Can you help me choose a desktop pc?

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vestureofblood
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Can you help me choose a desktop pc?

Hi all,

———————2/29/16 EDIT———————-

Ok here is the update as requested. In the end I actually ended up with a much better pc than I would have found on my own, and came in *under *budget!

Here is the PC I started with.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/361493810680?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPage...

HP Compaq 6200
I5-2400 3.1g processor
8g Ram
500g HDD

And it came with an Nvida Quadro graphics card to boot. Price was $185 shipped.

I then added this 250g Samsung SSD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147372

This adapter
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817994159&cm_re=2....

I’m not sure if that was exactly the right adapter for my tower, but I was able to make it work

I also had to purchase a SataIII cable which I got form newegg (lost the link) and a DVI monitor cable.

The results:

A land slide of better performance vs my old pc! This computer on its own easily runs twice as fast than my old one. Starts up quicker, and belive it or not even gave me like a 20% faster shuffle on the internet ( I have only 1.5m available where I live so every bit helps)

Not only that even with the purchase of the SSD I still came in around $100 under budget. About $287 total. The SSD was simple to install and came with a disc that will automatically copy my old hard drive and OS to the new drive. Once that was done all I had to do was go to bios (restart F10) and change the boot order.

One last added bonus I noticed was that this pc has 2× 4g sticks or ram installed and 4 slots total so an upgrade to 16g will be easy if I ever need it.

Thank you all so very much for helping be to do far better than I could have on my own!

———-OP below here———

Its that time again. I need a new desktop computer for the business/shop. Really just looking for the tower mostly. I have a monitor, its the old square style but its a flat screen so it will do.

I guess the place to start is with my budget. It needs to be under $400 shipped.

I have some idea what I want, but my biggest hang up probly is not knowing enough about the processors. For example is a 6th generation i5 better than a 2nd generation i7?

Here are my top contenders for the moment, but if you have a totally different idea please chime in.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883283078

This one has only a 500g hard drive vs the 1T, but its a dell ( I have had much better luck with dell vs HP in the past)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/MICOMP-Dell-990-Tower-Desktop-Computer-PC-Core-i...

And finally I saw this. Cheaper but has only the i5 processor, but its a 6th gen.

http://www.amazon.com/M32CD-Desktop-Windows-Keyboard-Mouse/dp/B014QVM2KO...

Again if you have a better solution than any of those three I am all ears.

Thanks in advance.

In Him (Jesus Christ) was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
http://asflashlights.com/ Everyday Carry Flashlights, plus Upgrades for Maglite.

Edited by: vestureofblood on 02/29/2016 - 13:23
justanotherguy
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I’ve had nothing but luck with dells the last 17 years..wow, it has been that long! not one hardware failure

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Quote:
I have some idea what I want, but my biggest hang up probly is not knowing enough about the processors. For example is a 6th generation i5 better than a 2nd generation i7?

I usually don’t give much importance to the processor in my purchasing decisions. By far the most perceivable performance difference is with SSD storage instead of a traditional “spinning rust” hard disk. Then the second most important factor is having enough RAM for today’s bloated software; I would definitely not settle for less than 4GB and would set 8GB as a baseline in a desktop system.

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Itinifni
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It would be helpful if you can give us an idea of what you’ll be using it for.

The processor isn’t that big a deal if you’re just doing basic office stuff like accounting, inventory control, word processing, etc. No need for an i7 there. If you’re running CAD software, video/audio/photo editing then the processor can make a big difference.

If you have a large number of files (music, photos, videos) then you’ll need decent storage capacity. These days I wouldn’t go with less than 1TB but you may be able to get by with less.

I agree with SB that SSDs are great but with your stated budget you may want to put you money in somewhere other than an SSD.

Memory, again I agree with SB, 4GB minimum, 8GB better.

O/S is a consideration too, you a windows man or more interested in Linux based.

The last new desktop I bought was a Windows 95 GW2K, since then I built my own.

When looking for inexpensive PCs for friends or the kids I’ve had great luck buying from TX Micro though they’ve recently been bought out. They sell mostly off lease PCs and parts, lots of Dells.

And I agree about Dell, they make some real solid machines.

Good luck.

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vestureofblood
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SB,

I would be willing to go to an SSD. I was not aware this made such a big difference. I will certainly be going with the 8G of ram.

itinifni,

I will mostly use this for accounting, loading pictures to my website and forums. Also for youtube videos. I don’t yet know how to edit video. I may try at some point but I dont have Photoshop or anything at this time.

