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Need new computers for business

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April 20, 2012 2:51:46 PM

I need to buy three new PCs for my business to replace ancient HP Pavilions running Windows XP. I'd like to spend about $500 each.

All these computers need to do is: (1) not break and be usable for at least five years, (2) run word processing and spreadsheet software and (3) be fast enough to not annoy me when surfing the web or manipulating large PDFs.

Currently I'm considering some HP Pavilion p7-1254 from Best Buy. Are all systems (HP, Lenovo, Dell) in this price range basically interchangeable? What do I need to know to make a good decision?

Thanks in advance for any help.

kimba

More about : computers business

a b α HP
April 20, 2012 9:07:13 PM

Hi, with the "HP Pavilion p7-1254" you've picked an A6-3620 based PC. The A6 is made by AMD and it's value is an integrated high end video system.

Unless your employees will be gaming or watching high frame rate video suggest you look at an intel i3-21xx based system instead. The i3-2100 and it's varients are faster for productivity applications and cost teh same as an a6. (i3 with four digits following the i3 is what you want, skip any i3 with three digits). HP, Lenovo, etc. will all make one or more. The rest of your system specs look fine/typical.

IF you were using CRT displays on the old PCs suggest you go to LCD. A cheap 24" LCD will save you money on energy and be much easier to read. If you're really cheap, a 19" LCD or a 17" would also work.

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April 20, 2012 9:11:42 PM

tnsor, thanks so much for that information! As you suspect, video is not terribly important to me so I'll look for the processor you suggest.

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April 21, 2012 2:56:29 PM

I will have to contradict tsnor. The A6 is a 4 core processor vs the i3's 2 cores. Whereas games usually only use 2 cores making the i3-2120 + high end video card better than an A6 with no video card, productivity apps are more capable of using the extra cores.

The i3-2120s are a lot faster per core, but they do half half the cores.

Anyway, it isn't clear cut which would outperform the other. Both should honestly be about the same, with the A6 having a whole lot better graphics if there is ever a time when that becomes useful.

I think the HP that you chose would do just fine for what you want it to.

To be honest, Office 2010 requirements are pretty low and most anything is good enough these days to run it.

The

Gateway DX4860-UB32P Desktop & 20" LED Monitor Package

Costs $500 and includes a monitor and it has the i3-2120 that tsnor was suggesting. It would do just fine and you wouldn't have to buy monitors in addition.

The 6 GBs of RAM (mismatched pairs) in that computer kinda makes me angry, but the difference only matters to PC enthusiasts.

Anyway, I have been arguing that the A6 is pretty much equal in merit, but the best deal that Best Buy has looks to be an i3 computer anyway, so you might as well get that. It even comes with a price reduction for Office 2010.

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a b α HP
April 22, 2012 2:16:17 AM

Raiddinn said:
I will have to contradict tsnor. The A6 is a 4 core processor vs the i3's 2 cores. Whereas games usually only use 2 cores making the i3-2120 + high end video card better than an A6 with no video card, productivity apps are more capable of using the extra cores....


Contradiction is good, however please post a view benchmarks to back up your view. Your view is reasonable, and could have been correct, but it's not.

Here is one with I3 winning productivity vs. high end AMD A8. I think you will agree that I3 > A8 > A6 based on this benchmark. So find some benchmarks to support your view and post them.

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/printpage/A8-3850-vs-Cor...

Here is another showing I3 > A8 >A6 for productivity suite

http://hothardware.com/printarticle.aspx?articleid=1709

Another I3 > A8

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-a8-3850-llano,2...


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April 22, 2012 2:08:14 PM

Benchmarks entirely miss the point.

The relevant questions are:
1) Does the i3 perform well enough now and will it perform well enough in 5+ years?
and
2) Does the Llano perform well enough now and will it perform well enough in 5+ years?

Per your benchmarks the i3 is clearly superior to the Llano in things that it is clearly superior to the Llano in. Based on that, I will assume it does well enough now.

How about in 5, 7, or 9 years? Will the i3 dual core perform well enough then? Assuming most people and businesses are on a 3-5 year upgrade cycle, in 2017 he would be one of the few people remaining that had a dual core most likely. He would also be stuck with HD2000 graphics.

