Replacement for Windows XP Computer

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Topic Author
Harold
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Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold »

There seem to be knowledgeable people really into computers here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one using a perfectly fine Windows XP computer who is feeling forced into buying a new one.

My preference is to buy a top of the line computer, so it won’t feel quickly outdated. (Presumably, I’d still be using it in ten years – just like my current desktop.) I’ve got no particular need for a laptop, and would probably dislike the smaller screen/keyboard. I’ve got no interest in gaming, instead using the computer for documents, spreadsheets, web browsing etc. I’d probably also use it for whatever the current state of the art is – interactive video and I’m sure other stuff I’m not even aware of. My only regret with the last purchase (a Gateway) was that I didn’t buy the top of the line speakers, and have regularly regretted it – won’t make that mistake again.

I’m appealing to you good folks to help me (and surely others) determine specs, brands, etc.
Valuethinker
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Valuethinker »

Harold wrote:There seem to be knowledgeable people really into computers here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one using a perfectly fine Windows XP computer who is feeling forced into buying a new one.

My preference is to buy a top of the line computer, so it won’t feel quickly outdated. (Presumably, I’d still be using it in ten years – just like my current desktop.) I’ve got no particular need for a laptop, and would probably dislike the smaller screen/keyboard. I’ve got no interest in gaming, instead using the computer for documents, spreadsheets, web browsing etc. I’d probably also use it for whatever the current state of the art is – interactive video and I’m sure other stuff I’m not even aware of. My only regret with the last purchase (a Gateway) was that I didn’t buy the top of the line speakers, and have regularly regretted it – won’t make that mistake again.

I’m appealing to you good folks to help me (and surely others) determine specs, brands, etc.
If you buy any of the big brands-- desktop- then it won't matter much. I bought a Dell, but you could buy an Acer, HP, Lenovo-- I have a fondness for Lenovo.

Processor? Buy Intel 2-3 from top of the line- -that will give you far more power than you will ever need, so you can model stellar supernovas to your heart's content.

Memory. 8GB of RAM. Speakers: go for standalone so you can upgrade.

I am not sure where we are with soundcards and video cards (I avoided same, because I use the home PC for basically work functions-- not games).

Operating System is the nightmare issue. Windows 8 is a *huge* change in usability and is not as optimized around user experience for the classic desktop/ office user as Win7 is. So do you 'downgrade' to Win 7 and therefore have a shorter life before MS drops support, or do you fight through Win8? I find Win8 'echh' but I've only played with it.

Another issue is that now that Win8 is touchscreen, future software will make use of touch screen.
scifilover
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by scifilover »

In response to customer demand, HP has a full line of Win 7 computers for sale. Just Google HP Win 7 and follow the links.

If you buy one with an Intel processor, get at least I5, or I7 if you can afford.

Get at least 8 gigs of ram.

Because you can back up on line at dropbox, or google drive for free, disc size isn't as important.

Microsoft has a history of good ops systems followed by stinkers. So, Win 9, when it comes out should be good, and with a high power system today, you could probably upgrade to 9 without problems.
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Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold »

Thanks to each of you. From a quick look, I'm seeing one with the specs below. I'll put some more thought into price and educating myself a bit more, but this gives me a good start.

Operating system - Windows 7 Home Premium 64
Processor - 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor quad-core [3.4GHz, 8MB Shared Cache]
Memory - 8GB DDR3-1600MHz [1 DIMM ]
Hard drive - 1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
Graphics card - Intel HD Graphics [DVI-D]
Optical drive - SuperMulti DVD Burner
Valuethinker
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Valuethinker »

Harold wrote:Thanks to each of you. From a quick look, I'm seeing one with the specs below. I'll put some more thought into price and educating myself a bit more, but this gives me a good start.

Operating system - Windows 7 Home Premium 64
Processor - 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor quad-core [3.4GHz, 8MB Shared Cache]
Memory - 8GB DDR3-1600MHz [1 DIMM ]
Hard drive - 1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
Graphics card - Intel HD Graphics [DVI-D]
Optical drive - SuperMulti DVD Burner
Unless cost is a real factor I'd buy the Enterprise version of Win7. My thinking: it has some functionality (like remote access for support) that you might want to use some day; MS is likely to treat its enterprise customers better than its home customers vis a vis thinks like security.

There's a question about Solid State Drives, but they cost a lot more. I think you are probably OK with that drive.

Processor and memory look fine. Unless you are doing heavy graphics or mathematcial modelling then it's seldom CPU power that constrains performance these days, I don't think-- it's more about Input-Output speed etc.

I am not sure about Sound Card, that is one thing you want to nail. I am taking that graphics card it's just the default Intel functionality (ie on chip).

I am an amateur in all of the above, went down the same path you are going 15 months ago.
hudson
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by hudson »

Harold wrote:Thanks to each of you. From a quick look, I'm seeing one with the specs below. I'll put some more thought into price and educating myself a bit more, but this gives me a good start.

