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Thread: Buying new computer, need advice.

  1. #1

    Buying new computer, need advice.

    My computer is 5 years old, I am planning to buy a new one. Any recommendations. What are the Dos and DON'Ts? Future shop or Dell?

  2. #2
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    Laptop or Desktop?
    Dell are good computer overall, always depends on what you are looking for, what use you have for your computer, etc...

    Give me more detail and i will try to help.

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    Personnally I am a computer tech for the past 10 years I would suggest you buying a Dell computer well before crappy stuff from Compaq and Future Shop. Go for a Celeron processor if you do not intend to play games, I would suggest 512Megs of Ram with a DVD burner and a 80 gigs hard drive for a home use you don't need more take the lowest price for the processor speed as an experienced user I don't see the difference in speed between a 2.0 ghz and a 3.4 ghz it's simply going fast enough at 2.0ghz but memory is more important so go for at least 512 megs if not 1gig

  4. #4
    No offense, but the fact that you are asking this questions means you don't know a whole lot about computers. In which case I highly suggest a Dell. They are cheap, reliable, and give great customer service. The disadvantages about Dell (if you want really high performance easily upgradable parts) shouldn't be a factor if you just want a machine to surf the web and maybe do some word processing. I agree with ch972900, try to get the best price for the best processor speed and get at least 512 MB of RAM. But unless you download movies or games I think a DVD burner is a bonus (I'd suggest a CD burner) and 40GB hard drive is fine.


    As for internet providers, I've done both cable and DSL in different areas. It depends on the local provider but I've been really impressed by videotron in MTL. I use them and would not switch to Sympatico unless they offered a very substantial price decrees.

  5. #5
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    Depending on what you want to do with your computer, but if your needs are mostly Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the Internet and you don't want to have to be bothered by viruses ever again go get yourself a iMac.

  6. #6
    CoolAmadeus
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    Computer purchase

    Hello Evil and Eager,

    I have to concur with StripperLover, ch972900, LDS. Check what you will be using your computer for, and make your decision based on that. I have personally been using laptop computers at work for about 10 years (even more, remember the old bulky Compaq portable computers with a 6 inch green cathodic screen? ), inclusing IBM, Micron, HP, DELL, and I haven't been disapointed with any of them.

    For a laptop I would say go with a renowned brand name. Some can be ordered on-line (ex: DELL), others can be bought in retail stores. Compare the prices and functionalities WHEN YOU'RE READY, not 2 weeks before, as this market is fluctuating A LOT!

    For a desktop you can also go with a brand name, altough you can probably get a cheaper machine from a local store where they will custom build it for you if you want. The key is CUSTOMER SERVICE. Big stores sell boxes, and don't necessarily support you very much, other than for hardware troubles. Furthermore, whenever you go there it's a different salesrep, and I purposely say "salesrep", because that's what they are.

    Bottom line, whatever you choose to buy, go at a store you trust, and get advice from them.

    CA

  7. #7
    Well, I think for most of the people. mid-range computers are very suitable. You can buy a mid-range computer for about 1500 $ CDN. technology evolves every year, but generally, the price of a decent configuration (desktop) is around 1500$. I would recommend AMD athlon processors instead of intel (either pentium 4, or celeron). AMD processors are cheaper and they sustain a better performance for the same clock rate (compared to intel). 512 MB of RAM is a minimum, and try to get as much disk space as you can afford (60 or 80 GB). Many PCs come equipped with DVD burners (they are not a luxory anymore, and they will replace in the coming years CD burners).

    I don't know about Dell computers (I am allergic to big brand names), but I would not recommend Compaq/HP neither.

    For the internet connection, I also tried both DSL and cable. For now, cable (with videotron) is much faster than sympatico, you also pay 10 $ less with vidotron (if you sign up for a year). Cable starts to be bad, if you have many neighbors with a cable connection, as you will have to share the same wires (bandwidth) with them (just like what happened to anoushka the famous russian immigrant!).

  8. #8
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    I fully agree with CA, look at your local store, get reference from friends and look for services if you are new to computers as you may need advices a more experienced user will not require.

    My use of computer goes back to the Apple II and European Commodore; if you are in a business environment, you don't have any choice but to go with a pc compatible.

    Make sure that whatever you buy has room for expansion (slots) (including an AGP slot for video if you computer comes with the integrated Intel type) and buy the fastest processor and the biggest hard disk you can afford; they will probably satisfy your needs somewhat longer.
    Get integrated ethernet, USB 2 and Firewire if possible and serial hard drive. As for a screen, get a LCD (19 inches at least) or if you play a lot of games, a super CRT. Video, get a Radeon or GForce, 128 or 256 mg (if money is no object)

    Look at PC Mag or PC World on line, they have built the ideal PC
    Read a lot about PC before buying. You will discover that reps. on the floor of large surface don't know much about computers... and even in specialized boutiques for that matter, except on very specific issues..

    Enjoy your shopping and let us know what you did buy.
    lawless
    Last edited by Lawless; 03-17-2004 at 09:23 PM.

