Help wifey's friend find a desktop quickly...

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I just got this email from my wife, I was wondering if you guys have some suggestions; (This will indirectly help us, as we're planning to buy a desktop for my mom in law, and the requirements are the same). here's wife's email: "... So, Deanna (RPh here) had lightening strike her house(?) last night and it electrocuted all her TVs and computer. She needs some help finding a new computer ASAP. Tax-free weekend is next weekend (8/7) and she'd like to buy it then. Could you provide some recommendations? It is just Deanna, husband, 2 kids ages 2 & 6. They don't do much online, but would like basic services like email, internet shopping, uploading pictures, maybe downloading music for MP3 player. They have high-speed internet already. They only do basic word processing, but no real work on the computer (no office work, don't file their own taxes or anything). Looking for something relatively cheap. Can be desktop or laptop, no preference. Only wants the best deal for the money...." Thanks guys :) Let the rec's begin! I guess she'll need a desktop which she could walk into a b/m store and buy huh? just a thought...
 
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If she doesn't mind buying on-line, Dell Vostro 220 line is not a bad bang for the buck. Mine has been serving me well for the past year. About $300 without monitor, about $450 including a monitor (you didn't mention if the lightning strike killed the monitor or not). They often have free shipping, too. Also check out current deals on desktops at newegg.com.
 

97tbird

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Thanks QP. will check it out. (i am not sure if she needs a monitor or not...emailing wife right now..)
 
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Not bad, but probably overkill for her needs (4GB RAM with Vista 64-bit), especially that most PCs now come with free upgrade to Windows7 that does not have such massive hardware requirements.
 

twouvakind

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Start with a UPS or high end surge protection to take the hit next time. After all, lightning has been known to strike twice. I'd shop TigerDirect for the sales tax savings(at least in my state)and $1.99 shipping offer(some restrictions)
 
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 Originally Posted By: 97tbird
what about the 2nd one I added below the Dell? (you might have replied while i was editing)
While the specs are OK, the HP/Compaq quality has been a mixed bag in the past... but for the price, I guess you can't expect miracles.
 
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 Originally Posted By: twouvakind
Start with a UPS or high end surge protection to take the hit next time.
Good suggestion, for sure.
 
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All my HP/Compaq computers have been terrific. I'm on a Compaq from 2004 right now that still works great. I even have an HP laptop from 1999 that still works fine and I use it almost daily.
 

97tbird

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yeah I already suggested a better surge protector... hehe. so all in all, is it generally considered that Dell has better quality than HP/Compaq? (we did have a Compaq presario - very basic low end - that still works since we bought it about 7 yrs ago, BUT i am no expert, and have never used Dell products) I just want her to have something simple and solid, and it looks like she's not crazy about online shopping - just needs to walk into a b/m store and buy it, i guess...
 
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It's all a gamble nowadays, since it's all made of the least expensive components. There probably isn't much difference in quality between Dell and HP/Compaq. It's just a matter of whether you get lucky or not. I also don't know how that Athlon X2 CPU compares to the Pentium Dual Core. Maybe someone else will chime in. Most likely it'll be sufficient for her needs though.
 

Bill in Utah

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I bought a Dell desktop and it has very good components inside. Name brand motherboards and I normally build computers (I built one for my 16 year old 2 months ago and last week one for my Sister (her computer was killed by lighting too) when DELL has a good deal, I jumped on it. I've had excellent service from the many Dell laptops we have so I have no problem recommending Dell to others. The Desktop I got was a 2.4g dual core Intel. The 2 desktops I built was dual core AMD and 2.5g Intel machines. All 3 were bought or built for under $400 and my sisters was under $300. Take care, Bill
 

twouvakind

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If I had a choice of B/M shoppes......I would choose the local computer shop and give them the business vs. a big box store. The local shop needs the business and would be happy to round out a custom machine from a bare bones kit using all the components YOU choose. These machines are not reserved for high end clients anymore due in part to competition and lower PC prices all around. One extra is no extra bloatware that is built into a big box store machines as well as other branded machines. Yeah, in my opinion...a nice "white box" machine built to suit my needs is the way i would go.
 
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 Originally Posted By: twouvakind
If I had a choice of B/M shoppes......I would choose the local computer shop and give them the business vs. a big box store. The local shop needs the business and would be happy to round out a custom machine from a bare bones kit using all the components YOU choose. These machines are not reserved for high end clients anymore due in part to competition and lower PC prices all around. One extra is no extra bloatware that is built into a big box store machines as well as other branded machines. Yeah, in my opinion...a nice "white box" machine built to suit my needs is the way i would go.
+1
 

97tbird

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yeah i know ; that's what "I" would do, if i needed a desktop; I know it's a great suggestion, and I do appreciate it. however, this is not a purist of any kind, and she just wants to walk in, pay money, and just walk out with somthing, she's a regular old mom who doesn't really care about spec's, and nit pick differences between operating systems, components, etc; she wouldn't even know how to order a custom desktop, or tell them the spec's, or "choose components" you know? This is someone who probably doesn't know what "usb" means. She just needs a simple easy to use desktop for the family, which it seems, hardly does anything on it other than typing a letter once in a while, use internet for family-oriented stuff, etc Thanks again for all the tips, guys, keep the,m coming.
 
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 Originally Posted By: twouvakind
If I had a choice of B/M shoppes......I would choose the local computer shop and give them the business vs. a big box store.
And what happens if the local shop goes out of business next month and she needs her computer fixed under warranty? The larger B/M chains are more likely to stick around, or at least arrange for honoring the remaining warranty by some other 3rd party.
 
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Pretty easy to tell. If there's lots of PC's being worked on in the back (or out front), you're relatively safe. If you notice lots of dust on the few display boxes, or they display boxes are for outdated components (meaning they didn't get any new components, and thus, not advertising material), caveat emptor.
 

97tbird

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ok seems she does need a monitor too. so to keep things simple, i am going to recommend her this package from BB: (IMO, it meets/exceeds her req'ments, has a good price, middle of her price range): It does come with a FREE win 7 upgrade; shall I tell her to get it? she comes from a 10 yr old PC which had Win Me; here's what i am gonna suggest for her: Please take a look and see if you guys notice any big cons: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9999113300050001&type=product&id=pcmprd113400050001
 
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