Operating system - Windows 7 Home Premium 64
Processor - 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor quad-core [3.4GHz, 8MB Shared Cache]
Memory - 8GB DDR3-1600MHz [1 DIMM ]
Hard drive - 1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
Graphics card - Intel HD Graphics [DVI-D]
Optical drive - SuperMulti DVD Burner
Harold, I like the above specs...
Dell Optiplexes are designed to have a longer lifespan than the typical computer...I recommend taking a look. I've purchased several hundred over the last 14 years and have had good luck. We usually replace desktops every 4 years...we had very few problems. We had several that we used for special purposes to keep on chugging for maybe 8-10 years.

http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/optiplex-3010/fs

I answered because you said you wanted the computer to last 10 years...a pretty big order. For my personal use, I think like Valuethinker...he said, "If you buy any of the big brands-- desktop- then it won't matter much. I bought a Dell, but you could buy an Acer, HP, Lenovo-- I have a fondness for Lenovo."

My home PC is an inexpensive Acer.
Valuethinker
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Valuethinker »

scifilover wrote:In response to customer demand, HP has a full line of Win 7 computers for sale. Just Google HP Win 7 and follow the links.

If you buy one with an Intel processor, get at least I5, or I7 if you can afford.

Get at least 8 gigs of ram.

Because you can back up on line at dropbox, or google drive for free, disc size isn't as important.

Microsoft has a history of good ops systems followed by stinkers. So, Win 9, when it comes out should be good, and with a high power system today, you could probably upgrade to 9 without problems.
I think Win8 is a whole design philosophy though, that MS has embraced. About the User Interface. It's hard to see them eating crow on this one, even Win8.1 hasn't really restored the Start Button?

Also Win9 will almost certainly have touch screen functionality: that's MS adjusting to the world of pads and smartphones. The whole philosophy behind Win8 is that the PC is a decreasing portion of the way we access the internet and use the computer 'the internet is the computer' you might say.

The problem for us regular users of MS software is that *we* use computers in the old office model-- applications hosted on powerful desktops and laptops etc. And in grasping the future and trying to take Apple and Google on directly, MS has left us with a huge problem of learning a new UI etc.
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Epsilon Delta »

Harold wrote:There seem to be knowledgeable people really into computers here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one using a perfectly fine Windows XP computer who is feeling forced into buying a new one.

My preference is to buy a top of the line computer, so it won’t feel quickly outdated. (Presumably, I’d still be using it in ten years – just like my current desktop.)
I think your preference is dated.

A long time ago any computer you could buy (or afford) was inadequate. This meant you bought the most expensive computer you could. Yearly improvements in design and manufacturing went into performance, successive generations of computer would cost the same but the newer device would be much more capable. Older device quickly became obsolescent, since newer machines had much higher performance.

But then things changed. Performance became adequate. Improvements began to go into price. Successive generations were a little more capable, but a lot cheaper. Older devices were still usable, since the biggest difference between older and newer devices was the price.

In the old world it made sense to buy a top of the line PC, since it was inadequate and you would use all it's capabilities. In the new world it does not. Buy what you need. If you buy performance you won't use soon chances are a) you will never use it and b) if you do use it in a few years you could buy it at that time for a far cheaper price than you'll pay today.

The fact that you've been using the same computer for 10 years shows this change. This did not happen 30 years ago.
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Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold »

Thanks for the comments. Looks like I need to put some more thought into whether something like the OptiPlex 3010 is appropriate, or whether to go up to something like the OptiPlex 7010 (or the HP Envy 700, which is what the specs above are for, which may be more for gaming or more intense usage than I'll need).

I can appreciate the comment about my top of the line preference being dated. Having said that, I know I'll just continue using the machine until I can't any more -- no matter how long (the 10 years was pretty arbitrary). I'd do that even if some once higher end feature became mainstream. I mean my car is 10 years old, and I'd probably use GPS if I had it, but I'm not about to go get a new car because of that. (And fortunately, the car OS isn't being shut down leaving it unlocked for anyone to use -- so I can hang onto the car, unlike the computer.)

Still some more thinking to do ...
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nedsaid
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by nedsaid »

In my town, there is a business that builds computers as part of their business. They also do networking, clean viruses, do software upgrades, and other stuff like that. These guys have built my computers for years and I have been very pleased with the results.

Why not let your local computer geek guys build one for you? Then you have someone local you can go to rather than a 1-800 number or a big box store chain.
A fool and his money are good for business.
hudson
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by hudson »

Harold wrote:Thanks for the comments. Looks like I need to put some more thought into whether something like the OptiPlex 3010 is appropriate, or whether to go up to something like the OptiPlex 7010 (or the HP Envy 700, which is what the specs above are for, which may be more for gaming or more intense usage than I'll need).

I can appreciate the comment about my top of the line preference being dated. Having said that, I know I'll just continue using the machine until I can't any more -- no matter how long (the 10 years was pretty arbitrary). I'd do that even if some once higher end feature became mainstream. I mean my car is 10 years old, and I'd probably use GPS if I had it, but I'm not about to go get a new car because of that. (And fortunately, the car OS isn't being shut down leaving it unlocked for anyone to use -- so I can hang onto the car, unlike the computer.)

