Those of you who saw the Cheap And Tiny entry on cheap small form desktops probably had a clue that I posted it because I was looking for, well, cheap small form desktops, since my iBook is getting on in years, but I want to wait for the Intel Macs before I get another Apple PC.
I was all set to order a refurbished Asus AE3 Pundit barebone kit with a Sempron 2800+, along with an old salvaged HDD and a stick of RAM, but then I found an almost fully equipped IBM Intellistation E Pro P4-1600 (that would be a 1.6GHz Pentium 4) for a low $170 (after rebate) on Tiger Direct, and I decided on that instead.
I really, really wish I had read a bit more on Tiger Direct before going through them.
Ordering was straightforward, and the box arrived in under three days. It was a bit bigger than I expected, but that was okay. I unpacked the PC and set it on my bed (my desk was a bit messy), checked the box label to make sure I was not going mad, and gasped in shock and horror. (Well, not really “gasped”; more like whined to the air in peeved annoyance.)
Take a good look at this photo of what I thought I was buying, and the box label I expected. Remember, the product page specified an IBM Intellistation E Pro P4-1600. Now, here’s what I got:
Yes, they sent me an IBM Netvista M41 P4-1800 instead. Actually, when you order a P4-1.6 and your mistaken order is a P4-1.8, that’s not too bad, eh? But I was ordering as small form a box as I could get for cheap, and this Netvista M41 is definitely not small.
I did a little more reading, and discovered that Tiger Direct is not so much a store as it is an online frontend to other third party computer retailers — in my case, Joy Systems — who provide the text and photos to Tiger Direct. That’s why there’s a tiny line of fine print at the bottom of every page:
“TigerDirect is not responsible for typographical or photographical errors. Prices and specifications are subject to change without notice.”
So I looked at the rather draconian return policy, looked at this BIG HONKING IBM NETVISTA M41, made a decision … and filled out and mailed the rebate forms and set up the box on my desk.
Hey, it’s not what I ordered and it’s not small, but it’s still 0.2GHz faster than what I expected. I can live with that. I ordered a WinXP OEM CD and a 1GB stick of RAM for it, but I did it on NewEgg. No more Tiger Direct for me. But I hope that rebate comes at the end of 14 weeks anyway.
So here’s my new desk layout. And if anyone asks, it was a typographical and photographical error on Tiger Direct’s part, after all, and they’re not responsible.