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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 12:33 PM
Original message
Need some computer buying vs. upgrade advice
Ok, my computer at home has just about had it. It is a '98 Compaq heavily used by two teens and a wife who is nearly totally ignorant about computers. It is very slow now, I have done the virus scans and defragged but it still won't connect online.

My first thought was to get some additional ram and a new hard drive and seeing as how I have little time to do it myself have it installed by a professional and get all their files and software cleaned up, tuned up and transferred. I figured it would cost at least $200.

Then I see in today's papers and I can get a complete new system after rebates for under $500. Well, I don't need the keyboard, monitor, mouse, printer, etc., just the box. I could always install the old hard drive as a slave so they have all their files.

Soooo, here's my questions:

1. Is it worth trying to upgrade a computer already over 5 years old?

2. Does anyone have any on lines sites where I can shop for just the box and what would you recommend? They don't do any heavy graphic gaming, just mainly for homework and email for the kids and ebay for the wife.

Thanks in advance!
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Madrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
1. As someone that just replaced my old one - get a new one!
I got a very nice refurb HP from TigerDirect for a great price.

I was planning on building my own, but there's NO way I could build a comparable one for the cost of the HP. It was roughly $450. My previous computer was very old - like yours. Believe me, the difference between the new one and the old one is like night and day - I recommend a new one!

Mine came from TigerDirect - I linked to my model below:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...

I didn't turn on the old one hardly at all. I work with computers every day, so didn't feel like coming home and fighting with mine. Now that I have the new one, it's such a pleasure to use I find I'm spending way too much time dinking with it.
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks, I'll check them out....n/t
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sir_captain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
3. It's extremely unlikely
that it's worth upgrading. It's probably a Pentium II of some sort?

I definitely suggest getting a new case, motherboard, processor, video card, RAM, and HD. You can easily get that for under $500. Go to www.pricewatch.com and they'll point you where you need to go. Click on "PC-no OS"
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Thanks, looks like a nice site...n/t
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Political_Junkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. I would suggest both.
Get the new one for yourself, upgrade the old one for the family. I never let anyone with very little computer knowledge near my baby!
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. I just got myself a new laptop about a year ago
and they never touch it!
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ProudGerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
5. I always suggest building your own
Here's something I put together in about 5 mintes, check it out.

http://secure.newegg.com/app/WishR.asp?ID=715062

If you feel your processor is fine, you can knock the price down further. Also, if you don't think you need 512Meg of memory, cut that in half to save even more. Doing that will knock the price down to near 200 dollars. Just don't mix your old memory with your new memory.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
8. A useful lifespan of a computer is 5 years
Do upgrade it.

I homebuild because I can get more power for less money. But I needn't worry about that much longer...

Buy a low-end system with a decent Athlon processor (Athlon 2100+ CPU, 512MB RAM, 100GB disk drive, sound, etc) but crap video card for $650 and upgrade the video from the nvidia 440MX to a 5900FX o/c (BFG makes a card for $200) and you'll have a winner of a system.
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NewHampster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
9. There is no justification for an upgrade
For whatever it costs you can get an entire P4 loaded.

$499 at Dell

I just got one at Tiger. a refurb with full warranty

Athlon 2200+
120 gig
256 mb ram
WIN XP

CD CDR and a separate DVD -R

I paid $499 for that one and upgraded the ram.

Tiger Direct
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
10. We have a winner!
Thanks to you all for your advice. I checked out all the sites and decided upon Proud DemocRat's system.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...

There were some others at tiger direct that were tempting as well but with the open internal drive slot, 6 in 1 media card reader, firewire and ethernet I figure this will be flexible enough for any new accessories that come along.

I have installed hard drives, modems and upgraded memory but would not trust myself assembling an entire machine, plus there is the time factor, it would detract from my DU time. I saw Hypnotoads post too late but again, we should not have the need for a heavy graphics card, I can always upgrade later if it comes to that.

