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Old 10-19-2013, 10:39 AM   #1
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ISO advice buying a computer

Okay...here goes.

We used to have a desktop computer and a laptop. The desktop went belly up several months ago, which left us with only the laptop.

Glenn loved the desktop and absolutely detests the laptop. In fact, he hasn't been on a computer since the desktop crapped out.

He doesn't like the close proximity of the keys on a laptop and much, much, much prefers using a mouse. Did I use "much" enough?

At any rate, I want to buy him a new computer for Christmas and I am totally ignorant of the process. I have never purchased a computer in my life and the task ahead seems so complex I don't know where to start.

For informational purposes I can tell you that, if it means anything, we still have the screen, keyboard and mouse from the aforementioned desktop. Our printer still functions perfectly and is 100% compatible with the laptop and is, as far as I can discern, idiot-proof as far as operation is concerned.

The only tasks we need a computer for is, obviously, navigating the Internet, sending and receiving emails, creating Word documents, downloading and storing photographs, playing CD/DVDs and not much else that comes to mind right now.

I've had good luck with Dell products and Glenn prefers Dell as well.

So any of you out there who can educate me and guide me through the process....HELP!

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Old 10-19-2013, 10:53 AM   #2
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Katie, given the uses you plan for your desktop, you shouldn't have to spend a lot of money. I'd check the Dell site for deals. They may be running a special on a particular model for back to school or similar. You may have to get a package that includes a monitor in the deal.
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Old 10-19-2013, 10:53 AM   #3
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Best advise I could give is don't fall into the trap of buying too much computer. For your needs you shouldn't have to spend more than $300-400 on a computer. Buying at a place like Best Buy, you'll be oversold easily, and they will try really hard to upsell you their Geek Squad stuff, totally unnecessary.

If you want a Dell, order direct from Dell. You can customize or buy one of their pre-configured systems, for you pre-configured would be the way to go.

This Dell should fit the bill. It has a more modern processor than the $299 ones so should serve you well for a number of years. The older processors aren't bad but If I were to choose, it would be this one.

modern processor
very large hard drive
plenty of memory (ram) for what you need

Inspiron 660s Desktop | Dell

There is no need to buy any add ons like antivirus, there are plenty of great free ones out there.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:04 AM   #4
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Good advice from Andy and BC. Here's another option, just to show you what's possible. When my desktop died a few years ago, I got a laptop with a 19-inch monitor. It's sits on my computer desk most of the time, so I still use the keyboard and mouse, connected to a USB hub (a device that lets you plug several peripherals into one USB port).
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:12 AM   #5
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and now my two cents!

Be a little bit leery of some of the super Black Friday and Cyber Monday offerings. Some of those electronic items are made specifically for those door buster specials and do not always represent a good deal even though they are made by a trusted name brand manufacturer.

I try to always have a geek shop for me, I'm just too stupid to buy electronics, the kids in the big box stores can see me coming a mile away!
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:17 AM   #6
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I got my Dell desktop at Costco a few years ago at a really good price. Set-up was pretty easy.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
and now my two cents!

Be a little bit leery of some of the super Black Friday and Cyber Monday offerings. Some of those electronic items are made specifically for those door buster specials and do not always represent a good deal even though they are made by a trusted name brand manufacturer.

I try to always have a geek shop for me, I'm just too stupid to buy electronics, the kids in the big box stores can see me coming a mile away!
YES YES and triple YES!

Those computers are often very out of date and pushed to the max, rarely up-gradable. These aren't usually part of their regular stock and brought in just for Black Friday to be sold cheap. If it needs to be returned because something is wrong, you won't get a replacement because they will be sold out and not restocked.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakechef View Post
Best advise I could give is don't fall into the trap of buying too much computer. For your needs you shouldn't have to spend more than $300-400 on a computer. Buying at a place like Best Buy, you'll be oversold easily, and they will try really hard to upsell you their Geek Squad stuff, totally unnecessary.

If you want a Dell, order direct from Dell. You can customize or buy one of their pre-configured systems, for you pre-configured would be the way to go.

This Dell should fit the bill. It has a more modern processor than the $299 ones so should serve you well for a number of years. The older processors aren't bad but If I were to choose, it would be this one.

modern processor
very large hard drive
plenty of memory (ram) for what you need

Inspiron 660s Desktop | Dell

There is no need to buy any add ons like antivirus, there are plenty of great free ones out there.
Don't worry about me darkening the doors of Best Buy. I was there once, was ignored and had to practically have a seizure before a salesperson, um, noticed me. In spite of the fact that there was a covey of clerks off to one side chatting. Plus, one of our best friends was shopping for a new microwave and went to Best Buy. He saw an appliance there he liked and wanted to make sure the dimensions were compatible with the space he wanted to put it. There was no sample on display so he asked a clerk to open an box for him. No. They couldn't do that. What?! However, he could purchase the microwave and see if it would be okay. If he returned it, though, there would be a 30% restocking fee.

Nope. I'm not going to Best Buy. But I digress.

Thank you, bakechef. What you've suggested sounds about right and I plan to call Dell and discuss our needs with one of their people.

Well, this isn't as scary as I'd imagined.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
and now my two cents!

Be a little bit leery of some of the super Black Friday and Cyber Monday offerings. Some of those electronic items are made specifically for those door buster specials and do not always represent a good deal even though they are made by a trusted name brand manufacturer.

I try to always have a geek shop for me, I'm just too stupid to buy electronics, the kids in the big box stores can see me coming a mile away!
Nope. I don't do Black Friday. Never have. Never will. I plan on purchasing the computer in the next couple of weeks. I always have my Christmas shopping done by the end of October and I won't change that.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:50 AM   #10
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Katie, we've had really good luck finding deals online at newegg We often find they are cheaper than the big box stores or retail places. Excellent customer service too. If you like Dell, go ahead and check with the company on what will work for you. Write down all the specs then check out new egg's price before buying.

Another thing, I prefer a mouse over a touch pad so I bought a wireless mouse that plugs into my laptop and I use it all the time. You can also get wireless keyboards so Glenn can sit farther away and have a full keyboard where he sits. Good luck finding something.
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