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$298 Wal-Mart PC Has OO.org, No Crapware

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the tell-me-again-why-dell-can't-do-this dept.

Businesses 422

cristarol writes "Wal-Mart has begun selling a $298 PC (Everex IMPACT GC3502). It comes with Windows Vista Home Basic and OpenOffice.org 2.2, as well as a complete lack of crapware: 'Users accustomed to being bombarded with trialware offers and seeing their would-be pristine Windows desktops littered with shortcuts to AOL and other applications will likely be pleased at their absence from the GC3502.' The machine is targeted at the back-to-school market. The hardware is nothing to write home about: a 1.5GHz Via C7 with 1GB of RAM and integrated graphics, but as Ars points out, it should be more than capable of performing basic tasks." Dell sells a low-end PC through Wal-Mart for $200 more, and one assumes it is loaded with crapware. Anybody know for sure?

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Don't sell the students short (-1, Flamebait)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913333)

With a 250 watt power supply, a gig of RAM and only 80 GB of hard drive it's probably going to leave a lot of students disappointed. I don't know why everyone figures that just because students don't do weather simulations they can get by with just any junk hardware. The OS needs bags of RAM just to run right and OpenOffice (just like MS Office) needs ram and cpu power to do its work. Looks like another case of Walmart putting the screws to a supplier to squeeze dollars out of a product. I'm just mostly anti-walmart, not completely. I don't like Dell much either, but I'd just as soon head over there for a back-to-school special then decrapify it [pcdecrapifier.com] . More likely than anything, I'll just keep building my own.

If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (5, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913389)

The computer needs to do web browsing, email, and word processing. The occasional song or pic shared with friends is to be expected too. However, as long as the hardware is shitty enough to prevent the owner from becoming hooked on WOW, Eve, or any other time-vacuum, then it will probably be the best $500 the parents DIDNT spend to get their kid a better computer. And with all that free time, they just might do their homework! For the education market, this product gets an A+ from me.

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (1, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913507)

Mod parent insightful...

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913521)

Still good enough hardware for older games or ones lacking shiny graphics, among them some of the greatest timesinks ever, like roquelikes and MUDs.

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (2, Insightful)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913583)

This is the exact logic I disagree with. Web browsing, email and word processing are easy to say but they all take substantial amounts of ram and cpu power. Then throw in the essential virus/malware scanner and firewall and you'll burn that one gig of ram in no time.

Look at the features of a modern web browser and it's no surprise that it sucks up 100+ MB of ram. Same goes for a word processor that's doing full-time spell checking and reformatting large documents. Then there's the OS updates. When an update is made it's not made for last year's bottom-of-the-barrel hardware like this pc, that code is written to target today's average cpu. So patches to the OS are made to run on hardware that's faster than what yours was the day it was new.

Now consider that students go to school for a reason (I'm thinking college/university here). They have specific applications they need to run for some classes. In engineering I had to do PSpice and Matlab and whatnot. People in social work and other fields have stats programs they run. I'm sure accountants, geologists and every other field have their specific apps. These aren't tweaked to run on low-end hardware.

Finally there's the distance courses. They often include video, audio and copious PDF files. Flash player, Windows Media Player and Adobe Acrobat Reader are all getting fatter with each release.

I've actually convinced myself that this computer is worse for students than I thought in the first place.

Where to start. (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913757)

"email takes substantial amounts of ram and cpu power..."

The machine has 1Gb RAM. My laptop has a quarter of that and seems to browse the web and run Office perfectly well.

As for CPU... I'm pretty sure it will cope with the heaviest of messenger sessions.

I've actually convinced myself that this computer is worse for students than I thought in the first place.

You need to climb down back to the real world. Very few people need garanteed sub-millisecond response times (or even knows what they are).

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (5, Insightful)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913777)

I think you're being slightly pessimistic here.

All this stuff runs just fine even on 512M of RAM. I use one such machine for work, which includes most of the stuff you listed (word processing, web browsing, matlab, lots of compiling, lots of PDF, image editing, etc.), and it runs just fine even with dual monitors.

Let's not even go into the "uphill both ways" stories of what computing power we used in college to do these exact same things.

I think the GP is right, the kids will whine because they can't play games. Been there, done that :)

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913929)

Yeah, I know what you mean. For example, when I download a large file in Firefox, it basically freezes FF for something like 30 seconds before downloading. With IE it peacefully downloads in the background without slowing the browser.

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (0, Redundant)

PenisLands (930247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19914015)

Calm down son.
My name is Dennace Whitely. You may have heard of me before. They like to call me Golden Dennace. I'm a popular rock singer and businessman. I've done extensive image editing and music composition THIS VERY DAY on a Pentium 3 laptop from 7 years ago. I think that this machine will be plenty for MSN messenger and browsing myspace.

