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Mac gal needs PC advice


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#1 lauriefr

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:51 AM

Hello, everyone,

I joined this forum because I need some guidance. OK, I need a LOT of guidance! I need to buy my first PC ever, and I'm completely lost. I've always been a Mac gal, but I've just been offered an online job that requires a new or almost new (no older than a couple of years), PC computer to be compatible with this company's online work environment (primarily online text editing). I don't even know where to start! Please, PC users, I can use whatever recommendations you're willing to offer.

Here are the highlights of what I want and need:

As inexpensive as possible - Where can I get the best value for my money? Specific online vendors? Real world vendors? Pawn shops? Places I can find nearly-new or floor demo models at cheap prices?

Reliable - Which OS should I be looking for? Which computer brands should I steer toward or away from?

Desktop or laptop - I'm open to either, as long as they're comparable in quality and life expectancy.

Videocam - This will be necessary for video conferencing.

Internet - Internet-ready and high speed connection compatible

Those are the bare bones of my requirements. Since I know nothing about PC's, I don't know if there are other features I'll need, as well, so feel free to educate me. I just need to get a dependable machine as cheaply as possible.

Point me in the right direction, please!

Thank you,

Laurie

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#2 killerx525

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 12:16 PM

TOSHIBA Satellite L675D-S7016 Notebook

This laptop has a built in webcam and microphone for you. Also it is internet ready. Toshiba generally makes high quality laptops.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#3 Andrew

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 12:23 PM

Hello, everyone,

Hi! :welcome:

As inexpensive as possible - Where can I get the best value for my money? Specific online vendors? Real world vendors? Pawn shops? Places I can find nearly-new or floor demo models at cheap prices?

Reliable - Which OS should I be looking for? Which computer brands should I steer toward or away from?

In the PC world, there are only a handful of operating systems and by far the most popular is Windows with its latest incarnation, Windows 7. I have, for a long time, held Windows with a certain disdain, but I have to admit that Windows 7 has run smooth and stable for me so far.

Other options are Windows Vista (which is quite justifiably shunned,) Windows XP (which is 11 years old and shows its age but is still quite popular,) and the various flavors of Linux (which are very stable and reliable but may not be compatible with the requirements of your new job's software.)

With regard to hardware brands, there a only a handful of major system builders out there nut there are a zillion resellers from major companies like Amazon.com to mom & pop shops on the street corner.

I'd steer clear of pawn shops if only because you get no guarantees, warranties or support. Reputable online dealers include: www.newegg.com, www.tigerdirect.com, www.dell.com and www.hp.com.

Desktop or laptop - I'm open to either, as long as they're comparable in quality and life expectancy.
Videocam - This will be necessary for video conferencing.
Internet - Internet-ready and high speed connection compatible

PC desktops and laptops are about identical in reliability (barring accidents like dropping a laptop from a high place or knocking a desktop off a desk.) The expected operational lifetime of most desktops is between 4 and 6 years, laptops probably between 4 and 5 years.

One important thing to consider if shopping for a desktop is that not all desktop computers, especially if they're sub-$300 will include a keyboard, mouse and screen as part of the package. You would need to purchase those separately in such a case. Additionally with desktop systems, even if they include a keyboard, mouse and screen usually do not include a webcam (though some might.) Laptops on the other hand by definition include built-in keyboards and mice and more often than not a built in webcam.

Wired internet connectors are ubiquitous in the desktop PC world, you would be very hard pressed to find a desktop made in the last 7 or 8 years that didn't have an ethernet port. Laptops, however, may or may not have such connectors available. On the other side of the coin, most laptops have a built-in wireless device whereas almost no desktops do.

Those are the bare bones of my requirements. Since I know nothing about PC's, I don't know if there are other features I'll need, as well, so feel free to educate me. I just need to get a dependable machine as cheaply as possible.

Newegg.com and TigerDirect.com have sections for "Discount," "Recertified," and "Open Box" items. Recertified and Open-Box items are invariably cheaper than brand-new items of even the same model. The tradeoff there is that the warranty may be much shorter and the return policy may only allow replacement rather than refund. Dell and HP don't appear to have such sections.

#4 killerx525

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 05:25 PM

Good explanation Andy :thumbsup:

Edited by hamluis, 27 June 2011 - 09:29 AM.
Removed unnecessary quote.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#5 PamelaM

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 04:47 PM

Hello Laurie,

As far as a PC purchase now, I would recommend you buy a laptop over a desktop. Unless you are doing some very high end computing, laptops will have as much capability as desktops for most people.

Unless you buy a used machine, it will have Windows 7 on it now, which was a big improvement over Windows Vista.

Most laptops will have the things you mentioned built in - like a webcam.

One thing you need to determine is if you travel a lot and want a laptop that is thin and light. There are 11 inch and 13 inch laptops that will fit the bill here. Some may not have a built in CD/DVD drive, in order to make them lighter, in which case you will have to purchase an external CD/DVD drive in order to load most software. But, that is a tradeoff only you can decide upon. There are 13 inch models that have a built in CD/DVD drive, as well.

As far as where to buy, that may be determined some by where you live. The larger urban areas have more choices of stores that you can check out. You can order from an internet site as well, a lot of the retailers will also have an internet site if you wish to purchase online. You may have to just look around for a while to get an idea of what your local stores or internet sites have to offer and keep your eye out for bargains.

As far as a particular make, I have no recommendation to make, I have not seen any information that any of the major brands have problems that you would want to avoid.

Hope this helps,
Pam
Pam




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