Advice on Desktop PC

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inbox788
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by inbox788 »

Alexa9 wrote: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.
I haven't heard much about MacOS. Are there speed problems with running one of these older generations Macs? I hear lots of complaints about Windows 10.
Nekrotok
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Nekrotok »

TheNightsToCome wrote:
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.
You asked for "top-notch sound quality for iTunes" yet you're contemplating going with the speakers built into your monitor? A monitor is designed to produce a quality image, not the best sound..

Buy these headphones. They're only $60 and these are the same headphones that the audio engineers use when they record the songs or whatever you are listening to. This is what your songs are supposed to sound like. You can use these on your phone, ipad, computer, laptop, tv, whatever, it doesn't matter what. Try these and hear what you're missing out on to determine whether you really care about high quality sound or not.
https://slickdeals.net/f/10245864-sony- ... e-shipping
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome »

Nekrotok wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:
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.
You asked for "top-notch sound quality for iTunes" yet you're contemplating going with the speakers built into your monitor? A monitor is designed to produce a quality image, not the best sound..

Buy these headphones. They're only $60 and these are the same headphones that the audio engineers use when they record the songs or whatever you are listening to. This is what your songs are supposed to sound like. You can use these on your phone, ipad, computer, laptop, tv, whatever, it doesn't matter what. Try these and hear what you're missing out on to determine whether you really care about high quality sound or not.
https://slickdeals.net/f/10245864-sony- ... e-shipping
So, the headphones produce high-quality sound like a good set of speakers? If so, that would be worthwhile for $60 bucks.
rgs92
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by rgs92 »

I love machines from Puget Custom Computer (https://www.pugetsystems.com/desktop.php).
Mine is 7 years old and going strong. The Serenity model is very quiet (it's designed for that).
I've never had a failure of any component in it (I use all solid state drives.) Mine get heavy usage.
They are there for any questions, seemingly as long as you own it.
My Dells and HPs all failed completely after a few years.
Nekrotok
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Nekrotok »

TheNightsToCome wrote:
So, the headphones produce high-quality sound like a good set of speakers? If so, that would be worthwhile for $60 bucks.
Yes, a decent pair of headphones is easily "comparable" to a $1000+ set of speakers, except for inevitable differences such as headphones are for one person only, headphones are not affected by room acoustics (for better or for worse), headphone bass can't be felt on your whole body, etc. It's just so much easier to produce accurate sound right onto your ears than to fill a whole room with it.
lack_ey
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by lack_ey »

Nekrotok wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote:
So, the headphones produce high-quality sound like a good set of speakers? If so, that would be worthwhile for $60 bucks.
Yes, a decent pair of headphones is easily "comparable" to a $1000+ set of speakers, except for inevitable differences such as headphones are for one person only, headphones are not affected by room acoustics (for better or for worse), headphone bass can't be felt on your whole body, etc. It's just so much easier to produce accurate sound right onto your ears than to fill a whole room with it.
With headphones there's also the problem of most sound not being mastered for them. If the expectation is that the playback setup has two speakers out in space in front of you, a setup in which sounds from the left speaker are heard by both ears (just delayed and softer on the right side, among other things) and same for the right, then this balance will be totally wrong if the speakers are instead strapped to your head. This results in sounds that are panned relatively strongly in one direction sounding very unnatural on headphones. Generally it's less severe an issue these days, the way things are mastered, but it's still a concern.

You can definitely get higher fidelity at a lower cost with headphones and in-ear monitors, though, that's for sure, and won't get screwed up by the terrible acoustics of most rooms. But the experience is not the same at all, especially when you also take into consideration the other things you mentioned. And the fact that most headphones are not all that comfortable! (mileage may vary, but especially at sub-$100 you're not going to find premium materials with respect to comfort) That said, there are ways to mostly correct for the spatial left/right stuff in software (and hardware), to varying degrees of success.

Headphones like the MDR-V6 (or one of a number of other models, some that are significantly more expensive, that have also been extensively used in the past and present, like various old K240 models that don't really stand the test of time, K701, DT880, HD 600 and HD 650, HD 800 these days, etc.) are not what's primarily used by people mixing the audio and making the final adjustments for what audio tracks should sound like. It's primarily high quality speakers in a treated, well-designed listening room.
Nekrotok
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Nekrotok »

lack_ey wrote: With headphones there's also the problem of most sound not being mastered for them. If the expectation is that the playback setup has two speakers out in space in front of you, a setup in which sounds from the left speaker are heard by both ears (just delayed and softer on the right side, among other things) and same for the right, then this balance will be totally wrong if the speakers are instead strapped to your head. This results in sounds that are panned relatively strongly in one direction sounding very unnatural on headphones. Generally it's less severe an issue these days, the way things are mastered, but it's still a concern.