Now if you'll excuse me, my business partner is taking me out to dinner. I have little time to spare on scruffs such as yourself. Heh heh heh heh.

depends (1)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19914037)

I lived through the last 3 months of a 4-month school term using Knoppix on a 933MHz laptop with 256megs of RAM. I hosed my Win2K install and didn't have the time or inclination to fix it. Knoppix allowed me to surf the net, at least well enough to use WebTycho (UMUC student) to complete my four classes, to include writing papers in OpenOffice, reading Powerpoint presentations, looking at PDFs, writing a few C++ programs, and so on. The experience actually sold me on Linux as a permanent OS.

People with more robust needs would obviously need a more robust computer. But you can do a lot with modest hardware. Complex/large documents can be accomplished with LaTeX, though Abiword would probably suffice for the gui-inclined. Firefox works fine even from a LiveCD. But I'm aware that some people need certain software packages that would require more computing power.

I've always disliked that colleges force students to use a certain software package. Programming classes should not require a certain IDE--when taking my C++ course I used text editors and the command line. For a web design course the prof mandated a particular FTP program, but the command line worked well enough for me. I'm aware that there are some courses that do dictate that software title X must be used, so no solution is good for everyone.

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (1)

AncientPC (951874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19914045)

Because web browsing/e-mail do use plenty of RAM and occasionally high CPU load doesn't mean it requires lots of RAM or a powerful CPU.

I have set up plenty of PCs/laptops for SMB, student organizations, friends, and family in the 500Mhz-1.5Ghz CPU and 1GB RAM range. What causes computer slowdown more than anything else is crapware from users, which unfortunately cannot be replaced or upgraded. (I've started converting them towards Ubuntu when appropriate.)

On my university most of the computers in on campus labs are similarly spec'ed, including Computer Science and Engineering departments. Assuming undergraduate level, coding and CAD don't require powerful computers.

/ me is using a P3 1.3Ghz laptop / 512MB RAM for daily coding and note-taking.

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913599)

Man, this makes me feel old, but when I was in college, probably 25% of the students had computers. Those without them did things just as destructive or addictive as WoW like binge drinking and (12-20 hour sessions of) AD&D. You don't need a computer to get distracted and blow off college.

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913609)

When I was in university residence (1999-200), my roommate convinced his parents to get him a $4000 on the assumption that he couldn't play games on it (he was quite a game nut) when all along he had intentions of running games on it. Anyway, we ended up playing a lot of Quake 2 and NFS2, not because we couldn't get Quake 3, or NFS 4, but because there was a lot of people in residence who couldn't run those games. It was more fun to have an 8 player game of Quake 2, then to spend the time to find 2 other people to play Quake 3 with. So, while the kids probably won't be able to play the latest and greatest games on that computer, they can waste plenty of time playing older games, that don't even require half the power that computer has.

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (5, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913685)

I concur 100%. If I'm going to buy my kid a new PC (big "if"), it will have ZERO bells and whistles. If he/she wants to play games on it, the upgrade costs are coming out of their pocket. As a parent who will likely be paying for their college, I don't feel obliged to provide for their entertainment.

In fact, while I'm thinking of it, this PC might be a good buy for my parents who badlu need to upgrade their old workhorse. Those specs will run XP just fine!

Re:If it stops them from getting hooked on WOW... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913813)

As a parent who will likely be paying for their college, I don't feel obliged to provide for their entertainment.

Don't worry... I'm sure your child will find something else to do at college... I know I did

*cough* became a father half way through third year *cough*

Silver platter syndrome (2, Interesting)

whyde (123448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913841)

The hardware is nothing to write home about: a 1.5GHz Via C7 with 1GB of RAM and integrated graphics, but as Ars points out, it should be more than capable of performing basic tasks.


I'd just like to point out the absurdity of describing such a powerful computer with terms normally used to describe a 4-function calculator.

When I entered college, I paid for my own 8086 turbo, running DOS 3.something, and a 1200 baud modem. It had a 32MB RLL hard drive. It was also "more than capable of performing basic tasks."

This recalls Wirth's Law (from Nicklaus Wirth of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich): "Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster." Stated another way, "Intel giveth and Microsoft taketh away."

Re:Silver platter syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913955)

This recalls Wirth's Law (from Nicklaus Wirth of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich):

It's a sad day for Slashdot when you need to explain who Nicklaus Wirth is.

Re:Don't sell the students short (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913437)

Have you stopped to consider that the lower watt power supply might be a GOOD thing? This machine looks pretty energy efficient. I wonder how many people there are out there using their power hungry p4s to do the same things you can do on this computer? Those VIA chipsets are quite efficient.

Re:Don't sell the students short (5, Insightful)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913439)

I know that Walmart are a bunch of pricks, but seriously a 1G PC with 80G HD is more than enough for a students LEARNING needs.
Sure, if you include MP3's, porn, FPS games and bittorrents it may not run so well, but still $289 isnt a bad price for that.

Re:Don't sell the students short (2, Insightful)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913441)

I wish they sold stuff like this elsewhere. I'd have no problem paying £300 for one, it'd make a great router/whatever with the Via chip in it.

Re:Don't sell the students short (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913547)

Exactly... With a bit luck it might even be very low noise. I'd buy one...

Re:Don't sell the students short (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913761)

I'm sure Walmart wouldn't mind you paying £300 for one, especially as that's just a shade under $600 and they're selling them for just under $300.