Still some more thinking to do ...
The 3010 is fine...as is the HP Envy 700. The gamers go with Dell's Alienware computers. http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x51-r2/pd.aspx Dell's Optiplex line is designed for corporate sales .... low maintenance and longer life than the standard off the shelf computer. That being said...for personal use, I go with the standard off the shelf computer costing around $400-$500....and plan for a 4-5 year lifespan. This is off the subject but If you have power surges, brown outs or lightning storms, consider a good UPS. I use a large one and plug in my modem, router, monitor, and computer etc. This is the one that I use...http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000E ... UTF8&psc=1. Besides computer malware, surges and spikes are the biggest computer-router-modem life shorten-er.
Last edited by hudson on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
mhalley
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by mhalley »

As a gamer I always used to buy the very top of the line computer in order to prolong the time between upgrades as much as possible. I feel that the computers today have advanced to the point that this is no longer required, and a middle of the road computer should last anyone but the most advanced gamer for many years. Thing such as whether it has a SSD, the amount of ram and the size of the hard drive are now a little more important than the cpu itself Of course the graphics card is a biggie for gamers).
I have bought many of the top gaming computers, including alienware, falcon northwest, and most recently Digital Storm. Overall, I recommend Digital Storm online for high end computers these days.
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Valuethinker
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Valuethinker »

Harold wrote:Thanks for the comments. Looks like I need to put some more thought into whether something like the OptiPlex 3010 is appropriate, or whether to go up to something like the OptiPlex 7010 (or the HP Envy 700, which is what the specs above are for, which may be more for gaming or more intense usage than I'll need).

I can appreciate the comment about my top of the line preference being dated. Having said that, I know I'll just continue using the machine until I can't any more -- no matter how long (the 10 years was pretty arbitrary). I'd do that even if some once higher end feature became mainstream. I mean my car is 10 years old, and I'd probably use GPS if I had it, but I'm not about to go get a new car because of that. (And fortunately, the car OS isn't being shut down leaving it unlocked for anyone to use -- so I can hang onto the car, unlike the computer.)

Still some more thinking to do ...
FWIW I bought an Optiplex 3010 (i5 processor). To some extent I regret having 500 GB hard drive not 1 TB.

Also I had them instal a partition and that has screwed up the backup process. Something I still haven't got fixed.

I wouldn't worry about getting the right 'strategy' on this. If you can afford an Optiplex 3010 it is a good machine. I doubt you need the extra computing power beyond that for the uses you will get.

Many issue is this one of a touch screen (for future releases of Windows). To me it's just an annoyance, and typical users of MS Office are faster with the keystrokes than any touchscreen, but that is where 'future proofing' will come in.

The thrust in processors now is about low power usage, less heat, lower footprint- -ie portability. The 'CPU wars' have almost played out (unless we go to Virtual Reality of something-- William Gibson's 'Neuromancer' anyone?). Intel won, but the victory is in some sense phyrric, because it's a mature market. At least that's how I, as a rank outsider, see it.

So if you get a decently fast quad core i7 the problem is not the CPU speed, it will be the speed of peripherals (hence the movement to Solid State Disc/ SSD), also the graphics chip. You aren't likely to get outdate on the CPU for a long time to come.

My hope is that Optiplex/ Dell uses a slightly higher quality of fan, motherboard, power supply etc. therefore giving it longer life. Otherwise you need to get someone build you one, specifying higher quality components.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
gd
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by gd »

I believe that for the uses you describe, the electronics is pretty much irrelevant as long as it is not a bottom-end model. Consider that the size, color (ok, not that, they're all black), location of plugs and buttons, amount of fan noise, size and stability of monitor may be more relevant over the long term. That said, the more esoteric the packaging, the greater the chance of issues. OS and touch screen are another matter.
ajcp
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by ajcp »

hudson wrote: The gamers go with Dell's Alienware computers. .
Alienware is generally overpriced and better/cheaper computers can be bought elsewhere.
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frugaltype
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by frugaltype »

I understand your concern about display size for laptops vs. desktops. I struggled with this, since I do a lot of writing and want to see a whole "page" at a time. Some of the laptops I looked at were really squashed down.

I got some Lenovo T42p's. They're about 12 inches wide and 10 inches high. I got used to this pretty quickly.

There are so many advantages to a laptop vs. a hulking desktop that I would never go back to a desktop.

I had HP laptops for awhile, but their display hinges tended to break.

(I'm another one of those, if it works, why mess with it, so I plan on staying with my current setup as long as I can. Do I need a car that goes 200 mph? No.)
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magellan
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by magellan »

I recently upgraded a couple of XP desktops at a nonprofit where I volunteer. We went with Dell's Optiplex 3020 with a 4th gen i5 processor, 8GB ram, and a 500gb hdd for $650 each. These machines have a small form factor which I suppose could limit expandability, but that wasn't an issue for us. Their size makes them easy to tuck out of the way.

We went with Windows 7, but that was mostly because we had other computers in the office running 7. Dell included a Windows 8 license, which I think is Microsoft's lame attempt to spike their Windows 8 sales numbers.

If we didn't have other win 7 machines in the office, I probably would have gone with 8. Once you put classic shell on and get the latest updates, Windows 8 in desktop mode seems workable enough and it does have a later end of life date.

Jim
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magellan
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by magellan »

Valuethinker wrote:Many issue is this one of a touch screen (for future releases of Windows). To me it's just an annoyance, and typical users of MS Office are faster with the keystrokes than any touchscreen, but that is where 'future proofing' will come in.
This is controversial, but having used a touch screen laptop for productivity tasks, I'm not sold that touch is really the future, outside of the consumption/mobile world.

Sure, there are a few things that are much easier with touch like scrolling and next/previous. OTOH, most typical productivity mode operations are more difficult using touch and there's a big enough cost to context shift between touch and a mouse that I find it easier to stay with the mouse most of the time.

