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 Post subject: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:05 am 


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My friend is trying to get a desktop in the 500-700 range. Not a gaming computer.
I'm not sure what to recommend. I have had 2 Dells recently that died in less than 2 or 3 years.

A lot of "best of" lists have them on there. So, I dunno.

Is there a quality PC brand that won't die under 5 years?
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:32 am 



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How about a Mac Mini? I've been using one for work for the last four years and it's been very reliable, no software/hardware issues whatsoever.

I only upgraded RAM to 8 GB and replaced HDD with SSD at some point, but that was only necessary because I'm doing programming stuff on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:49 am 


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Maybe. Any PCs?
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:43 am 


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Custom-built all the way, man. That way you don't have to deal with proprietary-ish design parts/cases/drivers/power supplies and can replace whatever breaks as needed, because it's hard to say how long your machine will last you.

Or if you're going to go the brand route, just get an extended warranty for the peace of mind.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:48 am 


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i've never had/built a pc that has broken within 5 years(have had power supplys blow eventually and take out motherboards but that was after 7 years) i've got an xp machine here thats 11 years old.. everyone i know with macs has to take them to get repaired at the apple store
software/os issues are a different matter..usually down to user error or shitty software that messes the registry or whatever.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:04 am 



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I have never, ever had any hardware fail on me, with the exception of a 5:4 LG monitor that's been collecting dust anyway.

The last two desktop PCs I used were custom built and are still going strong. The older one has a 1.86 GHz Core2Duo and DDR2 RAM.

So yeah, if Macs are not an option, definitely avoid pre-builts. Saves you a lot of headache in the long run.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:56 pm 


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if we're not going the gaming route we avoid the currently expensive RAM and graphic cards which otherwise makes this a pretty bad time to put together a machine.

While building your own machine is a very rewarding experience, and might be cheaper...sometimes, it's currently a pretty good time to look into pre-builts. Especially the kind that are built using the same parts you have to pick from. That way you negate the risks of OEM-specific problems hindering future upgrades or repairs.

I'm not sure I would recommend an i3 in this day and age (although I think there were some decent ones launched recently) but an i5 based system still works fine and then there's the Ryzen 3 and 5 range from AMD as well, which provide interesting competition at a similar price point (very pleased overall with my stock R7).

4gb or ram works, but I'd reach for 8gb whenever possible. Don't worry too much about RAM speeds for a normal computer, 2133 mhz is totally ok for non-gaming purposes and cheaper as well.
If we're going SSD for the boot drive, 128 at the smallest, preferably 256 for peace of mind and a few big programs. Never 128 if this is also your main drive - that gets cramped way too quickly. My Surface Pro is a 128 model and I filled it immediately :|
Otherwise a 1TB HDD for boot and general use is a fair compromise. A 7200rpm mechanical drive in good shape is not as slow as people often make it out to be and the amount of storage for the price makes it a viable option still.

I'm not sure what system builders are available where you are located but my minds defaults to NA when guessing, so something like Newegg or the like might be able to build to order.

But I get the feeling your friend is perhaps more interested in picking up a "normal" brand PC from HP, Lenovo or Dell. In such a case, I don't have much experience. We've had HP/Compaq machines in the family that lasted for a pretty long time, but I've also seen new HP machines at work develop issues early on. Like Specineff wrote, perhaps an extended warranty could offer a peace of mind.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:08 pm 


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i wanna build a gaming pc but these bitcoin miners have properly messed up the price of graphics cards as you say :x oh well just save up i guess
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:39 pm 


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I'd say go with a pre-built PC with no OS, I've got two from ebuyer in the past - gaming PC for myself (8 years and going) and a bog standard jobby for my parents (4 years or so I think). No fancy graphics card and no fancy CPU needed, so it won't cost much at all. Also no shoddy vendor OS install with a lot of crappy bloatware.

I've had Dell and HP forced on me at university and work.... wouldn't touch either with a barge pole for personal use.

Wouldn't worry about SSD either, a 7200 rpm HDD will do just fine for normal PC use. Any vaguely modern desktop CPU will probably do you as well, it's not like it's going to be hammered with concurrent applications or doing anything too complex.

