computer question -- am i being ripped off here?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by tortoise, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. tortoise


    1) Bought a computer from

    2) It arrives and crashes...and crashes

    3) They say they'll send me a replacement

    4) 10 days later, said replacement arrives

    5) Its specs are different. The original computer (the one I paid for) was an i7-based system running at 3.42 ghz. The replacement is an i5-based system running at 2.72 ghz. The windows score for the original is 5.5. The windows score for the replacement is 4.4.

    6) I send the following email:
    Just received today a replacement for the F-22 I purchased from you earlier this month.

    The specs for this replacement computer are quite different (inferior), to the specs of the computer it is supposed to replace. Please see the attached screen shots.

    Was my order confused with another? How do you propose to resolve this?

    Look forward to your reply.

    7) I receive the following response:
    While your replacement F-22 might appear on the surface to be inferior to your original, your F-22 matches the configuration for our current F-22 model. They have decided to swap processors for better energy efficiency and stability. While the i5 might be a different family of processors, it is in no means inferior.

    Regarding the CPU frequency, Windows System Properties often misreads the actual CPU frequency due to speed-stepping technology built into the processor. When your computer first boots up, the CPU is not under a demanding load, so it runs at it's default frequency (e.g 2.67GHz) to save energy. When the CPU begins to process more demanding data, the processor steps up the core frequency by adding additional multipliers that raise the actual CPU frequency to 3.71GHz as specified on your invoice. You will notice the original processor read 3.42GHz and not 3.71GHz. This is also a result of the speed stepping multiplier, but is not as dramatic on the more energy hungry i7 processor family. Unfortunately because the speed of the computer is dependent on the workload, Windows System Properties will never
    show the maximum CPU speed. However, there are 3rd party utilities that can be installed to monitor real time system information.

    If you're available Saturday morning, I can log into your system to
    run a benchmark on your system to verify that is what is in fact

    I understand it may be surprising to see such a large difference in
    the same model of computer built only a few weeks or months apart, but this is a rapidly changing industry. I can ensure you that your current system will perform to the same processing potential of your original unit. You can learn more about the two processor families here:,2410.html

    Ok, now, as I understand it, i7 is built for hyperthreading and i5 is not. As I understand it, that's a factor in running multiple (or individual) prorams, like Multicharts, designed to take advantage of hyperthreading.

    But, really, I'm not a computer expert. I think this whole thing smells a little fishy, but I'm not entirely sure.

  2. tortoise


    my response to the guy at trading computers:

    As I thought, i5 750 does not support hyperthreading, unlike i7,( Also, i5 is a less expensive, "Chevy" processor. It may (or may not) be more stable. But someone should have told me of the plan to swap the i7 for the i5 before they just went ahead and did it.

    Honestly, I'm a bit dismayed. I'm sure this reflected an honest attempt to "get it right." But the appearances, if you will, do not inspire confidence. A cynical person could characterize this as a "bait and switch." Personally, I find it difficult to believe that a reputable company like Falcon would engage in such practice. But I have to wonder what else has been "swapped out" to shave costs.

    I noticed for example, that the processor cooler in the original F-22 was copper. The processor cooler in this replacement is ... well, not. The cooler fans in the original box were Thermalink -- a brand I recognized. The cooler fans in the replacement are made by ... well, someone else. Same performance? I can't pretend to know. But the processor swap has left me wondering what other disadvantageous "silent swaps" lurk beneath the hood.

    I'm sorry that my inaugural experience with Trading Computers has been so inauspicious, as I'd hoped to be a lifetime customer. Alas, it's difficult to build an enduring relationship on a foundation of distrust and, right now, I don't know what to think.

    Under the circumstances, I suspect that the best course of action, for us all, will be for me to return both computers to you and to secure a refund to my credit card.
  3. That's all you had to say..... you already waaaayyyyy overpaid.
  4. +1. Stick with major retailers on/ofline - you can get a better price for your money. Trying to get a fancy box just for trading, from a relatively unknown online is asking for trouble. There are plenty of fast machines for less at very reputable sites.
  5. tortoise


    Yes, I have learned that lesson.

    I'm ashamed to say that this is the second time I have gone the "bespoke" route on computers...My ancient Gateway, my battered Dell, my neglected HP -- they just run and run and run. But the specialty shop stuff is shit.

    What I have a hard time believing, though, is that Trading Computers is deliberately trying to rip me off. That's a real stretch, to my mind, given the fact that they have been in business for a while and, therefore, must have satisfied customers.

    Nevertheless, this strikes me as really odd business practice. I'd love to hear from those who know more about this stuff that I.
  6. When I started trading five years ago I came from a programmers background. Now that I know the business I find my skills as a computer person comes in handy in situations like this. So let's start.

    First running everything on a single machine is asking for trouble. What if the machine goes down? No trading for the day?

    Step 1: Get Input Director

    With Input director I control three computers (not including my server farm). Thus my computers are independent of each other and if one is being bogged down I can flip tasks. In my situation I have a production computer, bloomberg computer, and email computer. Each computer has two screens meaning I have a total of six screens. Using input director I can control all computers as if they were one.

    Step 2: Buy cheap, but powerful hardware. This means; forget RAID on the computer, buy an external NAS that is raided. 3 Gigs RAM per computer is plenty, and a dual or quad core computer with plain vanilla CPU is plenty as well. You don't need a high graphic card, average is good enough! Typically your computer should cost you no more than 500 USD.

    Step 3: Invest in a decent set of LCD screens. You will be keeping the LCD's longer than any computer.

    The advantage of this approach is that you can buy computers every year or two, and you will always have a fast machine. BUT you will not be a test guinea pig for the CPU vendors.

    You want the external RAID because when you switch computers all you need to do is restore. For example use the following products: unison (synchronization software), or subversion (version control).

    Using this approach you can easily slipstream a notebook so that you are productive while on the go. Or if you have to replace a machine you are up and running within a couple of hours.

    While many like to think buying one super box is the best I always ask, "ok so what happens when the box goes down?" I prefer the Google approach, which is buy lots of cheap hardware that is linked together.

    Christian Gross

  7. tortoise


    Great idea. Thanks
  8. You must have paid for it with a Credit Card, right? Call them right now and put in a dispute. While the dispute is on, you do not have to pay it. But you must contact your CC issuer ASAP. Then call the seller.

    This itself will give the seller enough incentive to do it right. Don't even go into a shouting match about i5 & i7 etc. etc. You paid for configuration XYZ, and they need to provide you with configuration XYZ. Period. Why you need config. XYZ doesn't even enter the equation, unless you let it, of course, entirely to your disadvantage. If they can not provide you with config. XYZ that works right, there is only one other outcome: they send you your money back. No other option is acceptable.

    Not a single time I sent my CC issuer to bat for me has it ever failed. It's a powerful tool - use it.
  9. tortoise


    Oh, I am. Believe me.
  10. I've been through what you're talking about but with a different company. I've built screaming fast boxes and I've bought off the shelf. My suggestion is to get your money back and buy a Dell T series box.
    #10     Feb 20, 2010