, the Dell-recommended RAM upgrade for this very workstation - the total cost is over $800 less (and you end up with 8GB of unused RAM that originally was there).

If you work at Microsoft, use this trick and watch our stock price go up 50 cents!

If, furthermore, you buy disks separately, you save another $150 or more over the price of pre-installed hard drives.

These are Microsoft-internal prices, which - for obvious reasons - I can not quote, but the problem is even bigger on the external Dell web site, because everything is even more expensive there.

Here, for example, is the price for memory - preconfigured - for Precision T7400.

You can see that the price for 32GB is $2960, and for 64GB it is a whopping $17870 (!).

Alternatively you can buy the same RAM on Newegg, so for 32GB you will by 4 8GB kits at $165-$240 for a total of $660 to $960:

Or, for 64GB you would buy 8 of these, at $420 each - $3360 - almost $15000 cheaper than on the Dell's web site!

It goes beyond RAM.

Dell wants $550 for 1TB hard drive (although they give their small business buyer a break - a 1 TB drive for the same T7400 there is "only" $430).

The prices on Newegg for 1TB hard drive range from $110-150 for a retail box to $74-$90 for OEM packaging.

Morale - if you are buying Dell computers, getting the parts on the side will save you a bundle. It is much cheaper to buy the minimal configuration, throw away the memory and the hard drive it comes with, and buy the replacement RAM and disks from Newegg (or anywhere else).

Note that the same is not true with CPUs - Dell CPUs are ~$200 more expensive than the same parts on Newegg, BUT you have to have a non-standard Dell heatsink, which - when bought separately - is very pricey. Plus replacing CPUs is not as trivial as RAM and disks.

Another interesting observation is that prices on Dell's home/small business site are often - usually - considerably less than on corporate web site. Most likely Dell uses this sales tactic to give its corporate users a "discount". Recently I bought a laptop using Microsoft EPP program, just to discover that the 7% "discount" that Dell provides simply matches the price that is available on its small business site for all.

Finally, for peripherals - docking stations and the like - it pays to check eBay. A $199 (plus shipping, handling, and tax) advanced port replicator for Latitude can be easily had there - new - for $129 (reasonable shipping, and no tax).

1 comment:

Илья Казначеев said...

(разводит руками)