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Old 03-04-2016, 08:17 PM   #21
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10 is pretty good. A little personal customizing and it's way faster than previous generations.

There is a term for "out of the box" lightness, or how much bullshit is preinstalled. I can't for the life of me remember what it is though.
My Lenovo laptop had literally nothing installed on it other than windows and i think webcam software. My dad recently bought a Lenovo and it had a couple stupid programs installed on it, but not a deal killer. I got a new high end Toshiba laptop for work and it had more than the Lenovos. But all 3 have way less than a computer 5+ years ago did, combined.

If you can deal with HDMI and VGA:
Dell Inspiron Desktop - Intel Core i3 - 8GB Memory - 1TB Hard Drive Black I3847-6162BK - Best Buy

HP Pavilion Desktop - Intel Core i3 - 8GB Memory - 1TB Hard Drive Silver 550-110 - Best Buy

Again, i stick to my original $400 - $600 price range considering the requirements. If you need dual HD out, you need to either look at adding on a display card, or spend more on a more powerful system.
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:45 PM   #22
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Don't get hung up on the card reader. $20 will buy you a good external USB 3.0 card reader or a 3.5" bay card reader (if your motherboard has a header to support it).
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:47 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
Looks like a single copy of Office with my mil discount is $134 for the basic home version... Word/Excel/PP... should be enough.
Sam...

Go here:
Microsoft Home Use Program - Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016. The software suite includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access and more!

Click on "Don't know your program code? Click here."

Put in your .mil

Spend $124 extra on a second monitor

Win
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:51 PM   #24
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^Thanks for link... looks like we'll see what the tax return looks like and then set a budget. Normally I hope we come out dead even, but hoping for around $800 this year to fund new computer and monitors. Again, truly thanks for the advice.
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Old 03-05-2016, 01:14 AM   #25
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So... need a new computer to do the same **** we've always done, except run the latest editions of everything, latest USB tech, double-monitor ready, etc... I'll also need the latest edition of Windows and Office stuff.
I've had great luck with older iMacs. Just picked up a 2007 iMac for my 6th grade daughter - $100 and it came with MS word stuff. It does everything and always works.
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:19 AM   #26
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Researching... peripherals are way cheaper than I remember... looks like the sweet-spot for decent 24" monitors is about $130. Dual-capable video cards are $40 (thanks for the link) as long as the powers supply will handle it. Readers are cheap. Wireless keyboard/mouse setups are $25. I've got plenty of speakers setups. Looks like $800 or less will get me my wish list, including a nice dual-monitor stand.
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:13 AM   #27
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I gotta ask... How are you blowing through monitors?

I've had the same 1080p monitor for at least 8 or 10 years now.
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:27 AM   #28
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I gotta ask... How are you blowing through monitors?

I've had the same 1080p monitor for at least 8 or 10 years now.
I've discovered with LCD, that like refrigerators, they like to be left alone. Each time we move, a monitor goes cross country, in and out of several semi's, moved countless places in the house, stored in non-climate controlled extremes, etc. Some people have different experiences, but it's my perception that the $150 monitors that attract me don't hold up to such travels.

My 55" Samsung mid-grade bought in '09 has done 4 cross-country moves (all in the original box, which I kept for such things) and is still rocking strong and still holds it's own. It's so good, I'm not going to upgrade until it craps completely, and then only to step up to a 70" 4K when they're down in the $1k range. I've had an Acer and an AOC 20" monitor crap after the second move. I also had one Viewsonic (bought specifically for the cruise for Xbox use) crap after an 8month cruise... but we did live directly next to the catapult track and it pulled 2 G's about 70 times a day. Who knows though.

I will say however, that our Dell Vostro 200 (also moved 4 or 5 times) stays turned on 24/7/365 and has never even hiccup'd in 7 years.

And our current low-end Samsung 23" LCD has been moved twice (4+yrs old) and is still good.

I also have a 23" Samsung 1080p TV that was in our kids room, did one 4 month deployment on an amphib, been moved twice, and is currently at work so I can watch Grit channel and get my Laramie on during the day.
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Old 03-05-2016, 04:08 PM   #29
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My personal recommendation is this:
Lenovo Desktop AMD A10-Series - 12GB Memory - 2TB Hard Drive Black LENOVO H50 - 90BG003JUS - Best Buy

I know you explicitly said you don't way anything fancy, but hear me out. That desktop goes on sale often for $100 off. If you combine that along with finding one that's open box, then you set yourself up for a really really slick deal on a computer that you should never even have to open the case to upgrade stuff. With that combination of sales I've seen it go for 370. If you're not in a rush, consider that as an option.
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Old 03-05-2016, 06:33 PM   #30
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My personal recommendation is this:
Lenovo Desktop AMD A10-Series - 12GB Memory - 2TB Hard Drive Black LENOVO H50 - 90BG003JUS - Best Buy

