Advice on Desktop PC

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TheNightsToCome
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Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:52 pm

Greetings Bogleheads:

My 2009 desktop PC is overdue for replacement and I'm seeking advice on the next purchase. The new PC should have:

1. Top-notch sound quality for iTunes;

2. A large monitor with great picture quality for streaming TV and movies. I’ve haven’t used a PC for this purpose in the past, so if I need special ports or equipment for this function I’d appreciate a heads-up.

I access the Internet and use spreadsheets and Word docs, but don’t play games.

I probably don’t want an all-in-one because I’ve read that a tower will provide better performance for the money, and if the monitor fails on an all-in-one then you’ve lost your whole computer (instead of just the monitor).

If you’re tech-savvy, please advise on speakers, monitors, processors, hard-drive and RAM size, etc. Unfortunately, I am not tech-savvy.

Thanks for any insights.

detroitbabu
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by detroitbabu » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:20 am

You don't need a desktop PC for what you want to do.
Get a cheap laptop in the $400-$500 range and get a Bluetooth speaker ($100) and chromecast ($35).

gregchesney
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by gregchesney » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:16 am

I am partial to the all-in-one desktop's. I have been eyeing the curved HPs for an upgrade.

http://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-envy-c ... 32AA%23ABA

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F150HD
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by F150HD » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:17 am

You don't need a desktop PC for what you want to do.
Get a cheap laptop in the $400-$500 range and get a Bluetooth speaker ($100) and chromecast ($35).

And for the cost of that link you could by a HUGE nice TV and a Roku to stream movies/TV etc, and then buy a very nice laptop for all other needs.

ThatGuy
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by ThatGuy » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:38 am

detroitbabu wrote:You don't need a desktop PC for what you want to do.
Get a cheap laptop in the $400-$500 range and get a Bluetooth speaker ($100) and chromecast ($35).
Some of us prefer a desktop. The ergonomics of a laptop are HORRIBLE. I can't imagine being comfortable watching movies/tv with my neck cranked over for a laptop. Also, you pay more for cramming components into smaller volumes and dealing with heat.
Work is the curse of the drinking class - Oscar Wilde

Nowizard
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Nowizard » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:42 am

Most any will do. Being similarly non-tech savvy, my last purchase was a Lenovo. I suspect this applies to other makes, but it was jammed with all sorts of pre-loaded apps and programs that are not needed. I must have deleted 30 different apps, and there are numerous others that cannot be deleted that clutter the hard drive. The only thing I need is a Word program, access to the Internet and email. Basic speakers of low cost are fine. Anything else is for those who enjoy technology rather than only wanting it where it adds convenience. A desktop keyboard is easier to navigate and allows a larger monitor though you can attach such to a laptop which sounds like converting a laptop to a desktop to those of us who just want a Boglehead approach to simplicity.

Tim

jebmke
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jebmke » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:56 am

Nowizard wrote:Most any will do. Being similarly non-tech savvy, my last purchase was a Lenovo. I suspect this applies to other makes, but it was jammed with all sorts of pre-loaded apps and programs that are not needed. I must have deleted 30 different apps, and there are numerous others that cannot be deleted that clutter the hard drive. The only thing I need is a Word program, access to the Internet and email. Basic speakers of low cost are fine. Anything else is for those who enjoy technology rather than only wanting it where it adds convenience. A desktop keyboard is easier to navigate and allows a larger monitor though you can attach such to a laptop which sounds like converting a laptop to a desktop to those of us who just want a Boglehead approach to simplicity.

Tim
I'm guessing that the app clutter is more a function of the Windows 10 installation than the specific manufacturer. I typically reinstall a clean OS when I get a new computer. Some of the Windows 10 apps can be deleted easily but others take some work. A lot of the clutter can be hidden by using ClassicShell.

I like either Dell or Lenovo. For laptops, my preference is Lenovo. I recently replaced my personal laptop with a Dell desktop which has been working well. The prior laptop never left my desk for almost 7 years.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Topic Author
TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:03 am

jebmke wrote:
Nowizard wrote:Most any will do. Being similarly non-tech savvy, my last purchase was a Lenovo. I suspect this applies to other makes, but it was jammed with all sorts of pre-loaded apps and programs that are not needed. I must have deleted 30 different apps, and there are numerous others that cannot be deleted that clutter the hard drive. The only thing I need is a Word program, access to the Internet and email. Basic speakers of low cost are fine. Anything else is for those who enjoy technology rather than only wanting it where it adds convenience. A desktop keyboard is easier to navigate and allows a larger monitor though you can attach such to a laptop which sounds like converting a laptop to a desktop to those of us who just want a Boglehead approach to simplicity.

Tim
I'm guessing that the app clutter is more a function of the Windows 10 installation than the specific manufacturer. I typically reinstall a clean OS when I get a new computer. Some of the Windows 10 apps can be deleted easily but others take some work. A lot of the clutter can be hidden by using ClassicShell.

I like either Dell or Lenovo. For laptops, my preference is Lenovo. I recently replaced my personal laptop with a Dell desktop which has been working well. The prior laptop never left my desk for almost 7 years.
So if I call Dell, what should I request? What speakers for best sound quality? What large monitor for best picture quality? Which processor and how much RAM/Hard drive? What other specs might be important?

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:06 am

I view desktops as entirely obsolete. Get a nice laptop and add a full size keyboard, mouse, and a large monitor. Plug the full size accessories in to a powered post replicator and you are good to go, And when you travel or just want your computer in another room, just unplug and use the laptop. Unless you need gamer or video production level power there is very little need to get a desktop.

I'd also suggest avoiding windows and using a mac. I used windows machines for 25 years, switched to macs 5 years ago and would never go back to the silly level of hassle in keeping a windows system tuned and healthy.

Topic Author
TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:17 am

jabberwockOG wrote:I view desktops as entirely obsolete. Get a nice laptop and add a full size keyboard, mouse, and a large monitor. Plug the full size accessories in to a powered post replicator and you are good to go, And when you travel or just want your computer in another room, just unplug and use the laptop. Unless you need gamer or video production level power there is very little need to get a desktop.

I'd also suggest avoiding windows and using a mac. I used windows machines for 25 years, switched to macs 5 years ago and would never go back to the silly level of hassle in keeping a windows system tuned and healthy.
This computer will sit in my home office on a spacious desk where I do all of my work. It won't accompany me on vacation and I don't travel for business. I don't want to carry it from room to room. We already have a laptop that my wife uses. I'm looking for a desktop PC.

