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new computer

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by guy01, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. guy01

    guy01 Member

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    Hi guys I am looking to buy a new computer(tower only)and I'm wondering ,is a refurbished computer a good thing or a bad thing?I only use it for web surfing learning about the things I find interesting,not even facebook .
    Thanks
    Guy

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  2. tekguy

    tekguy Feeling the Heat

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    Nothing wrong with a refurb computer as long as you pay the right price ..

    In all reality once you get into the Core 2 Duo and newer processors your hard pressed to tell the difference doing basic stuff like your looking to do, i wouldnt go any older and look for win 7 or 8 if you want to try it (8 with classic shell installed is OK)

    Dell optiplex 360/380 and newer
    HP elite 8000/8100 and newer
    Etc...
  3. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    +1 on what tekguy said.
    For your needs you might even consider Linux as an operating system.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I often buy refurb macs.
    A refurb mac mini from the apple store can be about $500 - you can get cheaper computers, but probably not many easier to use and backed by as good as a warranty and service, etc.
  5. guy01

    guy01 Member

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    thanks for all the advice guys I hadn't thought about apple,I had wondered about linux what are the advantages?
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Some are gonna laugh, but the new chromebooks are great machines for web surfing, email and most other stuff. They start at $249....

    Whether Linux or Apple, these are based on UNIX, a powerful operating system which underlies what you see. It's a stable foundation - proven for many decades. For example, that's what Ma Bell used for all those decades for your phone bills.

    One of the advantages I've seen with my Macs is the longevity. I use a computer for my business (video, web, etc. etc.) and am writing this on a early 2008 Mac Pro. That's almost 6 years old and working perfectly for everything.

    But my son wanted a value notebook for just a few things - I told him to buy the Chromebook......never needs an OS upgrade, etc.
  7. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I have a great Dell notebook I bought a couple of years ago, but if I were buying today I'd go for the chromebook at 1/3 the price.
  8. guy01

    guy01 Member

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    I may be leaning toward the apple but I'll wait to hear from the linux guys
  9. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I was going to suggest a chromebook also but as far as I know they're only available as laptops/notebooks; no desktop as the OP requested ("tower").
  10. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Linux is free and widely supported. Numerous "distros" are available that feature graphical interfaces that work very much like Windows.
    Good info here: http://linux.wikia.com/wiki/Linux_explained_to_the_Windows_user
    If you're not into experimentation you may just want to go Windows or Apple though.
    Apple is nice, user friendly, and their hardware generally better.
    On the other hand, less universal parts availability and generally more expensive.
    For web browsing only I suggest you either drop your "tower" requirement and get a chromebook or go Windows.
  11. guy01

    guy01 Member

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    well the $500 ish apple is inside the wife approved budget so I may go that route .Any other ideas or comments are welcome though.
  12. tekguy

    tekguy Feeling the Heat

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    Linux is a whole new learning curve, great when it works but a pain when it doesn't

    Apple's are OK, I work on PC's and apples in the corporate world... The apple stuff isn't any better built then PC's of the same caliber (apples to apples so to say)

    Only reason I would tell you not to buy an apple is if you are already heavily invested in windows software

    You can dual boot apples so they will run osx and windows but since your asking basic questions that might be a little more complex than you want to go

    If you buy a used or refurbed apple check the comptaiblity list, in short anything using a G5 or older processor is dead, osx support stops at 10.5

    The first generation of Intel based macs have had osx support dropped by apple and won't run the latest version, after that it gets grey and you have to check the model to see if apple still lists it as compatible with the latest os

    Lots of info out there on this

    Any refurb you buy directly from apple should be ok
  13. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    If you're going to spend $500 or more and you want a tower chassis why don't you just buy the parts and build your own computer. it's not that difficult and if you buy from a site like newegg it can be pretty cost effective. Then if you want you can get a free copy of Linux Mint and install it. It is very much like Windows. You can learn it in an hour or two. I actually run a Linux Mint/Windows 7 dual boot on my home PC.

    The thing with Apples is that they are built w/ proprietary hardware where as PCs are not. It's much easier and cheaper to upgrade and/or replace parts in a PC than an Apple.
  14. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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  15. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I bought a refurb HP tower for less than $500 in April 2013, 10gb ram, USB 3, good video card, good processor, and my web experience improved tremendously, as did performance on other programs. I thought my internet was slow, but what was slow was my old desktop.