I suspect you could (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913785)

I'm sure extra $300 that £300 will get you will cover S&H.

Re:Don't sell the students short (5, Insightful)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913449)

"Just any junk hardware"? I'll spare you the long list of systems I've worked on, but please allow me to ask you to get off my lawn.

I've done statistical analysis on a Zenith Data Systems 8088 system and written games for a Commodore 64, so please don't refer to anything with an 80 GB hard drive and 1 GB of RAM as "junk hardware". I know junk hardware, and that, sir, is no TRS-80.

The fact that the OS needs 1 GB of memory to function is what's wrong with the world! Seesh, kids these days...

Re:Don't sell the students short (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913543)

I wholeheartedly agree!

Apart from the fact that, if you're going with Windows on this kind of hardware, a version prior to Vista would've been smarter, everything should suffice for it's intended purpose.

Problem is that Microsoft probably offers OEM's Vista for near free but charges a premium for XP, the system would have probably been more expensive if it included an older version of Windows.

Re:Don't sell the students short (2, Interesting)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913579)

The problem here is that I know people that throw away their P-IV 2.6GHz/1Gig RAM because they consider it "crap hardware". That's what sad in this world. People consider my 2003 AMD MP 2400+/4Gig RAM "crap" because it isn't the latest Intel Core Duo. Well with Debian on it, it flies... Thank you very much...

Heck with a price like that and a sane operating system, this is really nice hardware. I began computing on a "state of the art IBM PS/2 Model 50", so really, this system is nice compared to what we had.

Re:Don't sell the students short (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913783)

Yup, wholeheartedly agree with both you and the parent, that is more than adequate for desktop publishing (shit, is that term even used any more?) web surfing, email, programming... damn near anything ANY average user wants a computer for.

The fact that it runs vista (400-500M ram used to boot, maybe 100M max for virus/malware scanner, plenty of headroom) and OOo is a good thing, we have been doing that on our stores systems for a while now (although, we load firefox, OOo, spybot S&D, Ad-Aware, windows updates: dotnetfx2 + 100 or so post sp2 patches, java, VLC media player, CCCP), the big peeps are starting to catch on that people just don't want crap.

Remember too, a lot of these people will buy a PS3/xbox360/Wii for games, rather than spend several thou on a pc, and more yearly to keep it up to specs.

Of course this post is written on such a gaming PC monster, but there is still a 2400+ with 1G of ram and a fx5700 churning packets in the corner running MONOWall (freeBSD) ^_^

Re:Don't sell the students short (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913945)

there is still a 2400+ with 1G of ram and a fx5700 churning packets in the corner running MONOWall (freeBSD) ^_^

Which is severe overkill for a firewall. I've ran my server (which does more than just routing packets) for years on a P-I 166/32Meg RAM. The only thing that it wasn't powerful enough for was IMAP, but that's somehow excusable. My parents run my old desktop (bought in 1999, I think...) as a server: it's a P-III 800MHz/768Meg RAM, full SCSI. Essentially, it doesn't do much all day.

My own server is now a AMD64 2800+/2Gig RAM. I replaced the P-I because it began hard to get parts for it and in case of a failure, I'd be in trouble. That, and I wanted to try OpenBSD/amd64 and hoped that Cool 'n Quiet would make it very quiet. Alas, that last one turned out to be a mistake.

Home server? My best guess is that any PC running ~500MHz will do the job just fine for anything you throw at it. Heck, my last laptop was a P-III 600MHz/512Meg RAM and it ran everything I needed just fine. It just started to fall physically apart and thus had to be replaced.

Re:Don't sell the students short (1)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913653)

But "The fact that the OS needs 1 GB of memory to function" is a fact. I peeked & poked on my C128 and I've developed on PICs, Basic Stamps and even smaller stuff. Paperclip was great on my Commie but that doesn't mean I'm going to haul it out of the closet and hand it to my daughter when she goes back to school. Real students doing their homework need hardware that suits the work. Lamenting the wasted bits in Vista doesn't help their grades.

Re:Don't sell the students short (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913919)

Yes, if you write code and efficiently do such work, such hardware is going to be sufficient. I recall ging through megabytes of telemetry, seperating them, analyzing them, and graphing them on a 6800 with a tens megabytes of ram. I was ok.

But here is what I am see the average student told. You have to learn MS Office. IE is the interner. You have to turn your work in in office format. Employers will expect it. Sure, a kid could do a paper in a text editor. Most is more than sufficient for the task. On the make Textedit is more powerful than anything I used before I went to the college. But I am sure that teachers and peer pressure expects more.

Here is what I think about this machine. If it is a college machine, then they did not include MS Office because they know the kids that want it will get it somehow, legally payiing $50 at the school.Likewise, few kids are likely to download cygwin and program through emacs and gcc. They will get Visual studio. And these programs are bloat. Even if they do the OSS route, many of the OSS GUIS are based on Qt or the equivelent, which eat up resources as well.

Which is to say that ideally, yes, a hand me down laptop from 3 years ago should be enough for any student, but I increasingly see schools getting fanatic about the hardware, and letting the education go.

