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Need a new Computer! (1 Viewer)

Nelson Au

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Hey Robert, I must have forgotten you have the Apple TV. Thats right, I remember now you’ve said you bought movies from iTunes and got them upgraded to 4K too. Sorry about that!

Well, you gotta do what you are feel comfortable with. I’m curious if you’ve tried to use your iPad for those particular tasks to like to do on your desktop. I assume you have and I guess you just feel the need to still use the PC. That’s cool.
 

Dick White

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Sooner or later, I'm going to be facing the same issue with my Windows 10 computers since the hardware won't support Windows 11. Took quite a while for Win10 to finally support my old laptop, and it's so slow now that it's almost useless.

The lack of optical drives has created another issue for me. I have a huge DVD collection, and I was planning to convert my old 8mm and VHS camcorder videos to digital, and then edit and distribute them to my family on DVDs. Since my kids and grands don't have DVD players any more, nobody is going to want the DVD collection when I go, and I'll need to find another way to distribute the home movies.
 

Robert Crawford

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Hey Robert, I must have forgotten you have the Apple TV. Thats right, I remember now you’ve said you bought movies from iTunes and got them upgraded to 4K too. Sorry about that!

Well, you gotta do what you are feel comfortable with. I’m curious if you’ve tried to use your iPad for those particular tasks to like to do on your desktop. I assume you have and I guess you just feel the need to still use the PC. That’s cool.
Nelson, TBH, I'm so worried about going from Windows 8.1 to Windows 11 that I don't want to introduce going from a PC desktop to Apple Mac OS route on the top of that concern which is why I'm going to stay away from a lap top.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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The lack of optical drives has created another issue for me. I have a huge DVD collection, and I was planning to convert my old 8mm and VHS camcorder videos to digital, and then edit and distribute them to my family on DVDs. Since my kids and grands don't have DVD players any more, nobody is going to want the DVD collection when I go, and I'll need to find another way to distribute the home movies.

Just put them on Google Drive or similar or some more video-sharing friendly platform to share -- could just be YouTube. That would probably work much better for sharing home videos...

_Man_
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Seems like a laptop would be a good option. Unless you particularly like / prefer only using a computer sitting at your home-office desk.

Your uses are typical, easily done on a laptop. And then you can enjoy your Spotify on your couch or watch YouTube videos cooking in the kitchen or post on HTF in bed. (I’m writing this post on an iPad while eating breakfast; and previously I was watching baby-sloth videos on YouTube on it laying in bed. :) )

It sounds like you want a budget option, so something like this:

Crawdaddy's not really interested in laptops, but thanks for that article nonetheless... as it gave me some leads to consider a cheap laptop for my mother now. She's been bugging me to get her ancient Vista-running Dell fixed, and it's just not worth fixing at all, so I may just get her a $400-or-so laptop, maybe the 15" Acer 5 w/ Ryzen 5 5500U recommended in one of the related articles -- I'd just get the cheaper 14" model w/ i5 cpu, but the extra inch-plus probably makes enough a diff to her...

_Man_
 

DaveF

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Sooner or later, I'm going to be facing the same issue with my Windows 10 computers since the hardware won't support Windows 11. Took quite a while for Win10 to finally support my old laptop, and it's so slow now that it's almost useless.

The lack of optical drives has created another issue for me. I have a huge DVD collection, and I was planning to convert my old 8mm and VHS camcorder videos to digital, and then edit and distribute them to my family on DVDs. Since my kids and grands don't have DVD players any more, nobody is going to want the DVD collection when I go, and I'll need to find another way to distribute the home movies.
Kids don't want their parents' junk :)

Convert your family movies to digital and share them on USB drives or upload them to YouTube (privacy settings set to only allow family to see). Just because no one wants outdated plastic disc from 20 years ago doesn't mean you can't still share family memories :)
 

DaveF

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I’ve been lurking in this thread out of interest to see what people suggest for Robert and what his decision will be, I was going to just observe. But I had a lingering question, what are you using the computer for? Your usage could determine what you need.
I'm hoping this is peak-TV plotting and the finale shocks us with the twist ending of getting a 13" iPad Pro with keyboard case! :D
 

Josh Steinberg

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Again, my computer is over a decade old.

