I built my own, but desktop units are so cheap now that you cannot match
them by buying the components. My son got a Dell laptop, and I got my
daughter a Dell desktop to take to school, and both have worked flawlessly.
I think service is overrated. If a unit is going to fail, it will fail
almost immediately and they will just replace it rather than repair it.
If it doesn't fail immediately, it will last the typically short
warranty period, so paying a premium for good service is probably a
waste of money. My suggestion is that you find a good way to back up
all your software and data, and when your computer fails (or, more
likely, becomes outdated) just get a new one.
Maybe. On the other hand, I spent less money to build the system I
wanted with the reliable components I wanted (rather than whatever a
corporation decides is the least costly option) than I would have
buying the box complete from Dell...and I didn't get it junked up with
a lot of (for me) unneccessary software.
Again, maybe, in two ways. Computer components don't always fail right
away. And even when they do, companies like Dell will make you walk
through many, many steps with their technical support people before
they replace the pee-cee or even the part. I know from personal
experience, having been through it when helping another pastor and his
family deal with Dell when the hard drive on their computer failed. It
was a nightmare.
Bottom line: go with a reputable company, and look at their customer
(For what it's worth, they may cost more, but Apple scores very high on
These are hardware minimums from their site. Ordinarily, that means to
get it booted and running.
Windows Vista Premium Ready PC includes at least:
1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1.
1 GB of system memory.
A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2.
128 MB of graphics memory.
40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
Audio output capability.
Internet access capability.
Any NT based OS loves to have more CPU, more RAM and more drive space.
All of this a faster than before. I'm enjoying SATA drives now. I
suspect IDE drives will leave us soon.
Not necessary, just more fog. They won't have the
bugs out of Vista for at least 2 more years. Then
she should need to buy all new programs to make
Vista of value to her. Besides, if she really
doesn't know anything about computers she won't
need Vista until she buys another computer.
You need as much memory as possible, 1G because
it is sometimes difficult (and expensive) to add
more memory. But hard drive size above 60-80 G is
useless for most people unless they are doing
video. (I have 120G and finally have about 13G
used after 4 years). Besides you can add a USB
drive for backups and more storage easily and
prices continue to drop.
Dell is ok. You may want to look at the Emachines. Circuit City has some
low end computers (you did not mention anything that would require much but
a minimum system) by them on sale after the rebates for about $ 300 every
couple of weeks. Pick up in the local store. I use to put together my own
computers but needed one a few weeks ago. It is hard to get anything like a
computer, 160 gb HD, DVD burner, monitor and then the operating system for
anything close to that. That was the deal with the T3418 computer. NOt
sure how they got together but Emachines and Gateway seem to be the same
First question--what do you want to do with it that your current machine
can't do. If the answer is "nothing" then don't bother to replace it.
Next, for what you describe just about any current model Dell will be fine,
as will any current model Gateway--I'd avoid HP and Compaq (same company,
different labels) as they tend to be quirky.
If service is your _major_ concern then get a Lenovo (which used to be IBM)
and pay for the on-site service--if you don't have a service contract IBM
service is kind of so-so, but if you _have_ a service contract you get
treated pretty much the same as if you had a multi-million-dollar
mainframe. Not a _cheap_ alternative though.
The ONLY reason I want to replace it is that my machine is eight years
old, but in excellent working condition.
But, I am still using Windows 98 SE and Microsoft is no longer offering
free updates, and I am told this opens me up to viruses, and I certainly
don't want to pass it onto others.
I was told that my machine will not support Windows XP Home Edition.
Can you tell me what I need in a computer in order to support Windows XP?
Thanks for your help.
J. Clarke wrote:
The official Microsoft statement on this is at
<http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/evaluation/sysreqs.mspx . Any
machine for sale new in a store today exceeds these by a wide margin.
The statement on requirements for Windows Vista is at
<http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/capable.mspx . This is not
a terribly high standard for the most part--again most machines you find
for sale new in a store right now meet it, but for best performance it
should be exceeded considerably--when Microsoft says "minimum" they mean
it. Any machine that meets that standard though should run Windows XP
Thinking further, you might want at this point to wait another few months
and get a Vista machine--it will have teething problems at that point (all
Microsoft operating systems have problems when first released) but if you
only upgrade when the OS is no longer supported then you'd do better to
start with the newest one than one that is already four years old.
I disagree. WinXp is the way to go NOW. Get Vista ONLY after the
first or second major fix pack is released. Vista is ONLY for those
that ride the bleeding edge and are willing to put up with the new
release faults when they crop up. In other words, wait a year AFTER
Vista is released before getting the new S/W.