Re:Don't sell the students short (4, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913461)

More likely than anything, I'll just keep building my own.
Ok, you can build your own. So can I. However there are many, may people out there who either can't and/or don't want to so supplying an entry level PC at an entry level price is good marketing. There's plenty there to run a browser and OO which will cover most homework assignments. Maybe, when the users find that it won't run the latest games software they'll be forced to upgrade and start the IT learning experience.

Re:Don't sell the students short (2, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913519)

Exactly. Why do Linux users have such a hard time understanding that MOST CONSUMERS ARE NOT LIKE THEM ?

Re:Don't sell the students short (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913675)

I also wonder if you can build your own for that price including a legal copy of Vista. I highly doubt it.

Actually... (2, Insightful)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913843)

I believe part of their point was that if they built their own, they wouldn't have to repartition/reformat the hard drive in order to remove Vista...

Re:Don't sell the students short (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913517)

I'm running Vista Business With OO.org right now with 512 megs of ram. That is by no means "bags" and I have yet to really see a performance issue. Granted I do have a dual core processor, that doesn't really help with the ram issue. So just because you think as a student you are entitled to a 1000+ dollar computer so you can pirate tons of shit on the universities "phat pipes" doesn't make this computer not a very decent value for its price.

Some of us do :) (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913535)

just because students don't do weather simulations

My wife got her Masters in Meteorology and did this. I'm an Aerospace Engineer and basically consumed 100% of my computers' resources (dual core AMD x5200) for a month and a half doing runs for my thesis. (and yes, the simulation was multi-threaded)

I agree with your premise. While this machine will work for people just interested in social networking, anything beyond that will leave the user lacking.

Re:Don't sell the students short (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913571)

I purchased an Everex laptop a few months ago. It has 512MB of RAM, the Via C7M processor and a 60GB hard drive. It came with Vista, and in fact I got it $100 cheaper due to it having Vista during an online sale BestBuy was having. I don't believe it came with a bunch of crapware, the only CD keys listed on the stickers with it were the Vista and Cyberlink DVD keys. I never booted into Vista, I installed Etch on it after using LiveCDs to verify that the hardware worked correctly. I have no issues with it.

I was looking for the Via C7 chip which led me to Everex. If I remember correctly the C7 1.5Ghz chip uses about 12W total, with the 2.0Ghz using 20W total. My laptop has the C7M 1.5Ghz model. Using powernowd, it usually sits at 399Mhz for most of the time, ramping up to the full 1.5Ghz when opening apps. Running Kismet it uses about 1.2Ghz.

I am different than most computer users. None of my machines run above 1.6Ghz, and I use a Duron 1.3Ghz in one machine for many things. Once Via releases a 3D Driver for my laptop (expected soon), I will be playing some of my games on it. These are games that I played on the Duron so they should run fine on the C7 which has more instruction sets available.

So far the Everex machine runs fine. If the integrated graphics are similar to the ones on my laptop then you are getting DirectX9 quality on Windows. Can't run Vista eye candy, but who needs that. I personally would not buy it at WalMart but that is due to my own boycott of WalMart. I am lucky enough to have other large box stores nearby plus some local mom and pop stores to keep shopping at.

Re:Don't sell the students short (1)

Stachybotris (936861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913587)

Whether it leaves them disappointed or not depends on their 'needs'. The weakest thing cited in the summary is the 250-watt power supply. I'd never consider running a P3 with that, let alone a P4 or equivalent (even if it is only running at 1.5 GHz). A gig of RAM and an 80-gig hard-drive are just fine - that's what our workstations at my company run with, as well as the laptops that our sales team uses. And I can safely say that I know several people who are in their senior year, run similar setups, and haven't overflowed their drives with MP3s and movies yet.

On the other hand, I'm not sure about the quality of the hardware. I've never heard of either the manufacturer of the system or what I'm guessing is the motherboard.

Also, I have mixed feelings about OO.o being bundled with these systems. I'm glad to see that it's getting some face-time, but I worry that it'll get associated with Wal*Mart and therefore be considered just as crappy as everything else they sell.

Re:Don't sell the students short (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913811)

I don't know what spoiled little rich world your from but 80gig HD and 1 gig RAM seems pretty decent to me ... especially for that price

Re:Don't sell the students short (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19914027)

A 250 watt power supply is extreme overkill for a Via C7 processor. If it's anything like my Via EPIA M10000 I could get by with an 80 watt power supply for the whole system, which BTW is acting as my mail/web/database/shell server at home just fine with 1GHz and 1GB of RAM.

Funny (4, Funny)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913341)

Strange how the headline doesn't mention it comes with Windows Vista installed...

Re:Funny (5, Funny)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913493)

Strange how the headline doesn't mention it comes with Windows Vista installed...
Yeah, so much for "No Crapware"...

Re:Funny (2, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913711)

Well, if the Linux community had the first clue about how to market Linux to the average mouthbreather, someone would have probably jumped on this opportunity and gotten them to use a Linux distro instead.