The precision of a mouse is probably 100 times greater than the precision of a finger touching the display and I think that gets lost in a lot of the hype about touch taking over the world.

Jim
ajcp
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by ajcp »

magellan wrote: This is controversial, but having used a touch screen laptop for productivity tasks, I'm not sold that touch is really the future, outside of the consumption/mobile world.
Controversial? I'd say your in the majority.
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Epsilon Delta »

magellan wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Many issue is this one of a touch screen (for future releases of Windows). To me it's just an annoyance, and typical users of MS Office are faster with the keystrokes than any touchscreen, but that is where 'future proofing' will come in.
This is controversial, but having used a touch screen laptop for productivity tasks, I'm not sold that touch is really the future, outside of the consumption/mobile world.
While I think touch screens are not an improvement for general purpose computers, they may still be needed for future proofing. If touch screens become the norm there will be some things that are easy to accomplish with gestures on a touch screen but are difficult or even impossible to do otherwise.
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Ged
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Ged »

I think extending your arm out to apply a gesture to a touch screen while at a desktop computer is unnatural. The ergonomics of it is really bad too.

Touch is great for mobile devices but it just is not going to be anywhere as good as a keyboard and mouse for a desktop.
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midareff
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by midareff »

Harold wrote:There seem to be knowledgeable people really into computers here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one using a perfectly fine Windows XP computer who is feeling forced into buying a new one.

My preference is to buy a top of the line computer, so it won’t feel quickly outdated. (Presumably, I’d still be using it in ten years – just like my current desktop.) I’ve got no particular need for a laptop, and would probably dislike the smaller screen/keyboard. I’ve got no interest in gaming, instead using the computer for documents, spreadsheets, web browsing etc. I’d probably also use it for whatever the current state of the art is – interactive video and I’m sure other stuff I’m not even aware of. My only regret with the last purchase (a Gateway) was that I didn’t buy the top of the line speakers, and have regularly regretted it – won’t make that mistake again.

I’m appealing to you good folks to help me (and surely others) determine specs, brands, etc.

I was forced to upgrade my Dell Latitude 32bit to Win 7 when Adobe's Lightroom required me to upgrade due to a new camera. I did and was not satisfied with the performance for tiff and raw photo file processing. I did some shopping and wanting a larger screen than the then existing external monitor I was using and settled on a Samsung all-in-one with a 27" screen, 3.9 ghz quad core 64 bit i7 with 16 gig of ram and 256 g of SSD. It runs Win8 and for those of us who don't like Win8 (me).. find a program on the net called Start8. It was $4.99 and boots you direct to the desktop on startup, just like Win7, and places the lower left side popup menu that is missing with Win8. If you want the MS Win8 screen just hit the MS flag key. I run Office 2010, 2 printers, several photo softwares, 3 backup drives.. a 1TB Lacie, a 500g USB 3.0 and a 500g Samsung SSD as well as card readers... etc. Has USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, DVD/CD reader. Love it. Cold start to password screen to desktop in 26 seconds.

Love it... I bought it from UltraComputers on Amazon.
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Midwest_Investor
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Midwest_Investor »

scifilover wrote: Get at least 8 gigs of ram.
Just wondering, for Windows 7, what advantage does 8 GB have over 4 GB if one is not into gaming or video applications?
hudson
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by hudson »

Midwest_Investor wrote:
scifilover wrote: Get at least 8 gigs of ram.
Just wondering, for Windows 7, what advantage does 8 GB have over 4 GB if one is not into gaming or video applications?
does this help?

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/how- ... need/17491
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LazyNihilist
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by LazyNihilist »

If possible get a Ubuntu or Linux Mint Live CD and try it out. You might like it.
The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must -Thucydides
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Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold »

Thanks everyone. I have a much better idea what to look for now.

One thing I'm still thinking over. One of the recommendations I've seen is to get "64-bit Windows 7 Pro with a Windows 8 disk". If I did so, that would seem to bridge the Windows 7/8 divide. Could any of you give any insight into that recommendation? (I've already seen that available among the computers I've looked at.)
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iceport
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by iceport »

Harold wrote:Thanks everyone. I have a much better idea what to look for now.

One thing I'm still thinking over. One of the recommendations I've seen is to get "64-bit Windows 7 Pro with a Windows 8 disk". If I did so, that would seem to bridge the Windows 7/8 divide. Could any of you give any insight into that recommendation? (I've already seen that available among the computers I've looked at.)
Harold,

I don't know what the advantage of getting a "64-bit Windows 7 Pro with a Windows 8 disk" would be, but based on my personal experience with Windows 8 I can say that the "Windows 7/8 divide" is much ado about not much at all. I would recommend just buying a machine with Windows 8.1. Then you can reliably operate the machine in desktop mode. There will be a need to learn some basic navigational skills in the metro interface to access some settings options, but that's easily done. Once you've got the machine settings to your liking, there is really no need to go back into the metro interface, and you can operate the machine just like you're accustomed to with Windows XP.

Like you, I had happily owned a Windows XP machine for a long time, almost exactly 11 years as of last December. Like you, I disliked the prospect of having to replace XP the machine that I liked very much, and was inclined to purchase a high quality replacement that could potentially last for another 11 years. So I purposely chose Windows 8 because it will be supported for another 9 years instead of only 6 more years like Windows 7 (see Windows lifecycle fact sheet). I couldn't be happier with that choice.

