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Computer Comparison Newbie Question


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#1 Ely

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 01:11 PM

I'm a 55 yr. old grandma. Husband & I went online with our 1st IBM Aptiva in 1999. Since then, we've bought a 2nd one, and then installed a newer and bigger hard drive. We've learned by screwing up and figuring out how to fix things. We know simple things like reformatting the hard drive, installing new software, installing a network card so we could get dsl...stuff like that. Here is my newbie stupid question. We are still using Windows 98 SE and are really wanting to get a brand new computer that is better, faster, etc. We don't know what to look for. All we've known is the IBM Aptiva. What is the difference in ours and Gateway...or Dell...and what are interon pentium systems? Just what do we look for. We just want a fast computer for home use...online surfing, reading email...selling a little on ebay...that type of thing. I do tend to like to have several browser windows open at once though, and get aggravated when the computer doesn't want to do that! :thumbsup:

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#2 acklan

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 11:26 PM

Let me first start by welcoming you to BC. Second you posed a valid question not a stupid one. What you are looking for may be acomplished with a software and hardware upgrade. I do exzactly what you do and have 4 to 8 browser windows open all the time. I have a '99 model Dell GX1 P-III 500mhz. I bumped it to 512mb of RAM and installed XP Pro. Been like that for over two years. Now if you want to buy a new computer just because you want to make a changee that is great too.
Before I get hammered let me say this is my option. OK I feel better.
For what you described speed is not an issue. Any new computer will have speed to burn. What you need is plenty of RAM, at least 512mb, and hard drive space. You didn't say anything about video or gaming right...good.
I like Dell, but again that is my option. I would stay away from the cheaper HP and Compaq products. Try the Dell online store refurbished computers if price is an issue.
If you don't have a problem with upgrades why don't you list you computer(s) specs. and let us give you our options on upgrade. I personally think you would be amazed what $100 could do to your computer and installing it yourself. Oh yeah, check out the freeware replacements for paid software elsewhere in this forum.


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#3 dc3

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 01:26 AM

Dell does seem to be what is currently doing well, the only problem is the manufacturer specific parts when it comes time to make repairs after the warrnaty runs out. An extended warranty might be a consideration.

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#4 Rimmer

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 04:16 AM

What browser are you using? I'd recommend Firefox if you don't already have it because it has excellent tabbed browsing as well as multiple browser windows so you can really organise yourself well.

You may also find your system just needs a good clean-out in order to do what you want it to do.

Post your specs and let the good people here give you some tips. :thumbsup:

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#5 acklan

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 03:00 PM

One more option. If you are the do-it-yourself type, start shopping online for parts and build it yourself.
All you need is a phillips screw driver, a ham sandwich, and a cold glass of tea and you can put that puppy together in a short time.
Building a computer is very easy. And you have an online tech manual right here.
Tell us what you want. We will give you a parts list and sites to get the best deals. This could turn into a community project.
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#6 dc3

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 01:42 AM

If you are up to it, acklan has the right idea, you will have a total winning situation. You will have a computer that will be better than what you will buy from Dull, and the knowledge that you gain from the build.

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#7 Ely

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 05:51 PM

Thanks for the replies, guys! Too many long hour work days has kept me offline for several days. Let's see...we have a 18GB hard drive with 12GB still free. Is that my RAM? Been online catching up for almost an hour, so now computer is sluggish, pages opening slower and sometimes it will freeze up. I've downloaded some of those freeware or shareware programs to clean your hd and they have found lots of problems, so maybe just need to break down and buy a program to clean my registry? or whatever. Just didn't want to put out $50 and not know if that was what I needed or not. I've reformatted the hard drive once or twice just in the last year, and after that, my computer runs like new for awhile...so don't know if I'm just picking up junk...adware, whatever that slows everything down. I've run a couple of programs to get rid of spyware and adware recently and we have norton 2005 virus that we keep updated. After that...you're going to be going "over my head"! :thumbsup:

Edited by Ely, 23 October 2005 - 05:59 PM.