Re:Funny (2, Funny)

itchy92 (533370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913925)

Well, if the Linux community had the first clue about how to market Linux to the average mouthbreather...

Clue #1: Don't call them that.

/Currently mouthbreathing
//Damn allergies

Re:Funny (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913515)

It's more funny that it summary then follows it with the line it has no "crapware". Doesn't having Vista installed kind of say it already does?

Open source at Wal-Mart (Micro$oft sucks!!!111) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913351)

Burbage dies on pg. 12
Hedwig dies on pg. 56
Mad-Eye dies on pg. 78
Scrimgeour dies on pg. 159
Wormtail dies on pg. 471
Dobby dies on pg. 476
Snape dies on pg. 658
Fred Weasley dies on pg. 637

Harry gets fucked up by Voldemort on pg. 704 but comes back to life on pg. 724

Tonks, Lupin, and Colin Creevy have their deaths confirmed on pg. 743

19 years after the events in the book:

Ron has married Hermione, their two children are named Rose and Hugo

Harry has married Ginny, their three children are named Lily, James, and Albus Severus.

Draco Malfoy has a son named Scorpius

                The epilogue shows all of the children boarding the train for Hogwarts together.

The final lines of the book are: "The scar had not pained Harry for 18 years. All was well."

Plot Spoilers
Part of Voldemort's soul was implanted into Harry whenever he used Ara Kadvara on him when he was a baby. Harry then sacrafices himself a la Lilly Potter style, which allows him to kill Voldemort without killing himself. He also has hacks (stone to bring him back to life, and an uber wand).

Snape went to the good side (Hogwarts, etc.) because he was all emo that Voldemort killed Lilly Potter.

Harry has three kids with Ginny. Ron and Hermoine fall in love.

Wh else looked at it and thought... (3, Funny)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913355)

"Ooooo, I wonder what Linux distro to put on it?!"

Laptop specs (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913373)

Hmm, that is my laptop in a big box.

Anyhoo, Dell also sells some PCs with a 'no trailware' option. It seems that manufacturers are seeing the light. I wonder how much the 'PC Decrapifier' project has to do with this change of heart.

Re:Laptop specs - Linky Linky (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913855)

Hmm, that is my laptop in a big box. Anyhoo, Dell also sells some PCs with a 'no trailware' option. It seems that manufacturers are seeing the light. I wonder how much the 'PC Decrapifier' project has to do with this change of heart.
http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/ [pcdecrapifier.com]

One Question (2, Insightful)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913379)

Why not buy used? Wouldn't a used computer be a better deal?

Re:One Question (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913485)

Why not buy used? Wouldn't a used computer be a better deal?


Probably. For $298, it doesn't even include a monitor.

Heck, I just built a dual-core Athlon 64 x2 3800+ with 1GB of RAM, a 250GB SATA HDD, in an aluminum "gamer's" case with a side window and lighted fans and an nVidia GeForce PCI Express graphics card for just a little more than that $298 with parts purchased via Pricewatch-participating stores. (it would have been less without the fancy case/power supply, even.)

Re:One Question (1)

Drew McKinney (1075313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913501)

I've never understood why people don't buy used desktops. The likelihood of hardware failure is relatively low considering the price, perhaps moreso because the machine has been thoroughly user tested.

But if you live in an area where it is difficult to shop for a used PC, or you don't have time/resources, or the knowledge to do so, this would be a very attractive alternative.

I have to say, I'm well impressed with what WalMart is offering here. They asked themselves "Should we put Vista on instead of Ubuntu? Yes, lower barrier of entry. Should we put MS Office on and bump the price another $100? F*** it, let's give them OO.org which is functionally very close." As well, who doesn't have an old monitor sitting around collecting dust?

I'm excited to see if more people purchase this machine in undergrad/highschool get so used to OO.org they ask for it when they reach the professional world. Here's to hoping!

Re:One Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913665)


Why not buy used? Wouldn't a used computer be a better deal?


Plus, if you know where to look, most used computers com pre-loaded with porn!

Re:One Question (3, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913749)

Yeah, and why doesn't everyone cook their own food, since it's cheaper? And why doesn't everyone build their own house, since it's cheaper? And why doesn't everyone buy a used car, since it's cheaper? And why doesn't everyone use fluorescent lighting, since it's cheaper?

And why does anyone bother trying to whack computer geeks with a clue stick, since it's cheaper not to?

Re:One Question (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913821)

Yeah, and why doesn't everyone cook their own food, since it's cheaper? And why doesn't everyone build their own house, since it's cheaper? And why doesn't everyone buy a used car, since it's cheaper? And why doesn't everyone use fluorescent lighting, since it's cheaper? And why does anyone bother trying to whack computer geeks with a clue stick, since it's cheaper not to?
Cheaper is not the same as a better deal.

Re:One Question (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913879)

Yes, the problem with your post was that you don't seem to understand what a "better deal" means to the average consumer -- who is not like you.

Re:One Question (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913939)

Very true. I wonder what the support package is like for this. Support alone is what has me referring non-geek friends to low-end new PC dealers rather than building them one myself from whatever parts Newegg is having a clearance on. They need the sort of help that a new PC comes with, and more to the point they need someone who isn't me to call at 2am saying "My internets are broken!"