I'm fairly sure that I need to stick with Windows because I connect to work from home and my employer's software isn't Mac-compatible.

jebmke
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jebmke » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:34 am

TheNightsToCome wrote:
jebmke wrote:
Nowizard wrote:Most any will do. Being similarly non-tech savvy, my last purchase was a Lenovo. I suspect this applies to other makes, but it was jammed with all sorts of pre-loaded apps and programs that are not needed. I must have deleted 30 different apps, and there are numerous others that cannot be deleted that clutter the hard drive. The only thing I need is a Word program, access to the Internet and email. Basic speakers of low cost are fine. Anything else is for those who enjoy technology rather than only wanting it where it adds convenience. A desktop keyboard is easier to navigate and allows a larger monitor though you can attach such to a laptop which sounds like converting a laptop to a desktop to those of us who just want a Boglehead approach to simplicity.

Tim
I'm guessing that the app clutter is more a function of the Windows 10 installation than the specific manufacturer. I typically reinstall a clean OS when I get a new computer. Some of the Windows 10 apps can be deleted easily but others take some work. A lot of the clutter can be hidden by using ClassicShell.

I like either Dell or Lenovo. For laptops, my preference is Lenovo. I recently replaced my personal laptop with a Dell desktop which has been working well. The prior laptop never left my desk for almost 7 years.
So if I call Dell, what should I request? What speakers for best sound quality? What large monitor for best picture quality? Which processor and how much RAM/Hard drive? What other specs might be important?
Take a look on their web site.

For most general purpose use (office apps, browsing, basic video streaming etc) an Intel i3 or i5 processor would be adequate. For memory, I would not go less than 8gb. I did not get a solid state hard drive because my computer remains on all the time and applications open up quick enough for me with a conventional hard drive. If you think you might do anything like picture editing, I'd opt for more memory and the faster processor.

Don't know much about their displays. I have an Asus LED display so I just bought a computer without a display. If I were buying a new display today, I'd look at Asus again or maybe LG or Samsung.

Don't know much about speakers - I rarely have mine on (mine are an old pair of speakers from a prior system).
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Kenkat
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Kenkat » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:49 am

You should be able to do everything you want to do with a pen and paper, abacus and phonograph player. Just kidding...

Sound quality is going to be more a function of the speakers you buy than the PC. I would look for something powered with a separate sub-woofer. My sons have Logitech speaker systems that were around $100-125 each that sound really great.

Similar story with the monitor - the base PC should be able to support whatever you buy unless you want to get into heavy PC gaming. Higher end monitors will be IPS LED backlit so if you want to go all out, look for something in that category.

In terms of processors, I agree with the recommendation above that an Intel i5 is probably sufficient and 8gb memory.

I would get a computer with a solid state drive instead of a traditional hard drive; huge performance difference when my older son upgraded his gaming computer to a solid state drive.

I am with you that I still prefer a desktop sometimes; I use my iPad if I want to be mobile.

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CardinalRule
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by CardinalRule » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:55 am

I like all-in-ones for some situations. I use a laptop for work (with a docking station) and I bring it home sometimes, but I am really happy with my personal setup at home:

HP Pavilion 24t All-in-One PC (roughly $700)
ViewSonic VX2376-smhd 23” HD monitor (roughly $150)
AmazonBasics Large Portable Bluetooth Speaker (roughly $50)

The PC is speedy, with good graphics, and the second monitor hooks up to the all-in-one with an HDMI cable, giving me a nice two-screen Windows 10 experience for less than $1,000. The sound from the speaker is great for streaming music and watching television and movies. No visible cables on my desk. :happy

The setup doesn't have a DVD drive, but I have an portable drive that I could attach via USB if needed (I just haven't had to, except to install Quicken and WillMaker). I bought my computer and monitor in February 2017 from HP.com and NewEgg, respectively.
TheNightsToCome wrote:Greetings Bogleheads:

My 2009 desktop PC is overdue for replacement and I'm seeking advice on the next purchase. The new PC should have:

1. Top-notch sound quality for iTunes;

2. A large monitor with great picture quality for streaming TV and movies. I’ve haven’t used a PC for this purpose in the past, so if I need special ports or equipment for this function I’d appreciate a heads-up.

I access the Internet and use spreadsheets and Word docs, but don’t play games.

I probably don’t want an all-in-one because I’ve read that a tower will provide better performance for the money, and if the monitor fails on an all-in-one then you’ve lost your whole computer (instead of just the monitor).

If you’re tech-savvy, please advise on speakers, monitors, processors, hard-drive and RAM size, etc. Unfortunately, I am not tech-savvy.

Thanks for any insights.

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Watty
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Watty » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:45 am

TheNightsToCome wrote:Top-notch sound quality..... A large monitor with great picture quality
Be careful what you ask for. An audiophile or videophile could spend thousands of dollars to get top notch performance that 99% of people could not tell was any better that a merely "good" even if they are side by side.

Desktops are not real popular right now so your can get really good prices on them so I suspect that a mid range one would be more than enough for you.
TheNightsToCome wrote:If you’re tech-savvy, please advise on speakers, monitors, processors, hard-drive and RAM size, etc. Unfortunately, I am not tech-savvy.
Not a super guru but if you are not on real tight budget then here are some generic suggestions. If you are on a tighter budget there are still lots of ways to reduce the cost and still have a good system.

1) Dell or Lenovo desktop, or mayba ASUS would be my first choice. Watch the case size. Some "desktops" are in tiny cases now so you have to watch out for that. The larger desktop usually will be easier to repair and has more room if you ever want to add something. Some small desktops cannot be expanded. One of the smaller cases is OK as long as you understand the trade offs.

2) Minimum of 8GB of memory, 12 or 16 would be better.

3) Minimum of 1 terabyte of disk space

4) An i5 processor or higher end i7 if can get a good price on it. (This is more complex but the details likely won't matter to you since you don't do things like heavy duty gaming or video editing.)

5) 4 USB ports is very minimal, more is better. Some should be USB 3 since it much faster.

6) A 24 inch monitor. For using it as a computer at some point bigger is not always better. Many if not most desktops have HDMI output so you can likely plug it into your normal TV if you want to but you would also need a second connector for your normal monitor which most. As other said getting some sort of inexpensive box for your TV is likely a better choice for streaming video. Monitors come in different aspect ratios, like widescreen, so know what you are buying. If you don't buy a bundle check that;
a) The monitor has a video connector that matches what you computer has.
b) Your computer will support the native resolution of the monitor.

7) The sound is more complicated. Good stero speakers will be enough for most people but you might want to get the 5.1 multiple surround sound home theatre type speakers. I don't know much about that, but as I understand it many audio sources don't support 5.1 sound so you could pay extra for something you don't actually use much.

