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Buying a PC for 8 years old

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May 15, 2009 3:04:48 AM

HI All,
I am looking for a basic desktop for my child, 8 years old. I only need something pretty basic, internet browsing for school project, power point presentation and very minimal computer games. I'll use it at night as well to surf the net at night sometimes, so prefer something run at reasonable speed, like in my office. I plan to get another higher grade desktop/notebook in 3 years later. So, for this one, the cheaper the better.
Thanks for taking your time to response. Really appreciate that.

regards,
Mum of Twins

More about : buying years

May 15, 2009 3:23:22 AM

Do you HAAAAAVE to build it yourself? Maybe get a netbook and a cheap monitor/keyboard/mouse... or build yourself an Intel Atom. Cheapest netbook is $200 Canadian dollars on sale @NCIX :)  $100 19" monitor and cheap $15 wireless logitech keyboard mouse, all canadian currency.

Or you can go with the new 45nm Athlons when they come out in the summer, around $70-ish for the best chips. AMD has cheap BE's, you can get one of those and have fun OCing when it gets old :) 
Ops, wait, just remembered that you're a mom lolz XD
a b à CPUs
May 15, 2009 7:38:05 AM

How much is the max price for this.
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a b à CPUs
May 15, 2009 9:43:05 AM

She did say minimal computer games, if your going to be doing any gaming at all the Atom is not the way to go.
a b à CPUs
May 15, 2009 9:54:36 AM

^ Well true...but still I guess for a 8yr old - computer games, even if it runs at least settings, it will be fine...
And the person is not a HE, it is she...
May 15, 2009 10:36:37 AM

I think by minimal games she means like browser based games
May 15, 2009 11:23:50 AM

id say celeron dual core or pentium dual core, 2gig ram, and maybey a small GPU that would run vista fine
May 15, 2009 6:02:46 PM

Oh come on, give me a break. This old mama made an account on Tom's to ask which computer to buy. Look at her profile, joined yesterday, 1 post... Are you going to turn into some forum leecher? Gosh... you'd save so much time if just went to Futureshop and bought something there. Sorry if I sound mean, but honestly, it's kind of true...
May 15, 2009 6:49:59 PM

get one of those asus ion portable desktop things.
May 15, 2009 6:52:59 PM

@computabug: you DO sound kind of mean. Besides, I wouldn't trust the futureshop people as far as I can throw them; they're all on commission.

Anyways, what kind of budget are you looking at? Which games constitute minimal gaming?

My personal recommendation for a mid-level computer is as follows:

2Ghz to 2.5Ghz processor (preferably dual core)
2 GB RAM
Video card with DirectX 9 or 10 and 256 Mb of memory
150 GB hard drive (though this can range greatly depending on how much space you need)

I'm generally basing this platform on the assumption that it will end up running Vista, you can tone it down a little if you plan on installing XP. This kind of box running XP will run pretty much anything you throw at it (outside of intensive games, video editing, etc). It should be more than you need for your 8-year-old (though the extra power is in there on purpose... you probably want at least a little bit of room for growth before it becomes obsolete). Probably won't be too expensive either, though I haven't actually checked prices on these parts.

Hope this helps :) 

Edit: Note that this is MY version of a mid-range computer, which might be a little bit towards the high-end for some people. It depends on the person. The reason I go a little more high end is because I like the freedom of knowing that I can run anything on my computer without much a worry; being restricted by software specs isn't worth the money saved, for me. It might be for you. A list of the kind of programs to be run on this computer would be ideal to help you determine what you need (a list of games in particular, since those will be the programs that push the system harder than anything else).
a c 100 à CPUs
May 15, 2009 7:41:21 PM

tanmc001 said:
HI All,
I am looking for a basic desktop for my child, 8 years old. I only need something pretty basic, internet browsing for school project, power point presentation and very minimal computer games. I'll use it at night as well to surf the net at night sometimes, so prefer something run at reasonable speed, like in my office. I plan to get another higher grade desktop/notebook in 3 years later. So, for this one, the cheaper the better.
Thanks for taking your time to response. Really appreciate that.

regards,
Mum of Twins


Those are pretty low requirements and just about any new machine will fill that role well. I would go to your local computer shop and get pretty much whatever the least expensive new machine they have. The only thing I would specify is that the machine has 2 GB of RAM, else it will run Windows Vista pretty slowly. The rest does not matter much as any CPU made today will be more than enough power for Web browsing and school projects and such.

