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Specifications to buy a Good if not great computer?!

(34 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by GoldenQueen
  • Latest reply from jd2066
  • Topic Viewed 13427 times

GoldenQueen
Posts: 189

I am sure many of you can help me out to go and get a new compputer.
You can help me with good specs so when I talk to the vendor there..I wont look like
a "twit" but a great geek.

Thank you to you all

Hi Lighthouse:)

GoldenQueen

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 6609

GoldenQueen, we can certainly help you, but you need to specify what you need the system for and how it will be used. Do you need a laptop for roaming around or a desktop that stays in one place but has more upgrade abilities? Is this for personal use or business use? For example, are you going to be using an Office suite or playing streaming HD video or games? Tell us more and also what vendor (retailer, store?) you plan to buy from. Is there a system that looks good to you -- a starting point that we can work from?

Oh, yeah, do you need Windows OS, Mac OS, Linux, other (all of the above)...?

Posted 6 years ago
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GoldenQueen
Posts: 189

Hi Scott :)

Oh boy and me who thought I had everything in there ..it goes to show I really needed some help
Its a desktop computer for home but also with (office or a clone) that one is a personal one.
Yes HD video so I could see TV and tape on CD too. (no games though)
I would like something solid and fast. (as everybody I suppose) lol
I use Firefox right now and I like it. I have a XP. I suppose a new one would be with Vista
but since I use Firefox i dont really need to know much about Vista? Or am i in the error there too?

Thank you for your help ...Scott

GoldenQueen

Posted 6 years ago
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Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Hi GoldenQueen. Listen to Uncle ScottW. He knows his stuff :)

Posted 6 years ago
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BobJam
Posts: 1052

OK . . . as ScottW asked and you answered, are you going to be using this thing MOSTLY for viewing video and watching TV shows??

And, as ScottW asked, where will you be making the purchase . . . on line or at a brick and mortar retail store??

And, as ScottW asked, have you already looked at a model that you think you want??

ScottW knows everything there is to know about Vista (well . . . that may be a little exaggeration, but I agree with Lighthouse . . . "Listen to Uncle ScottW"), and I'm only an XP kinda' guy, so I can't help you much with Vista.

Even though you'll be using the FF browser, you'll need to know your way around Vista some. There might be something particular you need to do to set it up for the main use you want it for.

Posted 6 years ago
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GoldenQueen
Posts: 189

Lighthouse You are too cute with "your uncle" and I will be obeying (still the nice little girl) lol
Bob as you said but..not exactly...
Not mostly viewing video nor watching TV we can add: reading politic (a lot) play chess hum what else
looking at fashion (maybe) lol ...lots of surfing looking for new things, discovering other people
way of life etc.
I feel very confidant with you guys/good/great/geekies as help.
so "uncle Scott" get ready to be a teacher with the help of your good friends here. I promise
to be a good pupil.

Lighthouse has been good since the beginning and patient. Bob thanks for joining the force.

Purchase will be made in places like: Future shop,Dumoulin,or Staples. Not online.

So, what do I ask the sales person so I can look very geekie and he/she will show me only her
good stuff?

Thank you all in advance, Lighthouse,uncleScott and Bob, the more the merrier.

The computer has to be; fast and reliable what else is there?

Thanks again GoldenQueen :)

Posted 6 years ago
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BobJam
Posts: 1052

I'm sure ScottW will jump in here, but definitely don't skimp on memory (say "RAM" to the salesperson). The more, the better. And ScottW will be more precise on the processor (say "CPU" to the salesperson), but don't let the salesperson talk you in to buying bells and whistles you don't need but will raise the price substantially. If you're going to buy a desktop, I would think a Celeron would do (I wouldn't say that for a laptop) because it's much cheaper, but I'll defer to ScottW on the exact kind you should get.

Most Machines these days come equipped with enormous hard disks (say "HDD" to the salesperson), so that shouldn't be an issue unless you want to store a lot of large file photos and videos on it.

As far as brands go, stick with the well known names, like Dell, HP, or IBM (now "Lenovo" I think, but I think they kept the IBM brand name). If you do get a clone knockoff, or even if you get a brand name but especially if you get a knockoff, you might ask the store about their warranty policy. Ask them if they'll send it off to a repair facility (they probably will unless they have skilled technicians right there . . . most don't, except maybe COMPUSA).

