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$298 Wal-Mart PC Has OO.org, No Crapware 422

Posted by kdawson
from the tell-me-again-why-dell-can't-do-this dept.
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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$298 Wal-Mart PC Has OO.org, No Crapware

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  • Funny (Score:5, Funny)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:39AM (#19913341)
    Strange how the headline doesn't mention it comes with Windows Vista installed...
    • Re:Funny (Score:5, Funny)

      by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:49AM (#19913493) Journal

      Strange how the headline doesn't mention it comes with Windows Vista installed...
      Yeah, so much for "No Crapware"...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by UbuntuDupe (970646) *
        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: (Score:2, Funny)

          by itchy92 (533370)

          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

  • by iknownuttin (1099999) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:40AM (#19913355)
    "Ooooo, I wonder what Linux distro to put on it?!"
  • 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.
    • 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]
    • The Dell mailer I just got the other day says that all their PCs come with no trialware, not even the 90 Office lock-in.

      What I want to know, though, is do I call Walmart for the OpenOffice source, or Everex?
  • One Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eightyford (893696) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:42AM (#19913379) Homepage
    Why not buy used? Wouldn't a used computer be a better deal?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by UbuntuDupe (970646) *
      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?
      • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
        ``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?''

        Agai
    • It MIGHT be a better deal, but it's been my experience that people generally don't know what their computers are worth (at least where I live). I seen machines in the paper all the time that are 5 years old and have prices of $500 or more. I frequently see things along the lines of:

      "For Sale: Used computer. 2001 model. Cost $1100, will sell for $600. Taken good care of."

      Any shops around here will try to cheat you out on both new and used computers. It's really sad when someone asks me where they should g

  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:42AM (#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.
    • by abigsmurf (919188)
      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
    • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:57AM (#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?
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      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.
      • "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 everyon
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
          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.
        • If power efficiency is the only major goal, hard drives would be replaced by flash, too. Vista does, I'm sure, support a monitor timeout to take that choice away from the customer, though, takes away thing like watching a movie (What? do you move your mouse around while watching movies?).

          Also, besides the C7 being very low power, it also dissipates very little heat and doesn't usually need a CPU cooling fan. If it does use a fan, it's a little thing that takes nearly no power compared to a lot of processor
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UbuntuDupe (970646) *
      Didn't you get the memo? In modern terminology, "eco-friendly" means being wasteful in the most efficient way possible.

      Driving a Hummer once per year --> terrorist.
      Driving a Prius 100 miles each weekend to bounce between parties --> eco-friendly.

      Lighting up a tiny studio apartment with incandescent bulbs --> terrorist.
      Lighting up a mansion full of empty rooms with CFLs --> eco-friendly.

      Running non-eco-friendly computer 8 hrs per day --> terrorist.
      Running eco-friendly computer non-stop -->
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by freeweed (309734)
        Coming up with a bunch of non-sensical arguments that practically none of the environmental movement has ever made --> strawman.

        Posting something that makes it seem like you're "thinking outside of the box", when you're really just attacking arguments no one made --> karma.
  • Has VIA improved? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by athloi (1075845) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:43AM (#19913407) Homepage Journal
    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?
    • by JustNiz (692889)
      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
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      I can tell you that the motherboard I have, a VIA SP8000E, is junk. Too many clock speed switches and the thing freezes. Need to disable the vertical retrace interrupt, or it will freeze eventually when running X (sounds like a race condition). This is the third SP8000E I have; the other two died in their 8th or 9th month (still within warranty, otherwise I would have gotten a different motherboard by now). I think some of the never motherboards with Nehemiah CPUs are essentially the same, so I would expect
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by yppiz (574466) *
      I have a Via C7-M machine - an OQO 02 - running Vista. It's as stable as an Intel or AMD machine. So, yes, they have their act together.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by springbox (853816)
      I've had a lot of motherboards with VIA chipsets and they have all worked wonderfully. Linux support for them is also pretty good.
  • Comparison (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:44AM (#19913421) Journal

    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.
  • Minimal crapware.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by tji (74570) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:45AM (#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.
    • by sootman (158191)
      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?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pla (258480)
        Also: anyone know how a 1.5GHz VIA C7 performs? Comparable to a 1 GHz PIII at least?

        Yeah, the Epia and JetWay microATX/miniITX boards use that line, and I have one with that exact chip.

        I'd say it compares favorably with the PIII, clock-for-clock. It works pretty well for a general purpose PC. You can use all your normal "productivity" apps no problem, it can handle audio just fine, some video (they usually have hardware MPEG2 and now even MPEG4 decoders, though I don't know what the exact setup mentio
    • Which is why different mfg's appear from time to time. Dell gets millions of dollars from the a/v mfg's to install this "crapware".
    • by l3v1 (787564) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @11:15AM (#19914649)
      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


      Even more, with the Norton stuff installed that 1.5ghz via cpu will feel like a 800mhz one and with constant hdd scratching it will feel like it swaps all the time. There are dozens of - even free - av sw that are at least as good and need much less resources - which is point to consider given there's only 1gb of memory and vista on it. I just made a 750mhz duron machine usable again last week by replacing that norton 2k7 stuff, they just wondered how could that be...
       