Side note - the entry level current gen Surface Pro is about £700 so is a good (albeit maybe a bit pricey) option if you want the flexibility of being portable. It's a nice bit of kit for general computer use, even my mother doesn't have any trouble with it.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:40 pm 


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You can put together a reasonable gaming PC for about $500 these days. The trick is that you can just the new AMD motherboard and a new AMD APU for very cheap, and this will run a lot of newer games well on low or medium. Biggest question-mark expenses are going to be getting an OS (but please don't infect this PC (or any PC ever) with Windows 10) and figuring out what you want to do with storage... an actually nice 2TB HDD (absolute bare minimum for any PC-related task in 2018, unless you just use it for web browsing and email, in which case you don't want a PC) is still gonna be about $100, unless you find a great sale.

Anything else you'd want to do with a PC is below this, so you're really better off just doing it. For $500 there's little reason not to.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:52 pm 


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Guy wants a simple desktop not for gaming that clearly doesn't know much about computers, so y'all create these confusing lists with a bunch of caveats. -___-

Read reviews and use your own discretion. The world of computers is the worst, most opinionated place of all.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:49 am 


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Non-gaming PC?

Just buy a refurbished one. I've bought four of them for myself and various family members over the decades from ArrowDirect. (Website down for maintenance at this time.)

Buy something for $200 to $300, have it shipped to your door. Use the "EXTRA20" coupon, 20% off and free shipping on anything. For ~$180, you can buy two or three of the things for this outrageous 500-700 budget. The only thing extra that should be needed is a monitor or TV for it.

The longevity of the PC will depend on the model and how old it is. Get a model that's only a few years old. Neighborhood of ~3.2 Ghz if possible, if decoding high bit video streams or using the latest emulators might be on the menu.

It's a great thing about computers. Today's bleeding edge that's 0.2% better than last year's model becomes wholesale garbage a couple years from now. Until there's a paradigm shift (silicon to graphene, or if the "neural" style processors IBM has been working on ever have practical applications) there isn't much of a difference getting something a couple years old. Especially if you're not an extreme PC master race gamer type that needs to have 5 bleeding edge GPU's at all times.

In order to run games developed for consoles with less than 20% as many FLOPS as you have available.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:50 am 


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true dat .... just get a prebuilt and factor in the price of an extended warranty would be my advice in that case .. my 2nd hand hewlett packard elitebook has lasted 3 years already but that is the only prebuilt i have had experience with. evil ash doesbn't seem too enamoured with the dells
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:52 pm 


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drauch wrote:
Guy wants a simple desktop not for gaming that clearly doesn't know much about computers, so y'all create these confusing lists with a bunch of caveats. -___-

Read reviews and use your own discretion. The world of computers is the worst, most opinionated place of all.



Yeah, I appreciate the advice, but this is my friend. He is not, under any circumstances going to build a PC. He's not going to get a refurbished PC. He wants a new PC, and just wants to know of a reliable brand.
I tend to buy Dell, but I have lot of problems with them.
So, I'm not sure what to tell him.

I just wanted a brand name. Like one that will last a while, and isn't a complete piece of crap. And not a Macintosh.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:18 pm 


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Well, when you buy a brand and have a bad experience it may simply be down to bad luck, or in some cases, a component in that particular model, which they usually change yearly. I don't believe any company is inherently bad, especially Dell. And like others say, an extended warranty might be a good idea if you don't plan on messing with it yourself.

I've set up literally hundreds of Lenovo m700 and various Dell Optiplex desktops at work with seldom any hardware problems. Most of the time desktops through either have a standard 3 year warranty, which you can also obviously extend. You could easily get anything Lenovo, Dell, HP, Asus, whatever for around that price range and be fine for basic use.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:41 pm 


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drauch wrote:
Well, when you buy a brand and have a bad experience it may simply be down to bad luck, or in some cases, a component in that particular model, which they usually change yearly. I don't believe any company is inherently bad, especially Dell. And like others say, an extended warranty might be a good idea if you don't plan on messing with it yourself.

I've set up literally hundreds of Lenovo m700 and various Dell Optiplex desktops at work with seldom any hardware problems. Most of the time desktops through either have a standard 3 year warranty, which you can also obviously extend. You could easily get anything Lenovo, Dell, HP, Asus, whatever for around that price range and be fine for basic use.