#8 Ely

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 06:01 PM

Forgot...we use IE6 as our browser.

#9 dc3

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 12:46 AM

Hi Ely...Rimmer has the right idea with Firefox, I use it, and won't use IE unless I need to download from M$. Rimmer also suggested that you provide us with your specs so that we can assist you, what he didn't include as he usually does is to download Everest Home Edition. This program will provide you with all the specs, and it's free. You can fine Everest with this link: http://www.lavalys.hu/products/overview.php?pid=1〈=en

When you open this program it will have a page with a menu on the left, in the first catagory is computer, under that is summary, click on summary. This will list most all of the information that you will need, system memory is your RAM. If you right click on the summary and select copy all, you then can paste this information to your response here, and then we will know what you have. :thumbsup:

What Everest can't tell us is what anti virus, adware, spyware, and firewall programs you are running, you have told us that you are using Norton, what other protection do you use. If you are not using anything other than Nortom, please read the information at this link: The link I have doesn't work here for some reason, so if you go back to the first page where you selected discussions, you will also find tutorial, if you go to tutorials you will find an article titled "Simple and easy ways to keep your computer safe and secure on the Internet", this is the information that you need to read.

Edited by dc3, 24 October 2005 - 01:12 AM.

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#10 acklan

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 04:04 AM

Let's see...we have a 18GB hard drive with 12GB still free. Is that my RAM?


No that is your Hard drive. Right click on My Computer> select properties. In the grey box near the bottom it will tell you your RAM and proccessor speed.
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#11 Ely

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 11:50 AM

We have AMD-K6™3D processor
88.0MB RAM 47% free
32 bit file system and 32 bit virtual memory

#12 acklan

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 12:07 PM

:thumbsup: :flowers: :trumpet: Oh my gosh!! 88mb of RAM. I have a bad feeling that 128mb maybe 256mb of RAM is all you will be able to put in that machine. With 128mb you could run Win2000. I have that in several of my machines (11 to be extact ). It's a good OS and waay better than '98 or ME. If you can put 256mb in you could run XP home, but IMHO I think you should move to a better computer or move to Win2000.
You have 96mb of RAM and 8mb shared with the video card?

Edited by acklan, 24 October 2005 - 12:08 PM.

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#13 Rimmer

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 07:47 PM

I agree with dc3 - it won't hurt to follow his suggestions.

The AMD K-6 is pretty obsolete now, but then again if you *really* only want to browse the internet it's adequate.
RAM - if your going to stick with the existing PC then you need to boost the RAM to 256MB or more.
If you have Win98SE and have reformatted and re-installed windows in the last year or so I would not have thought you would gain much from changing to Win2000. It is more stable than Win98 but there may be a learning curve and some peripherals may not be recognised. For a modest user I'm not sure there would be much benefit, but acklan would have more experience with this than me.

It is essential you have one good anti-virus program installed and updated along with one good firewall.
You also need a variety of anti-spyware software available.

I've downloaded some of those freeware or shareware programs to clean your hd and they have found lots of problems, so maybe just need to break down and buy a program to clean my registry?

Which programs? What type of problems did they find?

You are unlikely to need to buy any of these things - there are excellent free programs available at the moment. See here for some.
I would recommend CCleaner to get rid of unnecessary files on your hard drive. Download CCleaner from here:
CCleaner
Do NOT use the 'Applications' or 'Issues' tabs, they are for expert users only.

hth :thumbsup:

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#14 dc3

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:44 PM

We have AMD-K6™3D processor
88.0MB RAM 47% free
32 bit file system and 32 bit virtual memory

And this is the newer machine? Yep...time to go shopping. Any money spent on that pc would be a bad investment. That pcu came out in late 1997, I would say that you got your moneys worth out of it. My cpu is of the next generation, a K7-Pro, I can only hope that it holds up as well as yours has.

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