The i3 may perform well that far into the future for what businesses need it to do, or it may not. I wouldn't say it is a super safe bet that it will, though.

On the other hand, you have the Llano.

Are we going to try to argue that it can't run Office 2010 now? It may take a couple split seconds longer to open a PDF than the i3, but I will go out on a limb and say a Llano is good enough for right now.

Looking toward 2017, when 4 cores are probably the norm and when graphics might have gotten to the point where HD2000 isn't good enough anymore. How well will the Llano fare then?

It should fare at least as well as it does now in relation to the i3, so however the i3 does it should do no worse than a little bit below the i3. If the world goes in a direction where the advantages of the Llano are more obvious, then it may well come out ahead.

However, it is important to note that the Llano may work -- at all -- in a future scenario in which the i3 doesn't work -- at all --.

Based on those reasons, I think the Llano is the safer choice.

However, I just want to reiterate that the i3 does appear to be the better deal now because of the deal where the OP gets free monitors included with the systems. At best he can ebay his current monitors and recover some of the cost of the new computers (or store them for a rainy day) on behalf of the business and at worst the ancient HP Pavillion monitors may have broken in the next 5 years if he didn't get brand new ones for free.

That being said, if I was in a position to make a business purchase decision and there was a similar free monitor deal with a Llano 3850 or 3870, I would go for the Llano most likely. From where I sit it is the safest choice from a business perspective.
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April 22, 2012 4:18:01 PM

I have learned so much from this conversation. Thank you for helping me.

One option that I'm currently leaning towards after digesting this information is the Gateway DX 4860-UB339. That gets me the Intel i5-2320 processor which is quad-core as opposed to the dual core processor in the other model. Best Buy will sell this to me today for $529.99, and with a 23" inch monitor for $679.98. An extra $70 investment now gets me the better processor and some extra RAM. Seems worth it to me.

Indeed, I'm planning for at least 5 years in the future to be able to run all my business applications. Probably longer! My current computers are eight years old.

kimba
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April 22, 2012 4:57:20 PM

The quad core i5 would give you all of the advantages of both Intel cores and quad cores.

If you did keep the computers around for 8 years or so, you would probably be glad you went with the Intel quad core. Especially since you get to depreciate that stuff anyway.

If you are willing/able to spend the extra $, the 2320 is better than either of the other two things that were being discussed.

The 2320 still has the same video chip as the i3 does which could mean you may have to buy a stand alone card for each computer and install them if some new program was created that you just had to have and it required more than HD2000 graphics, but by that time a 6770 will probably cost $50 or less anyway so it shouldn't be a huge deal.
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a b α HP
April 22, 2012 8:26:07 PM

kimbakimba said:
I have learned so much from this conversation. Thank you for helping me.

One option that I'm currently leaning towards after digesting this information is the Gateway DX 4860-UB339. That gets me the Intel i5-2320 processor which is quad-core as opposed to the dual core processor in the other model. Best Buy will sell this to me today for $529.99, and with a 23" inch monitor for $679.98. An extra $70 investment now gets me the better processor and some extra RAM. Seems worth it to me.

Indeed, I'm planning for at least 5 years in the future to be able to run all my business applications. Probably longer! My current computers are eight years old.

kimba


Sound good, i did not see it on the best buy site, but seems hard to go wrong. It'll be very fast. Make sure you use the DVI cable (typically white connector) to connect the monitor to the PC (not the older VGA cable with typically blue connector). DVI will give you a better image. Sometimes both DVI cables and VGA cables come with monitor, both will work with your new PC.
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April 24, 2012 12:57:37 PM

The final outcome: I bought the Gateway with the i5-2320 processor and am happy with it so far. I was able to process a 2000 page document that caused my ancient computer to seize up, so I'm already reaping the benefits of new equipment.

I really appreciate you both taking the time to help me make a good purchase. Thanks!
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April 24, 2012 5:00:23 PM

I just wanted to throw it out there that sometimes it is the specific program you are using that has the problem and not the computer as a whole.

If you can use a different computer with the same program and it works then it is definitely the computer's fault, but I have had files that loaded just fine with program X and crashed loading the same file with similar program Y. In that case it was a mess up in the programming of program Y.

In any event, I am glad it works now and I hope the new computers can handle everything you need them to for many years to come.
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