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by edremy (36408)
      They could have chosen a free AV package,

      Are you sure about that? While I obviously don't know any details of the discussions between "freeware" AV companies and PC makers, I doubt that AVG would let the company bulk-install even the freeware AVG version. They would probably treat installing it on 100k computers as a corporate install, and AVG charges for those.

      Norton is only willing to pay to put their version on since it's crippled and they expect people to pay up when the trial ends. It's a lot d

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pugdk (697845)
      I agree, I looked at the specs myself and immediately singled out:

      Additional Software
        CyberLink PowerDVD Suite
        Norton Internet Security(TM) 2007 (90-day subscription included)

      Norton Internet "Security". In my opinion you would have to search hard for worse crap ware.

  • by tji (74570) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:50AM (#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.
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:53AM (#19913555)
    Does it come with a hamster to run the power supply or are those extra?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:54AM (#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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yeah, I really believe you have a 900MHz K6. (I know, you meant an athlon or duron as even K6-2s maxed out around 500MHz or so)

      Other than that, I agree -- most non-gamers would be fine with it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259)
      Isn't the answer obvious?

      How would stores shift the mid- and high-end PCs, given that most people don't play modern 3D games, if they didn't inflate the specs required to perform more common tasks?

      I've even seen stores recommending at least a mid-end PC if you want to surf the web. Presumably the low-end ones aren't powerful enough to run a web browser...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Colin Smith (2679)

      When I was in high school ("Gymnasium" as we call it over here in Europe)
      In Austria or Germany. In Scotland, England and Wales it's "Secondary or High School". In France, "Lycée". etc etc.

       
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 19, 2007 @09:55AM (#19913569) Homepage
    ....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!
  • by Ignorant Aardvark (632408) <cydeweys@NospaM.gmail.com> on Thursday July 19, 2007 @10:03AM (#19913707) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • ...if it came with Windows XP.
  • by hal2814 (725639) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @10:15AM (#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.
  • Windows Tax Refund? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @10:33AM (#19914075) Homepage Journal
    Is there any way to calculate how much of that $298 pays for its Windows OS?

    Does MS just give them away "free" to companies like Everex/Wal-Mart, just to protect their platform marketshare for selling Windows apps (or reporting marketshare)? Isn't all of that anticompetitive, probably explicitly so under the various (though largely unenforced) monopoly verdict decrees?

    Or can you get your MS tax refund if you delete it and send it back? Has anyone pulled that off lately? Or maybe, possibly, convince Wal-Mart to save the expense, and sell a cheaper PC with Linux installed - or nothing installed, but with a Linux LiveCD/netinstaller?
  • It's all good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhotoGuy (189467) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @10:43AM (#19914217) Homepage
    I know a lot of people hate Wal-Mart. I personally don't, I guess I haven't watched the right documentaries yet, to tell me what to think, or something.

    And yeah, Wal-Mart probably isn't doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, nor to boost open source, nor to satisfy the few Linux people. Their motivation is undoubtedly to make money, and they usually do that by giving consumers what they want (a cheap item, that does the job).

    Well, we should be proud that OpenOffice is seen as a viable enough too in their delivery of such a product, especially one aimed at students. It really is a big step in the right direction, and validates Open Source to a very large degree.

    -dale
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jim_deane (63059)

      On the other hand, many colleges either provide Microsoft Office for a very low media fee, or for a very low student discount price.

      So perhaps Wal Mart is figuring that students will just buy the cheap PC and then get the $12 version of MS Office from school. They probably include OOo as the default just to have something to provide. "Use this until you get MS Office from school..."

      Just guessing.
  • by addbo (165128) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @11:26AM (#19914795)
    OK... so Dell.ca has a very decently spec'ed computer for about $100 more... (I'm sure there are similar deals in USD... it's $399 CDN... just did a quick conversion on XE.com

    http://www.redflagdeals.com/deals/main.php/alldeal s/pop7days/#e26983 [redflagdeals.com]

            * AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor 4000+
            * Windows XP Professional
            * 1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz - 2 DIMMs
            * 160GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
            * 16x DVD+/-RW Drive
            * Microsoft Works 8
            * Integrated 7.1 Audio, Video
            * Dell USB Keyboard, Optical USB Mouse
            * 1 Year Next Business Day Onsite/In Home Service and Tech Support

    I think it's worth it for $100 more... even with possible crapware... XP Pro itself is worth like $150 OEM. (I'd still rather of XP than Vista at the moment)

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