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I need to buy a new computer but am really confused.

(76 posts)
  • Started 9 years ago by savvysusan
  • Latest reply from whs
  • Topic Viewed 4136 times

savvysusan
Posts: 18

Hi,

I own a small business and use the computer frequently. Everyone is giving me different advice.

Here's how I use a computer. I do a lot of research online and I keep lots of applications open at once. I need speed and dependability. I store lots of photos. I have a specific link Nortel Networks Contivity VPN Client Monitor???(to another office and airline computers that stays open all day.

I do tons of printing, copying, scanning and faxing. My printer is an HP Officejet G85.

My computer is a Dell Dimension 8400 Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.40ghz 3.39GHZ 1.0gb of ram. 2002 Windows XP Service Pack 2.

I listen to itunes through my computer while I work.

I do a little bit of IMing. I'm on MySpace and other such forums.

I store many documents and need them secure. I read, send and keep tons of emails.

I imagine geeks like to spend their money on computers but I "like" to spend money on travel and "need" to spend money on a computer (amongst other things).

If you were spending $800 (approximately) on a new system what would you get? Would you get Vista?

Computers are Greek to me. . .

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

Ok. On the Operating System I would recommend Windows Vista as it does have some good features unless the following applied, in which case I would recommend Windows XP:
1. The look of the Operating System has changed a bit and not all people like it. Some things have been moved around in the Operating System.
I think most of the things were changed for a good reason and some are easier to use but many people just don't like change.
2. Not all software and hardware is compatible with Vista. Some things need to be checked for compatibility. Here are a few that will but have a couple problems:
The Printer/Scanner/Fax device - According the HP Driver Page there is a basic driver for Vista. Unfortunately it doesn't say what advanced features are missing.
The "Nortel Networks Contivity VPN Client Monitor" - Some VPN Programs have problems but you can usually upgrade them to a version compatible with Vista.
From a quick search online it appears the latest version of this is compatible with Vista and for download at http://products.nortel.com/go/.....cale=en-US
All the other stuff can be done with Vista just fine.
"I store many documents and need them secure. I read, send and keep tons of emails." - How are you keeping them secure now? and what email service and email client do you use? Those can have problems on Vista depending on what they are. Usually there aren't any though.
If there are any specific programs you use like Photoshop Elements or something you like to use list them and I can find out if they will work.

Also why do you need a new computer? Your current one seems ok though probably slower for some tasks.

Post Note: Small Edits Made 3 times.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

First, there is nothing other than Vista today - unless you want to pay thru the nose. And Vista is great after a little getting used to it. For your needs I would get a desktop with a dual core processor like AMD 5600+ (not the 6000 - gets too hot) and 3GB of RAM and plenty of disk, 350 to 500GB's. You can find that easily in your price range. And get a 22 inch screen - real neat. Look for a bundle offering in the sunday paper or online at officedepot.com, circuitcity.com, bestbuy.com. Lately Office Depot seems to have the best deals. Buy local, not on the internet. If you have trouble, you can always go back to your local dealer.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

Thank you so much for taking your valuable time to give me advice. I'm such a novice.

I'm getting a new computer because this compute is slow, lots of error messages and it shuts down my very important Nortel connection within a few minutes then takes 3 reboots to get it up and running again. I've been using my laptop to work around that issue but it's a pain (literally) in the back.

I really appreciate your advice.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Hi Susan, This week is not good for deals. But if you want to go all out, here is the absolute top of what you can get today - unfortunately no bundle with screen (figure a good $300 for 22 inch). But the PC is super with a quad processor, 3GB of RAM and 500GB of disk. http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd.....keycode=85 maybe it's more than you need, but just to give you an idea.
PS. I just see that for $830 it comes with a 19 inch screen and for $950 with a 22 inch screen.

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

Ok, getting a faster computer is a good reason.
Any error messages and programs not working could just be a software problem in Windows that can be fixed though.
Depending on the time you have, I can try to help fixing those problems. I don't know much about Nortel though.
Otherwise you can still get a new computer if you want.
I just think problems should be troubleshooted before buying a new computer. I can see though how some don't have the time or don't feel like trying to fix something.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

I've had a professional look at my computer and he thinks there's damage to the harddrive. To have him repair it the minimum cost is $350; it seems more practical to get a new computer and faster would be great. Waiting is such a time-waster.

So, this week isn't a good week to buy? Any idea when a good time to buy is? I've lived with this machine, in it's current state (slowly getting worse as time passes) at least 18 months. I could wait longer.

Thanks for your help and input.

Posted 9 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

I'm a fan of Dell. I know many are not, and probably rightfully so, but my newest (and current) computer came from Dell.