8) Budget for an external drive to back up the computer.

9) If you have things like printers or scanners check to see if they will work with Windows 10.

10) Check to see which software you may need to buy for your new computer. If you use MS Office then the free Office Libre is a very reasonable substitute for many people.

I would look at the 4th of July sales this weekend to see what is on sale with those specification. Be sure to Google the model that is on sale to read the reviews. There will always be some people that got unlucky had one with a problem but that will help you avoid the occasional bad model where lots of people had the same problem.

A couple of buying tips.

A few states have a tax free back to school weekends in August where you might not need to pay the sales tax so you might want to wait for that. There will also be back to school sales soon.

Many credit cards will double your warranty so be sure to buy it with one of those.

If you buy a computer at Costco with a Costco credit card you get a four year warranty.

Out of curiosity I just looked and this bundle looked really interesting if you have, or can get, a Costco Credit card

https://www.costco.com/Dell-Inspiron-De ... 39477.html
Last edited by Watty on Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:51 am, edited 3 times in total.

mrb09
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by mrb09 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:47 am

2. A large monitor with great picture quality for streaming TV and movies. I’ve haven’t used a PC for this purpose in the past, so if I need special ports or equipment for this function I’d appreciate a heads-up.
You can look at monitors separately from your desktop system, they are entirely mix & match. A separate monitor will also work with most laptops (but see my comment about USB-C). You'll want to decide on resolution. A good safe choice is the TV "1080p" standard, that's 1920 x 1080 pixels. I have a 24" monitor with that resolution, that's a good size for desktop. Go to 27" if you have trouble with small font text. You can go bigger pixel resolution ("4k") but (IMO) you're losing your bang for buck. Most monitors use the same HDMI cable you use for a TV. There's another standard called "displayport" that's a superset of HDMI, that just uses another type of cable. Your desktop and monitor just need to match, you can't mix & match HDMI and displayport without an adapter.

Another thing you'll want to decide on is how you get your sound. Some monitors have built-in speakers, or a speaker jack that will drive speakers from the sound signal of the HDMI/displayport connection, or you can attach speakers to your desktop, or you can drive your HDMI cable through a soundbar just like a TV. In general if you're using HDMI, anything that works for TV HDMI (soundbars, etc) will work just fine.

Newer laptops are starting to use USB-C for external monitors. You can get monitors that support USB-C, I might be out of date but these are probably going to be slightly higher end monitors because of the newness.

I'll just also mention that if you're looking for streaming movies, you can get a TV and $40 amazon firestick (or google chromecast or roku) that will stream just fine.

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Pajamas
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Pajamas » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:54 am

jabberwockOG wrote:I view desktops as entirely obsolete. Get a nice laptop and add a full size keyboard, mouse, and a large monitor. Plug the full size accessories in to a powered post replicator and you are good to go, And when you travel or just want your computer in another room, just unplug and use the laptop. Unless you need gamer or video production level power there is very little need to get a desktop.

I'd also suggest avoiding windows and using a mac. I used windows machines for 25 years, switched to macs 5 years ago and would never go back to the silly level of hassle in keeping a windows system tuned and healthy.
Desktop computers are still generally less expensive for what you get in computing technical specs than a notebook or tablet. Some people don't need a portable computer or are better off with a $300 Chromebook or a tablet.
Last edited by Pajamas on Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Alexa9
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:15 am

Dell Tower
7th Gen i3
256GB SSD for programs + 1-3TB HD for files
8-16GB RAM
I recommend hooking it up to your TV via HDMI as a HTPC.

Mac Standaone Desktops haven't been updated in 3+ years. I do prefer MacOS but their hardware in the Mac Mini/Pro is several generations old.

detroitbabu
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by detroitbabu » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:14 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
detroitbabu wrote:You don't need a desktop PC for what you want to do.
Get a cheap laptop in the $400-$500 range and get a Bluetooth speaker ($100) and chromecast ($35).
Some of us prefer a desktop. The ergonomics of a laptop are HORRIBLE. I can't imagine being comfortable watching movies/tv with my neck cranked over for a laptop. Also, you pay more for cramming components into smaller volumes and dealing with heat.
I do not think you understand how chromecast works.
With Chromecast you can stream audio and video to sound system/speakers and TV.
So you are not restricted to the laptop speakers and screen.

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Alexa9
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:13 pm

detroitbabu wrote:
ThatGuy wrote:
detroitbabu wrote:You don't need a desktop PC for what you want to do.
Get a cheap laptop in the $400-$500 range and get a Bluetooth speaker ($100) and chromecast ($35).
Some of us prefer a desktop. The ergonomics of a laptop are HORRIBLE. I can't imagine being comfortable watching movies/tv with my neck cranked over for a laptop. Also, you pay more for cramming components into smaller volumes and dealing with heat.
I do not think you understand how chromecast works.
With Chromecast you can stream audio and video to sound system/speakers and TV.
So you are not restricted to the laptop speakers and screen.
Chromecast and a cheap laptop are no substitute for a fully capable desktop computer that you can hook directly to a TV or dual monitors.

detroitbabu
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by detroitbabu » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:18 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
detroitbabu wrote:
ThatGuy wrote:
detroitbabu wrote:You don't need a desktop PC for what you want to do.
Get a cheap laptop in the $400-$500 range and get a Bluetooth speaker ($100) and chromecast ($35).
Some of us prefer a desktop. The ergonomics of a laptop are HORRIBLE. I can't imagine being comfortable watching movies/tv with my neck cranked over for a laptop. Also, you pay more for cramming components into smaller volumes and dealing with heat.
I do not think you understand how chromecast works.
With Chromecast you can stream audio and video to sound system/speakers and TV.
So you are not restricted to the laptop speakers and screen.
Chromecast and a cheap laptop are no substitute for a fully capable desktop computer that you can hook directly to a TV or dual monitors.
To each his own..
Plus I was simply explaining that you do not need to watch tv/movies on a small laptop screen which was the objection from "Thatguy".

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:30 pm

"You should be able to do everything you want to do with a pen and paper, abacus and phonograph player. Just kidding..."

This is great. :-) (Go Bengals.)

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telemark
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by telemark » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:26 pm

I'm very happy watching streaming video on my Dell Ultrasharp U2412. This is a 24 inch monitor with 1920 x 1200 resolution: I prefer this to the more common 1920 x 1080 for desktop use because it gives me more height. I bought it in 2012 and it's still going strong. but I won't recommend it because Dell doesn't sell it anymore. Here are some points to consider.

IPS. For watching video on a large screen you really want an IPS monitor. Older LCD technologies have limited viewing angles: they only look right if you're looking at them straight on, which is fine for a laptop but not so good for TV watching. IPS monitors look much better at other angles. These days everything you look at will probably be IPS.