Re:One Question (2, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913897)

``Yeah, and why doesn't everyone cook their own food, since it's cheaper? And why doesn't everyone build their own house, since it's cheaper?''

These may actually not be cheaper. It depends on how much your own time is worth. Buying a used computer doesn't have to cost you extra time, whereas preparing your own food or building your own house certainly does cost time.

Also, I do cook my own food, because it's cheaper. And because it's better.

``And why doesn't everyone buy a used car, since it's cheaper?''

Again, it might not be cheaper, because of maintenance costs. However, I think the main reason is that cars are status symbols. A second-hand status symbol isn't worth that much...

``And why doesn't everyone use fluorescent lighting, since it's cheaper?''

That one, I don't have an answer to. Perhaps it is because fluorescent lamps have a higher initial cost than incandescent lamps?

I do use fluorescent lighting. Because it saves the environment. It's also cheaper, but I would do it even if it were (not too much) more expensive. And now we're full circle, because the exact same applies to me using VIA hardware, too. :-)

"Eco-friendly" computer (4, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913381)

I noticed that the manufacturer's product manager threw in the word "eco-friendly" to describe the computer. Did they really have efficiency in mind when they developed the computer, or is this just part of the recent trend (a la "no carbs/trans fats") to label anything and everything as being good for the environment?

I guess a computer that has little or nothing to it also doesn't use much power either. But then, my Game Boy is more eco-friendly.

Re:"Eco-friendly" computer (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913465)

Via systems are designed to be efficient and I don't believe there's much of a price difference between them and celerons. It's possible they did want a low power PC although Via do some very integrated systems so they could've chose them so they'd spend less time and effort on assembly

It's in the processor (4, Informative)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913603)

I found this on the processor they're using:

"With a maximum power consumption of just 20 watts (2 watts average), the VIA C7®-D processor sets new standards..."

How much do 1.5GHz processors normally consume?

Re:"Eco-friendly" computer (1)

dcskier (1039688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913681)

I'm sure that was from the marketing dept, just like how you pointed out everything is now lo carb/no trans fat and my personal favorite Xtreme.

It is interesting though that somebody hasn't actually created a computer and widely marketed it as a Green PC. I'm not talked about taking a low powered machine (like this one) and just slapping a eco-friendly sticker on the side because it's a side effect of the system but actually engineering a chipset, power supply, driver, etc around being as energy efficient as possible and the marketing it based off of that fact. Yes google is working on this front with power supplies and power consumption is always important in servers, but for the common home computer user we haven't seen anything widely promoted as a green machine from any of the major manufactures. Just surprising that somebody (esp Apple) isn't all over this.

Re:"Eco-friendly" computer (1)

jorenko (238937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913683)

I can't speak to the rest of the hardware, but the CPU is at least. Indeed, the C7 is rated at 20W, whereas your average laptop Intel or AMD chips is around 35W nowadays, and most desktop CPUs at 65W or more.

I do suspect that you're partially right, however; had this computer been released two years ago with the same specs, they probably would have left "eco-friendly" off of the features list. That doesn't mean it's not true, though.

Re:"Eco-friendly" computer (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913737)

Seeing that it is based around a VIA C7, it probably is very power-efficient. The C7 itself is claimed to have 2W average power consumption (with a maximum of 20W). The rest of the system is probably all integrated on a small motherboard, making that very power-efficient, too. Of course, the moving parts and the monitor will still use as much power as they do in any other system, but this machine could easily consume over 100 W less than is typical nowadays.

Simple solution (2, Interesting)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913801)

"Of course, the moving parts and the monitor will still use as much power as they do in any other system, but this machine could easily consume over 100 W less than is typical nowadays."

If they truly wanted to make it power efficient compared to other computers, it would as simple as forcing the monitor (which would be LCD of course) to go into standby if the computer hasn't been in use for 15 minutes. I shudder to think how much power was being wasted when I used to work at a national lab, where everyone left their computer running overnight with various ridiculous "screen savers" running on CRTs.

Re:Simple solution (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19914021)

You may be surprised to know that many common TFTs still use significant amounts of power, even when in standby (some even when off!).

Compared to a PC that runs at over 100 W, it probably doesn't matter too much, but if your PC uses about 20 W, it matters if your monitor uses 1 W or 20 W.

No Crapware? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913385)

Vista Home Basic

No Crapware

Yeah...

Re:No Crapware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913627)

The whole operating system of vista loads faster than oo.org ;DD

Has VIA improved? (5, Interesting)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913407)

Last time I checked, their CPUs were erratic, their chipsets flaky and their reputation mainly derived from making cash register and micro-PC machines that were for one-app use and no manic power user antics. Has VIA improved?

Re:Has VIA improved? (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913643)

Only VIA product I've used (that I know of) is the K8T800 chipset in the compyAMD64 that I'm using now. It's been at work since 2003 and never given me any problems. So chipset wise, they seem good enough.