Again, thanks to everyone!!
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NewHampster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Good Choice
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Madrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Sweet! I'm really happy with mine.
FYI - no restore discs come with the system, instead there is a partition on the hard drive that has the restore info. Because I will eventually end up formatting this sucker and dual booting freebsd and windows (maybe even triple booting with linux) I HATE that there are no restore discs of any kind to put it back as it was. Especially if someday I want to sell it and return it to it's original condition for the buyer.

Anyway, this thing has a nifty little utility you can use to burn the files onto cds. You can only do it ONCE - and it takes forever, as well as 6 cds.

It's called HP PC recovery cd/dvd creator - and can be located in start -> programs -> Hewlitt-Packard -> HP pavillion PC tools.

Also - don't do what I did which is burn the cds as soon as I hooked the computer up. You'll be burning cds all day instead of playing with the new puter. :)

Once I started the process I realized I could have done the same thing later on - and wished I'd waited.
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Cool, I'll have to remember about burning the files
Sux that there's no recovery disk though. Can these be used for recovery? Doesn't sound like it, just records them.

Thanks for the suggestion on the system though!
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Madrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. The purpose of burning the discs is to have a set of FULL
system recovery files on cd. So yes, they can be used for recovery. :)
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. Cool
I use my laptop here at the office where I am stuck 80 hours a week so this will be the family's computer. My son or daughter can have the chore of burning the disks.

Thanks again!
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. Coolness - looks like a good system you're getting!
You'd only want the faster video card if you start playing 3D games like Quake 3 Arena, Unreal Tournament 2004, etc.

By then, video card prices will have come down.

I recall when the 5900 originally came out, it was $500. Now it can be had for $220. :D (cheaper than the ATi Radeon 9800 Pro, runs as fast under WIndows and much faster under Linux, and has a decent driver set.)
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. No 3D gaming
At least that I am aware of and by late summer my 18 year old son will be off to Northern Michigan where they issue each student his own laptop. This system should suit our needs for many years. Just need to get DSL or cable next.
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Madrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. Regarding the video -
I HATE HATE HATE onboard video. That said - I was pleasantly suprised with how well the onboard video works on this system. Initially I was going to purchase a card to fill the open agp slot - but to my suprise, *so far* this onboard video has handled everything I've thrown at it. Granted, I don't have any brand new, cutting edge games - but the ones I had that played like junk on the old ghetto machine play great.

That's one benefit of upgrading from a ghetto machine - :) Everything is SO much better than what you're used to, you won't even know you're not cutting edge.
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ProudGerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. Good choice
Its a good choice. But don't sell yourself short on your ability to assemble an entire system. Too many people make it much harder than it is.

It might not be your best choice now, but don't discount home built as an option in the future. The bang for the buck is nearly unbeatable, and it is really not that hard or time consuming.
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. I'll keep it in mind
Sounds kinda fun actually. I am just so busy at the moment.
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LTR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 06:35 PM
Response to Original message
21. Get a new one
Edited on Sun Apr-18-04 06:37 PM by RatTerrier
And keep the Compaq as a second computer. WIth two teenagers in the house I'd recommend it.

But you may need to clean it up a bit. If you can, backup the important stuff (pictures, documents, etc), reformat, reload Win98 (I assume that's your OS - make sure you have the licence ID #), and only load the basic stuff you'll need. The system will run surprisingly faster.

I have an old '98 Compaq as a second unit, and use it occasionally. This way, no fighting over the computer. No need to get a second printer, but get a new mouse, monitor and keyboard. They're cheap.

As far as connection, it may be a software/driver conflict. Are you on dialup or broadband? A reformat and fresh install may correct this. You'll need a router to connect both units to the internet, or you can have the Compaq handy for homework or games or any other offline activities.
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Great advice
I intend to either temporarily connect the old hard drive as a slave to transfer files or just pick and choose and transfer with the zip drive built into the old machine and use one of the few externals have here at the office on the new machine. I then intend to do a complete reformat/restore on the old machine, it cooked in it's day!
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