Ask them specifically what will happen if the thing doesn't work right out of the box (that doesn't happen very often, but it does happen). And say "right out of the box" . . . that will make you sound geeky.

And ask them how long it will take to get the machine back if it develops a flaw and you have to take it in. I'm sure they'll say something like "that will depend on the repair", but if it's a substantial repair they should just give you a new machine anyway (if it's still under warranty of course).

If you get a brand name, Dell, or HP, or IBM, or whatever you get, they may say that the original manufacturer will take care of service. If that's the case, then make sure and register the purchase with Dell, or HP, or IBM, or whatever you get.

If you have any friends who have made a computer purchase at the store, ask them how the store's service was before you make the purchase. And just one opinion is certainly not statistically significant or scientific, so the more people who have made computer purchases there that you can ask, the better.

And, even if you do your "due diligence" on the purchase (which you've already started to do by coming here and asking about it), bear in mind that you may get a lemon anyway. I once purchased an IBM computer and had nothing but trouble with it. Fortunately, IBM's service was good, their turnaround times were good, and I eventually ended up getting a new machine that was much more reliable than the first.

Write all the questions down you want to ask the store, and maybe memorize them. Because you don't want it to look like you're reading off a checklist that some geek friend of yours gave you. Speaking of geek friends, if you know of one that will go with you and that you trust, take them if they'll go. Often, another person will think of some question to ask that you haven't thought of. Take a friend with you anyway . . . a salesperson that plays games will be less likely to do so if there's another person with you. Plus, another person will be a "witness" and can attest to what the salesperson said in case you get into one of those "he said . . . she said" things.

Oh . . . one more thing. Check the store's reputation with the Better Business Bureau. You can do that online. The object there is to see how many complaints have been filed against the store with the BBB.

As I think of more things to do for "due diligence" I'll post back, but this is all I can think about off the top of my head right now.

Posted 6 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

not to be a dell fanboi, but they have an xps420 for $899. i threw in $700 in performance extra's seeing how i was going to get an imac for twice the price with half the features. also, bob, thats funny... :P
but i need to add, dells vista cd was 100% corrupt, so was their vista install. good thing i had my own vista cd. after i installed my version it ran perfectly. actually, that's how i found this website, and ive been annoying and incorrect since then...

Posted 6 years ago
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BobJam
Posts: 1052

And another thing I just thought of when I saw OzSpitt mention it: make sure you get the installation CD from the store. They may say they only just have one for installations on all their machines, but if that's the case, then (indignantly?) ask them what you're supposed to do if you need to reinstall. They'll probably say something like "We put a backup on your machine". Ask them where (that may seem like a dumb question to them, but it's not really), and press for a copy of the CD anyway.

If they keep insisting that they put a backup copy on your HDD (the "i386" folder is where it usually is in XP, but I don't know where it would be in Vista . . . "calling ScottW"), then ask them to make a copy from that and put it on a CD. I'll be interested in what they say on that, because it may not be possible to do that (calling ScottW again).

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 6609

@Geeks, please don't call me Uncle. It's disrespectful to your Aunt. :)

@GoldenQueen, a desktop has definite advantages. They are more reliable than laptops, in general, and are easier to upgrade so they can stay relevant longer. Also, they are cheaper. You will be getting Vista, and you will have to learn some things about it. There's lots of info on the web and, of course, you can ask here for specifics. I certainly don't know everything about Vista, BobJam, and no one should trust any know-it-all who claims to.

I agree with BobJam that you should stick with the well known brand names. Acer, HP (which owns Compaq brand), Dell, Gateway, Sony, Toshiba, Lenovo -- not necessarily in that order. Dell has always been about ordering online and completely customizing your system. The result is custom parts and low prices. I don't think of Dell as a store brand, though they do provide some pre-configured systems for stores now. Sony is expensive. Toshiba and Lenovo are focused on business users, not home users, and laptops where profit margins are higher. That leaves the rest as the ones you are likely to find in a store along with eMachines whose primary goal is rock bottom price, no matter the "cost" (pun intended!).