You can definitely get higher fidelity at a lower cost with headphones and in-ear monitors, though, that's for sure, and won't get screwed up by the terrible acoustics of most rooms. But the experience is not the same at all, especially when you also take into consideration the other things you mentioned. And the fact that most headphones are not all that comfortable! (mileage may vary, but especially at sub-$100 you're not going to find premium materials with respect to comfort) That said, there are ways to mostly correct for the spatial left/right stuff in software (and hardware), to varying degrees of success.

Headphones like the MDR-V6 (or one of a number of other models, some that are significantly more expensive, that have also been extensively used in the past and present, like various old K240 models that don't really stand the test of time, K701, DT880, HD 600 and HD 650, HD 800 these days, etc.) are not what's primarily used by people mixing the audio and making the final adjustments for what audio tracks should sound like. It's primarily high quality speakers in a treated, well-designed listening room.
Yes, this is all true. But the OP was going to listen to the built-in speakers on his monitor in an untreated room. I'd still recommend listening to high fidelity headphones to see whether he cares for better audio or not. Then he can be better informed to decide whether he wants spend money on better speakers or not. Sure, there's inevitable differences between headphones and speakers, but it's not that big of a deal, IMO. Plenty of audiophiles listen on headphones.

But if you want to present an alternative recommendation of like $200 entry level studio monitor speakers or something, that's probably reasonable also. Or a $1000 speaker system with (or without) a subwoofer. Even so, a $60 pair of headphones is worth having, IMO.
mrc
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by mrc »

TheNightsToCome wrote: 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.
FWIW: I used to connect to a Windoze work environment via VPN. Just got a big window on my Mac that was my work desktop.

Life in Mac land is a lot easier that fussing with Windows 10. New iMacs are coming soon.
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jharkin
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jharkin »

I'll echo some of the advice above. If you really just want to watch movies take the $1500 and get a 50" TV a surround receiver and a streaming stick ;)

Since you want the PC.

1- I still keep a desktop and they still have a place for gaming, photo work, CAD and other power uses.

2- top of the line CPU is not needed for your uses. I have a 9 year old i7 and it still manages.

3- ram is cheap, get as much as you can

4- GET AN SSD. Anybody who doesn't have one is missing out on the one real game changer of the last 10 years. It will change you habits, when windows boots in 10 second rather than minutes you won't need to leave the pc in sleep mode all the time.

5 HDMI vs DisplayPort for the monitor is not a big deal, there are adapters. HDMI is the standard for TVs, DP is more widely supported on pc monitors and graphics cards. The difference is DP only handles the video signal, hdmi does video and audio.

6 if you do any games get an add on card like a GTX1060 or equivalent Radeon. If you don't don't game you don't need it. It can be added later.

7 audio.. agree that an add on card is a nice improvement. Finding good computer speakers that are not junk but not expensive is tricky. I got tired of junk and recently picked up a set by AudioEngine.

8 Monitor. Lots of personal taste here. I just got a 25 and wish now I went 27. The model I got is a Dell ultrasharp u2515 it does 2550x1440 so it's near iPad sharp and has refresh rates good enough for moderate gaming. Nice balance of features for price. I've had a string of Dells and have yet to get a bad one...

You can check tftcentral.co.uk for reviews, just whatever you do DONT buy a TN panel screen. Those are for diehard online gamers only, color and off angle viewing sucks.
patrick
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by patrick »

TheNightsToCome wrote: I'll downgrade the processor, but tentatively plan to stick with the SSD. I'll price the 8 vs 16 GB RAM before deciding.
It may cost less to buy the machine configured with less memory and then buy the extra memory separately. Same goes for the SSD whew the price for a separate SSD is much less than the additional purchase price for a machine with an SSD. It may not seem to make much sense but apparently going to a higher RAM configuration or including an SSD marks you as a rich customer who can be charged a lot more.
KlangFool
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by KlangFool »

https://m.costco.com/desktops-servers.html

OP,

Only one advice. Buy from Costco with the Costco Visa card.

1) You get 4 years warranty and concierge service.

2)You can return the PC in 30 days and no restocking fee.