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From r/buildapc: http://www.logicalincrements.com/ (scroll down) & https://choosemypc.net/build/?budget=400&oc=false&options=
https://choosemypc.net/buildguide/ seems like decent info on components. I’m mostly out of the loop, will have to build a new PC myself soon-ish.
SSDs are powerful but they require some care, i.e. read up on how to optimize your OS for SSD usage in order to maximize lifespan. For example never attempt to defrag a SSD. Be aware that some older SSDs, Samsung among others, have/had issues with linux. There are 4 types of SSD transistors, SLC, MLC, TLC and 3D NAND TLC. If you’re looking for high quality (speed – not that it matters, they’re all very fast compared to any regular HDD- and longevity) MLC and 3D NAND TLC based SSDs are preferable.
Don’t use SSDs as a sole storage for pics, videos, documents etc. Buy 2 regular HDDs (WD red series is great), use one as data storage in your computer, use the second as offline storage and make backups regularly, so you don’t end up losing everything if you get hit by a ransomware trojan.

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If you’re not going to build your own then go with Dell or HP as a second choice. Get one with at least an I5 processor and 8GB of RAM. A 1TB hard drive would be good as well.

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Honestly you should attempt to assemble one yourself; maximizes output for cash spent.

Ssd is a must, and while there are certain best practices for caring for the Ssd, don’t worry about them. I’ve got a 6 year old Ssd that I have simply abused, done the opposite of what’s recommended and it hasn’t been a problem at all. All that “don’t max out the storage, don’t power down while this or that”… It’s for the last 2% of performance you’ll never notice you lost

8 gigs ram is a must as others mentioned.

But build it yourself – it’s simple, just snapping components together. Watch 15 minutes of YouTube how to on the topic and yer ready.

Hardest part will be pickin the components, but this is made easy by going to pcpartpicker.com
There you will find completed builds based on criteria with a budget limitation. Then you can either duplicate their build entirely or change the pieces to suit your needs.

Buying a $400 pre-built computer is like buying a Chinese flashlight.. And then not modifying it. And then attempting to depend on it.

At that point I’d go for a good used model

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I used to always build my systems because I thought it was cheaper. I don’t think this is any longer true. 2 weeks ago I ordered this HP from newegg and got it the next day. Right now it is $199, I paid $179 at the time. It contains an Intel core i5 2400 processor. Just that cpu chip alone costs that much on newegg or Amazon! It came with only a 250G HD, but who cares, I put an SSD in it anyway. Came with Win7 that upgraded to Win10 for free. 4 gigs of ram is plenty for video work that I do, but eventually I might add more. Has 10 USB 2.0 ports. Very well made case with lots of convienence features. Hard drives and power supply slide right in, cpu is cooled with air drawn in from outside the case, etc
Couldn’t be happier.

Just because your budget is $400 doesn’t mean you HAVE to spend $400

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883283325

Bort
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bikedude wrote:
From r/buildapc: http://www.logicalincrements.com/ (scroll down)

I really like logical increments, its well thought out.
You can often get deals on cases, there is no real advantage to spending more, and power supplies you dont need a lot of wattage (The corsair CX430 is plenty) and can stick with the onboard graphics.

I would go with the very good or great, nuke the graphics card (make sure the mainboard you get has onboard graphics), stock fan, SSD, cheaper case and CX430 power supply. Get a HD as well and an identical capacity external for backup (and backup regularly, you can get software that automates this).

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dchomak wrote:
I used to always build my systems because I thought it was cheaper. I don’t think this is any longer true.

I agree, building is not typically cheaper, you just get what you want by DIYing it

dchomak wrote:
4 gigs of ram is plenty for video work that I do, but eventually I might add more.

I use 8GB and would get 16GB on my next computer, I was able to eliminate virtual memory, for extra speed or more accurately no speed loss

dchomak wrote:
Has 10 USB 2.0 ports.

USB 3 is very worthwhile, especially for copying to and from an external drive

dchomak wrote:
Just because your budget is $400 doesn’t mean you HAVE to spend $400

very true

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

 

 

sb56637
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bikedude wrote:

SSDs are powerful but they require some care, i.e. read up on how to optimize your OS for SSD usage in order to maximize lifespan. For example never attempt to defrag a SSD.

Yep, and I would add to this avoiding swap files/partitions. Just get enough RAM, which has the dual benefit of being fast and also not wasting the SSD’s write limits with temporary swap data. And in the case of Linux, I also use the “noatime” mount option so it doesn’t constantly update the last accessed time on every file, again so as to not waste the write limit.

Quote:
Be aware that some older SSDs, Samsung among others, have/had issues with linux.

As far as I know the issue was fixed.

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If you build you will have to buy windows, whatever it costs in the US (probably a lot cheaper then Canada).