  9. #9
    The Longest Title in MERB
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    Definitely do your research instead of blindly trusting the people at the computer store. A good place to start would be www.cnet.com:
    Desktop Guide
    Laptop Guide

    Sometimes, the PC manufacturers overcharge for components like RAM, hard disks and CD/DVD burners so if you don't have a problem opening up your computer and doing some minor installation work, there are definitely some cost savings to be had here.
    Good prices at this site for OEM parts: www.pricewatch.com

    For those who need info about broadband services, check out this CNET guide.
    Also, more comprehensive but less user-friendly info at www.dslreports.com
    I used to be schizophrenic, but we're OK now.

  10. #10
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    Don't touch to the Celeron brands.

  11. #11
    CoolAmadeus
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    A matter of perpective

    I doubt the information listed at www.pricewatch.com would be useful to any neophyte. My understanding is that if someone needs to ask a question to this board, then he/she is not the kind of person who will want to go buy their computer in bits and pieces!

    As far as the CNET reviews goes, this is very nice information to know before buying, yes, at least to know what is out there. But given how the computer technology has evolved so far, most computers you buy nowadays will do the work you buy it for, as long as it has the components you need: sufficient memory, disk capacity, CPU power, etc.

    Let's keep in mind for which audience we are giving advice here. I reitterate what I wrote before: If you are a neophyte, customer service can make a huge difference! Some smaller stores will probably give you the best support out there, personalized and with a smile! Go buy a super-high rated box if you want to, but when it comes to get help and you did that, don't expect people at OfficeDepot or other chain stores (or online, yikes!) to be very helpful. You better have good friends! If you do then great... Go for it!

    I guess it's all a matter of your personal situation, whether you are the know-it-all type of person or at the other end of the scope a hold-my-hand type, or more somewhere in between! Wherever and whatever you buy, you will get good value. Just look at all the aspects of it.

    CA

  12. #12
    The Longest Title in MERB
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    Speaking of customer support, here's a CNET intro to warranties.

    It's no surprise that most computers will do the work that you buy it for, after all the PC manufacturers are essentially assembling computers from similar and very often, the same parts except some do it better than others and offer better value. As to whether the smaller computer shops have superior services and value than the megastores or online stores, that's debatable. I know of quite a few neophytes who like buying their computers from an online vendor called DELL .

    If one can find one of those smaller shops with really helpful, honest and competent staff, that's great. But I guess I'm one of those people who finds it hard to muster up any pity when a frentic friend or relative calls up asking for help because he or she bought a half-baked computer without any prior research and on the advice of that "nice and seemingly honest" saleperson, only to find out that the store has no contractual obligations to service the computer.

    As for www.pricewatch.com, my point wasn't that a beginner should try to assemble a computer from scratch but rather to add components like RAM or a second hard disk which may have been overpriced by the manufacturer to an already assembled computer, a process which is becoming increasingly easy due to more user-friendly designs. Unfortunately, even opening up a computer case can be a daunting experience for some neophytes but IMHO anyone who is willing to ask for advice can't be all that bad. Besides, I like to think the best of people; "this I am today, that I will be tomorrow".
    I used to be schizophrenic, but we're OK now.

  13. #13
    CoolAmadeus
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    Points taken. I guess a lot of things are debatable, and this forum is not really the place to do it. I simply have seen too many horror stories when people bought something from a giant store, and for example, the cure to a problem as simple as a virus infection had been a system drive reformat using the installation CD (thus loosing everything) when a good friend (or a good support person) could have salvaged the whole thing in an hour or two.

    By the way my laptop computer is a DELL Inspiron... Technical support not being an issue for me since most of the time I am the one providing it, buying the best machine out there was the only option! A DELL (No I don't work for Dell nor do I have Dell shares... But maybe I should!)

    CA

  14. #14
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    For desktop, why buy a brand one? I always build up my own computer. It is much cheaper and if you select the good quality of motherboard, video card, enough ram and hard disk. It same as the brand computer and it is easier to add new parts to the build up computer.

    I know one guy has a Dell desktop, one day he just changed his keyboard with one not come from Dell his pc didn't like that. LOL
    Last edited by TechnicSpark; 03-18-2004 at 11:59 AM.

  15. #15
    I agree that a beginner should buy an already-assembled PC. The solution of making a PC from scratch remains viable though for some people.

    First, most of PCs come with windows installed. Many people think that windows come free, but you actually pay around 100-150$ for the OS. Persons who are linux-oriented, like me, don't appreciate to be forced to pay 150 $ for a software they are not planning to use anyway. Second, the PC comes with a bunch of useless software like AOL and compuServe to motivate you/force you subscribe with these ISPs. Generally the user has no control when using the CDs that come with the PC. Everything is packaged : install it all or install nothing of it. Emachines, for instance, claims that this helps reduce Windows piracy. As a customer, I don't really care about Windows piracy, and this solution is just not very convenient. A friend bought a PC from compaq that came with many drivers for HP printers. These drivers ended-up causing a conflict when my friend had to use a printer not from HP and all the installed drivers had to be removed manually. Some other programs, just contact the manufacturer from time to time to send some info about your PC. These programs will supposedly help the customer service identify hardware problems.

    An attractive solution would be to buy a PC from store that offers a great deal of customization like microbytes. Dell offers some customization but when it comes to the OS the only choice you have is to choose betwen Widos XP home edition or professional edition.

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