If you buy a machine with Windows 8.1 already loaded you will side-step the minor hassle in upgrading from Windows 8 to 8.1. Then, if you're like me, you'll want to set the machine to boot directly to the desktop and install a start button.

I've posted about this before (perhaps somewhat obnoxiously). See Re: Help please - buying PC and Living with Windows 8. Opposing views are also offered, so you can consider them as well.

The bottom line is that Windows 8.1 is a perfectly fine operating system that offers lightening fast start-ups. If you have the opportunity to buy a machine with Windows 8.1 for less money that with Windows 7, or you want an operating system that will be supported for more than 6 years, Windows 8.1 is a good choice.

--Peter
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein
lazyday
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by lazyday »

LazyNihilist wrote:If possible get a Ubuntu or Linux Mint Live CD and try it out. You might like it.
It's pretty easy to download and make a Live CD or Live USB. Your WIndows install will be safe, you just boot the Live OS.

For an old computer, lubuntu will run faster than Ubuntu or Mint.

If the computer uses an i3 or newer CPU, probably don't need to use a light OS like lubuntu.

Linux Mint is a little easier for a Linux newbie than Ubuntu because it comes with things like mp3 already installed.

I haven't tried lxle but it seems that lxle is to lubuntu as Mint is to Ubuntu. Mp3 etc is already there for you. It also has an XP theme.
ajcp
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by ajcp »

petrico wrote: I don't know what the advantage of getting a "64-bit Windows 7 Pro with a Windows 8 disk" would be, but based on my personal experience with Windows 8 I can say that the "Windows 7/8 divide" is much ado about not much at all. I would recommend just buying a machine with Windows 8.1. Then you can reliably operate the machine in desktop mode. There will be a need to learn some basic navigational skills in the metro interface to access some settings options, but that's easily done. Once you've got the machine settings to your liking, there is really no need to go back into the metro interface, and you can operate the machine just like you're accustomed to with Windows XP.

Like you, I had happily owned a Windows XP machine for a long time, almost exactly 11 years as of last December. Like you, I disliked the prospect of having to replace XP the machine that I liked very much, and was inclined to purchase a high quality replacement that could potentially last for another 11 years. So I purposely chose Windows 8 because it will be supported for another 9 years instead of only 6 more years like Windows 7 (see Windows lifecycle fact sheet). I couldn't be happier with that choice.
The advantage is getting the OS you might prefer better now, but still having the option to upgrade later when 7 support runs out. How many people would like a free vista upgrade right now?
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Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold »

To be honest, I'd probably be fine no matter what operating system I use. I'm pretty adaptable. My work computer has Windows 7, and though it's obviously different than Windows XP -- I pretty seamlessly move from one to the other. I'm not one of those who needs to have everything laid out a certain way -- I figure everything needed is there somewhere, in a place that was logical to someone.

At this point, I have no idea. But at some point in the next week or so, I'll just pick one.
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tadamsmar
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by tadamsmar »

Harold wrote:To be honest, I'd probably be fine no matter what operating system I use. I'm pretty adaptable. My work computer has Windows 7, and though it's obviously different than Windows XP -- I pretty seamlessly move from one to the other. I'm not one of those who needs to have everything laid out a certain way -- I figure everything needed is there somewhere, in a place that was logical to someone.

At this point, I have no idea. But at some point in the next week or so, I'll just pick one.
If you want to stress test your adaptibility, get one of those new Windows 8 computers that can't be rolled back to Windows 7 because the hardware is not compatible with Windows 7
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ginmqi
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by ginmqi »

Harold wrote:Thanks to each of you. From a quick look, I'm seeing one with the specs below. I'll put some more thought into price and educating myself a bit more, but this gives me a good start.

Operating system - Windows 7 Home Premium 64
Processor - 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor quad-core [3.4GHz, 8MB Shared Cache]
Memory - 8GB DDR3-1600MHz [1 DIMM ]
Hard drive - 1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
Graphics card - Intel HD Graphics [DVI-D]
Optical drive - SuperMulti DVD Burner
That processor is way way overkill for what you're going to use the PC with. Get a i5 at the most.

Another tip: buying a top end PC and hoping it will last 10 years is a fool's errand. The tremendous depreciation in an asset like a high end PC is incredible.

If you are a bit of a DIYer, you should build your own PC. It's easy to learn and you really only need just a screw river and some slender fingers. Because this way you can change out and upgrade parts as needed.

List:
Case - Lifetime item (this can be kept for as long as the case lasts the PC internals, replace only if defective) $30-$100+

PSU - Lifetime item (also lasts for as long as the unit itself lasts, EXCEPT if you are using very powerful internal components) $50-$150+

Disc drive (DVD, CD, Bluray) - lifetime item (replace only broken or if you want to be able to play Blurays or something) $20-$40

Motherboard - Longevity item (This is the main part that connects your CPU to your RAM to the hard drive to the DVD drive to the graphics card) Upgrade if you are upgrading to an entirely new processor line (can have intra-generation processor upgrades without new board) $100-200+

Processor - Fairly long life item (The speed engine. High end processors can get VERY expensive. Get only what you need to use it for. Modern processor are very fast and efficient. Upgrade to a new line may require new motherboard) $80-150+

