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Help! I need a new computer and I've got questions(12 posts)

Help! I need a new computer and I've got questionsPaulCL
Jan 5, 2004 11:48 AM
Situation: 4 yr old computer just doesn't cut it anymore. 4G HD, 64MB ram...slow and there's something wrong. I've been told by a computer literate friend of mine that I probably need a new harddrive. Or at least, to reformat the HD and start over. I'll do that, leave the computer for the kids for games and wordprocessing. I want to buy a new computer for email,internet, digital photoes, etc...

So, I don't need any super big, powerful computer. Just something real basic. Dell has a couple of deals that interest me.
1. Celeron processor running at 400mhz, 256MB ram, 40g HD, dual CD and DVD/RW drives, floppy, etc for $400! plus shipping

or
2. Pentium 4 running at 533mhz with all the same stuff for $500

or
3. Pentium 4 @ 533mhz with 512ram, 80gHD, dual drives, floppy, etc...for $799

I don't think I need more than the basic machine. Will the Celeron work fine for home use?? I guess I'm asking the difference between the Celeron processor vs. Pentium 4..

Thanks.Paul
pretty sure you're talking front side bus speed.rufus
Jan 5, 2004 1:09 PM
what's the speed of the processors?

myself, i'd go for option three. stave off obsolescence as long as you can. and $799 is cheap money as far as computers go. that thing's about five times the system i'm typing this on, for about 1/3 the price.
You're rightPaulCL
Jan 5, 2004 1:17 PM
My ignorance is showing thru...

Choices #1 and #2 run at 2.40GHz Choice #3 at 2.6GHz.

I'd like to stave off obsolescence too, but at what cost?? Is choice #3 that much better than #2?? I looked at a 128mb ram machine at Circuit City where the salesguy offered to install an additional 128mb ram for $30. I'm figuring that I could do what I did with my current machine and just upgrade the guts in a couple of years for $100.

No matter what I buy, it will be a major step up versus my current machine. My current machine (at home) cost me over $1200 four years ago. Not top of the line, but good enough to last over four years. I'm not one of those who want the latest gizmo (except on my bike).

Paul
I've never had a quarrel with my Celeron. nmOldEdScott
Jan 5, 2004 1:36 PM
cause it's too weak to put up a fight! nmmohair_chair
Jan 5, 2004 1:53 PM
Yeah, but how much processor power do you needOldEdScott
Jan 6, 2004 7:29 AM
to open a Word doc or an Excel spreadsheet or surf the Web?

Processor speed is like rear-cog 'speeds' on bikes. We're told more is not just better but necessary. But more is only necessary if the use you put the computer/bike to requires it.

I DID 'overclock' the Celeron, though, to boost its speed. Why? Because it was a fun thing to attempt. Fun is a necessity too.
re: Complete or CPU unit onlyjrm
Jan 5, 2004 3:06 PM
The CPU only options a good way to save some $$$ and get a pretty good PC in the process.
bottom feeding is fine.dr hoo
Jan 5, 2004 3:47 PM
To answer your question, there isn't going to be much difference between those machines for what you do with them. Get the cheapest box you can, but make sure it has at least 512m of ram. XP can use it. So #1 with more ram would do fine. That's what I do when I need a new computer: walk into a store and buy the bottom of the line system. I also buy a lot of obsolete ($5-10) games too.

Pent 4 vs. celeron is basically meaningless for you. P4s do a lot better at crunching a LOT of numbers, which is good for graphics. Math co-processor and faster floating point operations... and if that is meaningless to you you don't need it. Unless you are going to do a lot of gaming/video editing, you will never see a difference.

Definitely, after 4 years, reinstall your OS and start clean again on the old computer. And throw another 64meg of ram in it while you are at it. Windows 98 (which I am assuming you use on the old machine) will really speed up with 128meg ram, but doesn't have much use for more than that.
ThanksPaulCL
Jan 5, 2004 6:07 PM
Thanks. I didn't see much difference for the dollars. My local computer shop has 128mb of ram for about $30. Is it any problem installing it myself or should I let them do it for another $25??

As for the old computer...I'm borrowing a friends windows 98 operating discs and am going to start anew. I guess I'll add the Ram while i'm going at it.

thanks. Paul
adding ram is easy, plenty of online guides.dr hoo
Jan 5, 2004 6:29 PM
Just make sure you get the right kind, and that you are grounded and static free when doing it.

It might be worth the 25. It will take some time to learn everything, and do the deed. And you won't actually learn all that much, since it is not a complex task. You will save the money, and hauling the computer to the store though. And knowing what is inside the case can be useful, if you want to add ram later, or add a video card, or anything like that. Hardware is pretty simple now, compared to years ago. It's up to you.

For a howto:

http://www.compukiss.com/sandyclassroom/tutorials/article776.htm

... looks pretty good, though it is XP specific I think. Really, more than 128 does nothing for win98, no matter what people say. I have even read some that say it can slow down performance to go with more on 98, though I have not personally seen that.

And for finding what memory you need:

http://www.crucial.com/

... is a good source for information. Have fun.
Thanks againPaulCL
Jan 6, 2004 11:09 AM
I went to the crucial.com webpage. For the computer that I bought (yes, I bought it this AM), upgrading to 512MB of Ram will cost me $45 versus $150 at Dell. The whole computer including shipping, minus the rebat, cost me $548. Not bad.

I'll buy the extra RAM for my old computer. Now I have to find the windows 98 disc to reinstall into my old computer.

Thanks. Paul
Consider the cost of peripherials toopitt83
Jan 6, 2004 5:21 AM
Your old scanner, printer, possibly even your monitor will likely not work well with XP. So, you should consider re-buying those. New ones will give better results and be compliant with the new OS. If your re-imaging your old computer as a "kids machine", you'll need to keep them connected there anyway. You may be able to use them via home network and sharing them out, but that's a bit involved and can be costly. Also, software will drive your costs up if you want Office 2003 versus your old version.

I'd get that celeron first. You'll never know the difference. Buy a good monitor. I'd put the extra memory in myself. It's insanely easy to do and $25 is criminal for 90 seconds of tech time at your store.