Any decent machine you buy new from Dell, HP/Compaq, e-machines....
With WinXP on it is ready to run Vista in its minimum mode. Upgrades
will be needed to get the full experience of Vista as Vista wants more
RAM than most machines are presently sold with.
WinXP with SP2 installed is a good platform that will provide you YEARS
of good service before you need/want something else.
And I have a 1993 Acura Integra with 240,000 miles on it. I'm keeping
it as the engine still runs fine and I see no need for a new car payment.
Corrine is expressing an interest in getting a replacement for her 8
year old Win98 machine. The question in her mind is do it now, or wait
6 months to a year to do it.
If she wants to go to the Vista experience AT ALL!!! Not everyone will
or should follow the Redmond junkies in lock step with what they put out.
WinXp is now stable. EOL will have little meaning to Corrrine. Virus
writers will soon be turning their attention to Vista. A machine she
buys NOW with WinXP on it will have SP2 installed already. It will run
any S/W she wants to run, surf the internet,... for as long as she wants
to use it. If that happens to run beyond the ROL for WinXP FINE!!!!!
That is still 5 or more years from NOW!
I am, She is using Win98 on an 8 year old computer and wonders if she
should upgrade to a newer model. If it aint broke don't fix it. Cars,
Computers are BOTH similar in this regard. Sure the new model is sexy,
sleek, smells good, gets you admiration from your peers....
The real risk she faces is a hardware failure that loses all data on the
drive. Other than that risk, she can keep running with what she has,
until something breaks, or she succumbs to desire and gets a new
computer with WinXP on it. If she waits a year, Dell HP/Compaq,
eMachines, etc will only be offering machines with Vista on them,
So she goes with XP and in four years instead of 8 it's EOL and she needs to
upgrade and what does she have to upgrade to?
Sorry, but she has clearly stated that the reason that she is upgrading is
that 98 is EOL. That being the case, I'm at a loss to understand why you
think that that is not an issue for her.
Not the 8 that she got out of 98.
While I agree that there is no compelling reason for her to upgrade if her
existing machine is working, she has stated that 98 being EOL is an issue
for her, and that being the case perhaps you should consider the
possibility that her concerns are different from your concerns.
Personally I'm running Linux on a PS/2, but I wouldn't recommend that as a
solution to someone else's problem.
Yes, she can run with what she has until it breaks beyond repair, but that
does not address any of her stated concerns.
I was a head tech for a retail company that built their own machines.
I still build my own (because I want specific stuff in my machines) but
for the average user (personal and business) you simply cannot beat
the dell machines. In my current job (IT educational) all be buy
for the schools are Dell workstations and servers. I absolutely LOVE
the stuff with their warranties. I am not a big fan of their printer
(all lexmark crap that I dont like) but the workstations are excellent.
I know some people blame their Dell computer for all sorts of shit. But
honestly I have seem all sorts of different makes and models of
over the years and they are all prone to problems with the operating
screwing up the machine (make it slower, etc) Todays enemy is spyware,
Its can slow down that machine to a crawl if you have enough crap on
When looking at the quality of a computer, you have to ask yourself how
times has the drives blown, monitor crapped out, etc. (Power supplies
are questionable because their life span depends on the cleanliness
of the users work area. Dust and smoke kills fan on power supplies
I would recommend going to sites like www.techbargains.com and
search for Dell. You can find great deals on Dell stuff.
I would make sure to at least get a 2Ghz processor, 1 gig of ram,
DVD-RW, 3 1/2 Floppy (lots of machines dont come with them)
a nice 17" flat panel monitor. And at least a 32meg video card.
More if you have the funds available. The warranties can be
upped to if you got the cash.
I think Dell are very good computers. We had about 70 desktops in our
local network and maybe as many as 10,000 running on a national
network level. I have seen maybe two that failed right out of the
box. Each a dead hard drive, so Dell sent overnight new drives without
having to send in the old beforehand. You will get good directions
for setting up the machine.
E-mail, browsing the web, and small programs are not that taxing on
the system. Video, Music and Photo editing is another thing. I suggest
a mid-range system, based on your comment.
My inlaws are all Dell customers, probably about 20 machines between
them. So far so good. The support is OK but be prepared to spend some
time on the phone.
I am a hardware hacker guy so I am not a real fan but that is only
because Dell uses so many proprietary parts that upgrading and
building machines from parts is harder to do. They even changed the
pinouits of the power supplies, not for any logical reason, just to be
different. Memory sticks are harder to match up too.
If you are a person who never opens the case, a Dell is a good choice.
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