About every 4-6 weeks, Dell runs a special for [about] $400 off on orders for a [Vostro or Optiplex or Insperion] costing more than [last time it was] $1,099.

Before buying a Dell, be sure to check out www.gotapex.com. Right now, from the GotApex page, they are showing a coupon code for $300 off an Insperion costing $999 or more. Also do a Google search for "Dell Discount Coupons". My Dell is now five weeks old and they haven't run the $400 "deal" yet, so I'm guessing that one will show up in the next ten days or so. I paid $795 for a Vostro with a Q6600 processor, four gigs of RAM and a 160 primary and 80 secondary hard drive and overnight shipping. I placed the order on a Monday at 4:00 Dell time and it was at my door on Wednesday morning.

And I made a mistake (besides not getting big enough hard drives) - I should have ordered my computer with one gig of RAM (saving $220) and ordered four gigs from New Egg for around $100. But I would post everything here at How-To Geek to make sure I was getting the correct memory.

And - it is very common to get a better price from Dell by calling. I forgot to this time, but it worked very well a couple of years back. Be sure you've configured your system exactly before calling.

And - for some strange reason, over the past few weeks the Dell site has been extremely slow in Firefox, but working correctly in IE.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

@Appletom, with due respect, but Dell are thieves. Their stuff is at least 30 to 40% more expensive than "fair market price".

@Susan, This week was slow because of the Easter holiday. Keep studying the Sunday ads on-line. I am sure you also get them in your Sunday paper since you live in a big city. If you see something you like, post it here asap (before the sale is over or the good deals are sold out) and ask for our opinion. Keep looking at this thread from time to time. If I see something interesting, I will post it for you.
This quad system I posted above is real sexy. If I had not bought a new system 4 months ago, I would get it for myself (with the 22 incher). But that may be more power than you really need.

Posted 9 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

@whs - due respect noted and respected. And you are right, a high end machine is much higher at Dell. But compare a decent home system (like mine). I looked up buying all the pieces parts at New Egg and it would have been about $900 instead of $800.

And if you are looking at low end machines (1 gig ram, Celeron 1.6 processor, 250 HD) it's available (before any discounts) for $350 at Dell. There's no way you can build one for anywhere close to what Dell charges.

In short - I would never buy a screamer from Dell and I would never build a poke-along from New Egg parts. The CC computer you linked to is $5 less (after tax) than the Dell I'm sitting at. The CC has 260 more HD space and one gig less RAM.

Is the Intel Quad 6600 a better processor than the AMD Phenom 9500?

Posted 9 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

And BTW - I'm not trying to argue or start anything or create a Dell vs. anybody else war. I admire your (and everyone else here's) opinions and thoughts.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

No need to argue one against the other. Dell is fine and I think they have nice PC's. I just think that the "specials" that are offered by HP, Gateway, etc. via the big electronic chaines usually beat the Dell prices hands down.
On the Quads: Yes, in tests the 6600 is ahead of the Phenom - but I just happen to be an AMD fan. Look at the Phenom's side bus speed - phenomenal. But, of course, that is not the whole story.

Posted 9 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

See - that's where I have to defer to your knowledge. I wouldn't know what a side bus is if one ran me over. Since I sit in front of my computer, I shouldn't need to concern myself with side speed. Right? :-)

And I agree, the "specials" via chains will beat Dell "without special" prices every time. But the Dell "special" prices often beat the chain w/o special prices and offer the advantages of customization.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Right, you don't have to be concerned about the side bus - and it will not run you over. But if you are interested, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_side_bus

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

Thanks for your input. I'll keep checking back and looking around.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

I have another question for my favorite computer gurus: Is there any advantage to updating my Microsoft Office Software?

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

By updating do you mean like going fron Office 2003 to Office 2007? Or just updating with the KBxxxx fixes that Microsoft provides now and then?
If it is the latter, I would say yes. For the first, it depends what you have now and what you are using it for.
PS. If you get a new Vista computer, you will have to get Office 2007 ($130 at SAMS Club) - unless you want to go with some of the freebies available from the Internet.

Posted 9 years ago
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Budohorseman
Posts: 847

Well it looks like I'm a bit late to this discussion, but I figured I would comment on the "Secure" aspect. If by secure you mean encrypted, I would suggest you download a copy of TrueCrypt from www.truecrypt.org. It's an open source freeware program that will let you encrypt your files, even set up an encrypted partition on your hard disk.

On the other hand if you mean "I can't afford to lose these files if my hard drive crashes" then you should get yourself a PC that has a RAID controller built in and get two hard drives that are the same (best to get two identical drives from the same company) and set up a RAID 1. A RAID 1 is also called a mirrored RAID and what it basically does is writes everything to both drives at the same time. That way if one drive fails, the other one will have an exact copy.

