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Build or Buy?

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  • Hard Drives
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Last response: in Systems
March 4, 2012 2:34:28 PM

I want to replace my mother's old emachines system. It is a Gateway E4000. It has an 80gb HDD, 2.4GHz (533MHz-bus) Pentium 4 amd my is running Windows XP Pro. My mom uses it to check email, some internet browsing and to run some applications she's bought (like Hallmark Cards). She also wants something small due to confined desk space, and this E4000 sits horizontally (left-to-right) versus a typical tower condition.

I went to Frys yesterday and came across the ASUS E35M1-I Fusion E350 ITX motheboard. I really don't know how to compare this motherboard with it's built in processor to that of her current system. Is it faster? I can get this for $115, 4gb of RAM for $25 and a nice Thermaltake Element Q ITX case with a 200W power supply for $70. This puts the cost at about $230 with no hard drive. I have to figure out if her current drive is SATA or not. My thought had been to simply move the old hard drive to the new machine. Is anybody familiar with this ITX motherboard and is this a good idea?

Another idea I had is to simply upgrade her to the newest operating system and get a faster machine. I found a eMachines EL1352-23E Desktop PC. It has an AMD Athlon II 3.1Ghz processor, 4GB or RAM a 500GB Hard Drive and Windows 7 Home Premium. It is refurbished and I can buy this for $290. It is a tower case but small. I am not sure if these are good computers or not. You can see it's specs at http://www.emachines.com/ec/en/US/content/model/PT.NC90....

Could you give me your opinions? I would like to try to decide today.

More about : build buy

March 4, 2012 4:23:26 PM

Consider win7 laptop for your mom versus another desktop. Laptops with 17" screen start under $400 and will outrun the p4 2.8. Would also have video for skype if she wants to play with that.

Consider plan for learning curve for mom as she learns new OS (win7), new mail client, depending on how current she keeps her system she'll be using a new browser too. If you need to keep her on XP then focus on disk on old system. The CPU is fine for her use case.

A new E350 is about 1.5X faster than your P4 2.8. If you want to build a new e350 system around the old HDD you can. Not recommended, but possible. The old HDD is probably an IDE unit (see the wide/flat ribbon cable vs a small round SATA cable). The E350 is probably on a hudson chipset with no IDE, so you'd need to install a $15 PCIe IDE card, newegg has them.

If you go to a new MB and CPU with the old WIn XP system then you will need to add a bunch of drivers to the XP system to get it to work with newer hardware. First get to current microsoft service/fixpack level on XP to get things like SATA drive support then include chipset drivers, etc., on your OLD motherboard with the P4 2.8 before you move tot he new MB. Make sure all new parts are supported under XP. Compare with buying new/refurb Win7 system. I would not do a significant upgrade an try to keep the old XP image working although it can be done.

If you stay with desktop vs. laptop then the SLIM or small form factor may be what she wants. Something manufacturer refub like this should sell for around $200 or $250. HP Slimline s5280t Intel Core 2 Q8400 2.66GHz 8GB 600GB http://www.ubid.com/HP_Slimline_s5280t_Intel_Core_2_Q84... MAKE SURE anything you buy at UBID has a manufacturer 60-90 day warranty. That gives you like-new quality vs. used slop. I've gotten a dozen pcs from UBID (sony, IBM, HP, conpaq). Currently HP is the only big name selling refurbs at ubid. An i3-2100 based slim refurb PC would be $350-400 and be somewhat better performance than the q8400 at lower power. Any of these systems would crush the P4 2.8 and the E350.

The "eMachines EL1352-23E " specs are good for the price and would be an excellent upgrade for the XP system. I had an intel 486 based emachine many years ago and every part was lowest possible quality. Maybe emachine quality has improved. I avoid that brand. Google the model to see if there is good/bad feedback.
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March 9, 2012 3:02:09 AM

tsnor said:
Consider win7 laptop for your mom versus another desktop. Laptops with 17" screen start under $400 and will outrun the p4 2.8. Would also have video for skype if she wants to play with that.

Consider plan for learning curve for mom as she learns new OS (win7), new mail client, depending on how current she keeps her system she'll be using a new browser too. If you need to keep her on XP then focus on disk on old system. The CPU is fine for her use case.

A new E350 is about 1.5X faster than your P4 2.8. If you want to build a new e350 system around the old HDD you can. Not recommended, but possible. The old HDD is probably an IDE unit (see the wide/flat ribbon cable vs a small round SATA cable). The E350 is probably on a hudson chipset with no IDE, so you'd need to install a $15 PCIe IDE card, newegg has them.

If you go to a new MB and CPU with the old WIn XP system then you will need to add a bunch of drivers to the XP system to get it to work with newer hardware. First get to current microsoft service/fixpack level on XP to get things like SATA drive support then include chipset drivers, etc., on your OLD motherboard with the P4 2.8 before you move tot he new MB. Make sure all new parts are supported under XP. Compare with buying new/refurb Win7 system. I would not do a significant upgrade an try to keep the old XP image working although it can be done.

If you stay with desktop vs. laptop then the SLIM or small form factor may be what she wants. Something manufacturer refub like this should sell for around $200 or $250. HP Slimline s5280t Intel Core 2 Q8400 2.66GHz 8GB 600GB http://www.ubid.com/HP_Slimline_s5280t_Intel_Core_2_Q84... MAKE SURE anything you buy at UBID has a manufacturer 60-90 day warranty. That gives you like-new quality vs. used slop. I've gotten a dozen pcs from UBID (sony, IBM, HP, conpaq). Currently HP is the only big name selling refurbs at ubid. An i3-2100 based slim refurb PC would be $350-400 and be somewhat better performance than the q8400 at lower power. Any of these systems would crush the P4 2.8 and the E350.

The "eMachines EL1352-23E " specs are good for the price and would be an excellent upgrade for the XP system. I had an intel 486 based emachine many years ago and every part was lowest possible quality. Maybe emachine quality has improved. I avoid that brand. Google the model to see if there is good/bad feedback.



Thank you for your help! I missed out on the s5280t but am trying for a another HP - a s5-1070t. I am not sure what the HP numbers mean, but this one looked good. It's at http://www.ubid.com/HP_Slimline_s5-1070t_Intel_Core_i3-.... Let me know what you think.

Thanks for the assist!
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March 11, 2012 12:50:09 AM

Hi, theas-1070t had aged out before I saw it, however you have the concept. Find a machine you like, make SURE it has a manufacturer warranty, then google to see what it sell for new, and decide how much you want to pay. Let the auction go if someone bids it too high, they'll be another. good luck.

Aside: use this link to get specs for an HP. Put the model number in the top box and the word SPEC in the bottom. http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...
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