Back-to-School System recommendations

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

So, my niece is starting her junior year in HS. She has an old Dell
that is too slow and obsolete. Like many of you in this group we are a
lightning rod for help and her father asked me for a system
recommendation. I suggested my niece and I could build one from
scratch. I could really use come recommendation from this esteemed
community on which components I should go with. I've been happy with
newegg in the past.

Requirements:
surfing, email, IM, MS office, minor photo editing, possibly writing
some simple VB apps.

Looking to spend $500-600. Keyboard, mice, speakers and monitor will be
reused. Just need the tower.

And if this makes any difference, something simple to assemble since
I'd like to actually have my neice assemble it herself with my counsel.

Recommendations will be greatly appreciated. TIA>
8 answers Last reply
More about back school system recommendations
  1. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Ruel,

    Thank you very much for the information. Very impressive. I love the
    looks of the box and the dual layer DVD

    Is there a similar mobo that has onboard video? As you said, video
    performance isn't very important. After all the video card is $95.

    I'll check on the academic windows.XP. I think you're right

    I need to weigh the experience of putting together a PC of her own with
    the extra cost. She has expressed interest in a flat screen, which
    would add to the cost and does come standard with the HP model.

    Any thoughs on HP vs. eMachines if I go the buy route?
  2. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    "fedude" <fedude@rochester.rr.com> wrote in message
    news:1125239180.721559.317110@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    > So, my niece is starting her junior year in HS. She has an old Dell
    > that is too slow and obsolete. Like many of you in this group we are a
    > lightning rod for help and her father asked me for a system
    > recommendation. I suggested my niece and I could build one from
    > scratch. I could really use come recommendation from this esteemed
    > community on which components I should go with. I've been happy with
    > newegg in the past.
    >
    > Requirements:
    > surfing, email, IM, MS office, minor photo editing, possibly writing
    > some simple VB apps.
    >
    > Looking to spend $500-600. Keyboard, mice, speakers and monitor will be
    > reused. Just need the tower.
    >
    > And if this makes any difference, something simple to assemble since
    > I'd like to actually have my neice assemble it herself with my counsel.

    First, let me state that you're at a very low pricepoint. Quite honestly, I
    find that getting a bargain eMachines at that price after rebate gives you
    more. The more money you spend, the more worthwhile it is to build.

    With that said, take a look at these components:

    Antec SLK1650B case with 350W SmartPower PSU - $59
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129150

    MSI K8N Neo4-F - $83
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130491

    AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice core - $146
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103537

    Corsair 1GB Dual Channel Value memory - $88
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145526

    Albatron GeForce 6600 PCI-e - $95
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814170070

    Western Digital SATA 3.0 160GB HDD - $80
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822144415

    LiteOn 1693 16X Dual Layer DVD +-R/RW - $40
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827106989

    Windows XP Home OEM - $92
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16837102151

    Grand total: $683

    Since she's in school, she might be able to get a copy of one of those
    academic/two install-only versions of Windows XP for something like $5.
    Likewise for Office, and Visual Studio. That'll save a lot of money.

    Now, compare that to say...this:

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=pcmprd39900050000&type=product&skuId=999939700050000&tab=6&productCategoryId=cat01173

    $999 and $320 worth of rebates = $669. However, people have pointed out the
    difficulty in obtaining Best Buy's rebates, but with a little work keeping
    track and contacting them about them, you should see them all.

    This computer is _loaded_ with features, including a new keyboard, printer,
    monitor, digital card reader, and extra software. It does only include ATi
    integrated graphics, but oh well... From your specs, graphics aren't that
    high of a priority.
  3. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    fedude wrote:
    > So, my niece is starting her junior year in HS. She has an old Dell
    > that is too slow and obsolete. Like many of you in this group we are a
    > lightning rod for help and her father asked me for a system
    > recommendation. I suggested my niece and I could build one from
    > scratch. I could really use come recommendation from this esteemed
    > community on which components I should go with. I've been happy with
    > newegg in the past.
    >
    > Requirements:
    > surfing, email, IM, MS office, minor photo editing, possibly writing
    > some simple VB apps.
    >
    > Looking to spend $500-600. Keyboard, mice, speakers and monitor will be
    > reused. Just need the tower.
    >
    > And if this makes any difference, something simple to assemble since
    > I'd like to actually have my neice assemble it herself with my counsel.
    >
    > Recommendations will be greatly appreciated. TIA>
    >
    Although as you say she is entering her junior year in high school I
    suggest you look beyond before finalizing any plans.

    If she is college bound start by perusing the school websites.
    Increasingly the schools are recommending laptops. Makes bringing
    things home for the longer breaks much easier. College might be a bit
    easier if she is already familiar with the computer she'll be using there.

    Price wise the simple machines easily fall into the range you
    stipulated. I recently picked up a new Acer for under $600. Only
    change I've made to it was setting it to dual boot with Linux. Only
    time I boot Windows is to use Streets and Trips.
  4. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    So if I was to buy a system which would you pick:

    HP?
    Compaq?
    eMachines?
  5. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    > Thank you very much for the information. Very impressive. I love the
    > looks of the box and the dual layer DVD
    >
    > Is there a similar mobo that has onboard video? As you said, video
    > performance isn't very important. After all the video card is $95.

