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Purchase Template: Desktop PC for Ph.D. Program

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#1 stuffgt


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Posted 13 July 2014 - 12:21 PM

My budget for the new computer is: 



What are the primary uses for this computer (IE: mail, web browsing, programming, games, etc)? 

Reading/sending emails, reading papers and taking notes, raw data (microsoft excel based, not something like big data) analysis

Mainly intended to serve as a desktop only for work for the Ph.D. and meant to be kept in the office solely

Ability to handle remote desktop so I can log into the desktop if I need to access from home

Ability to connect to two monitors at the same time (viewed as separate screens, not mirrored)

Use for solely towards the Ph.D. program (looking to utilize for next 5-6 years)


What software do you intend on using on the computer? 


Microsoft Office (word, excel, powerpoint, one-note)


Mozilla firefox


Adobe Acrobat


Do you play games? If so, what type of games? 

Do you tend to have a lot of programs running at the same time, or do you close every program when you are done using it? 

Tend to have a lot of word files, internet tabs (youtube occasionally for background music), and excel files running at the same time

Do you store a lot of pictures or music on the computer?




My work-flow is looking to have a central budget desktop that can allow me to engage in writing and researching tasks and number-crunching. If I need to move around, I have an ASUS transformer t300t from a while ago that can allow me to do basic tasks. I would also like to be able to remote desktop into the desktop if I need to access software from home. This desktop would also need to connect to two monitors. The PC will not change locations and will be dedicated solely to the aforementioned tasks for the next 5 to 6 years. 


I've done searching on my own so far, but the options seem to be many and I can't make heads or tails on processor types, etc. The vivoPCs seem interesting but I can't tell anything about the specs. I'm not picky on compact size vs. tower.


Thanks in advance and let me know if there are any questions you would like me to answer.

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#2 OldPhil



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Posted 13 July 2014 - 01:53 PM

Your needs appear to be much higher than your budget!

Honesty & Integrity Above All!

#3 stuffgt

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 02:18 PM

I found a vivoPC for about 289 (http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-VivoPC-VM40B-01-Desktop-2013-Model/dp/B00GMONZ28) and HP is running a sale with their desktop at 289 as well (http://www.shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products/Desktops/Desktops?SearchParameter=%26%40QueryTerm%3D*%26ContextCategoryUUID%3DOp0QxXjbaUcAAAE0eehcZzOt%26facet_special_offers_desktops_dte2%3DTop%2Bdeals%26%40Sort.TieredPricing%3D0&PageSize=15&SortingAttribute=TieredPricing-asc).


But again, I'm not sure what to make of the specs

#4 jonuk76


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Posted 13 July 2014 - 09:06 PM

The Asus uses a low powered mobile Celeron processor.  It could run basic desktop stuff, but I would probably look for something more powerful for better performance when multi-tasking and number crunching etc.. Similarly the cheapest HP system uses a low power AMD processor which is rather slow, and comes with just 2Gb (the $329 ones are more reasonable) which will be horrible when trying to run several programs at once.  Just looking on Amazon, this Dell looks like a much more powerful system for the same sort of money. Obviously it's not as pretty as the Asus, but the Pentium G3240 is a proper desktop processor, and much more powerful than that of the Asus system.  It can support two monitors as it has 1 each of VGA and HDMI ports.  It can be easily upgraded to 8Gb RAM cheaply for better multi-tasking ability.  There might be better deals out there, like I said I just had a quick look on Amazon...


Just as a comparison of the processor performance, here's a benchmark of the AMD Kabini, Celeron and Pentium CPU's - http://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare.php?cmp[]=2019&cmp[]=1847&cmp[]=2250  Clearly the Pentium is faster than the other two by a wide margin.

Edited by jonuk76, 13 July 2014 - 09:36 PM.


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