KlangFool
jebmke
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jebmke »

patrick wrote:It may cost less to buy the machine configured with less memory and then buy the extra memory separately.
Key here is to make sure that the lower installed memory isn't using all the slots -- if it is, you end up replacing memory rather than adding.
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whodidntante
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by whodidntante »

For Internet and Word documents, any new basic computer with 8GB RAM will provide satisfactory performance. Given your requirements, you should spend your money on good speakers and on a good monitor and cheap out on the computer. Probably the most meaningful performance upgrade would be to buy a computer that has an SSD, if you are willing to spend a bit more. This will improve the startup time of your applications and the computer.

For monitors, the Dell Ultrasharp line is a good mix of price, performance, and quality. I have bought three of those monitors for different computers and I have been very happy with all of them. Just pick the size you want. I recommend 24" minimum.

I have had excellent luck with high end Logitech speakersets, THX certified. But my newest Logitech speakers are quite old so this might be dated. The Klipsch Promedia 2.1 THX set looks nice and has good reviews.
jebmke
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jebmke »

whodidntante wrote: This will improve the startup time of your applications and the computer.
This made me curious. I opened up 3-4 applications including Excel, HRBlock Tax Software, Quicken . I have a regular hard drive and they all opened in less than two seconds. Even VirtualBox opens up in a snap to the screen. The VMs themselves take a bit longer to load but those are 25gb virtual disks that are loading.

I rarely turn my computer off, rebooting only when the updates require it so I don't have a sense of how fast the boot time is [and therefore how much I stand to gain with an SSD]
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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whodidntante
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by whodidntante »

jebmke wrote:
whodidntante wrote: This will improve the startup time of your applications and the computer.
This made me curious. I opened up 3-4 applications including Excel, HRBlock Tax Software, Quicken . I have a regular hard drive and they all opened in less than two seconds. Even VirtualBox opens up in a snap to the screen. The VMs themselves take a bit longer to load but those are 25gb virtual disks that are loading.

I rarely turn my computer off, rebooting only when the updates require it so I don't have a sense of how fast the boot time is [and therefore how much I stand to gain with an SSD]
There isn't much room for improvement in your case and it's probably not worth the effort/money. In your usage pattern the data is mostly going to be in disk cache (RAM). RAM is faster than an SSD.

Modern Windows is smarter about arranging data to efficiently load it from a spinning disk without any effort on your part. The startup process isn't usually a full cold/warm boot in modern Windows. Instead the PC comes out of hibernation and it is just made to look like a boot is happening. That's done to save time. So the boost from owning an SSD is not as impressive as it used to be with Windows XP, though for certain workloads it's still a lot better. An SSD could still offer less noise, lower power consumption, and faster wake from sleep because you don't need to wait on a mechanical disk to spin up.
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Kenkat
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Kenkat »

TheNightsToCome wrote:
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.
Here's the specific speakers my older son has for his PC - Logitech Z623:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003V ... UTF8&psc=1

It always comes down to what you want to spend on the various components. Almost anything will be better than built in monitor speakers.
jebmke
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jebmke »

whodidntante wrote:There isn't much room for improvement in your case and it's probably not worth the effort/money. In your usage pattern the data is mostly going to be in disk cache (RAM). RAM is faster than an SSD.
I think you are correct. I have 16gb of main RAM. I've never really tested anything but my perception is that spreadsheets which were opened recently pop right up.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome »

KlangFool wrote:https://m.costco.com/desktops-servers.html

OP,

Only one advice. Buy from Costco with the Costco Visa card.

1) You get 4 years warranty and concierge service.

2)You can return the PC in 30 days and no restocking fee.

KlangFool
Thanks, KlangFool. My brother-in-law said the same, but nearest Costco is 87 miles and we aren't members.
Wakefield1
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Wakefield1 »

whodidntante wrote:
jebmke wrote:
whodidntante wrote: This will improve the startup time of your applications and the computer.
This made me curious. I opened up 3-4 applications including Excel, HRBlock Tax Software, Quicken . I have a regular hard drive and they all opened in less than two seconds. Even VirtualBox opens up in a snap to the screen. The VMs themselves take a bit longer to load but those are 25gb virtual disks that are loading.

I rarely turn my computer off, rebooting only when the updates require it so I don't have a sense of how fast the boot time is [and therefore how much I stand to gain with an SSD]
There isn't much room for improvement in your case and it's probably not worth the effort/money. In your usage pattern the data is mostly going to be in disk cache (RAM). RAM is faster than an SSD.

