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Parents need a new computer...


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#1 of 12 Tim_Stonesifer

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Posted October 10 2003 - 03:29 PM

My parents have been complaining about their computer for a while. I just got back from college this weekend, and it seems to be in total disarray - enough that they'll probably want to buy a new computer. Do any of you have suggestions for a brand that would be good? They'll need something that will be stable and dependable, and customer support seems to be critical as well. None of those customer supports that are based in India... (I hate HP) Apparently Dell is like this too? Mostly, it's only used for office software, but my brothers do some gaming on it (Splinter Cell, etc.). On the rare occasion, the PC will be used to do complex Mathematica computations, so anything that would speed that up would be awesome. If anyone has suggestions of good brands to buy from, I would appreciate them. Thanks in advance.

#2 of 12 Tekara

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Posted October 10 2003 - 04:21 PM

hrm, well if you don't want to build your own for them, then I believe:

"dude, your getting a dell"

dell has great customer support and they actually do build some pretty decent computers. I don't think you can go wrong with them as far as a comp for mom and dad.
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#3 of 12 NicholasL

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Posted October 10 2003 - 07:00 PM

I'm assuming you're looking for a PC since 90% of the world uses them. However, Apple has outstanding customer service, and is very user friendly - probably a good thing for the older generations. Their G4's can be had for very reasonable prices, and since you go to college, you can even get the educational discount too.

#4 of 12 Tim_Stonesifer

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Posted October 11 2003 - 04:05 AM

Thanks for the thoughts. Two things:

I've heard good things about Dells, but what's their tech support like?

About getting a mac, how much of an effort would it be to switch from using a pc to a mac? This is a dumb question, but I assume that if they were to get a mac, they should just throw all of their software away since it would be useless? My brothers do their share of gaming and I don't know if they'd want to give their games up...

Nicholas, thanks for the idea about the educational discount Posted Image

#5 of 12 Chas_T

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Posted October 11 2003 - 05:57 AM

Tim,

Hey, we are neighbors....

I too would suggest Dell, as my experience with the mass marketed PC's, Dell is consistent with their build quality and tech suppport.

It's been a while since I called their tech number, but I spoke with or what appeared to be an English speaking person who was farily asute and solved my problems in one phone call. Wait time was like maybe 15-20 minutes and on other calls, it was a shorter time period. PC's are like automobiles, where everyone has a horror story and others rave about their purchase. When I purchased the Dell, I looked at the consistent numbers on CS and Tech Support and they were in the top tier.

Also, many do not mention Gateway. I own a 700XL and it's been a great performer for me. I had a major problem in the beginning where the MB was fried and they sent me a replacement and new chip and its been stellar since that time.

IMHO, I would suggest staying with the PC and I am not trying to start a flame war/discussion here. MAC's are great products as I've used them in the Graphic Arts field, but for personal use, the PC is my tool for computing.

Much Luck,
Charles

#6 of 12 Seth--L

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Posted October 11 2003 - 09:38 AM

Here's another vote for Dell. My family has purchased 5 computers from them in the last 6 years, two desktops and three laptops. All are still in use, and are used for everything from surfing the internet and word processing, to professional web design, digital video editing, and number crunching programs for aerospace engineering. Tech support is excellent. We only have had real problems with one computer, both the monitor and DVD-Rom died in one of the laptops within the first month (on seperate days). Dell promptly came to our house and replaced the defective parts.
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#7 of 12 Robert_Gaither

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Posted October 14 2003 - 09:55 PM

I'd advise whatever computer you end up getting for them to do some of the following:

1) show them the windows update area on the browser, it amazes me that people never do this.

2) if they download emails make certain that they use a relatively updated virus program.

3) install and show them how to update either ad-aware or spybots/search/destroy.

4) show them how to backup their registry as this is the easiest way to restore the system.

5) if you have the time partition the hard drive and keep the C: partion just for the OS and everything else gets installed on the other partition(s).

6) make certain they have at least 512 mb of ram to keep everything running smooth and right.

7) if necessary set it up where you can remote operate and fix their computer if you intend to move away, this should make fixing and maintaining their computer a breeze.

#8 of 12 NicholasL

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Posted October 15 2003 - 07:11 AM

It's actually pretty easy to "switch" as almost all files and programs are compatible...only thing being that games are much more lacking on the mac. But that said, I take back what I said...it would be alot easier for your folks to stay with a Dell. No point giving them the extra headache.

#9 of 12 Ted Lee

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Posted October 15 2003 - 08:40 AM

Quote:
None of those customer supports that are based in India... (I hate HP)
good luck. there is a serious trend to move support to india. when the average cost of an employee in india is around 8k a year (read that in a recent time magazine article) then you can see the business incentive. heck, top management in india makes around 35k -- that's about 17.00/hr -- for top mgmt. Posted Image

okay, back on topic.

anyway, from what i've read in my pc world articles about c/s -- none of the major players really stood out. here's a pc world article you may want to review.

chart of leading pc's companies performance

imho, it's a crap-shoot as far as c/s and product reliability goes. i've had people tell me dell blows, but other people swear by them. i had an old packard bell that worked perfect until the day i tossed it, but everyone knows the packard bell reputation. my cousin has a dell dimension that has had to be repaired twice.

the industry is just too inconsistent right now.

nothing beats building your own pc and forgoing this nightmare. Posted Image
 

#10 of 12 Tekara

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Posted October 15 2003 - 11:05 AM

the biggest problem with computers is that there is no real mandatory class that people have to take where they learn basic preventative maintainance.

think of a computer like a car, before you can start driving a majority of us took a driver's education course where in addition to learning how to drive we were told how to take care of our car, as in get the fluids checked, spark plugs changed, etc.

with computers a lot of owners don't understand this preventative maintainance and think of their computer like their TV (plug it in and that's all). so a lot of people do the wrong things to their computer or unknowingly mistreat it. Or don't realize that certain things like poor power cause problems with computers.

BOTTOM LINE: like the other Rob said, give them a list of simple things for preventative maintainance, it will make everything a lot easier when problems crop up.
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"The danger from computers is not that they will eventually get as smart as men, but that we will agree to meet them halfway." -Bernard Avishai

#11 of 12 DaveGTP

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Posted October 15 2003 - 02:38 PM

When you say it seems to be in total disarray, it sounds like there is a lot of crap installed on it. How fast is it? A lot of people upgrade, but really, don't need it - a clean wipe of the HD and fresh install of windows removes all the junk/spyware/adware/startup programs/etc.
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#12 of 12 Seth--L

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Posted October 15 2003 - 04:14 PM

1) show them the windows update area on the browser, it amazes me that people never do this


There's also an icon for it on the start menu.

For the purposes of this conversation - computers and parents - I would tell the parents not to update the drivers unless they know for sure that they need the updates.
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