Calibration matters. When I first hooked up my new Ultrasharp I almost felt sick (I paid $400 for this?). Then I ran through the monitor calibration on OS X and the quality improved immensely. Some monitors come calibrated from the factory but it never hurts to do it yourself.

LED backlighting. Older monitors use fluorescent lighting for the backlight, while newer ones use LED. The major difference is in power consumption, and how hot it gets. Again, these days everything is probably LED.

Input ports. HDMI has really taken over as the standard for video, but DVI and DisplayPort are still in use. My Dell has DVI and DisplayPort only, but it's easy to find cables to adapt between the different standards. Probably everything you look at now will come with HDMI inputs, but it's not a big deal if it doesn't.

The WireCutter is a good source for recommendations. See

http://thewirecutter.com/leaderboard/co ... /#monitors

Edit to add: I was wrong, you can still buy the 2412 model. Not sure if it's the best choice at this point, though.

mhalley
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by mhalley » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:42 pm

I'll touch on the sound quality. If you are a true audiophile, you might want to look into using something other than the built in audio on the motherboard, (some motherboards have good dacs, but it is a frequent place to cheap out) plus having some good speakers/headphones rather than just some "computer" speakers. This article talks about sound on the pc that will get you started:
http://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-take-your ... nce-to-11/
Of course this rabbit hole can cost much more than your pc, so you have to be a true audiophile to spend :dollar on some of the things in the article. The nice thing about this is you can buy the pc, and easily upgrade its sound later.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:52 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
jabberwockOG wrote:I view desktops as entirely obsolete. Get a nice laptop and add a full size keyboard, mouse, and a large monitor. Plug the full size accessories in to a powered post replicator and you are good to go, And when you travel or just want your computer in another room, just unplug and use the laptop. Unless you need gamer or video production level power there is very little need to get a desktop.

I'd also suggest avoiding windows and using a mac. I used windows machines for 25 years, switched to macs 5 years ago and would never go back to the silly level of hassle in keeping a windows system tuned and healthy.
This computer will sit in my home office on a spacious desk where I do all of my work. It won't accompany me on vacation and I don't travel for business. I don't want to carry it from room to room. We already have a laptop that my wife uses. I'm looking for a desktop PC.

I'm fairly sure that I need to stick with Windows because I connect to work from home and my employer's software isn't Mac-compatible.
I ran a macbook pro in and into many environments including former employer's (Fortune 100) that did not support windows, never an issue, in fact way less hassle with mac ios than running the recommended windows os and hardware.

Are there people who actually put desktop PCs on top of their desk?...clunkorama. I'm a little surprised that "desktop" PCs are still being sold in consumer market. Different strokes for different folks.

lack_ey
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by lack_ey » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:54 pm

You don't need a new computer. It sounds more like you would be well served by better monitors and speakers. The computer specs are largely irrelevant for what you're asking for. The only thing to mention is that solid-state storage (an SSD) would be a plus for faster loading times and system responsiveness. About everything else is not going to matter for what you need. You probably don't want to spend more than a few hundred dollars on the box itself.

Speakers and monitor would depend on your budget.

I would say for most people, larger screen size is probably better (you'll get used to it). You can get 32" 2560x1440 monitors (VA, so blacks similar to most TVs) for around $300 these days. I would start from there and scale up or down depending.

For speakers, again, depends on how much you want to spend, how much space you have, etc.

How much are you looking to spend?

tigermilk
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by tigermilk » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:00 pm

jabberwockOG wrote:I view desktops as entirely obsolete. Get a nice laptop and add a full size keyboard, mouse, and a large monitor. Plug the full size accessories in to a powered post replicator and you are good to go, And when you travel or just want your computer in another room, just unplug and use the laptop. Unless you need gamer or video production level power there is very little need to get a desktop.

I'd also suggest avoiding windows and using a mac. I used windows machines for 25 years, switched to macs 5 years ago and would never go back to the silly level of hassle in keeping a windows system tuned and healthy.
Sometimes I telecommute. On those days I'm very thankful for having a desktop. Why? Power. I run some fairly complicated engineering analysis, and CPU speed and RAM trump all. Yes I can find a laptop with plenty under the hood, but a laptop equivalent to my desktop would be $4k+. Can you name one sub $2k 4+ GHz CPU laptop on the market? I'm considering building a new machine and still no laptop will do what I want - 64 or 128 gig Ram, 11gb video card, 4.2 GHz CPU. No, desktops are not obsolete, even if you aren't doing video (I'm not) or gaming (I am).

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:09 pm

tigermilk wrote:
jabberwockOG wrote:I view desktops as entirely obsolete. Get a nice laptop and add a full size keyboard, mouse, and a large monitor. Plug the full size accessories in to a powered post replicator and you are good to go, And when you travel or just want your computer in another room, just unplug and use the laptop. Unless you need gamer or video production level power there is very little need to get a desktop.

I'd also suggest avoiding windows and using a mac. I used windows machines for 25 years, switched to macs 5 years ago and would never go back to the silly level of hassle in keeping a windows system tuned and healthy.
Sometimes I telecommute. On those days I'm very thankful for having a desktop. Why? Power. I run some fairly complicated engineering analysis, and CPU speed and RAM trump all. Yes I can find a laptop with plenty under the hood, but a laptop equivalent to my desktop would be $4k+. Can you name one sub $2k 4+ GHz CPU laptop on the market? I'm considering building a new machine and still no laptop will do what I want - 64 or 128 gig Ram, 11gb video card, 4.2 GHz CPU. No, desktops are not obsolete, even if you aren't doing video (I'm not) or gaming (I am).

Agree - for an actual power user laptop can get expensive and not a good fit compared to desktop or tower system. Like 95% of folks these my PC needs are primarily using lightweight client apps and things like email, music, utube, participating in forums and other general web browser use.

In general the form factor is rapidly shrinking in personal computing. Tough call at this point, laptops may well disappear as phones become super high power general purpose PCs that take calls and pictures rather than phones that can perform some PC functions.
Last edited by jabberwockOG on Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:18 pm

lack_ey wrote:You don't need a new computer. It sounds more like you would be well served by better monitors and speakers. The computer specs are largely irrelevant for what you're asking for. The only thing to mention is that solid-state storage (an SSD) would be a plus for faster loading times and system responsiveness. About everything else is not going to matter for what you need. You probably don't want to spend more than a few hundred dollars on the box itself.

Speakers and monitor would depend on your budget.