Re:Has VIA improved? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913717)

I bought a core2 cpu when they first came out, expecting the imminent release of nvidia 680i chipset and 8800 GPU.
Well both nvidia was delayed by about 6 months so I bought a cheap ASRock motherboard just as a stop-gap. It used a VIA chipset. I also thought the same about VIA then, but I don't now.
The motherboard didn't have blazing performance but it was incredibly stable. It had hardware raid, both SATA and PATA, supports both DDR 1 and 2 memory, and is still the only socket 775 motherboard that has both AGP and PCI-E GPU slots. Furthermore it cost $55.
I thought it was an excellent product.

Re:Has VIA improved? (0)

Serapth (643581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913867)

Via isnt as bad as they were and for a time being, were the best (only?) chipset choice if you went the AMD route. In 2001 or so, they acquired Cyrix and in 2006 they acquired Savage ( S3 ), the graphics company.

So... to answer your question... I havent a clue. That said, they have had a fair injection of new blood and fair success in the AMD chipset market, so I would think they are improved from what they used to be. Plus, IMHO both Intel and AMD seem to have hit a wall allowing space for Via to grab some marketshare.

Comparison (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913421)

Dell sells a low-end PC through Wal-Mart for $200 more, and one assumes it is loaded with crapware. Anybody know for sure?
Well, from the product page of the $500 "Dell Dimension E521 Desktop PC w/ AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor" [walmart.com] :

  • # Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition
  • # NVIDIA GeForce 6150 integrated graphics
  • # Dell USB keyboard and USB 2-button mouse
  • # Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
  • # Integrated 7.1-channel audio
  • # 56k PCI data/fax modem
  • # Microsoft Works 8.5
  • # Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0
  • # Roxio Creator Basic
  • # McAfee Security 30-day trial
  • # Earthlink application software
  • # Windows Vista PC-Restore
  • # 1-year limited warranty and at-home service
Having experienced all the above software (with the exception of Earthlink application software whatever that is), I'm going to say that yes, it is loaded with crapware. Scariest one on that list would probably be the earthlink application software because that's the most generic name for a product I can ever think of.

The other differences between these two machines is they have comparable memory, DVD burner & GPU, the Dell's hard drive & CPU are a lot better. The ArsTechnica article mentions upgrades at a price, you could probably get the IMPACT up to the Dell range and get it close which is probably pretty important for the average consumer who doesn't want to deal with the ordeal of reinstalling Windows just to get a clean slate.

Re:Comparison (1)

MrDoh1 (906953) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913719)

Just in case you really don't know, Earthlink is a cheap dial-up ISP so I'm sure it's software to get you online with them, similar to AOL crapware.

Re:Comparison (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913755)

Earthlink software is of the same quality and usefulness as AOL's was

wtf (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913425)

OO.org and no crapware? wtf? oo.org = crapware. therefore, oo.org AND no crapware return FALSE, you linux zealotz!

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913817)

Vista and no crapware? wtf? Vista = crapware. therefore, Vista AND no crapware return FALSE, you Windows zealotz!
There, fixed it for you.

Slashdot Groupthink is strange (0, Flamebait)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913433)

Slashdot Groupthink mandates that Microsoft is evil, yet Wal-Mart is hunky dory, especially if there's some cheap, imported junk that they have for a really great price. For all of the impact that the Slashdot Groupthink seems to think that Microsoft has, it's largely irrelevant if you were to compare them to a company like Wal-Mart.

Slashdot Groupthink:
Microsoft: always bad.
Wal-Mart: paying their employees next to nothing and being a blight on local communities is just fine, as long as they sell PC's that don't come with MS software.

I wish I lived in the fantasy world of most Slashdotters.

Re:Slashdot Groupthink is strange (4, Funny)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913497)

Uhm. Not one person on slashdot has said anything positive about wal-mart.

You are just the kind of dog that likes to pee inside the house I guess.

Re:Slashdot Groupthink is strange (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913657)

Thanks, you made me spray milk on my monitor from laughing.

Re:Slashdot Groupthink is strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19914019)

Not one person on slashdot has said anything positive about wal-mart.

Wal-mart kicks ass! Yeah!

There. Fixed that for you.

Re:Slashdot Groupthink is strange (4, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913723)

I just love the people who treat Slashdot as a single entity with a single opinion... and then proceed to point out hypocrisy in Slashdot because it holds two seemingly incompatible notions.

Interestingly, they usually describe this as "Groupthink" ... which is basically the notion that everyone starts supports the popular opinion. That is, that everyone agrees with each other to be part of the crowd, and suppress dissenting views. The irony, however, is that the very hypocrisy that is being referred to is telling evidence that groupthink is not as prevalent as it is assumed to be.

The fact is that Slashdot users have a variety of backgrounds and opinions. On every issue, there is a distribution of opinions. On some subjects we all seem to agree (e.g. "technology is good"), on others we mostly agree (e.g. "Linux is cool") and on others still there is so much disagreement that you will see completely contradictory and opposing opinions both modded up to +5 (e.g. "global warming is a myth").

