General Question

Yeahright's avatar

What desktop PC should I be looking for?

Asked by Yeahright (2784points) September 20th, 2014

I am looking for a PC to use at home and to do a little bit of work stuff as well (I am a teacher). I also like to play on-line backgammon.

I am thinking along the lines of a 24–27” screen, 8GB and 1TB, Windows 8. I would like to keep within $700 budget. What else is important that I look for?

There is some technical stuff that I don’t really understand such as what kind of processor is better (AMD A6–5200, AMD E2–3800, AMD quad-core A4–5000, dual core??). And what is 10/100 ethernet?

I would also like some info on:
Is Windows 8.1 better than Windows 8?
Is a touch screen worth getting on a desktop? (I was thinking about having the screen like an arm’s distance away)
What is better in terms of brands—P, Lenovo, Dell, Acer (I’m not a Mac person)?
What store has the best prices?

Thanks in advance for all your advice and suggestions.

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11 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

1. Ask for Windows 7. 8 will drive you mad.
2. Forget touch screens. Pointless on a desktop, too expensive, and it will tire you out.

Ethernet is local networking. 10/100 refers to the transfer capacity in megabit per second, and 100 is standard. Only really important for personal use if you have an internet connection that is above 100Mbit.
Processor type and speed is not relevant for your projected use, neiter is the graphics card. And cheap thing will do.
As for brands, I can not help you there. I assemple my own stuff.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

For what you are doing it won’t even take $700. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the tech details and the PC manufacturers are aware of this and capitalize on the confusion. I build my machines also but I’ve had good luck with most brands when using them for work or whatnot. I’m not the biggest HP fan though. The # of cores and faster processor speed is not always better. That seems to be where most non-tech buyers look in addition to drive space. Win 8.1 is acceptable and probably what you’ll find in an off the shelf machine. I agree with loli, avoid 8. Touch screens are not even standard on desktops and are actually pointless on them. Most computers will have gigabyte ethernet standard but 10/100 is still going to be fine for you. Honestly $500 should get you what you want and more. AMD or intel, it’s all fundamentally the same. i3,i5,i7 A5,A6…won’t make any difference for what you are doing. Refurbished machines you can get for a couple hundred dollars. You’ll get Win7 with one also. If anything put your extra cash into the monitor. For me bigger is usually better.

Yeahright's avatar

In terms of the monitor….what is the difference between soft and hard surface? What should I be looking for in a monitor? Should they be the same brand as the CPU? I have seen some Samsung monitors ut there aren’t any Samsung CPUs.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Samsung makes good monitors but so do many others. The name brands like ACER, HP or DELL will have some generic monitor inside their case. It’s all relative, there are only a few companies making the LCD or LED panels inside them. Um..don’t get the cheapest or the most expensive. LED is probably the best choice. For what you are doing don’t worry too much. I would make sure there is an HDMI interface. You may want that at some point. I have a couple cheap Acer monitors. Hard and soft surface is not even familiar to me, sounds like some marketing thing.

Yeahright's avatar

Well hard/soft was my own way of describing that when you touch the screen there are some screens where you get a soft and gel like feel, whereas with others you get a hard shiny surface that you can actually tap and get a glass-like sound.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The soft touch you describe is common on older LCD monitors. It’s got something to do with how the back lighting is spread out I think. Not sure about that one. All of my LED monitors and TVs have a “hard surface” You want LED backlighting.

elbanditoroso's avatar

How much of a hurry are you in?

Woot ( frequently has desktops as you described for about $450. They had one just last week. (Go to woot, look at closeout woots, or also at moofi)

Anyway – the one earlier this week was 12 gig memory, 1tb. The only thing it didn’t have was a screen – you can pick up at 24–28 inch screen mail order for about $150. Dont get a touch screen.

Don’t get Windows 8 – get Windows 8.1 and then simply turn off the tiles and boot directly to the desktop.

Although W7 still is very good,

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Yeahright's avatar

Thanks everyone for your comments.

I bought a 27” LG monitor at Best Buy; it was on sale for $189. Then an HP AMD AS-7600, 8GB, 2T, Windows 8,1 on sale for $450. @ARE_you_kidding_me I told them about HP having issues and stuff and they said that at Best Buy they get more complaints about Dell than HP.

They talked me into getting the Geek Squad tech support for $139. I was against it at first, but at the end they convinced me….any comments on this service?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Yeahright If you’re not a tech geek then I don’t have a problem with it. At least they have a tech dept who will look at your stuff. Most “extended warranties” the big box electronics stores sell are nothing more than a scrap of paper. When you bring your stuff back they’ll use the factory warranty and when that’s up they’ll give you store credit for the depreciated value of your item and tell you to pick a new one. That’s what they did at the one I worked at when I was a kid. You can interchange HP and dell all day long, they are basically the same machines. Some years Dell is better some years HP. The last crop of HP machines we got in at work had issues. Sounds like a really good machine for the cash though. I’m sure you’ll be happy with it.

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