As for the RAM, make sure you have an even number of sticks, so you will probably end up with two or four gigs of RAM, but note that 32 bit versions of the operating system will only be able address 3.2 gigs of RAM at most.

Posted 9 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

An OT observation - if Budohorseman's avatar meets whs' avatar - well, it will be a short encounter.

@savvysusan - of course this opinion is mine only, but Office 2007 just blows away any previous version of Office. I love the "ribbon" toolbar and can see it making its way into other applications. Last weekend I had to work on an Excel spreadsheet using a friends computer with Office 2000. It was misery.

If your query is about the updates Microsoft feeds to you through Windows update, by all means install them. Almost all of them patch security vulnerabilities.

@whs - LOL, the bus didn't run me over. Cool diagram in your link. Thanks.

Posted 9 years ago
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Budohorseman
Posts: 847

@Appletom, it's actually a ferret in my pocket, and I doubt that the bear would stand a chance against the infamous PocketWeasel!

@savvysusan, as for Office, I just started using it at home and the layout does take some getting used too. If you are a power user of one part of it, chances are it will be frustrating for a while until you relearn where everything is. For everyday run-of-the-mill type stuff, the ribbon does put more of the common functions up there for quick access and ease of use.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

He guys, my little polar bear named Knut was born in the Berlin zoo last year and hand raised by the warden. He was all peaceful when the picture was taken. But by now he is grown up and pretty ferocious - even the guard who raised him cannot get close to him any more. But we have a new one in the Nueremberg zoo, her name is Flocke:

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

Thank you all - again.

Cute bear and ferret. At our zoo here in Oregon I read that Polar Bears are the only bears that will stalk a human.

I love ferrets, but no time for any more pets.

Now, onto computers:
My Office copy is 2003. If anything is easier or faster I'll get the 2007 updated version. I'll get Vista too.

I need "easy". I get around the computer with common sense and no training whatsoever on Excel, Powerpoint, dvd burning, . . .

Remember, I know very little about computers. I don't know what anything is in the computer description: I don't know what a "ribbon" is, I don't "understand RAM", I don't understand Media Readers, or how many or what type of DVD Burners I need, how many cd/dvd drawers do I need at the front of the computer, where are those drawers on the slim models, etc. etc. etc.

I have a homebased travel agency and need to keep my client base encrypted. It's in a Microsoft Office Address Book.

BTW - I realize that I keep a huge amount of programs open at once: Ten internet pages open, my Outlook Express Inbox is open, Microsoft Office is open, 5 Word Documents are open, i Tunes are up and playing. If it didn't "disappear" from my computer I'd have the Nortel Network "Focalpoint" programs open. Does that change the speed, size whatever that I need.

Any opinions on Dells Outlet department?

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Susan, I would not buy from Dell - and in the outlet you get old stuff.
1. For the PC again: get 3 Gigabytes of Memory (RAM), a big disk (350 to 500 Gigabytes) and a decent duo core processor (2.2 to 2.6 Gigahertz should be enough). The CPU is probably the least critical component.
2. Office Products: I use Office 2007 all the time and find it very nice. If you have used the 2003 version, you should be ok - and there are a lot of tutorials on-line.
3. A PC is not like an appliance - if you want to make good use of it, there are certain basics you have to get aquainted with. And the computer language is like the language in any field - try Doctors or Chemists, and I am sure in the travel industry you have your own lingo too.

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

You can read about the Office 2007 Ribbon and see a screen of it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.....007#Ribbon

On the RAM, it's a part of the computer where current running programs and some of their open data is stored. It's a part of the computer that is erased on shutdown and so any important data has to be saved to the hard drive. RAM is faster to access then the hard drive so many things that don't need to be saved are stored there.
For the multitasking you do 1GB for Windows XP and 2GB for Windows Vista should be enough.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

You guys are impressive.

Thanks.

Posted 9 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

@Susan - Many people say it takes time to "unlearn" Office 97-03, but once they have used Office 2007 for a bit they would never go back. The big thing is the Ribbon that replaces the menu at the top of the screen.

There seems to be an "Aha" moment while learning the Ribbon, just all the suddon your think, "Wow, this really makes since and is easier. It took me about two minutes to get to the "Aha" moment, it took Mrs. Apple about two weeks. But neither of us would ever go back.

And you can download a 60 day trial - http://office.microsoft.com/en.....81033.aspx

As to computers, whs has it right. Since you have so many running applications (like I do), memory is king. I would go with four gigs - even though Vista can only use 3,325, the fourth gig will let you use 253MB more RAM than than three gigs.*

I would also consider getting two hard drives, maybe 250 each.