RAM - upgrade as needed (most 4GB RAM is still plenty enough for most ppl's use, get 8GB if you are wanting to game or do more multi-program or memory heavy program) $50-100+

Hard drives - add more space as needed (1TB HDD very good and cheap and can be had for around 50 bucks, now there are SSD that are coming out but still the traditional HDD are fairly reliable and cheap) $50

Extras:
Graphics card - if doing graphics design or if heavy into gaming or media station for PC, Intel and AMD processors now have graphics card built into them so to speak so no need to really worry about this, also can be expensive
Sound card - audiophiles only IMO
Wifi card/memory readers/etc. option add ons as needed

So what happens if your PC is "outdated?" most likely need to replace the Big 3 (Motherboard, Processor, RAM). As those 3 have the most sensitive parts and usually big upgrade will upgrade those 3. Otherwise you can still keep hard drive, and case and power supply etc. So mobo/CPU/RAM altogether can be had for around 300....so basically "new" computer for 300 bucks every few years.

This is what I do with my desktop and it's going great. I'm still running a second gen i7 because it's been plenty fast for what I use it (even with heavy gaming, still keeps up).
Dyloot
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Dyloot »

Too late for the original poster, but I'd say that Solid State Drives are essential for "future proofing" your business-grade and consumer-grade PC. SSD prices have fallen so far in recent years that there's really no reason not to do it. Even the Dell Optiplex 7010 mentioned in a post above is now coming with SSD drives.

I'd take a 4th Gen i3 with 4GB of ram and an SSD over an i7 with 4GB and a 7200 RPM drive for any Office/Email/Internet user out there. Meaning, if your use case is web browsers, Outlook, and Microsoft Office, your top speed gain is going to be that SSD.

I'd increase the memory and CPU depending on the increase in use case. If you're in finance and run 10-20 applications at once (say Outlook, 7 web tabs, 5 instances of Excel, and Quickbooks, for example), I'd pay the extra $300 for the i7 and 8GB of memory. But I wouldn't compromise on the SSD no matter what you're building.

To go the SSD route, you may need to look at your storage practices. If you store 400GB of photos on your hard drive, you should probably add a secondary magnetic drive to your system for data storage, or purchase an external hard drive.
hudson
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by hudson »

Dyloot wrote:Too late for the original poster, but I'd say that Solid State Drives are essential for "future proofing" your business-grade and consumer-grade PC. SSD prices have fallen so far in recent years that there's really no reason not to do it.
Thanks...didn't know the prices had come down that far... http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electroni ... ssd+drives

Don't know if I'd recommend 2 hard drives for the average user....yes for the savvy user.
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magellan
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by magellan »

hudson wrote:Don't know if I'd recommend 2 hard drives for the average user....yes for the savvy user.
IMO, this is the problem with an SSD approach. 250GB of storage isn't very future-proof, and unless you're willing to deal with 2 drives, stepping up to 500GB means a $200 increase vs. an HDD. IMO, you'd get more future proofing for less money with an i5 processor and an HDD. In 2-3 years you could upgrade the HDD to an SSD for cheap money if you wanted to. HDD upgrades are very easy while cpu upgrades usually aren't worth the hassle.

As someone who uses both SSD and HDD based systems, I'd assert that aside from boot up time and initial application load time, typical users won't notice much difference between SSD and HDD based systems. OTOH, I'd bet typical users would see a difference in overall 'snappiness' between systems with an i3 cpu and an i7 cpu.

Jim
ajcp
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by ajcp »

magellan wrote:
hudson wrote:Don't know if I'd recommend 2 hard drives for the average user....yes for the savvy user.
IMO, this is the problem with an SSD approach. 250GB of storage isn't very future-proof, and unless you're willing to deal with 2 drives, stepping up to 500GB means a $200 increase vs. an HDD. IMO, you'd get more future proofing for less money with an i5 processor and an HDD. In 2-3 years you could upgrade the HDD to an SSD for cheap money if you wanted to. HDD upgrades are very easy while cpu upgrades usually aren't worth the hassle.

As someone who uses both SSD and HDD based systems, I'd assert that aside from boot up time and initial application load time, typical users won't notice much difference between SSD and HDD based systems. OTOH, I'd bet typical users would see a difference in overall 'snappiness' between systems with an i3 cpu and an i7 cpu.

Jim
I'd be kind of surprised if a "typical user" gets even close to filling 250 GB.
patrick
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by patrick »

ajcp wrote:
magellan wrote: IMO, this is the problem with an SSD approach. 250GB of storage isn't very future-proof, and unless you're willing to deal with 2 drives, stepping up to 500GB means a $200 increase vs. an HDD. IMO, you'd get more future proofing for less money with an i5 processor and an HDD. In 2-3 years you could upgrade the HDD to an SSD for cheap money if you wanted to. HDD upgrades are very easy while cpu upgrades usually aren't worth the hassle.

As someone who uses both SSD and HDD based systems, I'd assert that aside from boot up time and initial application load time, typical users won't notice much difference between SSD and HDD based systems. OTOH, I'd bet typical users would see a difference in overall 'snappiness' between systems with an i3 cpu and an i7 cpu.

Jim
I'd be kind of surprised if a "typical user" gets even close to filling 250 GB.
It may not be that hard to fill. If you like to store video files, it is fairly easy to fill up 250GB. Each hour of video will usually take at least a few gigabytes or more, depending on the resolution and type of compression.