I would say for most people, larger screen size is probably better (you'll get used to it). You can get 32" 2560x1440 monitors (VA, so blacks similar to most TVs) for around $300 these days. I would start from there and scale up or down depending.

For speakers, again, depends on how much you want to spend, how much space you have, etc.

How much are you looking to spend?
$300 for the monitor you describe sounds too good to be true. I was looking at the Dell UltraSharp U2717D for $569.99: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ult ... ccessories

Where can I get a 32" monitor with comparable reviews for less?

sambb
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by sambb » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:19 pm

iMac is a top rated option

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:23 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
lack_ey wrote:You don't need a new computer. It sounds more like you would be well served by better monitors and speakers. The computer specs are largely irrelevant for what you're asking for. The only thing to mention is that solid-state storage (an SSD) would be a plus for faster loading times and system responsiveness. About everything else is not going to matter for what you need. You probably don't want to spend more than a few hundred dollars on the box itself.

Speakers and monitor would depend on your budget.

I would say for most people, larger screen size is probably better (you'll get used to it). You can get 32" 2560x1440 monitors (VA, so blacks similar to most TVs) for around $300 these days. I would start from there and scale up or down depending.

For speakers, again, depends on how much you want to spend, how much space you have, etc.

How much are you looking to spend?
$300 for the monitor you describe sounds too good to be true. I was looking at the Dell UltraSharp U2717D for $569.99: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ult ... ccessories

Where can I get a 32" monitor with comparable reviews for less?

Shop online for Samsung or LG monitors - several highly rated models for around 300-400. Dell monitors are nice but somewhat overpriced given current competion.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:24 pm

jabberwockOG wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:
lack_ey wrote:You don't need a new computer. It sounds more like you would be well served by better monitors and speakers. The computer specs are largely irrelevant for what you're asking for. The only thing to mention is that solid-state storage (an SSD) would be a plus for faster loading times and system responsiveness. About everything else is not going to matter for what you need. You probably don't want to spend more than a few hundred dollars on the box itself.

Speakers and monitor would depend on your budget.

I would say for most people, larger screen size is probably better (you'll get used to it). You can get 32" 2560x1440 monitors (VA, so blacks similar to most TVs) for around $300 these days. I would start from there and scale up or down depending.

For speakers, again, depends on how much you want to spend, how much space you have, etc.

How much are you looking to spend?
$300 for the monitor you describe sounds too good to be true. I was looking at the Dell UltraSharp U2717D for $569.99: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ult ... ccessories

Where can I get a 32" monitor with comparable reviews for less?

Shop online for Samsung or LG monitors - several highly rated models for around 300-400. Dell monitors are nice (use dto be in class of their own 20 years ago) but overpriced given current competition.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:25 pm

jabberwockOG wrote:
jabberwockOG wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:
lack_ey wrote:You don't need a new computer. It sounds more like you would be well served by better monitors and speakers. The computer specs are largely irrelevant for what you're asking for. The only thing to mention is that solid-state storage (an SSD) would be a plus for faster loading times and system responsiveness. About everything else is not going to matter for what you need. You probably don't want to spend more than a few hundred dollars on the box itself.

Speakers and monitor would depend on your budget.

I would say for most people, larger screen size is probably better (you'll get used to it). You can get 32" 2560x1440 monitors (VA, so blacks similar to most TVs) for around $300 these days. I would start from there and scale up or down depending.

For speakers, again, depends on how much you want to spend, how much space you have, etc.

How much are you looking to spend?
$300 for the monitor you describe sounds too good to be true. I was looking at the Dell UltraSharp U2717D for $569.99: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ult ... ccessories

Where can I get a 32" monitor with comparable reviews for less?

Shop online for Samsung or LG monitors - several highly rated models for around 300-400. Dell monitors are very nice (used to be in class of their own many years ago) but overpriced given current competition.

lack_ey
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by lack_ey » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:30 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:$300 for the monitor you describe sounds too good to be true. I was looking at the Dell UltraSharp U2717D for $569.99: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ult ... ccessories

Where can I get a 32" monitor with comparable reviews for less?
Not comparable reviews, but HP Pavilion 32 for $300 at Best Buy:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-pavilion ... gQodVNUEKg

Refurb, for $270:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... lsrc=aw.ds

This is not unusual pricing, as it has been less. That's without getting into off-brand stuff. There are no-name Korean monitors using not-the-top-shelf panels that will give you 27" IPS with 2560x1440 resolution for like $160 new.

The Dell UltraSharp line is higher end and consequently more expensive. You pay a premium for it being a professional (or at least prosumer) line, with more stand adjustments, better build quality, better factory calibration, probably better consistency, etc. The U2717D uses an IPS panel, though, so that's lower contrast but with better viewing angles. The main thing is to just avoid TN panels for your purposes. No need to get one in this day and age, unless you're a hardcore gamer who prizes the lower response times.

There are many alternatives, anyway. There are a lot of potentially good choices depending on usage and budget.

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:42 pm

jabberwockOG wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:
jabberwockOG wrote:I view desktops as entirely obsolete. Get a nice laptop and add a full size keyboard, mouse, and a large monitor. Plug the full size accessories in to a powered post replicator and you are good to go, And when you travel or just want your computer in another room, just unplug and use the laptop. Unless you need gamer or video production level power there is very little need to get a desktop.

I'd also suggest avoiding windows and using a mac. I used windows machines for 25 years, switched to macs 5 years ago and would never go back to the silly level of hassle in keeping a windows system tuned and healthy.
This computer will sit in my home office on a spacious desk where I do all of my work. It won't accompany me on vacation and I don't travel for business. I don't want to carry it from room to room. We already have a laptop that my wife uses. I'm looking for a desktop PC.

I'm fairly sure that I need to stick with Windows because I connect to work from home and my employer's software isn't Mac-compatible.
I ran a macbook pro in and into many environments including former employer's (Fortune 100) that did not support windows, never an issue, in fact way less hassle with mac ios than running the recommended windows os and hardware.

Are there people who actually put desktop PCs on top of their desk?...clunkorama. I'm a little surprised that "desktop" PCs are still being sold in consumer market. Different strokes for different folks.
"Are there people who actually put desktop PCs on top of their desk?"

Yes. (Raises hand.)

I had a laptop in school because I needed to use it in class. Relative to my desktop, the keyboard was uncomfortable, the screen was too small, and it doubled as an electric blanket whether summer or winter. Despite those disadvantages, it provided less bang for the buck than the desktop. So, if portability offers no utility, why would you want a laptop?