Modern Windows is smarter about arranging data to efficiently load it from a spinning disk without any effort on your part. The startup process isn't usually a full cold/warm boot in modern Windows. Instead the PC comes out of hibernation and it is just made to look like a boot is happening. That's done to save time. So the boost from owning an SSD is not as impressive as it used to be with Windows XP, though for certain workloads it's still a lot better. An SSD could still offer less noise, lower power consumption, and faster wake from sleep because you don't need to wait on a mechanical disk to spin up.
Can a new Tower (not desktop) computer with a full size case containing more than one hard drive-perhaps one SSD and one traditional?- and containing a sound card that puts output out for a good speaker system and also containing a video card and your choice of motherboard and CPU (main processor) and appropriate power supply and perhaps a couple empty extra drive bays and add on card slots still be bought or assembled from components? Your choice of monitor and speakers needed?
Has any progress been made on reducing the outrageous power consumption that high end video cards used to have?
Dual boot systems that don't require you to be an expert about going into the BIOS and changing its settings?
Use it as a substitute for a TV? (with a fast Internet connection)
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome »

rgs92 wrote:I love machines from Puget Custom Computer (https://www.pugetsystems.com/desktop.php).
Mine is 7 years old and going strong. The Serenity model is very quiet (it's designed for that).
I've never had a failure of any component in it (I use all solid state drives.) Mine get heavy usage.
They are there for any questions, seemingly as long as you own it.
My Dells and HPs all failed completely after a few years.
The "About" page looks promising, but I priced a custom PC and it's quite a bit more expensive than Dell.
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SpringMan
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by SpringMan »

My main computer is an older Compaq desktop running Windows 10 with dual monitors and it is good enough for my needs. I ran a wire from my sound card to my home stereo's aux in. iTunes music is in aac file format. This is slightly better than mp3 at a given bit rate but still compressed. My mp3 music still sounds very good through my stereo speakers with 15 inch woofers. I would want 8 GB or more of RAM and a SSD drive in a new machine if I were in the market.
Best Wishes, SpringMan
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome »

This may be the one: http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/pro ... 1MIn1dfV19

Intel i3-7100 processor
Windows 10 Pro
16 GB Memory
2.5inch 256GB SATA Class 20 Solid State Drive

However, there was no option on the screen to select an extra 1-2 TB Hard Drive (which has been recommended to me).

Price is $912.50. (with the i3 instead of i5 processor)

Would be pairing this with Dell 34 UltraSharp Curved Monitor U3417W.
jebmke
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jebmke »

TheNightsToCome wrote:However, there was no option on the screen to select an extra 1-2 TB Hard Drive (which has been recommended to me).
I would check the documentation which should be online to make sure there is a second bay. If so, you can just buy a HD from Amazon and pop it in.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
squirm
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by squirm »

Look at some of the Lenovos, a friend has an all in one, decent PC. I suggest you get the latest Windows 10, let it install the new Defender, it's got better security for ransomware.
rgs92
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by rgs92 »

I would avoid Dell. Just my bad experience and others I know (anecdotal experience).
patrick
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by patrick »

Wakefield1 wrote: Can a new Tower (not desktop) computer with a full size case containing more than one hard drive-perhaps one SSD and one traditional?- and containing a sound card that puts output out for a good speaker system and also containing a video card and your choice of motherboard and CPU (main processor) and appropriate power supply and perhaps a couple empty extra drive bays and add on card slots still be bought or assembled from components? Your choice of monitor and speakers needed?
You can still build up-to-date computers by assembling from components. Smaller size cases and motherboards are more common but you can still go with a huge tower if you want. However there may not be much point -- except at the high end it is usually cheaper to buy a pre-built system, and only hardcore gamers need a separate video card.
Has any progress been made on reducing the outrageous power consumption that high end video cards used to have?
The performance per watt of video cards is much better than it used to be. For the top end video cards that means much more performance with the same power consumption, but you can get a low end (and thus low power) video card, or just use the CPU built in graphics, to get the same performance as the high end video cards of several years ago for much less power.
Dual boot systems that don't require you to be an expert about going into the BIOS and changing its settings?
I don't recall when extensive BIOS changes ever being needed for dual boot, but if you were referring to the bootloader setup, that seems to still be a problem. For the handful of people that use dual boot at all.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome »

rgs92 wrote:I would avoid Dell. Just my bad experience and others I know (anecdotal experience).
My current desktop is a Dell. Have used it last 8 years without a problem.
jharkin
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jharkin »

patrick wrote:
TheNightsToCome wrote: I'll downgrade the processor, but tentatively plan to stick with the SSD. I'll price the 8 vs 16 GB RAM before deciding.
It may cost less to buy the machine configured with less memory and then buy the extra memory separately. Same goes for the SSD whew the price for a separate SSD is much less than the additional purchase price for a machine with an SSD. It may not seem to make much sense but apparently going to a higher RAM configuration or including an SSD marks you as a rich customer who can be charged a lot more.
The OEMs charge a premium for ram and disk.