Your example, of disliking MS but supporting Wal-Mart, is a total strawman. The general impression I get is that there is a consistent but not universal dislike of Microsoft's business tactics, and that there is solid division of opinion on the Wal-Mart issue. I've seen insightful comments both supporting the good that Wal-Mart does as part of a thriving free market, and insightful comments about the harm that Wal-Mart does as a megacorp that only cares about money. Both sides make good points and the most reasonable stance is probably a nuanced view that takes into account all of these factors. To suggest that Slashdot has a single opinion on these subjects betrays a serious lack of perspective on your part.

Your closing sentence, "I wish I lived in the fantasy world of most Slashdotters", again is deeply rooted in the fantasy that Slashdot is a single entity with a single mind, and that any self-contradictory statements it makes represent its own insanity, rather than diversity of opinion among its constituents.

Re:Slashdot Groupthink is strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913829)

Are you not part of the /. "group" or do you view yourself as looking in as a third party from an equal but separate parallel universe?

Minimal crapware.. (5, Informative)

tji (74570) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913451)

It's not totally crapware free. From the Specs: Norton Internet Security(TM) 2007 (90-day subscription included)

They could have chosen a free AV package, like they chose a free office suite (or even a free operating system). But, they went with the try-now buy-later package.

Re:Minimal crapware.. (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913947)

What would be even more amazing would be if it came with an actual Microsoft Vista install DVD. Anyone know if it comes with one? Or is it just a restore DVD, or something else (like a *gack* restore partition)? TFA didn't say and the Everex site itself seems to be down.

Also: anyone know how a 1.5GHz VIA C7 performs? Comparable to a 1 GHz PIII at least?

No Junkware (0, Troll)

allscan (1030606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913467)

It runs VISTA, no wonder there is no junkware; those programs don't run on Vista just like your hardware!

Nice home Linux server box (3, Interesting)

tji (74570) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913505)

At $300, it's hard to beat.

The VIA C7 is a nice low-power CPU, with enough kick for most server tasks. At only 20 Watts power, it's well below any of the Intel/AMD options.

Too bad there isn't a version without the Windows tax.. this box at $250 would be even better.

Wow, a 1.5 VIA (4, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913555)

Does it come with a hamster to run the power supply or are those extra?

Inflation of specs for student tasks (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913557)

What's up with the inflation of specs you need to have to write reports and do other school stuff ? When I was in high school ("Gymnasium" as we call it over here in Europe), I wrote all papers and reports the first year using Amstrad CPC 6128, Arnor Protext on ROM and a 9-pin printer. Later I used a 486 and WP 5.1 (Now with Graphics..). Today I have a 900 MhZ AMD K6, 512 Mb memory, and still I can use InDesign, Word 2003 and Excel to do 100s of pages of technical manuals, without any slowdown at all. Yes, I do not play games, but do you have to ? I would be happy to have a 1,5 GHz with 1G or RAM. So stop saying that it's "Nothing to write home about". My guess is, the people that don't play games never use even a fraction of it's powers.

Not to abuse an old cliche.... (2, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913569)

....but will it run Linux?

Even with the MS tax, can you realistically buy or assemble a full PC with those specs for that kind of price? Sounds like a good entry-level Linux box to me!

Re:Not to abuse an old cliche.... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19914017)

Even with the MS tax, can you realistically buy or assemble a full PC with those specs for that kind of price?

Sure. This [newegg.com] plus this [newegg.com] plus this [newegg.com] plus this [newegg.com] plus this [newegg.com] plus this. Similar or better stats for $299 (and that includes shipping). And I guarantee the components are of better quality.

It's not a bad deal at all (2, Informative)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913707)

Four years ago, when I was just starting university, I bought a $200 bargain basement GNU/Linux PC from Wal-Mart (unfortunately they don't sell these anymore). I used it as a personal server in my dorm room. Yeah, it was severely underpowered compared to my desktop, but it was just fine for using to tinker around with GNU/Linux. I used it for a good three years until I had enough money to buy something better. But what an incredible value that was, three years of experience for only $200. This latest machine looks to be good for exactly the same thing. Buy it, strip off Windows, put on GNU/Linux, and it makes a good first server.

I'd buy one... (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913721)

...if it came with Windows XP.

Re:I'd buy one... (1)

mibalzonya (1072126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913773)

Linux is going to scare the buyers that would be in the market for this computer.

Re:I'd buy one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913781)

Have I missed a post here, or is Windows XP Linux based now?

I'll take the crap. (2, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913839)

A few months ago I bought a Dell with an Athlon X2 3600, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, and XP Home off the Dell Outlet site for $260 shipped. It was "Previously Ordered New" which generally means the original owner never even opened the package. I'll take the crapware and an X2 over no crapware and the C7.

No crapware? (1)

Farfnagel (898722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913869)

What the hell is Vista?

Which is it? (0, Redundant)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913893)

Which is it? I'm confused. In one place the post says it comes with MS Vista and in another it says it comes without crapware?

how does this via compares to Intel processors? (1)

grounded_roamer (794712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913913)

how?

finally, nothing is now worth more than something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913949)

wow, what a perverse economic system

hardware has no margin, code is all margin
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