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:50 pm

lack_ey wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:$300 for the monitor you describe sounds too good to be true. I was looking at the Dell UltraSharp U2717D for $569.99: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ult ... ccessories

Where can I get a 32" monitor with comparable reviews for less?
Not comparable reviews, but HP Pavilion 32 for $300 at Best Buy:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-pavilion ... gQodVNUEKg

Refurb, for $270:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... lsrc=aw.ds

This is not unusual pricing, as it has been less. That's without getting into off-brand stuff. There are no-name Korean monitors using not-the-top-shelf panels that will give you 27" IPS with 2560x1440 resolution for like $160 new.

The Dell UltraSharp line is higher end and consequently more expensive. You pay a premium for it being a professional (or at least prosumer) line, with more stand adjustments, better build quality, better factory calibration, probably better consistency, etc. The U2717D uses an IPS panel, though, so that's lower contrast but with better viewing angles. The main thing is to just avoid TN panels for your purposes. No need to get one in this day and age, unless you're a hardcore gamer who prizes the lower response times.

There are many alternatives, anyway. There are a lot of potentially good choices depending on usage and budget.
Thanks. That's helpful. Sounds like you believe the Dell is superior (so only question is whether it represents good value for extra $).

However, it doesn't have an HDMI 2.0 port. Is that a potential problem?

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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:52 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
jabberwockOG wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:
jabberwockOG wrote:I view desktops as entirely obsolete. Get a nice laptop and add a full size keyboard, mouse, and a large monitor. Plug the full size accessories in to a powered post replicator and you are good to go, And when you travel or just want your computer in another room, just unplug and use the laptop. Unless you need gamer or video production level power there is very little need to get a desktop.

I'd also suggest avoiding windows and using a mac. I used windows machines for 25 years, switched to macs 5 years ago and would never go back to the silly level of hassle in keeping a windows system tuned and healthy.
This computer will sit in my home office on a spacious desk where I do all of my work. It won't accompany me on vacation and I don't travel for business. I don't want to carry it from room to room. We already have a laptop that my wife uses. I'm looking for a desktop PC.

I'm fairly sure that I need to stick with Windows because I connect to work from home and my employer's software isn't Mac-compatible.
I ran a macbook pro in and into many environments including former employer's (Fortune 100) that did not support windows, never an issue, in fact way less hassle with mac ios than running the recommended windows os and hardware.

Are there people who actually put desktop PCs on top of their desk?...clunkorama. I'm a little surprised that "desktop" PCs are still being sold in consumer market. Different strokes for different folks.
"Are there people who actually put desktop PCs on top of their desk?"

Yes. (Raises hand.)

I had a laptop in school because I needed to use it in class. Relative to my desktop, the keyboard was uncomfortable, the screen was too small, and it doubled as an electric blanket whether summer or winter. Despite those disadvantages, it provided less bang for the buck than the desktop. So, if portability offers no utility, why would you want a laptop?
+1

My monitor is on a table (not exactly a desk though) next to my couch. Wireless trackball stays on my armrest and wireless keyboard where I choose to set it when it isn't in my lap. 99% of my computer usage is done from my couch. For the other 1% I have a Chromebook.

DW totes her Chromebook all around the house. We are both happy with our setups. Different strokes for different folks.

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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by tigermilk » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:55 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
lack_ey wrote:You don't need a new computer. It sounds more like you would be well served by better monitors and speakers. The computer specs are largely irrelevant for what you're asking for. The only thing to mention is that solid-state storage (an SSD) would be a plus for faster loading times and system responsiveness. About everything else is not going to matter for what you need. You probably don't want to spend more than a few hundred dollars on the box itself.

Speakers and monitor would depend on your budget.

I would say for most people, larger screen size is probably better (you'll get used to it). You can get 32" 2560x1440 monitors (VA, so blacks similar to most TVs) for around $300 these days. I would start from there and scale up or down depending.

For speakers, again, depends on how much you want to spend, how much space you have, etc.

How much are you looking to spend?
$300 for the monitor you describe sounds too good to be true. I was looking at the Dell UltraSharp U2717D for $569.99: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ult ... ccessories

Where can I get a 32" monitor with comparable reviews for less?
It's not less, but I bought a Dell u3415 ultra wide that has been great. It's higher resolution at 3440x1440, but 21:9 movies look great on it. And for working, it's like having 2 4:3 monitors.

lack_ey
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by lack_ey » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:01 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:Thanks. That's helpful. Sounds like you believe the Dell is superior (so only question is whether it represents good value for extra $).

However, it doesn't have an HDMI 2.0 port. Is that a potential problem?
The Ultrasharp U2717D is more premium but not strictly better. Contrast ratio would be closer to 1000:1 rather than 3000:1 so that's not even close. And if you want a higher size, the Pavilion 32 is obviously larger. For photo editing you would want the UltraSharp. For general professional use like spreadsheets, coding, etc. I would take the UltraSharp if at equal price. For watching movies and TV shows as you mentioned, even at equal price I would probably take the Pavilion 32. Different tools for different jobs. If you have a set budget and care about audio quality as well, I would definitely not pay that much more on the monitor, so you can allocate more money for the audio.

Check out the range of ultrawide monitors (21:9 resolution, like the U3415 just mentioned above) while you're at it. Some people prefer those, maybe having a curved screen, etc.

As for HDMI 2.0, it doesn't have a high enough refresh rate and resolution to need HDMI 2.0.

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:22 pm

tigermilk wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:
lack_ey wrote:You don't need a new computer. It sounds more like you would be well served by better monitors and speakers. The computer specs are largely irrelevant for what you're asking for. The only thing to mention is that solid-state storage (an SSD) would be a plus for faster loading times and system responsiveness. About everything else is not going to matter for what you need. You probably don't want to spend more than a few hundred dollars on the box itself.

Speakers and monitor would depend on your budget.

I would say for most people, larger screen size is probably better (you'll get used to it). You can get 32" 2560x1440 monitors (VA, so blacks similar to most TVs) for around $300 these days. I would start from there and scale up or down depending.

For speakers, again, depends on how much you want to spend, how much space you have, etc.

How much are you looking to spend?
$300 for the monitor you describe sounds too good to be true. I was looking at the Dell UltraSharp U2717D for $569.99: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ult ... ccessories

Where can I get a 32" monitor with comparable reviews for less?
It's not less, but I bought a Dell u3415 ultra wide that has been great. It's higher resolution at 3440x1440, but 21:9 movies look great on it. And for working, it's like having 2 4:3 monitors.
Thanks. I may purchase this one. I found this favorable review: http://www.pcmag.com/review/349654/dell ... tor-u3417w.

The only criticism pertained to gaming and price, but I don't play games and the price looks ok to me.