Agreed it's best to buy later but for the SSD to get the benefit it needs to be the boot drive. A tech savvy user can easily clone the disk with a tool like Acronis, but if the OP has to pay a service to do it, probably best to just upgrade the add at purchase time.
Last edited by jharkin on Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
jharkin
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by jharkin »

TheNightsToCome wrote:
rgs92 wrote:I would avoid Dell. Just my bad experience and others I know (anecdotal experience).
My current desktop is a Dell. Have used it last 8 years without a problem.
I've had bad experiences with dell laptops, my employer issues them and they constantly break.

Dell monitors have been excellent. Their workstation class desktops and servers seem ok. No experience with their consumer desktops.
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Alexa9
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Alexa9 »

inbox788 wrote:
Alexa9 wrote: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.
I haven't heard much about MacOS. Are there speed problems with running one of these older generations Macs? I hear lots of complaints about Windows 10.
The current Mac Mini was released in 2014. It has a 4th Gen Intel Processor. We are on 7th Gen now. It also runs a slow 5400 RPM HD. No spec bumps or price drop since 2014. The $499 Mac Mini receives a lot of complaints for running slow. The $699 one is decent for a 3 year old computer.

The Mac Pro has gotten a price drop since it hasn't been updated since 2013 but it's still overpriced and dated. The design has been scrapped and it has been called the "Trash Can." They obviously want you to buy an iMac.

https://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#Mac
Tabulator
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Tabulator »

OptiPlex: nice choice.
TheNightsToCome wrote:This may be the one: http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/pro ... 1MIn1dfV19

Intel i3-7100 processor
Windows 10 Pro
16 GB Memory
2.5inch 256GB SATA Class 20 Solid State Drive
Really surprising that no one has specifically mentioned Dell Outlet or Lenovo Outlet. Look there for a warranty of at least one year with no extra cost on top of already discounted units.
ThatGuy wrote:Some of us prefer a desktop. The ergonomics of a laptop are HORRIBLE.
I couldn't agree more, especially, as you mentioned, with the power and thermal problems that occur in battery-powered portable devices.
rgs92
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Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by rgs92 »

It seems to me from my experience that Puget Custom Computer (and the other custom builders that are popular among gamers and serious computer buyers interested in quality and longevity) is that they use high quality robust parts, not just the cheapest ones they can find that will work for the warranty period and then have issues.
pugetsystems.com/desktop

It's important to look under the hood, and not just buy a box built to a price to sell mass quantities.

They have actually researched what parts perform well and last a while, and also generate less heat/noise. So you get what you pay for I believe.

The other popular custom builders (although I have not tried them but they have pretty good reputations) are xoticpc.com and,
for laptops, sagernotebook.com.
Last edited by rgs92 on Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:41 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Topic Author
TheNightsToCome
Posts: 617
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:48 pm

Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome »

So I have the day off and decided to pull the trigger. Thank you for all of the advice.

I’m getting the 34″ curved monitor and a desktop with:

Intel Dual Band Wireless 8265 (802.11ac) Driver
Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 8265 (802.11ac) 2×2 + Bluetooth
256GB 2.5inch SATA Class 20 Solid State Drive
16GB (2x8GB) 2400MHz DDR4 Memory
Intel Core i5-7500 (QC/6MB/4T/3.4GHz/65W); supports Windows 10/Linux
Cyberlink Media Suite Essentials for Windows 10 and DVD drive (without Media)
Dell KM636 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Black (English)
No Media Card Reader
Tray Loading Dual Layer DVD Burner
DVD+/-RW Bezel, Small Form Factor
Intel Integrated Graphics, Dell OptiPlex
2nd Hard Drive: not included
Win 10 Pro 64 English, French, Spanish
No FGA
ProSupport: 7×24 Technical Support, 3 Years
ProSupport: Next Business Day Onsite, 3 Years
Dell Limited Hardware Warranty Plus Service

I found that when I called Dell for assistance the rep provided greater options for customization and a lower price than what was on the website (and she remarked that she was jealous of the monitor; everyone seems to love it).
aristotelian
Posts: 8087
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by aristotelian »

I am having a hard time imagining how you are using the computer. This sits in your office on a desk, but you use it to stream video and listen to music? What else do you use it for?