I dunno, HP seems pretty evil. I've been reading stories at various forums I follow where they've been replacing failed G-Sync displays on their gaming laptops with non-G-Sync displays via RMA. Their logic usually comes down to "We don't know what G-Sync is" or "We are out of G-Sync displays". Then follows a 6 month ordeal to go nowhere. Pretty much BS when the whole reason to buy one of their expensive gaming notebooks is for G-Sync.

Stuff like that steers me clear of a company even if I'm buying a different product.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:15 pm 


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Yeah, I hear ya. I'm certainly not going to defend any of these companies, but if you just want a name brand desktop cheapo I don't think you'll be running into many issues. HP has had some pretty bad dealings with laptop displays over the years.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:03 pm 



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charlie chong wrote:
everyone i know with macs has to take them to get repaired at the apple store.


Been the total opposite for me. I work in a professional environment, where I procure mac's for the entire department, and have been using Mac's going back decades now....still have (or had until recently) multiple Intel Mac Pro's from their very first 2006 run which are going strong. My parents still have my 2008 MacBook pro (and besides a new battery per-normal is perfect). Never had a Mac just die on me actually, nor have any of my multiple co-workers (they all simply time out in the system and we are allowed to buy brand new ones after X number of years - then they're used as backup machines and for various processing duties).

My daily personal driver (i.e. not for work) are a 2009 Mac Pro, a 2011? MacBook Air, and a 2012 Mac Mini - likewise going strong (as is my last Mac Mini from 2007 who a friend has still and even with his kids beating on it is perfect...and my dad still has my like 2004/5ish Mac he boots up a couple times a year).

In that same time (say 2006ish) I've been through like 3x corporate Windows machines (and I make them buy me top end for a secondary although rarely used video processing machine) -- which work forces me to keep on my desk - all broke. My family has likewise been through multiple Windows PC's in that time (and I research top-rated mid-to-highish machines for them every time so they're not starting off with junk or anything). You should see the tattered mess people deal with on these POS (my brothers screen is currently hanging off hinges, only 1 USB port left working, internal Wifi replaced with a dongle, etc.).

Anyway, Mac's are only really good for non-gaming use IMO so all of the above could very well be a moot point - just wanted to point out I've had nothing last as long as a Mac and I have a long and varied track record using them more than most people (along with Windows PC's since I was like 8 ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:45 am 


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evil_ash_xero wrote:
Yeah, I appreciate the advice, but this is my friend. He is not, under any circumstances going to build a PC. He's not going to get a refurbished PC. He wants a new PC, and just wants to know of a reliable brand.
I tend to buy Dell, but I have lot of problems with them.
So, I'm not sure what to tell him.


Ok, my advice, not for your friend, but for you: Tell him to not get a Dell and that's it. And tell him to leave you alone about it if he bothers you further.

It's his money and if he wants an $800 door stop/Excel Spreadsheet/Computer-aids Pr0n machine, that's his path to walk. It's not like the worst brand out there is going to cark it in a week, nor that the best can ensure decades of longevity. Hard drives and CPU fans don't work like that - moving parts just break sometimes.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:12 am 


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^ Perhaps the most sound advice of all.
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 Post subject: Re: Advice on a PC
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:29 pm 


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charlie chong wrote:
everyone i know with macs has to take them to get repaired at the apple store.


This is a plus for most normal people. When something goes wrong, or is perceived to go wrong, they just take it to the mall and walk into the Apple store. Done.

My sister has done this like 3 times with various iMac and Apple notebook purchases. Her issues have ranged from user error, to failed hard drives, to water damage. None of her issues were warranty related, and none of them cost her a penny. When the hard drive was failing, the Apple employees spent hours helping her recover data for free. Even when the water damage happened (last week) they opened it up, dried it out for her thoroughly, and gave her instructions on how to proceed from there. It is really tough to beat for people that aren't going to take on computing as a hobby or job. If you ware technically inclined, there are some things that can be done at home. I've replaced drives in iMacs and their notebooks, as well as some Mac Minis. I've upgraded WiFi and Bluetooth hardware in older Mac Pros, and also upgraded the CPUs and such in those. Of course some things are permanently on the motherboard, depending on model.

Micro Center can similarly be useful for regular PC's.. If one of those is nearby the OP's friend it's worth consideration since they can do sales and service.
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