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:31 pm

lack_ey wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:Thanks. That's helpful. Sounds like you believe the Dell is superior (so only question is whether it represents good value for extra $).

However, it doesn't have an HDMI 2.0 port. Is that a potential problem?
The Ultrasharp U2717D is more premium but not strictly better. Contrast ratio would be closer to 1000:1 rather than 3000:1 so that's not even close. And if you want a higher size, the Pavilion 32 is obviously larger. For photo editing you would want the UltraSharp. For general professional use like spreadsheets, coding, etc. I would take the UltraSharp if at equal price. For watching movies and TV shows as you mentioned, even at equal price I would probably take the Pavilion 32. Different tools for different jobs. If you have a set budget and care about audio quality as well, I would definitely not pay that much more on the monitor, so you can allocate more money for the audio.

Check out the range of ultrawide monitors (21:9 resolution, like the U3415 just mentioned above) while you're at it. Some people prefer those, maybe having a curved screen, etc.

As for HDMI 2.0, it doesn't have a high enough refresh rate and resolution to need HDMI 2.0.
This review of the U3415W (below) reports it is "packed with a powerful audio system," and "the dual 9-watt speakers deliver a nice wall of sound." This will probably be more than enough for me, but I presume I could upgrade the sound system later in any case.

http://www.pcmag.com/review/349654/dell ... tor-u3417w

Thanks re: HDMI 2.0.

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:54 pm

I'm thinking of a tower like one of these two: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/compare? ... wvmxkb422s (Intel i7, 256 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM), along with the Dell 34" curved monitor that includes a reportedly impressive speaker set: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-34- ... ccessories.

Should I "Customize your system by upgrading to a NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 graphics card?" (I don't play games or do photo editing. I will watch football and movies.)

Thank you all for your help.

lack_ey
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by lack_ey » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:05 pm

Having good monitor speakers is like being one of the fastest toddlers in the room. If your expectations are limited and your needs relatively modest, you may be impressed, and maybe it'll work great. Seems like a massive misallocation of resources to me, though. There are certain limitations imposed by cost and physics that can't be designed around. Unless you meant "top-notch sound quality for iTunes" in the sense of listening only to podcasts and not music or movies, then that seems off.

The world of audio can go off the deep end when it comes to snobbery and snake oil, but seriously, there exists some middle ground, a range of hardware that would be a huge step above the monitor speakers without spending many hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

You definitely won't benefit from a more expensive system with a Core i7 for your purposes (don't even begin to consider the GTX 1070 there, which is better than what the large majority of regular PC gamers have).

jcchen
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jcchen » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:20 pm

The dell you mentioned is overkill. You are paying a big premium for the best and latest technology. To save money, I would get a mid tier desktop. That is, look for i5-6xxx CPU (or i5-7xxx or i7-5xxx or i7-7xxx) with 8 Gb memory and 256 Gb SSD. You dont need a graphics card for watching TV or movies. This midtier desktop would cost roughly $600.

Then buy an ok monitor and speaker. Agree that the 1070 is overkill. You do NOT need a dedicated graphics card.

Eg, here is a Dell w/o SSD for $480. The Dell XPS series has alot of room for expansion (eg, put in a bluray or extra hard drive later). Buy a samsung SSD for $100 and install it yourself. This PC is fine even w/o a SSD; your PC needs are relatively modest.
https://slickdeals.net/f/10290544-dell- ... SiteSearch

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:31 pm

lack_ey wrote:Having good monitor speakers is like being one of the fastest toddlers in the room. If your expectations are limited and your needs relatively modest, you may be impressed, and maybe it'll work great. Seems like a massive misallocation of resources to me, though. There are certain limitations imposed by cost and physics that can't be designed around. Unless you meant "top-notch sound quality for iTunes" in the sense of listening only to podcasts and not music or movies, then that seems off.

The world of audio can go off the deep end when it comes to snobbery and snake oil, but seriously, there exists some middle ground, a range of hardware that would be a huge step above the monitor speakers without spending many hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

You definitely won't benefit from a more expensive system with a Core i7 for your purposes (don't even begin to consider the GTX 1070 there, which is better than what the large majority of regular PC gamers have).
Thanks much for the insights. I'll pass on the GTX 1070.

I am guessing that I won't benefit from the top-of-the-line processor today, and I might not notice the benefit of 16 GB RAM or even SSD today either, but I've used my current PC for 8 years and the top-of-the-line technology today is likely to be barely adequate 8 years hence. Isn't it reasonable to believe that the PC will bog down sooner if I don't buy the better equipment today?

Also, do you have any suggestions regarding speakers? Kenkat mentioned Logitech speakers in the $100-125 range.

lack_ey
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by lack_ey » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:07 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:Thanks much for the insights. I'll pass on the GTX 1070.

I am guessing that I won't benefit from the top-of-the-line processor today, and I might not notice the benefit of 16 GB RAM or even SSD today either, but I've used my current PC for 8 years and the top-of-the-line technology today is likely to be barely adequate 8 years hence. Isn't it reasonable to believe that the PC will bog down sooner if I don't buy the better equipment today?

Also, do you have any suggestions regarding speakers? Kenkat mentioned Logitech speakers in the $100-125 range.
The processor in the expensive config is still far from the actual top-of-the-line. It's just that it doesn't help and won't help in the future. No matter what you do, you're buying the top-of-the-line, latest technology (or if you buy an older model, maybe a generation old, which may be something like 5% worse)—you pay a premium for a higher-end configuration or "tuning" if you will. A desktop (consumer-grade) Core i5 from the same family as a Core i7 is the same exact chip as the Core i7 with all the millions of dollars of research and design that went into it, just with one feature disabled, one that will make zero difference for any of your usage now and in the future. The Core i5 is already way overkill for what you're doing, and overall this is still going to be faster than a budget laptop processor eight years down the line. It's not like you can throw money at the problem today and end up with 2022's technology just because you spent more.

The computer is definitely not going to bog down on account of which processor of this generation you're getting (and again, the older generations are very similar, as progress has stalled). That's not going to be the factor that makes a difference.

16 GB of RAM is defensible depending on current and future usage, but again, the budget laptops eight years down the line likely aren't going to come with more than 8 GB anyway, and everything you're doing will run just fine on that kind of hardware. Though this would count as something you could readily upgrade yourself down the line if you had to. Just turn the thing off, pop off the side, and stick a couple of things in a couple of slots.

jcchen is right on the mark above.

