Maybe I Should Have Picked Up Another E4200

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For my parents’ wireless access point solution, I picked up a refurbished Linksys E4200 from FutureShop for $60 + taxes. I was skeptical because it was a Linksys router and it was refurbished. But I went ahead and picked it up because it supported Tomato custom firmware which I wholeheartedly support.

Now that I’ve got it up and running for over a week, I’m regretting not picking one up for myself. This thing is wonderfully stable and fast. It also boasts some impressive looks.

I didn’t even have this kind of stability with my ASUS RT-N16 when I first installed Toastman’s Tomato on it. I haven’t actually tested its 450 Mbps speed but I did test out the impressive coverage. It covers the top and ground floors of their house and then some.

I was thinking about getting an expensive ASUS RT-N66U or the absurdly expensive ASUS RT-AC66U but after trying out this silent performer, I’m keeping my eyes out for other refurbished gems like it.

Checkpoint: 2011’s Regrettable Purchases Edition

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I no longer buy Ubisoft games on day one and I’ve become weary of purchasing EA games as well. But now I may have another company to add to the list: Valve.

Valve burned me with Portal 2 — they actually burned me twice because I bought a copy for my brother. Watching the price drop below $50 within the first week was ok, but watching it plummet all the way down to less than $11 because of a Steam sale is disheartening.

Just last week I could have purchased, enjoyed Portal 2 and still have enough time to consider it for game of the year.

Consider it a lesson learned.

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My Rules For Tech Purchases: Computer Edition

Have you looked at how much you’ve spent on your current computer? What about your previous computer? I’m willing to bet that everyone who has ever assembled their own computer felt the tinge of regret at least once or twice.

I hate that feeling of overpaying for something that will be replaced by a faster model at the same price point or worse: replaced by a faster & cheaper model.

Computer components have settled down to a predictable pricing structure over the past several years. You can still buy the $2000 computer, but that’s not the norm anymore. Nowadays, you can get a fairly kick ass gaming rig for much less. But even with a budget between $1000 and $1500, people can still overpay for what they get.

In order to avoid getting that feeling of remorse, I’ve come up with a set of rules for each of the major components.

Limit
Processor$200
Motherboard$150
Memory$100
Storage$100
Video Card$200
Power Supply$100
Case$150

No matter what happens, I feel that by purchasing computer components with these guidelines, I won’t be feeling the sting of regret in two or five year’s time.

The one example, I like to bring up is with storage. When I purchased my 1TB Western Digital hard drive, 2TB drives were between $130 and $150. I bought my 1TB for $80. Now, I can purchase a 2TB drive for $80.

Paying an extra $50 doesn’t sound so bad, but when you look at solid state drives, that’s a different story. In three year’s time, when 256GB SSD drives are $100, I wouldn’t feel so bad spending $100 for 60GB. However, in three year’s time I’d feel pretty stupid paying $230 for a 120GB. If 60GB isn’t enough, I would be better off waiting for prices to come down to meet my requirements.

Pre-ordering Adventures

bestbuy-logoThe last game I pre-ordered was Metal Gear Solid 4 which came with a whole slew of bonuses that I eventually didn’t care about. Since then, I haven’t pre-ordered a single game unless there was some sort of deal.

Even though I’ll probably grow tired of Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer and scoff at the campaign, I went ahead and pre-ordered it for $49.99 at FutureShop. The thing about Call of Duty games is that you’ll most likely get your money’s worth in return via trade in promotions like those found at GameStop. Most of the time, it’s a one for one trade towards a game. The trade in value is that high.

My next tale is one of regret. I assumed the Xbox 360 version of L.A Noire would be the one to get, but it turns out it isn’t. When GiantBomb goes out of their way to mention platform differences, it’s enough for me to switch platforms. Unfortunately for me, changing platforms wasn’t so easy.

I ordered my copy from BestBuy.ca for $50.99 before taxes. A decent discount considering it’s a new release. (I also got 800 Reward Zone points ($10), but that doesn’t really count.) So I noticed that my order status was still “In progress” so I rang BestBuy customer support and asked if I could simply change versions. I was disappointed to hear that wasn’t possible; not without voiding the discount.

Refusing to pay full price, I thought back to last Friday and Dell.ca’s L.A Noire promotion. It was a mere $5 off, but Dell.ca allowed me to use my $20 MasterCard that I received from a mail in rebate offer in conjunction with my regular BestBuy VISA. In the end I paid $62.14 for the PlayStation 3 version of L.A Noire which shipped out today.

That was quite a bit of fuss to get the “superior” version of a game, next time I’ll take my brother’s advice and buy both versions and cancel/return the one I don’t want.

Duh.

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