If money is a big issue but you don't need to run any specific programs- basically, it doesn't matter if you run Microsoft Word or any other word processor, as long as you can open Word .doc files and type- you can probably bum an old computer off somebody and get a guy at a local computer shop to install Ubuntu Linux and OpenOffice on it. It doesn't take much computer to run that as an eight-year-old 1 GHz Pentium III machine with 512 MB of RAM and a 40 GB hard drive will be plenty. I've found machines like that in the trash!
May 15, 2009 9:23:36 PM

@ caggles

No need to tell me so, and no need for EXTREMELY RUDE CAPS. And those specs are so generic, they're laughable. Giving recommendations by ghz of cpu or storage capacity makes you sounds like a fool. This time, I want to sound mean :sarcastic:  (darn it, where's that smiley of the devil? I can't find it rawr)
a b à CPUs
May 15, 2009 9:32:44 PM

Assuming you want it to perform well for 3+ years:

E5200
P35-DS3L/P45-DS3L/P45-UD3L
640GB WD
ATI 3450
2*2GB DDR2 800
Corsair 400CX or OCZ 400W(Over kill, I know)
Any decent case
Win 7 RC1 (free for a while) or Vista x64
Total cost: ~$350 excluding case and OS (with P45-UD3L and 400W OCZ).
Probably way over kill but it will be rock stable.
May 15, 2009 9:40:06 PM

+1+1+1 SHADOW !
May 16, 2009 2:38:09 AM

computabug said:
@ caggles

No need to tell me so, and no need for EXTREMELY RUDE CAPS. And those specs are so generic, they're laughable. Giving recommendations by ghz of cpu or storage capacity makes you sounds like a fool. This time, I want to sound mean :sarcastic:  (darn it, where's that smiley of the devil? I can't find it rawr)


I apologize if my caps were rude. I was trying to be generic on purpose though. I'm making the guess that our question-asker isn't someone who knows an exceptional amount about computers and I was just trying to keep thing simple :kaola: 
May 16, 2009 5:19:36 AM

Yes, I agree. I just thought that she was leeching off of the resources of this forum when I saw that this was her first post, and she did not have any computer experience, least be an enthusiast. I mean, what kind of mom in their right minds would go and build their own computer and go through all that trouble when they can get a better and cheaper pre-built during a clearance sale? lol.

Normally, we build our own because pre-builts don't have exactly what we want, right? Well, there are pre-builts all over the place that suit her need exactly. And she's got the time to build herself a computer because she's a mom of twins. :na: 
May 16, 2009 10:49:07 AM

IMO stuff building a PC, just buy it from the local shops. sure it might not have the best specs but where talking about an 8 year old here. It will save you time (not money) but like i said the PC won't need any fancy specs so just buy a simple pc from the local shops unless your really short on cash.
a c 80 à CPUs
May 16, 2009 12:02:59 PM

who says she's building, I think we may have just put someone off for life perhaps?
May 16, 2009 5:47:27 PM

lol! yea maybe, scared the triplet outa her and she won't ever consider trying to build her own pc again lmao :na: 
a c 80 à CPUs
May 16, 2009 5:53:13 PM

but she never said she wanted to build her own...
May 16, 2009 7:31:21 PM

Yea well posting here would have been really stupid. I mean, she coulda spent a few minutes looking at the best buy flyer or something...
May 16, 2009 7:32:04 PM

Holly poop my ranking is now an 'enthusiast'.... cool!!
a c 80 à CPUs
May 16, 2009 7:53:23 PM

Yeah, but still wanting a bit of help is not a bad thing, but at lowers levels of performance you can't beat a cheap dell for price, I hate to say it, buts its generally true. I'm still of the opinion that you should not be sold a PC you should buy one, i.e. know what you want and buy it, rather than have someone telling you what you need. They just aren't ready for consumer device status yet.

Congrats on the upgrade...
May 17, 2009 12:38:27 AM

13thmonkey said:
Congrats on the upgrade...


:D 

Yea she should just get a Refurbed Dell P4 for like $50-100 and another cheap 16" 720p monitor for like $70 lol. Yea, I've honestly seen them at these prices, in CAD :pt1cable: 
a b à CPUs
May 17, 2009 2:06:16 AM

tanmc001 I am not sure if you can make much sense out of the posts others have left here but the consensus is to get yourself an "off the shelf" system from a reputable retailer ... look for something with a good warranty for a start.

I wouldn't bother trying to build it yourself.

Shadow gave you some good specs there in his post if that helps.

Basically you want a reasonable dual core machine with at least a Core2 E5200 CPU powering it ... or faster ... with a couple og gigs of ram and a reasonable graphics card.

We have some idiots here on the forum who like to post rubbish because they have run out of peanuts in their food bowl to keep them preoccupied.

a b à CPUs
May 17, 2009 2:25:40 AM

If you know someone who can build a PC, or you know how to do it yourself, Shadow has a nice build above. In fact you could probably cheap out even more on the CPU and it would do what you want fine. If you can't get someone to build it, buy something cheap from a retailer as others have mentioned.
a b à CPUs
May 17, 2009 3:29:08 PM

If OP really needs a cheap PC here it is:
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Pretty decently speced for $300, but if OP is truly interested in letting a PC last for 3+ years I still recommend a good current gen PC either DIY or pay some one to do it. You should be able to find some one to do it for ~$50-60 (including set up of software (OS,drivers, AntiVirus),etc). Check Yellow Pages, ask family/friends etc to find a builder.
May 18, 2009 2:47:56 AM

I do not intend to build a PC myself, but just seek professional opinion to confirm my requirement is value for money for my new pc purchase. I thank those who take their precious times to provide professional advise.
May 18, 2009 4:39:34 AM

Agreed. Maybe not the best value, but definitely the best quality, and since you're not that computer literate, it'll save you the 'frustration' (we call it fun :D )
!