    Onboard video is available with the ATi chipset, which is what the HP uses.
    However, they're considered low-end at the moment, and I have no experience
    with them. Maybe someone else does and could help you choose one. Otherwise,
    you may have to look at an Intel machine. Personally, I'm not big on Intel
    as of the moment because their performance is slower and they run hot
    compared to AMD.

    > I need to weigh the experience of putting together a PC of her own with
    > the extra cost. She has expressed interest in a flat screen, which
    > would add to the cost and does come standard with the HP model.

    Samsung makes some great flat screens for the money, if you decide to build.

    > Any thoughs on HP vs. eMachines if I go the buy route?

    I think the Compaq line is more equivelent to eMachines, but the HP line is
    more equivelent to Gateway, which owns eMachines.
  6. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    "fedude" <fedude@rochester.rr.com> wrote in message
    news:1125267280.495494.282920@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > So if I was to buy a system which would you pick:
    >
    > HP?
    > Compaq?
    > eMachines?

    Of those 3, I'd get an HP if possible. Think of it this way: HP and Compaq
    merged, and Compaq Presarios are low end, whereas HP systems are higher end
    machines. Now, that in itself doesn't mean much, but one would expect less
    cost cutting on the HP system than the Compaq. Naturally, at such a price
    point, there will be cost cutting.
  7. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    "fedude" <fedude@rochester.rr.com> wrote in message
    news:1125250252.427743.326130@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > Ruel,
    >
    > Thank you very much for the information. Very impressive. I love the
    > looks of the box and the dual layer DVD
    >
    > Is there a similar mobo that has onboard video? As you said, video
    > performance isn't very important. After all the video card is $95.
    Looks like there aren't any MB's for AMD64 processors and integrated
    graphics.
    For the needs you've identified, you might look at a Celeron D - there are a
    fair number of MB's with integrated graphics.
    Here's one a Newegg that looks interesting.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813138246

    A 3GHZ Celeron D should do video editing ~ Athlon XP+ 2800/3000. See CPU
    charts at Tom's Hardware
    http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/20041221/cpu_charts-18.html The fastest
    Celeron D shown is the 2.8GHZ Prescott.
    You can find Celeron D' 340/345 at Newegg for $102/$120. Looking at the
    Video benchmark at Tom's, you'd expect to see ~ 1% difference in video
    performance betweent the 340 and 345 Celeron models.

    With the above MB [$56], and the Celeron D 340, you'd come in ~ $160 less
    than the MSI K8N Neo4-F, Athlon64 Venice and GeForce video card.

    Caveats:
    The video editing performance of either of the Celeron's is probably ~ 10%
    less than the Athlon64 3000. The Biostar MB does not have PCI-express,
    which looks like it will become the standard for most MB's in the next year
    or so [but, will in no way limit performance in your current pc. There will
    be PCI add in cards made for a long time - if you wanted to ]. And, lastly,
    the integrated graphics will probably be a 'pig' in the action video games.
    At the same time, the Biostar does have an AGP slot - so you can always add
    a high/higher performance video card later]
    >
    > I'll check on the academic windows.XP. I think you're right
    >
    > I need to weigh the experience of putting together a PC of her own with
    > the extra cost. She has expressed interest in a flat screen, which
    > would add to the cost and does come standard with the HP model.
    >
    > Any thoughs on HP vs. eMachines if I go the buy route?
    >
  8. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    "fedude" <fedude@rochester.rr.com> wrote in message
    news:1125239180.721559.317110@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    > So, my niece is starting her junior year in HS. She has an old Dell
    > that is too slow and obsolete. Like many of you in this group we are a
    > lightning rod for help and her father asked me for a system
    > recommendation. I suggested my niece and I could build one from
    > scratch. I could really use come recommendation from this esteemed
    > community on which components I should go with. I've been happy with
    > newegg in the past.
    >
    > Requirements:
    > surfing, email, IM, MS office, minor photo editing, possibly writing
    > some simple VB apps.
    >
    > Looking to spend $500-600. Keyboard, mice, speakers and monitor will be
    > reused. Just need the tower.
    >
    > And if this makes any difference, something simple to assemble since
    > I'd like to actually have my neice assemble it herself with my counsel.
    >
    > Recommendations will be greatly appreciated. TIA>

    If she is going on to college, I would recommend a good laptop with
    networking built in (wireless and lan). Desktop systems are really a PITA
    for tight quarters in dorms etc. Small printers are also very handy and work
    quite well. If you build, you have to also take into consideration the
    prices of the OS, MS Office and other apps she may need. It can really add
    up, even at student discounts. Laptops usually have a longer useable
    lifetime just because of the type of use they get. Doing research and
    writing papers (a set of decent speakers for MP3s of course...:-) will be
    the main use. Dell, Sony, Hitachi and several others make really decent
    laptops that are basically desktop replacements. The prices are coming way
    down on these laptops and if you look for sales you can save a bunch.

    Ed
    >
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