    Regardless of what you get, make sure you get a program which backs up system, programs and data on an external drive so you can do a complete restore if needed, and be sure to get a set of system discs. That was a lifesaver for me when the HD failed a week ago and I had to restore the system on a new HD. I doubt the HD failure had anything to do with the refurb HP. The refurb has been an excellent computer.
    Dana B likes this.
  16. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Avoid any computer that runs Windows XP as Microsoft will cease support as of April (which means it will be more vulnerable to viruses)
  17. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    10GB RAM?

    For the average person who is just using their computer to surf the web 10GB RAM is completely unnecessary. Also you're claiming you bough the computer as a refurb in April of 2013 and the hard drive failed last week? So basically you got a system where the hard drive only lasted about 7 months? Does that seem like money well spent? Did you have to pay for a new hard drive or did HP replace it for no cost? The recovery disks are the worst way to restore a system. they take forever and put all the junk you don't need or use back on the system. It's much better to use imaging softwware and create an image of your install. If you don't use imaging software it would still be quicker just to wipe a drive and use the OS disk to do a clean install and then reload your apps. Windows 7 can be installed and the apps dfownloaded and installed on most systems in about an hour's time. That's the best thing about building a system yourself from scratch. You have complete control over eveyrthing. No need to deal with the manufacturers ridiculous recovery disks or recovery partitions on the hard drive. Just pop in the OS disk and go, no waiting at 17 different screens for drivers and useless apps to be installed. We're talking desktops of course, not laptops.

    The biggest two advantages of Linux are that it's free and more secure than Windows. You kind of have to be an IT hobbyist to want to use it though as most people are more familair with Windows and that is what most software is created to run on.

    As for Apple, they have a loyal following but I never quite got the hype. they are more expensive, less customizable and not actually built any better.

    If you're not going to make the committment to learn about computers in greater depth but would rather just buy one to use for basic stuff I would suggest you find the cheapest brand name desktop you can online at Newegg or Tiger Direct that has decent specs and Windows 7 Pro. Buying a computer from a big box store like Walmart or Best By is just asking for trouble.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  18. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Good points! I use Acronis True Image and it has saved my butt twice in the last few years.
    I wouldn't touch Tiger Direct with a long stick. They screwed me over twice before I got the message. They sent me someone else's return one time with the owner's very PO'd remarks still in the box. It didn't work, of course, and then I had to pay to ship it back. Never again. Maybe they're better now but let someone else find out. Amazon for me and Wally World. Of course, Newegg and MWave have both been excellent with me getting components.
  19. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Having owned Apples & Mac's for many years, before being forced over to PC's for the type of work I do (highly processor-intensive 3D simulation work), I would never go back to a Mac for my primary computer. I read forum posts about guys trying to migrate or back up hundreds of gigabytes of music, video, and photos on their Macs, with all sorts of frustration. File management on the PC has been kept relatively simple all these years. Apple, in their efforts to make everything slick and simple, has really added an enormous amount of complexity to some very simple tasks.

    One simple case in point, try loading a few hundred gigabytes of music files into your iTunes library from a high speed NAS. It will grind away with little sign of progress for literally DAYS. Same task in Windows Media Player... an hour.
  20. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Many refurbs are just open-box returns that can't be sold as new. It doesn't mean they aren't good as new!

    Just make sure you get a warranty in case anything goes wrong. Typically, if a computer component is going to fail, it will do it within the first ~30 days. Once you get past there, you're usually in good shape. That doesn't mean that you couldn't still have something go wrong, but from a statistical point of view, it's much less likely.

    -SF
  21. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    The whole Apple thing is too trendy. There's a certainly and elitist snob factor among the hardcore Apple enthusiats and it's been my experience that Apple people tend to be less knowledgable about computers and technology in general than PC people. Sure they know how to do everything on their Apple products but get them away from those and they're clueless. There's also a ton of marketing that goes on at Apple to portray their products and users as superior and more enlightened. This "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" skits are ridiculous.
  22. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    True, but even as a "PC" myself, those commercials were hilarious.
  23. RSNovi

    RSNovi Feeling the Heat

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    Never had a pop up on my Mac mini.
  24. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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  25. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    All the OP wanted was a box to surf the internet with, for goodness sake, and we're on here telling him to build his own system, put Linux on it, jam it full of RAM, or get a Mac! No wonder people shake their heads and wonder what we are doing! ::P
    Jags and Joful like this.

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