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Cheap desktop advice for an old man.

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5 replies to this topic

#1 1970AMX


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Posted 20 February 2016 - 02:12 PM

I'm planning on buying a new/refurbished older desktop computer to replace the 11 year Gateway that I have.  The Windows XP and some other software is no longer being supported.
Looking to buy the best one at the lowest price of course.  Under $300 if possible and lower is even better  : .)
I have very basic needs.  Internet surfing and I use Abiword and Gnumeric software, similar to Microsoft Word and Excel.  I also use Photoshop. .
I’m open to suggestions regarding the like to have items I have listed below, I am flexible on these items.  You can make suggestions on how to best spend the money.  Like to have: 
4 GB RAM or better
At least 200 GB HDD
DVD RW drive  (want to be able to write to both CDs and DVDs)
Several USB ports
Reasonably high GHz, within the price limitation
Also, my monitor, keyboard and mouse are fine, so replacing just the computer itself would be fine.
I’m thinking I can save by buying a refurbished or open box unit.  Let me know if you think that would be a bad idea.  I don't need the latest and greatest, just looking for a good "bang for the buck" computer.
I don’t know if it would be a good idea to build my own unit, seems like a refurbished one would be cheaper.
Also, I would like to stick with brands that have a reputation for reliability.  Buying a computer that breaks within a year or two seems like false savings.  
I am open to buying a computer from any vendor you suggest.
To start the discussion, below is a link to Newegg (I’ve ordered from them before and have had good luck), listing refurbished computers from lowest cost to highest
Lastly, I really appreciate any help as I am not savvy regarding computer hardware.

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#2 RolandJS


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Posted 20 February 2016 - 02:19 PM

4 GB RAM or better -- 6-8GB if multi-tasking and/or your future includes gaming
At least 200 GB HDD -- many will be 500GB-1TB, good bang for buck right now
DVD RW drive  (want to be able to write to both CDs and DVDs) -- maybe get two:
1 cd-dvd reader/writer
1 BluRay reader [it also is a normal cd-dvd reader/writer] -- if you plan on viewing some movies on the computer

Edited by RolandJS, 20 February 2016 - 02:19 PM.

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#3 JohnC_21


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Posted 20 February 2016 - 02:25 PM

If you have a Staples near you they have sales every so often. See this for example. $300




  • Powerful 4th Generation Intel Core i3-4170 processor for excellent performance
  • 8GB memory makes computing and gaming faster
  • 1 TB 7200RPM Serial ATA hard drive holds all of your personal and professional records
  • Intel HD Graphics 4400 makes gaming and movies much more fun and exciting
  • The ultra-slim tray super multi DVD burner tucks into the tower subtlety
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports to help you connect your smartphone and flash drive
  • Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g/n featuring 2.4 GHz 1x1 technology connects you quickly and easily
  • 1-year limited hardware warranty protects the valuable internal components that you need to stay connected

Here is an HP for $250 with a slower CPU.



Edited by JohnC_21, 20 February 2016 - 02:28 PM.

#4 Agouti


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Posted 20 February 2016 - 02:51 PM

Well, errr... from what you have posted, Photoshop seems to be your most demanding application so you could probably use its system requirements as a guide.

#5 1970AMX

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 03:20 PM

Only use Photoshop occasionally. Hopefully "Like to haves" in my initial post should work re the Photoshop requirements.  I'm not looking so much to get input on the system requirements (although that would also be fine) as I am seeking help finding the best "Bang-for-the Buck" computer that will work for me.  


Hope to get more advice on bargain computers and the best places to buy them.


Thanks everyone for your input so far!  

Edited by 1970AMX, 20 February 2016 - 03:40 PM.

#6 Chris Cosgrove

Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 06:34 PM

In many respects buying new is simpler than buying refurbished. Just as an example, warranties are more straightforward and longer lasting.


Refurbished etc. can be a very good buy but a huge amount depends on the reputation of the seller. A very good possible source is some local computer firm, these often have ex-lease or ex-rental machines on offer, but ask around to find out what sort of reputation they have. I could cheerfully recommend my local company but as they are based about 7 hours East of your location this wouldn't be much help.


Chris Cosgrove

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