* - here's my math: Vista can use 3,325MB of Ram. 3 gigs = 3 x 1,024 = 3,072. 3,325 - 3,072 = 253

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@Appletom: Actually it's just the Vista 32-bit version that has that limit. The 64-bit version of Vista has much higher memory limits. See the page http://www.microsoft.com/windo.....64bit.mspx for more on that.
Unfortunately, from what I've read the driver and program compatibility for 64-bit version is not that good.

Posted 9 years ago
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Budohorseman
Posts: 847

@whs, is that your foot the cub is snacking on?

@savvysusan--Go ahead and give TrueCrypt a try, there is a decent tutorial on their site and the wizards that come with the program are decent. To be honest, it is a bit 'techie' to get it set up the way I think you need it, but the price is right (free) so you can at least download it and give it a shot. If you have a geek around I'm sure they could help you set it up for how you will be using it. Once you have it up and running and your database in it, you should have no problem with it.

As for the 'ribbon' in the Office 2007, it's pretty much just a redesign of the tool bars, but a bit different. If you go to the MS Office web site you can see the changes to the layout.

For the system itself, with that much open you'll be better served by a quad core processor and as much RAM as you can. For storage I would not want less than 500 GB.

Posted 9 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

You are correct, I hadn't even thought about 64-bit. I'm guessing it will be 18-24 months before 64-bit is common and affordable.

Posted 9 years ago
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Budohorseman
Posts: 847

@jd2006, I've been running 64-bit Vista for a month or so now and I have yet to have any problems with it, though I should admit that I just built it last month so everything is pretty much up-to-date. The thing that surprised me was that even my older games ran fine in it!

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@Appletom: On affordable I think many current shipping processors are 64-bit, it's just that not a lot are installing Windows Vista 64-bit due to needing 64-bit drivers for devices where drivers haven't been written yet.

@Budohorseman: Glad to hear it works.
On games if you mean older 32-bit games for Windows XP from a few years ago then well they will run I think they still can't use things like more then 3GB of RAM due to running in 32-bit mode.
Also one thing I don't like that is keeping me to the 32-bit version of Vista is that 16-bit programs aren't supported.
I have some older games from 1995 like Chip's Challenge, Jezzball, Asteroids and other ones I still like to play sometimes.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

I get amazed at what you know. . .I really appreciate your help.

I need direction on online shopping for the computer. I have to buy it now. My computer is messing up even when few programs are open. Word pages shut down or revert to something else. Lots of error messages and web pages shutting down.

I have a marketing blitz to put together that should've been done last week.

I'm currently a one person business so do it all. It keeps me at my desk all day. With the computer problems, I'm here all night too.

Thanks again!

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

Another question. I'm in Portland in Intel Land. Intel vs the other guys??? Is any one more dependable than the other.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

More questions now that I'm shopping.

Is built in wireless beneficial? Is LightScribe enabled something great?

Is a media card reader like the portable card readers for cameras?

My all-in-one printer is around 6 years old so I'll need a new all-in-1 compatible with Vista in which case should the computer and a-in-1 have built in wireless?

I've learned more from you guys than months of researching online myself.

http://www.circuitcity.com/rps.....verall_avg|1/link/ref/N/20012961+20012962+5079/rpem/ccd/categorylist.do

http://www.circuitcity.com/rps.....verall_avg|1/link/ref/N/20012961+20012962+5079/rpem/ccd/categorylist.do

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Hi Susan,
1. Built in wireless has little benefits for a desktop unless you want to get a wireless printer (see #4). It makes a lot of sense for a laptop that you carry around the country (e.g. for use in Airports and hotels with WiFi capability)
2.LightScribe is for writing pretty labels on CD's you burn yourself. Those CD's, however, are more expensive than normal CD's. If you burn few CD's (like me), you will hardly use the feature.
3. Media card reader is a must have,if you have a digital camera. This is the easiest way to transfer pictures from the camera to the PC. The other option would be PicBridge - a little more involved.
4. Your printer may still be OK. Post the make and model and I will see whether there is a Vista driver available. If you buy a new printer with wireless capability, then wireless in the desktop makes sense provided you want to place the printer further away from the PC (let's say more than 15 feet which is the maximum practical cable length).
5. Those links you posted don't work.

Posted 9 years ago
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pipo
Posts: 428

if i may add to whs' list
for number 2. also, take note that labels from LightScribe are in grayscale (kinda like black&white), you can't make colored LightScribe labels (as far as i know).