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

 

 

bikedude
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Actually I’d replace the stock cooler as it tends to be pretty noisy under stress. It’s also nice to know that should the CPU fan die for some reason, the heatsink part of the cooler itself will be massive enough to prevent the CPU from overheating.

brad
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If you are interested in what will be happening with virtual reality, then I would keep an eye toward being able to use it well, read some articles on what they think will be needed for that.

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What if you add an SSD and ram to your current one?
You’ll notice a raise in performance. Should not cost more then $150
installing windows on SSD nowadays ensures it takes the SSD vs HDD into account automatically.

Or better yet just start with reinstalling windows which makes a huge difference on longer used PCs and is free. And this also gives the added benefit of testing your backup method (you’ll need a decent backup anyway)

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The Miller wrote:
What if you add an SSD and ram to your current one?
You’ll notice a raise in performance. Should not cost more then $150
installing windows on SSD nowadays ensures it takes the SSD vs HDD into account automatically.

Or better yet just start with reinstalling windows which makes a huge difference on longer used PCs and is free. And this also gives the added benefit of testing your backup method (you’ll need a decent backup anyway)


This is probably the best advice so far. If you switch to a SSD, add some more RAM, and do a fresh install of Windows (or Linux, even better) then you will see a huge increase in speed and reliability. Even the latest OS are technically capable of running on 2007 hardware specs (or even older). Just make sure the drivers have been updated by the manufacturer. That’s what usually gets you with older hardware.

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If you are looking for a PC, there are some very good deals available from the ‘outlet’ at Lenovo®. Some deals there are much better than others however, so you have to look at each configuration offered and decide what you like or don’t like. $400 will get you a tower with an I5-4590 in a refurbished M73 tower. $50 more (which admittedly takes you over the budget) gets you a machine with an I7-4770. I have bought several ‘scratch & dent’ machines, and frankly, I have hard time finding either on them. I think it is really an excuse to move out inventory of models that are being discontinued. The best way to move the data is probably with Laplink® Pro, which will also move most of your applications without having to re-install them. If you don’t like today’s offering, check again tomorrow. The assortment of machines and available configurations changes daily.

In any event, here is the link to the desktop section of the Lenovo Outlet.

http://outlet.lenovo.com/outlet_us/desktops/?menu-id=desktops_all-in-one...

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I just recently bought a new desktop PC. After doing a fair bit of research, I eventually ended up buying one a Best Buy. Prices were almost as good as anywhere on-line, and if I had a dud I could return it (only for 2 weeks though). Computers are a very competitive market, so I don’t think you’re going to find an amazing deal anywhere, unless there’s a catch. Just buy it from a local large store that sells computers; there are several. I don’t think you’ll save much money building one yourself, but you could get a better system by doing so, if you’re willing to spend a bit more. On the cheap end, you’ll just never find all the parts cheap enough to make it worthwhile building one yourself.

$400 is a pretty tight budget, but is okay for a basic system to do the kind of stuff you want to do.

Don’t worry about the processor; they’re all plenty powerful enough for what you want to do, and the differences are small at that price point.

Go with at least 8GB RAM. You could get away with less, but you don’t want to unless you’re only using it for web browsing or something very basic.

Forget SSD drives, they won’t fit into your price point and still give you enough storage. Go with a 1 TB regular drive, it will be fine and give you plenty of space. 2 TB is pretty cheap as well, if you think you’ll need more space.

On-board graphics are fine unless you’re into heavy gaming, which you won’t be with a $400 computer.

A basic DVD drive is fine too. You’ll probably never use it anyway.

All desktops come with plenty of USB ports, etc., so you don’t have to worry about that. Just make sure it has an HDMI out (and maybe VGA out), so you can plug in any monitor.

One other option to consider is a laptop PC. You can still hook up an external monitor and keyboard to it, and use it like a desktop. The downside is it will be less powerful. The upside is it’s portable.

vestureofblood
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I suppose upgrading would be possible. The PC I have now is pretty old though. Its an optiplex 745 dual 3.4G processor 4G ram.

Can an SSD even be added to this? If so what is the reason everyone says I need 2 hard drives? Is that just a capacity issue? If I did add an SSD to this one would I have to buy a windows CD? The only thing I have for this one is this refurbish disk ( and the product key).

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WalkIntoTheLight
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vestureofblood wrote:
Can an SSD even be added to this? If so what is the reason everyone says I need 2 hard drives? Is that just a capacity issue? If I did add an SSD to this one would I have to buy a windows CD? The only thing I have for this one is this refurbish disk ( and the product key).

You should be able to add an SSD to it. The reason for 2 disks is capacity. SSDs are much more expensive, per GB, than regular hard disks. So, you put the OS and some apps on the SSD, and all your data on the regular hard disk.

