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  • FIRST POST
    • katglasgow
    • By katglasgow 15th Sep 18, 9:28 AM
    • 380Posts
    • 293Thanks
    katglasgow
    Advice requested to buy mid cheapish pc
    • #1
    • 15th Sep 18, 9:28 AM
    Advice requested to buy mid cheapish pc 15th Sep 18 at 9:28 AM
    My son is 15 and i think he could really do with his own computer for study (at the moment the whole family is sharing 1 very old laptop). He has a keyboard, monitor and mouse so he says he would prefer a hard drive unit to a laptop as we will get something better spec for our money. He doesnt need the machine for gaming as he has an x box already so this is purely for internet and Microsoft office but I would like to get his somethins reasonably ok that will last a while.
    My budget is 300. Our laptop came from tracks and was a great buy I have been really pleased with it but I am not so sure where to go for hard drives or best advice on what does matters.
    I would really appreciate some suggestion please.
    Thanks in advance k
    Last edited by katglasgow; 15-09-2018 at 9:49 AM.
    Me debt free thanks to MSE
Page 1
    • Neil Jones
    • By Neil Jones 15th Sep 18, 9:32 AM
    • 1,463 Posts
    • 886 Thanks
    Neil Jones
    • #2
    • 15th Sep 18, 9:32 AM
    • #2
    • 15th Sep 18, 9:32 AM
    What do you mean by "prefer hard drive unit to a PC"? Do you mean a hard drive you plug into a USB port?

    For purely internet use you can get cheapish laptops for 300 you don't need anything super super powerful to go on the internet.
    • katglasgow
    • By katglasgow 15th Sep 18, 9:48 AM
    • 380 Posts
    • 293 Thanks
    katglasgow
    • #3
    • 15th Sep 18, 9:48 AM
    • #3
    • 15th Sep 18, 9:48 AM
    What I meant is not hard drive but pc tower instead of a laptop. Sorry for the confusion!
    We would like something copes with all the usual Microsoft office paxkahes but also a descent graphics card might be good as he is taking graphics communications and or sound card card also. I am going to encourage him to use ms one drive for storage so memory for own material not a huge issue.
    Last edited by katglasgow; 15-09-2018 at 9:50 AM.
    Me debt free thanks to MSE
    • Heedtheadvice
    • By Heedtheadvice 15th Sep 18, 11:03 AM
    • 897 Posts
    • 442 Thanks
    Heedtheadvice
    • #4
    • 15th Sep 18, 11:03 AM
    • #4
    • 15th Sep 18, 11:03 AM
    It is true that a desktop/tower system can be cheaper like for like and is easier to expand or update later (and I prefer to use on for serious usage) but has it's downsides too in terms of lack of portability.


    There are refurbished bargains in laptops that are great and covered on several threads on the site. You can still use external keyboard etc if usb with plenty of usb ports on the laptop and one with a solid state drive would be much better than a hard drive in terms of speed but cost a little more.


    Do however beware of some of the recent cheap offers of laptops with a limited drive size advertised as suitable and ready loaded with windows 10. Windows needs to update frequently and some with only 30GB drives fail to cope with updates. Something like 40 to 50 GB should be aimed for as a minimum.


    If he needs storage for his work and backups (always a good idea!!!!) then an external drive can be used as well as online storage.


    Edit:

    Given your budget I would forget about extra video and sound cards. Not really necessary and money better spent on backup facility and memory/disk size.
    Last edited by Heedtheadvice; 15-09-2018 at 11:06 AM. Reason: addition
    • debitcardmayhem
    • By debitcardmayhem 15th Sep 18, 11:12 AM
    • 8,653 Posts
    • 6,534 Thanks
    debitcardmayhem
    • #5
    • 15th Sep 18, 11:12 AM
    • #5
    • 15th Sep 18, 11:12 AM
    Dell refurbed https://outlet.euro.dell.com/Online/SecondaryInventorySearch.aspx?c=uk&cs=ukdfh1&l=en& s=dfh&sign=PXhcOSHtr1T4IOw%2fPR7UdaHHZ2DQZFUoSiWdC q9GHs1Oa8PfAQY9cCOITcOW4%2bPW97OglA4WoN3ASgBCLPp3k 4OF3xvOiREHhApIljeuapKQ1y3ctNE1Rt5n28ym%2fhLLiyUFu KPGAX1jw0wfRuTR8QUwRaE0l%2fePwCsbXTRKJ5GzDuW1ZTryL 7Vxd1f08SOshS1tPeJAt2nEN35NhpDJtWDAKErvqGeX