I've never heard of Dumoulin or Future Shop, but I looked over their websites as well as Staples Canada. Even if you don't intend to buy online, it is still instructive to shop online. All of these stores have a rather limited selection of desktops, here again because there's more profit in laptops. And the brands mentioned above are represented as expected. For example, I don't believe I saw a single Lenovo or Toshiba desktop at any of the 3 stores. I would suggest that you shop around on those sites and see what looks good to you.

Posted 6 years ago
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BobJam
Posts: 1052

Just thought of another tip and something to be cautious about.

You can go to the forums of the brand you're looking at, like HP's forum is at http://forums11.itrc.hp.com/se.....?forumId=2 (they call it "Business Support", but it's for home users too).

But here's the caution about those kinds of forums. While it will give you an idea of what the most frequent gripes are . . . and that's the point: these are forums for gripes . . . be cautious in any conclusions you draw. These forums are skewed toward gripes. Very few if any users go there just to say "Atta boy". So you're going to get a biased view of the product.

As I said, the forums are mainly for gripes. So, while they will give you a good idea about the product, be careful if you draw any conclusions from these forums. You need to compensate for the bias.

And as far as what ScottW said . . . "what he said". Echo . . .

BTW, I have a laptop and it's very sensitive to heat because there isn't as much room for air circulation as there is in a desktop. The normal TTF (another geek phrase you can use in a store - "Time to Failure") is about three years. Many last much longer, so the three years is an average. Mine has lasted much longer, but it requires special care to get these things to go beyond their TTF. As ScottW said, stick with a desktop unless you absolutely have to have a laptop (I do).

Posted 6 years ago
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GoldenQueen
Posts: 189

Wow you do help when you mean it ...Thank You so much ...
Lighthouse "uncle Scott" Bob and Oz if you ever need some help in the law departement
it will be a pleasure to help you out anytime and yes ProBono haha

GoldenQueen :)

Posted 6 years ago
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Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

But I didn't help at all! Don't go thanking me, it was the others. (sorry Uncle ScottW, I meant to say Auntie Loretta) :)

Posted 6 years ago
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GoldenQueen
Posts: 189

Hello my Geeks friends:) Lighthouse - ScottW - Bob Jam - OzSpitt
Well, I did it, got that new Vista computer, I am very surprise to see that I didn't find it hard and
everything I had with FF addons were all compatible except a few and the ones who I didn't need.

So, Thank you to all of you again and I am sure I will have more questions, it cannot be that "easy"
in computerlan with Vista as I heard a lot complain. So far, So good

Goldie :)

Posted 6 years ago
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GoldenQueen
Posts: 189

Where to find a "resizer" compatible with Vista?

As you see I do Not find every everything lol

GoldenQueen :)

ps: did had to mention its for digital "Pictures" :)

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

What do you want to "resize"?

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 6609

Goldie, congrats on the purchase of your new computer! I'm glad we could help you.

To resize pictures, I use IrfanView which is a popular viewer that also has some editing tools. Another popular one, that I have as well, is FastStone Image Viewer. It's a bit more user-friendly and not as geeky. You can try them out, and any others you see, from this list at download.com:
http://www.download.com/1770-2.....larity+asc

Can I send you my e-mail address? I have a law question and would like to take you up on your offer of legal advice.

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

You can also use Gimp2. This is a program for serious photo editing.
PS: It works perfectly on Vista even though the webpage may not say so.

Posted 6 years ago
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GoldenQueen
Posts: 189

ScottW It would be my pleasure to help you out anytime ...so please
I have no ideas how we can send our "emails" here ...I would love to show you my computer set up also ...
So just let me know how it worked

whs..thank you for your input ...about digital pictures ..they only thing I need is to be able to put it in my "Picasa" and
from there its good for me :)

Your Friendly Canadian Goldie :)

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 6609

Attn: MODs. Please send my e-mail address to GoldenQueen. Thanks.

Goldie, they will send you my e-mail and then we can correspond privately. You can send me a picture of the new computer or a link to a picture on Picasa. I also have Picasa and the new beta3 client allows you to do some quick editing on pictures. You can also have it resize images when you upload them. In the preferences you can choose a size that all images are resized to. For example, they recommend 1600 pixels across and I think that is the default setting as well. Picasa will also let you export images to another folder and resize them at that time.

Posted 6 years ago
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