Most entry level computers these days can process HD video and audio. You really don't need high tech specs, even a Raspberry Pi will work. If you are trying to increase your A/V quality, you would be better off investing in your sound system and TV/monitor than the computer itself.
lightheir
Posts: 2476
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by lightheir »

aristotelian wrote:I am having a hard time imagining how you are using the computer. This sits in your office on a desk, but you use it to stream video and listen to music? What else do you use it for?

Most entry level computers these days can process HD video and audio. You really don't need high tech specs, even a Raspberry Pi will work. If you are trying to increase your A/V quality, you would be better off investing in your sound system and TV/monitor than the computer itself.
I expect that he'll LOVE the computer he picked.

34" monitor = WIN!

Good CPU specs (16GB RAM, SSD drive, AC wifi) = ultimate flexibility and power for anything he could likely dream of save 3d gaming and 3d graphics-heavy applications.

Audio upgrades are easy and inexpensive down the road - no problem with not getting it now.

Sure, you can get a $<350 chromebook that can adequately cover 100% of his stated needs, but I'm sure he'll enjoy finding new ways to harness the new screen real estate and computer power. I've found that some folks don't realize how much they love computers simply because they've never enjoyed the views of a large 20+ inch hi-res monitor coupled with the specs of a current-gen workstation, but once they use such a setup for awhile, they become almost computer die-hards!
aristotelian
Posts: 8087
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by aristotelian »

lightheir wrote:
I expect that he'll LOVE the computer he picked.

34" monitor = WIN!

Good CPU specs (16GB RAM, SSD drive, AC wifi) = ultimate flexibility and power for anything he could likely dream of save 3d gaming and 3d graphics-heavy applications.

Audio upgrades are easy and inexpensive down the road - no problem with not getting it now.

Sure, you can get a $<350 chromebook that can adequately cover 100% of his stated needs, but I'm sure he'll enjoy finding new ways to harness the new screen real estate and computer power. I've found that some folks don't realize how much they love computers simply because they've never enjoyed the views of a large 20+ inch hi-res monitor coupled with the specs of a current-gen workstation, but once they use such a setup for awhile, they become almost computer die-hards!
I hadn't seen his last post that he had already pulled the trigger. I am sure he will be happy with what he got.
Topic Author
TheNightsToCome
Posts: 617
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:48 pm

Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by TheNightsToCome »

aristotelian wrote:
lightheir wrote:
I expect that he'll LOVE the computer he picked.

34" monitor = WIN!

Good CPU specs (16GB RAM, SSD drive, AC wifi) = ultimate flexibility and power for anything he could likely dream of save 3d gaming and 3d graphics-heavy applications.

Audio upgrades are easy and inexpensive down the road - no problem with not getting it now.

Sure, you can get a $<350 chromebook that can adequately cover 100% of his stated needs, but I'm sure he'll enjoy finding new ways to harness the new screen real estate and computer power. I've found that some folks don't realize how much they love computers simply because they've never enjoyed the views of a large 20+ inch hi-res monitor coupled with the specs of a current-gen workstation, but once they use such a setup for awhile, they become almost computer die-hards!
I hadn't seen his last post that he had already pulled the trigger. I am sure he will be happy with what he got.
Hope so. :-)

I'll use it for spreadsheets, Word docs, email, Internet, listening to music through iTunes and YouTube, and streaming TV (mainly football when my wife is using the big-screen TV during a game).

I'm going to listen to the monitor speakers and if not impressed will buy better. That's easy.

The PC is over-powered for what I need, but I bought my current PC in March of 2009 and hope to use this one a long time. It may be a dinosaur by the time I give it the heave-ho.

In any event, I want an enjoyable and hassle-free experience and I'm (obviously) not a sophisticated buyer. I'm frequently on the PC for > 10 hours on my off days, so a slick PC is important to my quality of life (whereas a BMW, for example, is not) and I'd rather buy too much than too little.

So thanks again, Bogleheads, for all of the advice. Much appreciated.
User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 3591
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Advice on Desktop PC

Post by Doom&Gloom »

TNTC,

A few years ago I bought a desktop that was more than I needed--quite similar to your build actually. I haven't had a minute's regret, and I doubt that you will either.

Enjoy!
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