    No Graphics card though but i5-7 series and 8GB of ram.
    • grumpycrab
    • By grumpycrab 15th Sep 18, 11:22 AM
    • 3,695 Posts
    • 1,781 Thanks
    grumpycrab
    • #6
    • 15th Sep 18, 11:22 AM
    • #6
    • 15th Sep 18, 11:22 AM
    My budget is 300. Our laptop came from tracks and was a great buy
    Originally posted by katglasgow
    "tracks"? Sounds like minimal requirements but I'd always go for best processor you can afford. And an SSD makes a BIG difference to performance. The downside with SSDs is they're a bit small, but if storage size isn't an issue (music, pics, videos...) stick with them. A refurb will be best value but my processor knowledge is poor (you will get more useful suggestions from others). This for starters.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/HP-Professional-Antivirus-Certified-Refurbished/dp/B071YNPF12/
    EDIT: 8GB memory (RAM) also recommended
    Last edited by grumpycrab; 15-09-2018 at 11:25 AM.
    If you put your general location in your Profile, somebody here may be able to come and help you.
    • Anthorn
    • By Anthorn 15th Sep 18, 11:23 AM
    • 3,911 Posts
    • 1,028 Thanks
    Anthorn
    • #7
    • 15th Sep 18, 11:23 AM
    • #7
    • 15th Sep 18, 11:23 AM
    My son is 15 and i think he could really do with his own computer for study (at the moment the whole family is sharing 1 very old laptop). He has a keyboard, monitor and mouse so he says he would prefer a hard drive unit to a laptop as we will get something better spec for our money. He doesnt need the machine for gaming as he has an x box already so this is purely for internet and Microsoft office but I would like to get his somethins reasonably ok that will last a while.
    My budget is 300. Our laptop came from tracks and was a great buy I have been really pleased with it but I am not so sure where to go for hard drives or best advice on what does matters.
    I would really appreciate some suggestion please.
    Thanks in advance k
    Originally posted by katglasgow
    Look at the "Certified Refurbished" deals on Amazon because you get a minimum 1 year guarantee. For example a Dell Optiplex box for 62.94p and if you add the recommended monitor, keyboard and mouse the total is 155.25p.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/enabled-Dell-Optiplex-Certified-Refurbished/dp/B01H5OFUIK/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1537006422&sr=8-8&keywords=dell+optiplex+refurbished

    I bought my grandson a Certified Refurbished Dell Optiplex from Amazon and he loves it. Does the job for study.
    • Frozen_up_north
    • By Frozen_up_north 15th Sep 18, 12:14 PM
    • 1,624 Posts
    • 796 Thanks
    Frozen_up_north
    • #8
    • 15th Sep 18, 12:14 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Sep 18, 12:14 PM
    I too have a Dell Optiplex, mine came from an eBay refurbisher. Supply of refurbished Dells varies, quite obviously, but if you don't mind a second user office PC, they are good value.

    In June I got an i7, 16GB RAM, 128GB SSD, dual monitor graphics card, fresh install of genuine Win 10 Home, 220 delivered with 6 months warranty. Unlike a new PC, which often come contaminated with junk software that can be tedious to remove, these Dells are usually clean installs of Windows. It runs like greased lightning and boots in just a few seconds.

    Dell have a useful utility program that semi automatically updates drivers, bios, etc.

    The points to check are, video output (mine has 2 x Display Port) and whether the CD/DVD is a writer as most office machines tend not to have DVD writers. However, monitor cables are only about 5~10 and an external USB powered DVD writer (if needed) is about 12.
    • DCFC79
    • By DCFC79 15th Sep 18, 12:53 PM
    • 32,543 Posts
    • 20,476 Thanks
    DCFC79
    • #9
    • 15th Sep 18, 12:53 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Sep 18, 12:53 PM
    but also a descent graphics card might be good as he is taking graphics communications and or sound card card also.
    Originally posted by katglasgow

    What does graphics communications entail ?
    Last edited by DCFC79; 15-09-2018 at 12:58 PM.
    • that
    • By that 15th Sep 18, 1:24 PM
    • 503 Posts
    • 286 Thanks
    that
    Dell Optiplex box for 62.94p and if you add the recommended monitor, keyboard and mouse the total is 155.25p.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/enabled-Dell-Optiplex-Certified-Refurbished/dp/B01H5OFUIK/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1537006422&sr=8-8&keywords=dell+optiplex+refurbished
    These above are quite old. At work we threw them away a few years ago. They were mainly core 2 duo, think 3ghz with hyper threading, Would suggest you get something newer, still they held their own compared to the first version of i3 series

    Get a dell ebay refurb like a Dell 7010 about 120, or similar spec
    • John Gray
    • By John Gray 15th Sep 18, 2:10 PM
    • 5,261 Posts
    • 3,060 Thanks
    John Gray
    These above are quite old. At work we threw them away a few years ago.
    Originally posted by that
    It looks like the ones which you throw away are bought by our charity! If people just do a bit of Office and browsing there's no need for a new PC. Our oldest dates from 2007, and still works adequately (having been upgraded from XP to W7 some years ago).

