# Buying a new computer from Costco? Not so fast..

#### JohnInTX

Joined Jun 26, 2012
4,376
I bought a Dell Inspiron 24 7000 series i5 All-In-One from Costco online to replace my wife's old Dell XPS (MS Vista!) notebook. It was roughly the same price as Dell direct but with a year's extra warranty and Costco's useful concierge (they speak english!) service. Installation went smoothly but it wouldn't find my 5GHz WiFi router for nothin'.

Long phone sessions with the aforementioned concierge and Dell tech support - determined that despite the fact that ALL 'Dell' 7000s have 802.11 b/g/n and 801.11ac (5GHz) WiFi, the 'Costco Dell 7000' has only 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. Seriously. To skin a few bucks, someone at Costco had Dell build them a bunch of reduced-spec systems.

I know that lots of big-box outfits (including Costco) have special version items built for them. Sometimes to be able to offer low prices, they dispense with some bells and whistles - mostly, you never miss them.

This time, I actually had the two systems up side by side on the screen and they were (I thought) the same. I confess that I didn't know what Dell Wireless 1801 was so went to Dell.com to see what wireless they put in the 7000. The full boat. Nice.

I should have googled 'Dell wireless 1801'. I eventually did. It took drilling down into several forums... with my friendly (and equally astonished) Costco concierge as we arrived at the reality of 2.4GHz. The Dell tech (equally confused, through sort-of english and a canned menu-response each time, thanking me for my patience) finally verified the same. Its grandpa's WiFi.

I tell people on this forum that they have to do their research, RTFM etc. This time I got snookered.

The really sad part is that when I fired up the old (did I say Vista? yes I did) notebook, it jumped on the 5GHz network like a dog on a bone. It's 7 years old... and knows about 5GHz.

This one is going back. I'll re-order the 'same' system from Dell. It really is a nice box.

#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,756
I hate this sort of crap. Before the internet, shopping took a lot of time because it was hard to get information. Then for a while the transaction costs of shopping came down hugely. Information was free and available. It was great! Now there has been an explosion of models and options and deals. You could spend hours shopping for a simple item, because you have to verify every niggling detail!

Here's a related rant: Airlines and hotels (particularly in Las Vegas) have taken to low-balling their prices for the online search tools. Only after you investigate the details do you learn about baggage fees and all that on the airlines, and the "service fees" at the hotels. Those are mandatory and really no different than splitting the room cost into two parts: the part we show you online and the part you discover when you check out!

#### Brownout

Joined Jan 10, 2012
2,390
I know that lots of big-box outfits (including Costco) have special version items built for them. Sometimes to be able to offer low prices, they dispense with some bells and whistles - mostly, you never miss them.
That I did not know. Thanks for sharing.

#### GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
That I did not know. Thanks for sharing.
Some poor guy on TV was waiting two days in line at a store for a deal at Bestbuy for Black Friday. Then an article on cnet.com? told a similar story that the TV special was really a reduced spec, no-name TV with 720i, one hdmi connector, no other connectors, no usb... In other words, there are no good deals.

#### Hypatia's Protege

Joined Mar 1, 2015
3,226
Best Buy is a sick joke! -- Most other retailers are troublesome --- FWIW Manufacturers may generally be persuaded to deal directly for a 'consideration' -- In my experience 'tis the only way to go!

Sincerely
HP

#### JohnInTX

Joined Jun 26, 2012
4,376
First of all, I appreciate the kind comments. My intent was not to trash Costco per se (well, maybe a little) but mostly to alert/remind my AAC friends to double check those specs and not make assumptions. That and to blow off some frustration.

In the event, the Scout (my deliriously awesome spouse), has reiterated that she flat loves the machine (and we guys know what that means) so checking Dell (in detail, this time) shows that to get 802.11ac, I'd give up the hybrid 1TB drive for a couple of hundred more  and have the fun of reinstalling, re-configuring (where the heck are those Win10 drivers again?) etc... So we're keeping it, uh.. dear. She doesn't give a rip that its 2.4GHz wireless just so it works - probably a healthier attitude than mine.

But because I am just stubborn about this kind on thing, I ordered a Netgear USB 3.0 802.11-everything dongle for it. I'm just that way..

Done!

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#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,756
I have a 5GHz router but usually use it at 2.4 (it runs both simultaneously). I just don't seem to get the range and rock-solid performance otherwise. Maybe it's better up close, but so far I'm not impressed.

#### GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
I have a 5GHz router but usually use it at 2.4 (it runs both simultaneously). I just don't seem to get the range and rock-solid performance otherwise. Maybe it's better up close, but so far I'm not impressed.
Go to the advanced settings and increase power to max.

#### Hypatia's Protege

Joined Mar 1, 2015
3,226
I have a 5GHz router but usually use it at 2.4 (it runs both simultaneously). I just don't seem to get the range and rock-solid performance otherwise. Maybe it's better up close, but so far I'm not impressed.
FWIW that's my experience as well...

#### ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,108
One thing many/most big box stores do is get a slightly modified version of the standard unit so they get their own part number. It may actually be the same same inside but three is always a different part number.

That way when you come in to ask for a price match they can "honestly" say "sorry that is a different unit with a different number."

#### JohnInTX

Joined Jun 26, 2012
4,376
I have a 5GHz router but usually use it at 2.4 (it runs both simultaneously). I just don't seem to get the range and rock-solid performance otherwise. Maybe it's better up close, but so far I'm not impressed.
I can appreciate that but we have so many 2.4GHz systems in the neighborhood we get channel-bound and get dropped periodically as a result. 802.11ac has many more channels.

One thing I didn't realize was how many attached devices I had until I thought about it (and looked at the router's list). From a couple of laptops a few years ago, we now have those, then new desktop, 3 phones, 3 tablets, 3 printers and some transient devices plus a 2ed guest network on 2.4GHz. Multiply that by 5 or 6 routers in range and maybe that's part of the drop out problem, too.

On the other hand, maybe the neighbors have the same trouble and they will all buy 5GHz routers for Christmas! Then, I'll have 2.4GHz all to myself - BWWAAAHHAHA.
Of course, I'll still be sharing with the microwave...

..and there is always CAT-6 (my personal favorite).

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#### shteii01

Joined Feb 19, 2010
4,644
honestly I thought ac was European thing. I never even thought of using ac wifi hardware in US. all of mine is b/g/n.