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

It appears the Circuit City links are formated in an odd way so the forum didn't make a correct link.
Here is what I think the correct link would be: Circuit City Product Listing
Unfortunately, far too many sites have odd ugly links that are hard for the forum software to figure out.
Here is how to tell the forum software what is a link to be sure it works:
Example for Yahoo Link: (url=http://www.yahoo.com)Yahoo! Home Page(/url)
Notes: Replace ( with [ and ) with ]. I had to do that for the forum to display the code and not the link.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

@jd, thanks for unravelling the link

@Susan, From this site I would pick this one: http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm.....o#proddesc -- Reasons:
1. Nice processor
2. DVI interface - better display on the monitor than analog
3. 3GIG's - regardless of what jd says. I have two PC's with 2GB's and one with 3GB's and I can tell you that there is a difference. Especially in your case where you always have a lot of programs running at the same time. The 4GB's that Appletom favors may be going overboard because Vista would use only 20% of the last GiG.
4. Reasonable price
5. Gateway has very good, knowlegable technical service personal (unlike HP for example)

But you should also look at officedepot.com and bestbuy.com (provided those stores are in your area).
On Sunday I will scout the sales ads for you and post my findings.
PS: Don't get confused by this 64bit discussion. That is for the Geeks. 32bit is the way to go for you.

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@whs: You're Welcome on the link.
For your information here is what I did:
1. Right click on the blue link and click "Copy Link Target" ("Copy Shortcut" for Internet Explorer).
2. Paste that into notepad.
3. Copy the black text part of the link.
4. Paste that into notepad
5. Copy the whole link from notepad
6. Paste it into a url element in a new post.
For the RAM, it's just that for me I have 2GB and the speed seems just fine for things like many Firefox tabs, email client open and other things running. Though when I start a Virtual Machine things start to slow down a lot.
I have not tried 3GB+ of RAM so I can't really say much one way or the other how much difference it makes.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

jd, At one time I had a 1GB machine (that I upgraded to 2GB's in the meantime), a 2GB machine and a 3GB machine - all at the same time and all Vista. So I made the observations that I posted: 1GB is no good, 2Gb is ok, 3 GB is super. I admit it's empiric and not a large statistical sample, but short of extensive measurements it is a somewhat useful observation - I think.
PS: the URL unravelling works well, thanks.

Posted 9 years ago
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LukeTurnbull
Posts: 83

As most poeple have posted vista is on everything nowadays.

unbleiveable as it may seem you do have to pay to be downgraded to XP.

what a shame.

PS. just make sure you have more than enough ram especially on vista.

Posted 9 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

You guys kept talking without me while I slept.

Intel vs. AMD - I think this is similar to Coke vs. Pepsi or Dodge vs. Ford. FWIW, my son in law (a super uber geek) says right now Intel is building faster/better processors.

Wireless printer - It might be nice, but do you want to spend the extra money and potentially run into new problems? The technology of a printer cable is pretty well defined.

Do you need a new printer, or want a new printer? My Canon all in one died last week and I replaced it with a Kodak 5500. I'm very in love with this thing and the ink truly is less expensive.

Posted 9 years ago
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Budohorseman
Posts: 847

One little thing on the Intel vs. AMD, right now Intel processors are a bit better as they do not use as much power for the same speed, so with an Intel it will run cooler and save you maybe around $20-30 a year on the electric bill.

On the printer, I have to agree with Appletom that it may not justify the additional cost, but you will have to be the judge on that one.

As for the memory (RAM) you should consider getting the 4 GB. While whs is correct that Vista (we are assuming the 32-bit version) will only be able to use around 3.2 GB of it, with 4 GB (or 2 GB for that matter) the RAM will be able to operate in Dual Channel mode, whereas 3 GB (assuming 3 x 1 GB) would operate in Single Channel mode. With as much as you have running at once, I think the upgrade for the extra RAM will be worth it. As an aside, DDR (the type of RAM in the system) stands for Double Data Rate, however it only works that way when installed in pairs (2 GB or 4 GB etc). When installed with an odd number (3 GB) the RAM may be labeled as DDR, but it will operate as SDR--Single Data Rate, so why cripple your RAMs performance when a marginal cost upgrade can bring it to its full potential.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

@Budohorseman All 3GB machines I know have 2x1GB Dimms and 2x512MB Dimms - so they run on all 4 channels. I think this 4GB discussion is rather academic anyhow since there are no 4GB offerings at reasonable prices on the market - but there are more and more 3GB machines. Besides, I suggest we do not confuse Susan with too many technical discussions. She has clearly stated that she is a basic user and has probably little interest in the intrinsic details that we like to discuss.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

I'll visit Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Depot today. Maybe Compusa and Staples too.