    Certainly +1 for second-hand Dell Optiplexes, and also for the HP dc7700/7900/8000/8100... series.
    • that
    • By that 15th Sep 18, 3:05 PM
    • 503 Posts
    • 286 Thanks
    that
    John Grey, I agree it is usable, but for kids that often load their own stuff on, it could give a poor experience if doing stuff other than office.

    With such an open spec, I would not buy it for me, I can't recommend something I would not buy, can I Did think about converting one into a router, but a bit too power hungry.

    My I7 laptop is about 7 years old, came with windows 7, and already MS and amd say it will not support the latest direct. My 5 year old Xeon box in the other room wont support win 2016 server because of the disk chipset/MS, and may end up being a PC
    • katglasgow
    • By katglasgow 15th Sep 18, 3:19 PM
    • 380 Posts
    • 293 Thanks
    katglasgow
    Thanks very much for the advice - its all very helpful.

    My son has also been looking online and reading reviews and found a PC which is very similar to one recommended above - more expensive due to a graphics card but without SSD. I am still not convinced he needs needs a graphic card but he says he would appreciate this more that SSD so I will request his request. Graphics communication is a course that included desktop publishing, 3D modelling and technical drawing (on paper). I think most of this work will be done at school but he might enjoy trying things out at home if he can.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B072DXLRDD/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1_1_1?smid=A3LA1ADBIY9FQC&psc= 1

    Thanks again for all your opinions and suggestions. I feel much more confident going ahead with an order now and its great to see that what he picked was very similar to option being suggested as I am keen to encourage him to be involved in the process.

    Thanks again
    Me debt free thanks to MSE
    • Anthorn
    • By Anthorn 16th Sep 18, 12:24 PM
    • 3,911 Posts
    • 1,028 Thanks
    Anthorn
    John Grey, I agree it is usable, but for kids that often load their own stuff on, it could give a poor experience if doing stuff other than office.

    With such an open spec, I would not buy it for me, I can't recommend something I would not buy, can I Did think about converting one into a router, but a bit too power hungry.

    My I7 laptop is about 7 years old, came with windows 7, and already MS and amd say it will not support the latest direct. My 5 year old Xeon box in the other room wont support win 2016 server because of the disk chipset/MS, and may end up being a PC
    Originally posted by that
    The OP specifies "for study" and "doesn't need the machine for gaming". Within those parameters the Dell Optiplex 780 with Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM and 160GB HDD will be superb.

    Microsoft entered new ground with Windows 8 in that the required spec was reduced and was even more reduced in Windows 10. That enabled the cheap laptops with a much lower spec which was intended to rival the equally lower spec Chromebook.

    Overall for study anything more powerful than a Dell Optiplex 780 is likely to be overkill depending on what is studied: For example it won't be much use for Graphic Art and Design!
    • that
    • By that 16th Sep 18, 1:44 PM
    • 503 Posts
    • 286 Thanks
    that
    The OP specifies "for study" and "doesn't need the machine for gaming".
    Originally posted by Anthorn
    Ha ha, you probably don't remember being 15 any more

    A fast graphics card instead of storage definitely sounds like school work to me. This would be my choice of school work - as a 15 year old, if they had PCs then. Would have helped my subject on Social Engineering and Human interaction. Alcohol and girls are the next step, also as part of the same study
    • mxch
    • By mxch 18th Sep 18, 1:00 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    mxch
    For storage, it could be useful to buy a cheap 120GB SSD to put Windows on, along with any applications he'd be using frequently. Then, get a cheap hard drive to put data/games on so that you have more storage. SSD pricing globally has been starting to drop, and 120GB SSD will actually feel much faster during use than a better CPU for example. Should cost you roughly 30 for a cheap model on amazon.co.uk, which is still much better experience than a hard drive.
    • Mobeer
    • By Mobeer 18th Sep 18, 11:08 PM
    • 1,728 Posts
    • 4,408 Thanks
    Mobeer
    The HP gaming PC you found on Amazon looks decent if you actually need the graphics card. Otherwise something like this:
    https://itzoo.co.uk/collections/pc-base-units/products/dell-optiplex-9020m-micro-computer-i5-4590t-2-0ghz-8gb-500gb-windows-10

    Is otherwise a viable PC for a lot less money.
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