I'll say that $100-125 on the speakers is pretty low relative to the splurging elsewhere. And the product lines from Logitech are generally very common but not that well regarded by both various levels of enthusiasts and snobs and then amateur music producers and pros. If going for sound quality for the price (at around $100), there are some better choices, maybe the Swans D1010-IV. I think the price has creeped up but if you want a 2.1 set then the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 would count as a major brand offering something okay (but I see $150 now and that's overpriced).

topos
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by topos » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:08 pm

The system that you spec is a bit overkill today for your usage but if you keep it for several years, that can make sense. Beside a high end system is still fairly cheap compare to a high end system 10 years ago.
About speakers: try first with the monitor. If you are not satisfied, it is easy to buy separate speakers.
34 inch curved monitors are really nice! (I have one from Samsung).

VaR
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by VaR » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:32 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:1. Top-notch sound quality for iTunes;

2. A large monitor with great picture quality for streaming TV and movies. I’ve haven’t used a PC for this purpose in the past, so if I need special ports or equipment for this function I’d appreciate a heads-up.

I access the Internet and use spreadsheets and Word docs, but don’t play games.
1. What kind of music do you listen to and at what volumes? What bothers you about how your current music setup sounds? Depending on your requirements here, the solutions could range from consumer-grade mid-range "computer speakers with subwoofer" to a nice USB-connected DAC with either a separate or integrated amplifier and audio-grade speaker setup, to some level of room or whole-house music streaming system. The good thing about the latter is that you won't need the computer to be on in order to listen to music in "the home office".
2. Do you want to watch streaming video and movies on your computer monitor or do you want a separate wall-mounted monitor/tv for that? I have a TV on the wall of my home office that has a Chromecast/Amazon Streaming Stick/Roku and also an HDMI connection to my desktop computer. I stream videos to it from the computer relevant to my computer activities, but I also sometimes just have it streaming CNN/CNBC/Bloomberg in the background.
3. For monitors, do you think you could live with a single 24" monitor? Do you think you'd prefer dual 24" or a single even bigger monitor? For me, I can't have enough monitors, especially when I'm working from home - webex work conference + email + real work = 3 monitors needed.

Topic Author
TheNightsToCome
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:48 pm

Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:54 pm

VaR wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:1. Top-notch sound quality for iTunes;

2. A large monitor with great picture quality for streaming TV and movies. I’ve haven’t used a PC for this purpose in the past, so if I need special ports or equipment for this function I’d appreciate a heads-up.

I access the Internet and use spreadsheets and Word docs, but don’t play games.
1. What kind of music do you listen to and at what volumes? What bothers you about how your current music setup sounds? Depending on your requirements here, the solutions could range from consumer-grade mid-range "computer speakers with subwoofer" to a nice USB-connected DAC with either a separate or integrated amplifier and audio-grade speaker setup, to some level of room or whole-house music streaming system. The good thing about the latter is that you won't need the computer to be on in order to listen to music in "the home office".
2. Do you want to watch streaming video and movies on your computer monitor or do you want a separate wall-mounted monitor/tv for that? I have a TV on the wall of my home office that has a Chromecast/Amazon Streaming Stick/Roku and also an HDMI connection to my desktop computer. I stream videos to it from the computer relevant to my computer activities, but I also sometimes just have it streaming CNN/CNBC/Bloomberg in the background.
3. For monitors, do you think you could live with a single 24" monitor? Do you think you'd prefer dual 24" or a single even bigger monitor? For me, I can't have enough monitors, especially when I'm working from home - webex work conference + email + real work = 3 monitors needed.
1. The sound I have now isn't awful, I'd just like something more robust? fuller? richer? I'm no audiophile and don't want to go overboard on a sound system. If I get the 34" monitor I'll just wait to see how it sounds. If less than great, I'll think about an upgrade.

2. We have a TV in the basement gym and a big-screen in the family room, but none in my upstairs office. I'm going to buy a new PC and I can stream football games to that, so I don't plan to buy a third TV. The PC will do in a pinch when I want to watch a game and my wife wants to watch the Food Channel.

3. I have two monitors at work, but don't think I need an extra at home (and can always buy a second later). I can certainly live with a 24" (have one now), but a larger screen would be nice, especially for football.

Topic Author
TheNightsToCome
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:48 pm

Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:06 pm

lack_ey wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:Thanks much for the insights. I'll pass on the GTX 1070.

I am guessing that I won't benefit from the top-of-the-line processor today, and I might not notice the benefit of 16 GB RAM or even SSD today either, but I've used my current PC for 8 years and the top-of-the-line technology today is likely to be barely adequate 8 years hence. Isn't it reasonable to believe that the PC will bog down sooner if I don't buy the better equipment today?

Also, do you have any suggestions regarding speakers? Kenkat mentioned Logitech speakers in the $100-125 range.
The processor in the expensive config is still far from the actual top-of-the-line. It's just that it doesn't help and won't help in the future. No matter what you do, you're buying the top-of-the-line, latest technology (or if you buy an older model, maybe a generation old, which may be something like 5% worse)—you pay a premium for a higher-end configuration or "tuning" if you will. A desktop (consumer-grade) Core i5 from the same family as a Core i7 is the same exact chip as the Core i7 with all the millions of dollars of research and design that went into it, just with one feature disabled, one that will make zero difference for any of your usage now and in the future. The Core i5 is already way overkill for what you're doing, and overall this is still going to be faster than a budget laptop processor eight years down the line. It's not like you can throw money at the problem today and end up with 2022's technology just because you spent more.

The computer is definitely not going to bog down on account of which processor of this generation you're getting (and again, the older generations are very similar, as progress has stalled). That's not going to be the factor that makes a difference.

16 GB of RAM is defensible depending on current and future usage, but again, the budget laptops eight years down the line likely aren't going to come with more than 8 GB anyway, and everything you're doing will run just fine on that kind of hardware. Though this would count as something you could readily upgrade yourself down the line if you had to. Just turn the thing off, pop off the side, and stick a couple of things in a couple of slots.

jcchen is right on the mark above.

I'll say that $100-125 on the speakers is pretty low relative to the splurging elsewhere. And the product lines from Logitech are generally very common but not that well regarded by both various levels of enthusiasts and snobs and then amateur music producers and pros. If going for sound quality for the price (at around $100), there are some better choices, maybe the Swans D1010-IV. I think the price has creeped up but if you want a 2.1 set then the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 would count as a major brand offering something okay (but I see $150 now and that's overpriced).
Much appreciated. I'll downgrade the processor, but tentatively plan to stick with the SSD. I'll price the 8 vs 16 GB RAM before deciding.

If I get the 34" Dell monitor with the "powerful audio system," I'll wait on the speakers and upgrade later if disappointed.

Topic Author
TheNightsToCome
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:48 pm

Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:11 pm

I appreciate all the help. This forum is terrific.

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