You shouldn’t need to buy a new OS if all you’re upgrading is the hard disk. If you change your motherboard, forget it.

264
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Purchased my Dell from B&H last summer. Good honest seller.
www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1169173-REG/dell_i3847_1696bk_inspiron_3000_g3260_4gb_1tb_windows_10_home.html

This is not the model I purchased. They have lots to chose from.

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The asus looks like a very good buy. if you can afford the i5 version it will be way more then enough power for what you need it for!

You can always add an SSD later on it is good to have a SSD and a normal HDD any ways so you will not be wasting any thing!

SSDs cost a lot per gigabyte compared to normal hard drives

The I5 version is the latest generation CPU and uses the latest generation Intel graphics processor so you get that as an added bonus!

If you search for the model CPU it self alone cost $189 the ram is about $40 the hard drive is $55 DVD burner $20 the case and power supply i am not sure how many watts the power supply is so i will guess around 400-450 watts so that is about $50 and you get a keyboard and mouse say maybe $30 so the total is $384 so it works out similar to how much you would spend!

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Adding a SSD never hurts, if you want to buy a new PC later you can use it in that.
When you have the install media and key no problems are expected. (Just disconnect your harddrive before install, plug it in after and select the SSD as primary bootdevice in the BIOS. Cool thing is that all your documents are immediately back in that case but still have that backup!)

When your PC works now and does what you want it to do fast enough just reinstall windows for the same preformace you had when you first bought it

Need more speed, start by getting a SSD.

Still not satisfied? Buy a i5 8(or 16GB) ram, 1tb hd , computer and put the SSD in and you will have a fast PC for your uses.

Bort
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The Miller wrote:
Adding a SSD never hurts, if you want to buy a new PC later you can use it in that.
When you have the install media and key no problems are expected. (Just disconnect your harddrive before install, plug it in after and select the SSD as primary bootdevice in the BIOS. Cool thing is that all your documents are immediately back in that case but still have that backup!)

When your PC works now and does what you want it to do fast enough just reinstall windows for the same preformace you had when you first bought it

Need more speed, start by getting a SSD.

Still not satisfied? Buy a i5 8(or 16GB) ram, 1tb hd , computer and put the SSD in and you will have a fast PC for your uses.


I wonder how much will end up going to then next computer, in theory i could use the SSD, case and power supply. The case has a busted USB port that the company won’t respond to to get fixed, i assume the SSD will double or more in speed and the power supply will be 5 years old, how much more life will it have left?

For cost i think the OP should buy an entire pc with windows, it will be cheaper and meet his needs. Upgrade to SSD is probably a good idea, but future proofing seems unlikely.

Matt, always have a backup for data and use it, one data loss will eat days or weeks of work for recovery if your lucky, if your unlucky it can cost you thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

 

 

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If you have a little time to look around and wait for a deal, I found/bought at Cowboom, Dell XPS 8700 , i5-3.2GHz, 12GB ram and 1TB HD for $349 (used), but very good condition. I later added 500GB EVo SSD. I am very happy with performance.

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Although there are truly several things to consider, as you can see with all the varied responses here, the single biggest performance boost you can get from ANY computer is to change from HDD to SSD for the OS and applications. User files can be kept on the larger, though much slower, HDD. It has been true for over a decade at least, that the HDD is the single bottleneck of any modern computer. It is the slowest part (except the CD drive, but it’s not used for normal operation).

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justanotherguy wrote:
I’ve had nothing but luck with dells the last 17 years..wow, it has been that long! not one hardware failure

+1.

Join SlickDeals and add a Deals Alert for DELL. Then sit back and wait for the best deal possible.

Rule 1-1 as it applies to life, take it as it comes.

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fdr2164 wrote:
How about a low end Mac Mini?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00746×7G2?creativeASIN=B00746×7G2&li...

Or possibly an Intel NUC.

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vestureofblood wrote:
I suppose upgrading would be possible. The PC I have now is pretty old though. Its an optiplex 745 dual 3.4G processor 4G ram.

Can an SSD even be added to this? If so what is the reason everyone says I need 2 hard drives? Is that just a capacity issue? If I did add an SSD to this one would I have to buy a windows CD? The only thing I have for this one is this refurbish disk ( and the product key).
!http://s12.postimg.org/80aqunj9p/DSCF0047_1.jpg!

See if this PC will run a Q6600 processor— you can usually root around online or look on the motherboard for board number—I found this CPU for $20 ebay—it will smoke that 745— then add a SSD drive—they sometimes come with cloning software— do a clean install (best way to go)using your key code windows 7 install files are easy to come by—using a second drive is really essential especially with SSD main drive—you put all your storage on a standard drive—-

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