I doubt the difference between otherwise identical i3 and i7 machines would be that easy to notice. The main difference between i7 and i3 is that it usually has more cores (4 on the i7 versus 2 on the i3). There'd be little opportunity to see a difference unless you were doing something that would have 3 or more threads actively running at once, which I suspect is uncommon in typical use.
ajcp
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by ajcp »

patrick wrote:
ajcp wrote:
magellan wrote: IMO, this is the problem with an SSD approach. 250GB of storage isn't very future-proof, and unless you're willing to deal with 2 drives, stepping up to 500GB means a $200 increase vs. an HDD. IMO, you'd get more future proofing for less money with an i5 processor and an HDD. In 2-3 years you could upgrade the HDD to an SSD for cheap money if you wanted to. HDD upgrades are very easy while cpu upgrades usually aren't worth the hassle.

As someone who uses both SSD and HDD based systems, I'd assert that aside from boot up time and initial application load time, typical users won't notice much difference between SSD and HDD based systems. OTOH, I'd bet typical users would see a difference in overall 'snappiness' between systems with an i3 cpu and an i7 cpu.

Jim
I'd be kind of surprised if a "typical user" gets even close to filling 250 GB.
It may not be that hard to fill. If you like to store video files, it is fairly easy to fill up 250GB. Each hour of video will usually take at least a few gigabytes or more, depending on the resolution and type of compression.

I doubt the difference between otherwise identical i3 and i7 machines would be that easy to notice. The main difference between i7 and i3 is that it usually has more cores (4 on the i7 versus 2 on the i3). There'd be little opportunity to see a difference unless you were doing something that would have 3 or more threads actively running at once, which I suspect is uncommon in typical use.
I'm not saying it's not easy to fill. I'm saying I doubt the average computer user has many hours of HD video on their computer.
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Epsilon Delta »

Possibly of interest.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2455305,00.asp
Microsoft's latest promotion has the company dishing out a $100 on-the-spot discount for those looking to purchase a new PC or Windows Surface device priced at $599 or more. As always, there are a few catches with the promotion.

First off, you have to actually be browsing Microsoft's store using a computer that's running Windows XP in order to even see the offer to begin with. That, or you can take the more fun approach to the promotion: If you physically lug in a Windows XP to a Microsoft Store, they'll give you the $100 savings. (Here's hoping your ancient desktop computer is a wee small.)
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magellan
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by magellan »

patrick wrote:I doubt the difference between otherwise identical i3 and i7 machines would be that easy to notice. The main difference between i7 and i3 is that it usually has more cores (4 on the i7 versus 2 on the i3).
The i7 has double the cpu cache compared to the i3 and it supports turbo boost which bumps up the internal processor clock up by as much as 60%. Turbo Boost has the most impact when fewer cores are active, which is a big part of why an i7 system can feel so much snappier than an i3 system, even when doing basic tasks. Here's a link.
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iceport
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by iceport »

Dyloot wrote:I'd take a 4th Gen i3 with 4GB of ram and an SSD over an i7 with 4GB and a 7200 RPM drive for any Office/Email/Internet user out there. Meaning, if your use case is web browsers, Outlook, and Microsoft Office, your top speed gain is going to be that SSD.
I'll vouch for part of this. I chose the latest i7 with 12 GB RAM and a 7200 RPM drive. By monitoring the task manager, it's clear that the hard drive is the slow link in the system. It rarely bogs down, and even then only very briefly, but the internet security/anti-virus software can tax the hard drive at times.

That said, I'm glad to have the newer processor and more RAM. I hope to get the 9 years of supported Windows 8.1 I've got coming to me with this machine!

--Peter
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein
terminer
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by terminer »

Harold wrote:... I’ve got no interest in gaming, instead using the computer for documents, spreadsheets, web browsing etc. I’d probably also use it for whatever the current state of the art is – interactive video and I’m sure other stuff I’m not even aware of.
Harold,

I'd seriously consider doing a clean install of Windows7/8 on your existing machine and then spending the money you've saved on a faster/bigger monitor and possibly a tablet - imo that's really what's starting to change how people use computers (or a holiday if a tablet really doesn't appeal !). If you have no performance or reliability problems with your current system then you're unlikely to see much benefit in newer hardware - I've just posted on my experience upgrading an older Intel Core2 2.4Ghz machine which was fine for exactly the same sort of stuff you're doing under XP and still is under Win8.1. You can run the upgrade assistants for Win7 and 8 to get some idea of any possible driver issues - that's the only caveat.

A monitor upgrade could well be worth it - LCD speeds and viewing angles have improved significantly in the last 5-7 years so If you have an older LCD monitor then you'll likely find a newer monitor makes a very visible difference if you want to start watching streaming video.
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by patrick »

magellan wrote:
patrick wrote:I doubt the difference between otherwise identical i3 and i7 machines would be that easy to notice. The main difference between i7 and i3 is that it usually has more cores (4 on the i7 versus 2 on the i3).
The i7 has double the cpu cache compared to the i3 and it supports turbo boost which bumps up the internal processor clock up by as much as 60%. Turbo Boost has the most impact when fewer cores are active, which is a big part of why an i7 system can feel so much snappier than an i3 system, even when doing basic tasks. Here's a link.
For the top i7 processors the basic clock rate is 3.4 or 3.5 Ghz and Turbo Boost only raises it to 3.9 Ghz. The top i3 processor has the clock rate fixed at 3.6 Ghz -- not much lower than the i7 with Turbo Boost active. Single thread benchmarks show the i7 not much faster than the i3: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/singleThread.html
tj
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by tj »

Harold,

what is your budget?


