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Thread: Helping a friend buy an pre-built system

  1. #1
    The Burninator sm8000's Avatar
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    Helping a friend buy an pre-built system

    So I am helping a friend at work invest in a new PC to replace her six-year old Dell. Her budget was $2,000, and together we managed to score the Dell 2405FPW for just under $900 after tax. Now she needs a nice new PC to go with it.

    I'm suggesting the eMachines T6524 or T6412. They're well within her budget, quite capable of what she wants to do (mid- to heavy photo work mainly), and seem to offer much more value for the money.

    Unfortunately I'm not the only one she's consulting on this (you know what they say about too many cooks). Her other friend dismissed (as she put it) the eMachines ideas without much to say. Then this morning she sends me this email:

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    can you take a look at these? i think i'm consulting too many people on this computer purchase. the 2nd one is a bit of a stretch for me, but if i economize (ie eat at other people's houses) i think i can get by on whatever's left over after the purchase.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    And "these" were a couple of Dell systems at $1,000 and $1,500. We're trying to keep it below $1,000.

    So what is the way to go with pre-built OEM systems? eMachines? Gateway? HP? Dell? IBM? Am I on the right track?

    Oh yeah, her friend has told her to avoid graphics cards with shared memory. He probably meant integrated video, but in any case no HyperMemory or TurboCache cards for her. My idea is to make it easy, get one of the eMachines (pickup or delivery) from Best Buy or CompUSA (or delivered from eMachines itself), and in addition get an X700 or X600 AIW from one of those stores fairly cheaply within budget. No gaming here.

  2. #2
    Extreme Member! BipolarBill's Avatar
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    eMachines is now owned and run by Gateway. Their products are fine and should not be dismissed because of name only.

    Since this person is probably never going to run 3D games, shared-memory onboard graphics are fine. Still, a PC with onboard video should be dirt cheap (unless a 17" flat panel is included!). I prefer a separate video card so that my customers can at least be sure that video can be upgraded later. Many mATX pre-built systems don't have an AGP slot at all and it's hard to tell if they do.

    I would look for a system with onboard GeForce video for a good compromise. They are a bit more expensive, but would not require a video upgrade later for the novice/general user.

    For all of this fuss and bother, this user will likely be satisfied in the end if the PC just *works*. She's going to drive you all crazy. You have my sympathies.
    MS MCP, MCSE

  3. #3
    Hail to the Victors dajogejr's Avatar
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    When a friend or client wants an all in a box PC, I usually refer them to Sams club or Costco round here.
    Sam's had a 699 HP/compaq with everything, including a 17" LCD with built in speakers...

    We bought one as a matter of fact for a gift at our Christmas work party...

    I can't find it on the site now...but, SM, if you have one of these stores near you, I'd suggest heading over and taking a look....they have very good selections for a PC/Monitor/keyboard/mouse in a box...

  4. #4
    Senior Member naptownman's Avatar
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    A couple years ago I would never have recommended eMachines. They were famous for putting 180 watt power supplies in pc's that needed at least 275 watts to be reliable. But they've been improved by their acquisition by Gateway and are pretty good values these days. The HP/Compaq boxes aren't bad either. Bill's advice regarding finding a pc with nVidia GeForce video makes sense. Most on board graphics can handle little more than word processing and people change their minds all the time on what they want a pc for. Better to be safe than blamed for why she has to get a new one in a year.

  5. #5
    Hail to the Victors dajogejr's Avatar
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    My work PC has onboard ATI Xpress 200 onboard video, it plays Tiger Woods 2005 on high detail pretty well... Only when I'm not busy at work, of course...


  6. #6
    Senior Member naptownman's Avatar
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    ATI Express 200 is good. What the OP should avoid are pc's using S3 or similar on board graphics as they don't do well on anything more intensive than surfing or simple graphics.

  7. #7
    Senior Member thxmanu's Avatar
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    I would have just bought a Dell with the monitor. Dell is pretty good at making deals especially when you buy a 24" monitor.

  8. #8
    Ultimate Member cdroman's Avatar
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    I'd stick with the e-machines/X700 - X600 advice ( which is good for her use)and stay well within her budget. If she decides to go with other advice then you will be off the hook if and when a problem occurs.

  9. #9
    Member Izdaari's Avatar
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    I would avoid Dell until they get their pre-installed bloatware problem solved. That'd be a major pain for a less experienced user.

    http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=OTI0

    Recent Gateways have been pretty good though.

  10. #10
    Senior Member pandaz3's Avatar
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    My experience with Gateway and HP clearly would put Gateway ahead. HP has even so many "Big Brother knows best" Propritary routines that drive me up the wall. At one time Gateway was really designed to be upgradeable and I believe that philosophy has carried over to e-machines

    www.monarchcomputer.com is one of the best big custom companies using parts with names that you have heard of. They are pretty easy to deal with, been around for a good while...lots of good reviews If you retain your old periferals like monitor, keyboard and such they can be pretty cheap.

    Click on their "About us" link near the top of the homepage.
    Last edited by pandaz3; 12-31-2005 at 12:22 PM.
    Rig 1, MSI K9A2 Platinum, 6400 Blackie, 2 X 2048 AData, MSI 3870; Rig 2, MSI K9A2 CF, 5000 Blackie, 2 X 1024 Patriot PC6400, ATI X1900 XT, Rig 3, Abit AN8 Fatal1ty, Opteron 185, 2 X 1024 Corsair PC3200C2PT ATI X1950 XTX Rig 4 Abit UL8 3800 X850 Pro

  11. #11
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    I would throw in with pandaz3. Monarch is worth a look.

    Regards,
    JF
    Vancouver, WA

    pandaz, rainin' where you are?

  12. #12
    Senior Member pandaz3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jflan
    I would throw in with pandaz3. Monarch is worth a look.

    Regards,
    JF
    Vancouver, WA

    pandaz, rainin' where you are?
    On and off...about 20 miles from you as the crow flies.
    Rig 1, MSI K9A2 Platinum, 6400 Blackie, 2 X 2048 AData, MSI 3870; Rig 2, MSI K9A2 CF, 5000 Blackie, 2 X 1024 Patriot PC6400, ATI X1900 XT, Rig 3, Abit AN8 Fatal1ty, Opteron 185, 2 X 1024 Corsair PC3200C2PT ATI X1950 XTX Rig 4 Abit UL8 3800 X850 Pro

  13. #13
    Hail to the Victors dajogejr's Avatar
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    I'd take an HP over a gateway any day of the week....

    Granted, I get enterprise class workstations instead of home users.
    However, for my mom and pop clients I have, I recommend the cheap HP in a box computers from Sam's club...and have had no problems. Sure...any PC you get now a days is bloated, period.

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