My printer is an HP Officejet G85 which suits my needs but I would like it further away. I work at two small desks in an L shape and the printer takes up almost half of one. However, if it's compatible, I'll just stick with it. . .

Thanks again.

Susan

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

I just looked at the HP Officejet G85 Drviers for Vista page and it says all the basic functions of printing, scanning and reading memory cards work on Vista with a Vista builtin driver.
It doesn't say what the advanced functions it doesn't support are but I got the same page with the printer here and it can print normal pages, pictures on photo paper and use the flash memory cards just fine.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

@Susan, Here it is and it's already in Vista. http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfr.....#38;dlc=en

Staples is expensive. I hardly ever see anything worth byuing from them. Compusa I don't know.

You can buy 15ft USB cables which work quite well on printers (I have one too because I have several printers and had to move one to the other side of the room). Cheapest place for cables is Walmart and they have a good selection too. The electronic stores are far too expensive for cables. With a coupling, you might even extend the cable further. But that I have never tried myself (some of the Walmart cables have couplings included).

Posted 9 years ago
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Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

If it's USB2, the maximum cable length is 5 meters (about 16.5 feet)

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

That's good to know. I did not know that. Does that apply to all USB2 devices or only to printers (of course you don't want to put ReadyBoost 5 meters away).

Posted 9 years ago
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Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Its everything
But please remember also. The longer the cable, the slower the speed

Posted 9 years ago
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pipo
Posts: 428

@whs
correct me if i'm wrong, but doesn't ReadyBoost only work if the USB is directly connected to the computer, ie. it can't be used via a usb hub?

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

@pipo, I think you can put a ReadyBoost flash drive on a hub or a cable - but it does not make much sense because you increase the delay times thus taking the effect of ReadyBoost away (shorter access times). In my book, ReadyBoost does not make much sense all together. I had it on a 1GB RAM machine and on a 2GB RAM machine. I threw both of them out and bought an extra GiG for the 1GB machine. It had all kinds of side effects that I did not like including extra instability of the system.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

I think I found a couple of computers on CompUsa that I can afford. I'm not getting a monitor or keyboard, just the computer.

I'm looking at www.compusa.com. Sub categories "desktop computer" "Intel Based PC's " "Core 2 duo. Lenova 3000 K100 looks like the level of computer I need.

On the HP site I'm looking at an A6450z series without some of the frills they show (but with Microsoft Office 2007) and the Gateway DX441S or DX441X with a bigger cashe for $50 more (it's $799)it has things I don't need such as speakers, media upgrades, dvd burner upgrades and a fax modem? I can't think of anywhere else to look.

Any opinions?

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Hi Susan, Lenova (IBM) is always a little more expensive. The HP may be ok if you can get it cheap. For Gateway I repeat this one http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm.....o#proddesc Really not expensive for a quad system with 3GB's and all the frills including DVI (digital monitor - better picture). As I said, on Sunday I will study the sales and let you know if something good is available - but the above link is really something good. - And do yourself a favor and get a 22 inch screen.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

I liked the Gateway at Circuit City but it didn't come with Vista which I read on this forum, works better when pre-installed.

I'd love a 22" monitor but that's coming way later because I am amid a big advertising event that is costing way more than I anticipated.

So, how's HP Pavilion A6430F Desktop PC at Circuit City or HP Pavillion 5600 at Best Buy. Both are in stock at stores within driving distance.

I stayed in denial about my crappy computer for about 18 months, it progressively got worse and now I can barely use it which is why I'm rushing.

Opinions?

Susan
P.S. I've been bragging to my friends about you guys and all the knowledge your sharing. You've been so helpful, you have no idea how much so.

Posted 9 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

HP Pavilion A6430F Desktop PC at Circuit City:
AMD Phenom 2.10 GHz processor
3 Gigs RAM
640 Gig Hard Drive
Video card: NVIDIA GeForce 6150 SE

HP Pavillion 5600 at Best Buy:
AMD Athlon(TM) 64 X2 2.8 GHz processor
3 Gigs RAM
500 Gig Hard Drive
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6150 SE

OK - the 640 vs. 500 HD probably won't matter to you - you haven't mentioned photo or video editing in any of your posts. No winner.
The video cards are the same. No winner.
That leaves processor and memory - everything else is kind of fluff

Someone wiser than I will have to point out the difference between the Athlon 2.8 and the Phenom 2.1. The Phenom is newer but the Athlon might be more mature.

And although both systems have 3 Gigs of memory, the CC one uses 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300) and the BB one uses PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM. Again, I don't know why (or if) one is better than the other.