I use a computer for similar things as you - I found two computers, one with windows 7, the other with windows 8. I ordered the one with windows 8 because it has more ram and it didn't cost much more:

Our IT person said these computers would be just fine for what I need them for, so I imagine it is similar for you. Looks like NewEgg dropped the price even more, it was $539 on Wednesday...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EOGGSD4

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6883220562
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magellan
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by magellan »

patrick wrote:For the top i7 processors the basic clock rate is 3.4 or 3.5 Ghz and Turbo Boost only raises it to 3.9 Ghz. The top i3 processor has the clock rate fixed at 3.6 Ghz -- not much lower than the i7 with Turbo Boost active. Single thread benchmarks show the i7 not much faster than the i3: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/singleThread.html
My original comment was based on my unscientific sense from owning both a third gen i7 laptop ($900) and a second gen i3 laptop ($400 - this is my wife's, but I use it from time to time). The laptops were purchased 3 months apart and my laptop feels a ton snappier than hers. The performance improvements from 2nd gen to 3rd gen cpus don't really explain this, so I always attributed it to i3 vs i7 differences.

Still, those benchmarks got me curious. The single thread test scores are 1822 for my Dell i7 (i3-3770QM) and 1164 for DW's Asus i3 (i3-2370M 2.4G). To get another data point, I ran my own mini 'real-world' benchmark. I used the single threaded Monte Carlo retirement simulation at FlexibleRetirementPlanner.com. For long runtime, I used the sensitivity analysis feature with default inputs and $600k for the taxable portfolio value. This single threaded java simulation does basic math and data manipulation as well as some light java GUI stuff. During the test, the disk light doesn't flicker on either machine.

The single threaded benchmark you posted shows a 50% difference in performance between our laptop cpus. In my own test, DW's i3 laptop consistently took 3x the time to run compared to the i7 system (88 seconds vs 25 seconds). Perhaps my wife's Asus laptop is horribly architected compared to my Latitude i7 laptop (E6530). That's probably somewhat true. Also, it's at least a little about 2nd gen vs 3rd gen differences. Still, there was a 3x difference in run time between two fairly current machines in a single threaded test.

If nothing else, this proves that huge real world performance differences can exist between low end machines and high end machines, even with single threaded tasks. Entry level cpus do offer great value, but cpu horsepower is often an issue at the end of a machine's life, especially considering the ease of disk and memory upgrades. With that in mind, I still contend that skimping on the cpu to get an SSD isn't a great way to maximize system longevity.

Jim
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Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold »

I've read and appreciated all the responses. Thank you for that.

I'm leaning towards pushing the button this morning and getting the following:

Acer Aspire ATC-605-UR13 Desktop PC Intel Core i5 4440 (3.10GHz) 10GB DDR3 1TB HDD Capacity Windows 8.1 -- for $559.99.

If any of you scream NO! I may reconsider.
Valuethinker
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Valuethinker »

Harold wrote:I've read and appreciated all the responses. Thank you for that.

I'm leaning towards pushing the button this morning and getting the following:

Acer Aspire ATC-605-UR13 Desktop PC Intel Core i5 4440 (3.10GHz) 10GB DDR3 1TB HDD Capacity Windows 8.1 -- for $559.99.

If any of you scream NO! I may reconsider.
For future proofing go for the i7 if you can. It is the thing that is almost impossible to change, later (not worth it). Since heat and power consumption are not an issue on a desktop, you might as well give yourself the best processor on the block. Doesn't have to be the top of the line i7, just an i7 over an i5.
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Valuethinker »

magellan wrote:
If nothing else, this proves that huge real world performance differences can exist between low end machines and high end machines, even with single threaded tasks. Entry level cpus do offer great value, but cpu horsepower is often an issue at the end of a machine's life, especially considering the ease of disk and memory upgrades. With that in mind, I still contend that skimping on the cpu to get an SSD isn't a great way to maximize system longevity.

Jim
As an inexpert buyer, this is very much my thinking, too.
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Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold »

Okay thanks. Exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.

I had created a "minimum spec" template, since I'm not a hardcore computer user and didn't want to overbuy. But I don't have any real budget limitation, so I can certainly get the i7.
Valuethinker
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Valuethinker »

Harold wrote:Okay thanks. Exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.

I had created a "minimum spec" template, since I'm not a hardcore computer user and didn't want to overbuy. But I don't have any real budget limitation, so I can certainly get the i7.
Then you have your answer. The rest is ample for most purposes (you'll fill that hard drive if you start storing video, but you should have external backup anyways). Paying $50 or $100 more for an i7 processor won't kill you, and might buy you another 1-2 years use (when we get to full online videconferencing and who knows even Virtual Reality, then that's when I could see the processor becoming an issue).

What I don't know is what you do about sound card and graphics card. I took the view that since I did NOT want to start playing computer games, I would just go with Intel's on chip functionality BUT my interest in storing and distributing music from my computer has grown since then, and so I possibly regret that decision. But it's not something I know enough about.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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