I know you explicitly said you don't way anything fancy, but hear me out. That desktop goes on sale often for $100 off. If you combine that along with finding one that's open box, then you set yourself up for a really really slick deal on a computer that you should never even have to open the case to upgrade stuff. With that combination of sales I've seen it go for 370. If you're not in a rush, consider that as an option.
I'm all about bang-for-the-buck, and that would definitely fit the bill, although it is absurd overkill... our current 75gb harddrive still has 20gb free-space, with at least 10gb of whats there being my wifes PTA crap and random photos I just haven't moved over to our externals. I'm keeping all options open.
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:39 PM   #31
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So, I discovered the "Linus Tech Tips" YT Channel and have been watching for an hour or so... lots of **** now made clear that I never knew about computers(ing). Apologies if this guys isn't "cool" to all you real dorks, but I am now a far more informed consumer.

Back to Joe's first post in this thread where he said "You can't go wrong with any new computer for $350" is absolutely correct... and I've also learned that most people buy a ton more computer than they will ever need. $1000 computer to surf the internet sounds like a waste of $900 to me.

I've been windowshopping at the Dell sites, Newegg, Amazon, Craigslist, etc...

Nothing I currently do taxes my 7yr old computer, and I'm not going to be doing anything different on the new one... kinda don't want to buy a new computer, but we "need" another just to have 2 and for the operating system.

I like the idea of buying new just because I like new ****, but one of the $150 Dell refurb'd business units with free Win10 upgrade and a $25 wifi card looks like plenty of hardware for the foreseeable future. Dual monitors would be gravy, but we don't have it now and that would save me from buying a new monitor. I don't really need USB 3.0, but that upgrade is only $20 too.

OK... off to help a buddy demo his kitchen... take my tech frustrations out on an old countertop and knock a few walls down.
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Old 03-13-2016, 04:00 PM   #32
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In terms of computing pluses. I would forward to 64bit OS (Win7 or 10), SSD, and at least dual or quad core CPU with 4-8GB of ram. My system specs are dated 10 years ago, but a new SSD and OS made my desktop PC mighty quick for what I use it for. Gaming included.
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Old 03-14-2016, 02:44 PM   #33
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If I want to upgrade the CPU on my current Dell (can just about triple the speed for $20), I need to update the BIOS. I've got the file, but am reading horror stories of bricked computers. How often does a BIOS update fail?


Also, I currently have 2x1gb DDR2 Ram cards. Searching Amazon reveals quite a few options specifically listed for my computer.
This is what I'm thinking of buying to double the current RAM:
2GB (2x1GB) Memory RAM DIMM Compatible with Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower / Slim... at Amazon.com 2GB (2x1GB) Memory RAM DIMM Compatible with Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower / Slim... at Amazon.com


Is all DDR2 RAM the same? The blurb below seems to indicate all DDR2 is not the same as it lists a specific (PC2-5300-6400) type. Can I get any brand/make of cards as long as they say DDR2 or what? Also, is it better to consolidate RAM to as few cards as possible or spread out? ie, should I go with 4x1gb cards or 2x2gb cards?


Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower Computer Memory. The Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower Computer takes the PC2-5300/6400 DDR2 SDRAM DIMMs. Supports Dual Channel DDR2. Memory Type, and comes installed with 1.0 GB (removable) of Memory. You can upgrade your Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower Computer to up to a maximum memory capacity of 4.0 GB Memory, the system has 4 sockets to install Memory, already with 1.0 GB (removable) standard memory installed. For best Vostro 200 Mini Tower Computer performance use the maximum amount of allowed Memory per slot for your Computer.
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Old 03-14-2016, 03:21 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
If I want to upgrade the CPU on my current Dell (can just about triple the speed for $20), I need to update the BIOS. I've got the file, but am reading horror stories of bricked computers. How often does a BIOS update fail?

If you can update the cpu for $20, I'd say go for it. But note this means taking off the heatsink, cleaning the thermal paste off & applying your own rice sized grain of paste back onto your new CPU and installing the heatsink. If you've never done it before it could be a hassle. If too much is used you could create bubbles/air gaps and the new cpu would overheat.

BIOS updates usually do not fail as long as it's the correct version for the motherboard and the computer doesn't lose power during the update.



Also, I currently have 2x1gb DDR2 Ram cards. Searching Amazon reveals quite a few options specifically listed for my computer.
This is what I'm thinking of buying to double the current RAM:
2GB (2x1GB) Memory RAM DIMM Compatible with Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower / Slim... at Amazon.com


Is all DDR2 RAM the same? The blurb below seems to indicate all DDR2 is not the same as it lists a specific (PC2-5300-6400) type. Can I get any brand/make of cards as long as they say DDR2 or what? Also, is it better to consolidate RAM to as few cards as possible or spread out? ie, should I go with 4x1gb cards or 2x2gb cards?

