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Building a PC for my boss

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January 2, 2010 6:15:46 PM

Hey my boss told me to find him a new computer for his office.

The current computer he uses is on its last leg. Basically what he uses the computer for is a PoS server for the 4 other computers in our business. It also has a credit card server, a future order monitor, and caller ID running.

Other than those programs he uses it for email, light web browsing, and spreadsheets/word docs.

I was thinking instead of buying him one I could just build one fairly cheap..

I dont think hes wanting to spend over 400$, and building one as cheap but sufficient and reliable as possible.

I havent looked at prices yet but here is a general outline of what i was planning.

Building mostly around a decent CPU, and 2 gigs of ram, a 7200 RPM hard drive with around 500gigs. all this with windows xp 32 bit OS, and a cheap but reliable case/PSU combo.

anybody have any recommendations for parts, should i just find a cheap already built computer?

Thanks for the help!

More about : building boss

January 2, 2010 7:43:44 PM

For office PCs, it's tough to do better than HP, Dell and other large vendors who can provide remote and on-site support. If you build it yourself and something goes wrong, will you be expected to fix it?
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January 2, 2010 7:47:24 PM

For $400, I'd go big box store.....probably an Acer
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January 2, 2010 7:48:50 PM

Yeah, go to Walmart or Bestbuy, no need to waste your time for a simple office computer.

Any HP or Dell at 250$ will do the job.

If you were planning to build him a gaming computer, I would have said otherwise.
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January 2, 2010 8:02:59 PM

most importantly, do you like your boss?

if it were my boss, i'd be building a POS thast takes hours do do anything. just for giggles.

but if you do like the guy, the ohter guys are right. get a pre-built.
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January 2, 2010 8:22:50 PM

$76 AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor
$80 MSI 785GM-E51 AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$82 Corsair VX450W: Quiet Value PSU
$56 Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$2 SATA cable
$52 2 X Crucial 1GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Desktop Memory Model CT12864BA1067 - Retail
$35 Antec VSK-2000 Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Reuse your Windows license.
Reuse your dvd.
No discrete video card required (board has integrated graphics).

If you don't want to reuse your Windows license, buy a big-box computer.
Personally, unless your boss is going to give you a day to put it together, I would just order one from a web site. If he's going to give you a day to goof off, put one together.
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January 2, 2010 8:25:31 PM

I generally agree with others. However, your spec says Windows XP. I don't think any new systems sell with that any more. Is there some software compatibility issue that makes you stick with the older OS?

If not, just check the local computer store sales. Here is an example of a great little machine for $329 that would be good for office use:

Compaq Desktop - $329 after instant savings
Athlon II X 215 CPU
3 GB Memory
500 GB HD
Windows 7 Home Premium
nVidia GeForce 6150SE Graphics

http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/ROP/ads.aspx?advid=...

Or

HP Desktop - $399
Athlon II X 215 CPU
4 GB Memory
500 GB HD
Windows 7 Home Premium
15 in 1 Card Reader

http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/ROP/ads.aspx?advid=...
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January 2, 2010 9:17:26 PM

Like Ghislains said: Go through Dell or HP.
Since you said this computer will be used in an office enviroment, make sure you get Windows 7 Pro 64 bit and 4gig of ram.
This way you can install Windows XP Mode for any of your legacy software, like your POS system and it's easier to setup your security since it's also used as a server.

If you decide on Windows 32bit, double check to make sure that your current programs are compatilbe first.
If you do decide on doing this yourself and somethings goes wrong a few months from now - Good Luck.
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January 3, 2010 2:00:14 AM

You will be fired if you build your boss a piece of *** with 2G ram, and he finds a system with 4G at walmart with a 20" lcd for less.

Obviously he has a prebuilt already so using the same OS he has if a definite no.

You can not even come close to what $400 can get you in a retail store.
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January 10, 2010 2:50:23 AM

Thanks guys for all the answers. It looks as though I'm going to just go buy a cheap office computer prebuilt from somewhere.

As for the vista vs XP issues, we already have 4 other computers that use this main computer like a server, and they all use XP, I just didnt want any headaches that might happen if the main computer was Vista and all the others were XP.

Lastly, was I thinking right here when I was trying to focus on the important components of an office/server PC?

"Building mostly around a decent CPU, and 2 gigs of ram, a 7200 RPM hard drive with around 500gigs"

CPU, RAM, and a fast-ish hard drive? Any other more prevalent components I should look for in an office PC?

once again, thanks for all the replies!
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January 10, 2010 2:58:16 AM

any other components? perhaps an optical drive.
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January 10, 2010 3:39:00 AM

You should get Windows 7 on the new computer because of the XP already has only limited service available from Microsoft. As reported at Wikipedia:

Quote:
In accordance with Microsoft's posted timetable, the company stopped general licensing of Windows XP to OEMs and terminated retail sales of the operating system on June 30, 2008, 17 months after the release of Windows Vista....
On April 14, 2009, Windows XP and its family of operating systems were moved from Mainstream Support to the Extended Support phase as it marks the progression of the legacy operating system through the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy. During the Extended Support Phase, Microsoft will continue to provide security updates every month for Windows XP, however free technical support, warranty claims and design changes are no longer being offered.

Only Software Assurance customers who still run Windows XP can enroll in the Extended Hotfix Support Agreement if they want to receive non-security related hotfixes. The enrollment offer for consumers ended on July 14, 2009.[citation needed]

On April 8, 2014, all Windows XP support, including security updates and security-related hotfixes will be terminated.[2]


However since you apparently have shared software running both on the server and client machines, you should check with all shared applications about running them on Windows 7 and on mixed operating systems. But you need to start planning the eventual transition anyway so this will get you started - and your boss should appreciate you planning ahead.

With Windows 7, I suggest getting 3 or 4 GB of RAM.

I trust you have some process of doing daily end of day backups and offsite storage. But do you backup files during the day in case the HD malfunctions? If not, I would also strongly recommend a RAID 1 system with a redundant HD for constant backups of your critical information as well as the operating system and applications. HD hardly ever fail - but they do.

I had worked at one company for over a year, storing all my personal files on my PC. Finally I asked someone about backups and they said they kept all their files directly on the server which was backed up daily. That made sense so I moved all my files to my private drive on the server. The next week my HD crashed and I would have lost all those files had I not moved them to the server.



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January 11, 2010 2:50:25 PM

I would probably just use the optical drive from the current one to install any cd software i needed, then swap it back and forth as needed.

As for backup, he currently does ZERO backup of massive databases of customer info, order info, employee info, and important docs. I told him that the computer could crash because to me it seems only a matter of time. Of course he has asked me to look into offsite backup procedures. I have very little knowledge on that subject. I googled online backup and it seems I could do it all online for a fairly cheap price.

I know this is off topic, but if anyone has any info on using online backup or some other sort of backup it would be cool.

Ill be talking to the company that sold us the PoS software about Windows 7 compatibility.

Once again, thanks for all the help.
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January 11, 2010 4:11:17 PM

How large is the database? Daily online backups of a large database can take quite a bit of time. Also note that a once-a-day backup leaves you at risk for all transacitons occuring between backups. It is also a good idea to keep several generations of backup for critical information in case a virus or other malfunction is not discovered until a later time. If you just copy over the old backup each day you are still at risk.

Most companies have a multi-modal backup system matched to their particular requirements. I think you should consider something like a combination of:

1. RAID system for complete redundancy on daily transactions in case of HD failure.
2. Daily backup to CD, DVD, flash drive, or external HD - depending on size of data base. If large you may also consider doing incremental backups.
3. Offsite storage - can be online - done once a week - perhaps weekends.
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