O/T: Need To Build A Puter

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First thought "Begin with the end in mind."
That is, define the needs the device is to meet. That allows you to determine the hardware, operating system and software required. From there,one can add RAM and storage option upgrades, video card enhancements, etc. and so forth.
If you examine the files saved on your friend's old computer, that will give you a good idea of what he/she uses the device for. Add to that the current "wish list" ranked by importance/value to the intended end-user.
If it turns out that an off the shelf Laptop will suffice, you'll have the specs requisite to effectively putting out a "Request For Proposals" or shopping pecs sheet.
Then go looking for suppliers and deals on price, quality, warranty, service, etc.
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UPDATE:
The deed is done.
Thank you all for your inputs.
When I started this project, knew friend had a Toshiba lap top and was very happy with it.
Turns out it was Micro Center located in Tustin, CA, that supplied it.
This was the same outfit suggested by Han based on his dealings with their NJ operation.
So Micro Center got the order to build a puter.
Will pick it up this week end.
Once again, thanks for every bodies input.
Lew
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I just bought an ASUS X53E laptop there, with the extended warrantee. I put at least 3 full days in installing all kinds of software and tweaks. Then I noticed the funny light spots on the screen, and soon they became really distracting. SO I brought the machine back and exchanged it (everyone agreed there was a screen defect). While there I swapped the hard drives, so the software I had (partly) purchased for the first machine now resided on the replacement. Didn't want to spend days reinstalling again. That worked almost flawlessly. The only software that protested being in a different box was Perfect Update (driver updates), but I got a new license key for it from the nice folks at Raxco after explaining what I had done. Now I wish I could get the SD card reader to work ...
--
Best regards
Han
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On 8/10/2011 6:30 AM, Han wrote:

Obviously and or hopefully a setting change isall that is required. When I got my new desk top a few months ago the DVD player would not work, not recognized was the reason. Odd since this is how the builder installed the OS. I went into properties and the DVD was set up to act as something else, virtual HD IIRC.. Changing to DVD player/burner solved the problem. I am probably totally off base here but similar problem.
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Whatever it was, it now works.
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Best regards
Han
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