DDR2 really just varies with speed. Usually a higher end brand may have lower timings but be rated at the same 'speed' which would net you faster ram for loading applications. Go with the 2x2GB sticks, Someone correct me if I'm wrong... You end up having more overhead on read/write with all 4x1 sticks vs the 2x2. You would place them in Slots 1 & 3 (matching holding clips) for possibly dual-channel if your mobo supports it.



Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower Computer Memory. The Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower Computer takes the PC2-5300/6400 DDR2 SDRAM DIMMs. Supports Dual Channel DDR2. Memory Type, and comes installed with 1.0 GB (removable) of Memory. You can upgrade your Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower Computer to up to a maximum memory capacity of 4.0 GB Memory, the system has 4 sockets to install Memory, already with 1.0 GB (removable) standard memory installed. For best Vostro 200 Mini Tower Computer performance use the maximum amount of allowed Memory per slot for your Computer.


Crucial CT2CP25664AA667 4GB (2GBx2) 240-pin DIMM DDR2 PC2-5300 Memory Module at Amazon.com Crucial CT2CP25664AA667 4GB (2GBx2) 240-pin DIMM DDR2 PC2-5300 Memory Module at Amazon.com
- Cruicial Memory is more known, here is a link in the 2x2GB flavor at the same speeds you posted.

Spending the money on a SSD and new OS (I suggest finding Win7 pro 64bit) Or just go with Win10 64bit) is worth the upgrade, it'll feel like a nice refresher when you load up the new OS.
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Old 03-14-2016, 03:53 PM   #35
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How often does a BIOS update fail?
Around 3% of the time, give or take an order of magnitude. And, in general, the failure rate increases slightly in the late afternoon / early evening on days which are particularly warm, and in houses which have large dogs.



Quote:
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Is all DDR2 RAM the same?
Pretty much.

For a given physical package (of which there are two major varieties differentiated by pin count) there will be lots of tiny variations based on CAS latency, speed rating, and so on. The spec for your machine is telling you to buy RAM with a speed rating of 5300 or 6400, but in general, faster RAM will always be backwards-compatible.

There are some other differences out there (eg: parity vs. non-parity), but at the price point I assume you're looking at, you're unlikely to run into these.



Quote:
Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
Can I get any brand/make of cards as long as they say DDR2 or what?
So long as they all meet the minimum spec for speed rating, yes. Often, there's a limitation that pairs of DIMMs must be of the same size.



Quote:
Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
Also, is it better to consolidate RAM to as few cards as possible or spread out? ie, should I go with 4x1gb cards or 2x2gb cards?
Doesn't matter, and the price usually winds up being about the same. The only advantage to buying a smaller number of higher-capacity DIMMs is that it'll leave space available for future growth.
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Old 03-14-2016, 04:25 PM   #36
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Here's mine I got for $330 and has treated me right since the end of November. It had the minimum specs for a software package i wanted to run but is otherwise overkill for daily duty. And may not be as good a deal as what's previously been posted. Like mentioned, goes on sale often.

Lenovo IdeaCentre 300s Desktop - Intel Core i5 - 8GB Memory - 1TB Hard Drive Black 90F10000US - Best Buy
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:28 PM   #37
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I've had problems in the past (as recently as 2-3) years ago upgrading CPUs in Dell desktop systems. They used to whitelist CPUs in the BIOS for certain models, just because it fits does not mean it'll work. Don't be surprised when it doesn't post
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:43 PM   #38
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Did some more homework on potential improvements to current computer in addition t pending new computer purchase. Current RAM of 2gb is plenty, but a basic upgraded video card with digital output would be an instant worthwhile upgrade... Geforce 210 seems to be a benchmark in fanless low-power-draw. On order for $30
Amazon.com: EVGA GeForce 210 Passive 1024 MB DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 DVI/HDMI/VGA Graphics Card, 01G-P3-1313-KR: Electronics Amazon.com: EVGA GeForce 210 Passive 1024 MB DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 DVI/HDMI/VGA Graphics Card, 01G-P3-1313-KR: Electronics
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:54 PM   #39
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All this talk has made me take a look at what's presently available in terms of affordable, mid-range CPUs, RAM, SSDs, and whatnot.

Apparently, there have been some advancements in the state of the art since the last time I was CPU-shopping back in January of 2010.

Convince me not to buy an LGA2011 motherboard, an i7-5820K, and 32 GB RAM. And a 512 GB M.2 SSD; the hilariously fast one made by Samsung which is rated for over 2 GB/s read and 1.5 GB/s write.

Last edited by Joe Perez; 03-22-2016 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 03-22-2016, 03:26 PM   #40
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Noo.... don't do it
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