If the processors are equal and the two types of RAM are the same, it looks like a complete tossup between the two. FWIW, I like Circuit City better only because I root for the underdog and Best Buy is eating their lunch.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/ol.....ductdetail
http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd.....#prodspecs

Posted 9 years ago
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Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Thankyou so much for your last words there, spread the word, one day you will discover something that will help us. Anyway, keep in touch :)

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

On the RAM difference of these:
CC uses 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300)
BB uses PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM.

I'm not sure what I think they are both the same just listed differently.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....nd_modules for more on the DDR2_SDRAM types.

Edit: I'm guessing that the 667Mhz and "667 Million" listed on that page are the same thing. I'm still searching online to try and confirm that.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Susan, What do you mean by "I liked the Gateway at Circuit City but it didn't come with Vista" - of course it comes with Vista - and look at the price for a quad (4 processors) and all the rest. Read the specifications and you will see Vista. Any PC you buy from the big stores these days come with Vista. There are very few exceptions. I think Appletom has summed it up nicely. The AMD 5600+ is a nice processor too, but the Phenoms are more recent (in fact brand new) and quad or 3core - I would go with that.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

I'll go back and take a look. I thought I read XP. Thanks!

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

And don't forget: The Gateway service is very decent, the HP service is null ( I have 2 HP's and speak from experience - I also have a Gateway)

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

One thing to add about Gateway: Since at least October 16, 2007 Gateway has been a subsidiary of Acer.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

jd, I wonder if this is good or bad. If Acer is going to "streamline" the Gateway support and move it to India too, then all bets are off. Right now the Gatway support is in South Dakota and Utah, and those people really know their stuff and are very helpful.

Posted 9 years ago
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hurtingbad
Posts: 257

whs is correct about HPs support.I do not know anything about computers and I know more than they do.I paid for a additional year of support and was able to get my money back by arguing that their support was so bad I couldn't use it.

Posted 9 years ago
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Appletom
Posts: 133

Why would Susan have to worry about support (or the lack of) from HP when she can just post here at HTG?

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

@Appletom, I think there are a few good reasons:
1. If you have trouble with your hardware and need replacement units during the warrenty period, only the manufacturer can help (has happened to me with my optical reader)
2. There are always "manufacturer specifics" that you can more easily clarify with them
3. You may need a recovery disk or alike which is easy to get from Gateway, but try HP or Dell
4. The technical support people are professionals (at least at Gateway or Apple) - we are amateurs and do not know everything either
Else, the Forum can certainly be a good help for people in need.

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

One other good thing to add to whs's good list of reasons: The regular posters can sometimes take from 30 minutes to a few hours to respond to a question depending on the volume of threads that day and how busy the regular posters are. In theory you should be able to get a close to immediate answer to your question by calling up the Computer Tech Support.
Edit: Though in practice the Computer Tech Support can put you on hold for a while or not get things done very fast or good.
Example: The other day on a friends new Dell computer it took Dell about an hour of troubleshooting to find out the Dell monitor was bad and then after shipping one it was found out that it was sent to the wrong address (one that didn't exist).
Called DHL and found out that apparently Dell and DHL have a policy set up so Dell has to call DHL to get an address corrected.
It took about 45-60 minutes to get Dell to correct the address and by then DHL had closed and it had to be shipped the next day.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

@hurtingbad, I remember you fighting HP from an earlier posting. I am glad you put your foot down and got your money back. I have escalated their dismal operation several times to their corporate office. You then get to deal with a so called "Case Manager". Those people are trained to throw the book at you (Terms and Conditions and all the other fine print). But they could not fool me having been in the trade for 35 years (and pretty fluent in T's&C's) I knew every answer they came up with already 20 years ago. It was a slaughter - but a lot of fun. The bottom line though is, that they (HP), are useless. But they have good prices. I guess that's why we buy their stuff. For non-geeky people, however, that can become a challenge. As an aside: the only few times I got intelligent answers from them, it was women at the horn. I wonder why.

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Hi Susan, I looked thru the Sunday ads and found 3 alternatives. But all things considered, this is still by far the best PC for $550: http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm.....o#proddesc -- the otheres that I found are:

1. Also in Circuit City there is this Acer for $350. It has a nice 5000+ processor and 320GB's of disk and 2GB's of RAM. It is a good workhorse and may do the job. http://circuitcity.shoplocal.c.....ity-080330

2. A bundle offering from Office Depot that includes a 19 inch screen (if you still have a CRT, you should trash it) for $650. It does have 3GB's of RAM and 400GB's of hard drive. The Intel processor is not the fastest but it will do the job - now again, this is including the monitor. http://officedepot.shoplocal.c.....pot-080330

3.One from Staples which comes with a free printer. It has a nice 5200+ processor, 500GB's of disk and 2GB's of RAM for $499.99 (I make the price explicit because you have to look for it on the website. The Staples ad does not bring up URL's for individual products - only for the whole ad - it's on page 7). This is not a bad deal either, especially for someone who wants the TV tuner that is included (probably does not matter for you). But it does have a WiFi which might be interesting one day for a remote printer. http://staples.shoplocal.com/s.....20Circular

In summary - if I had to buy it, I would still get the first one with the quad processor - but then I am a technical freek. As daily workhorses, the other 3 are just as fine. They will do the job. But remember, from HP you cannot expect a lot of support, but they usually have good prices. And especially, DO NOT BUY ANY EXTRA SUPPORT OPTIONS. They always like to offer that, but that's for the birds.

PS. I did not see anything worth having in Best Buy.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

I got the 1st Gateway from Circuit City.

Vista is interesting but I haven't spent much time on it. I'm still setting things up.

I did not buy any extra support options. I've purchased those programs for different products several times in the past and it was completely worthless.

I'm sure you'll be hearing from me again. Now I have to get this up and running properly.

Thank you all!

Susan

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

I think you made a good choice Susan. If you encounter any roadblocks wresteling with Vista, let us know. I'm sure we can help. Have fun with your new box - and get that 22 incher - you will love it.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

Hi!

I got my new computer - Gateway from Circuit City - weeks ago. Thank you for all of your help!
I love Office 2007 and Vista.

I've got most of my documents moved to the new computer.
Any tips on transfering my "favorites" to my new computer?

I haven't been able move data from the old computer to the new computer. I was using Microsoft Outlook 2000 and that's where most of the data is. Today I copied it to Excel and will try to get the information to my new computer.

I got a Belkin transfer cable and tried the Windows Easy Transfer method. More often than not the computer (my laptop also) doesn't detect the cable or proceed beyond that. I'm still working on it. I have a lot of things going on at once.

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

Another question.

My default email on my old computer was a comcast.net address. I viewed and sent email via Outlook Express. I have email I refer back to at times.

When I got to the Comcast website and get my mail I get email sent most recently and nothing else. Through my 2007 Outlook Express I'm defaulting to my work email and forwarding the comcast.net to that address. I there any way I can get full access to my account?

Let me know if I've confused you.

Thanks!

Posted 9 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

Glad to hear it's working for you.
If have a disc or other way to transfer things copying the favorites is easy:
A. On your old computer:
* Go to your profile directory in Windows Explorer.
The path is C:\Documents and Settings\[Your User Name].
* Right click on the favorites folder, move over Send To and click "Compressed (zipped) Folder".
* Move the new file favorites.zip to a disc or something.
B. On your new computer:
* Go to your User Files folder in Windows Explorer.
Just click start and click on the button with your user name on it at the top right.
* Move the favorites.zip file to this folder.
* Right click on favorites.zip, click Extract All, click next 2 times, click finish and now the favorites folder should appear with your favorites inside and they will show in Internet Explorer too.

Edit:
With Outlook Express the email is usually stored on the local computer.
In Windows Vista the upgrade of Outlook Express is Windows Mail.
You can import the Outlook Express mail files into Windows Mail if you have a disc to transfer them to.
I'm going offline now so I can't list how to do that at the moment.
I'll be back in about an hour and I can list how if no one else posts in the mean time.

Edit 2: I guess I have ten more minutes online. I was going to eat and now am waiting on someone else.
For moving mail and contacts if you have them from Outlook Express to Windows Mail see http://www.vista4beginners.com.....ndows-Mail

Posted 9 years ago
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savvysusan
Posts: 18

Thank you WHS and JD. I have been busy with work so no time to get on the forum.

I think my comcast broadband is causing link issues and slow speeds. I'm encountering it on three computers.

I really want that 22" Monitor but that's on hold. I have to sell a few more trips before I can get it.

I did get a new printer (cable on old one not compatible with new computer and adapters were nowhere to be found). It's an updated version of my old printer for $79 at Costco. I paid $500 for the old all-in-one printer.

Thanks again!

Posted 9 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Nice to hear from you. I am afraid with the comcast problem we cannot really help. But maybe it's worth testing your line speed with this program http://www.dslreports.com/speedtest Then at least you know whether there is a speed issue. Because I don't think anything could slow down your quad core. It's really ashame you have to look at it with this old banger of a monitor. What printer did you get and did you check the cost of the cartridges. Here is a place to get them cheaper - maybe worth it because print cartridges can really run into money http://www.re-inks.com/. See you soon!

Posted 9 years ago
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