For what it’s worth - in 2019 I had to get a new computer to replace a decade old machine. I agonized over making the right choices and then I had the epiphany - anything made today, even in the budget category lines, is going to wipe the floor with a ten year old machine.

I’m a Mac laptop guy so I don’t have a specific PC desktop recommendation but I know I started looking at top of the line machines first and then decided to take a chance on the most inexpensive Mac laptop I could get, and I’m glad I went that route. It’s so much faster than the machine it replaced and it really has never mattered that it wasn’t in itself the greatest thing out there.

I think you’ll likely find that just about any machine you look at today is going to meet your needs compared to the machine you’re replacing.
 

mskaye

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For what it’s worth - in 2019 I had to get a new computer to replace a decade old machine. I agonized over making the right choices and then I had the epiphany - anything made today, even in the budget category lines, is going to wipe the floor with a ten year old machine.

I’m a Mac laptop guy so I don’t have a specific PC desktop recommendation but I know I started looking at top of the line machines first and then decided to take a chance on the most inexpensive Mac laptop I could get, and I’m glad I went that route. It’s so much faster than the machine it replaced and it really has never mattered that it wasn’t in itself the greatest thing out there.

I think you’ll likely find that just about any machine you look at today is going to meet your needs compared to the machine you’re replacing.
1000% agree. No comparison between something 5 yrs old even and today's. Faster. Quieter (no fans.) More energy efficient. Better displays. More features. No moving parts (if you buy a Mac w an M1 or M2 chip.)
 

John Dirk

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I think you’ll likely find that just about any machine you look at today is going to meet your needs compared to the machine you’re replacing.
That's certainly going to be true [especially in this specific case] functionality-wise but you still have to be careful with hardware. There is probably a fair amount of stock on shelves that lack the required TPM 2.0 modules required to run Windows 11 without hacks. It's not always a linear matter either, which can further complicate things. For example, my most powerful PC is unable to run Windows 11, even though I have several less capable machines that can. Whether or not you want to run Windows 11, the ability of the hardware to do so should be specifically confirmed.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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Kids don't want their parents' junk :)
My grandmother had fine china that wasn't dishwasher safe (gold leaf trim). When she died in 1980, my dad put it in his basement. When he died in 2004, I ended up with it in boxes in my garage. I don't think it's been used in half a century.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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A comment on prebuilt vs. custom built PCs. Years ago I put my own computers together from misc. parts available in Silicon Valley. I stopped doing that for various reasons. The cost savings weren't there anymore, and long-term logistics support such as drivers became more of a chore. Buying from a major supplier may make such tasks easier. I prefer Dell because they keep drivers and support documentation up on their website for decades. Contrast this with HP who "scrubs" such things from their website for models more than a few years old.

Memory and disks are generic now so no problems with user upgrades there.
 
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Thomas Newton

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Yeah, that is a pretty safe bet. As John related, A and C are the most common types.

- Walter.

USB-A is a "single-purpose" connector. It can carry USB data and a small amount of power.

USB-C is a "Swiss Army Knife" connector. It can carry
  • USB data
  • DisplayPort data
  • Thunderbolt data
  • Substantial amounts of power (up to ~100 watts) – enough to charge many laptops, or to power accessories from a laptop
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 ("up to 20 Gbps") and USB4 require the use of USB-C connectors.

Thunderbolt is a high-speed ("up to 40 Gbps") mode that brings PCIe-style expansion outside of the box. All Thunderbolt 3/4 ports have a USB-C connector, but the reverse is not true (there are "plain" USB-C ports that do not have the Thunderbolt enhancement.)
 

Thomas Newton

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1000% agree. No comparison between something 5 yrs old even and today's. Faster. Quieter (no fans.) More energy efficient. Better displays. More features. No moving parts (if you buy a Mac w an M1 or M2 chip.)

Small correction: The M1/M2 MacBook Air do not have moving parts (cooling fans). Other Apple-Silicon-based Macs do have cooling fans.
 

Bobby Henderson

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Even though I do graphic design work for a living, I'm primarily a PC guy. The sign industry is very rooted in the Windows-side of things. Very little of the industry specific software runs on the Mac platform. That goes for large format printing RIP software, routing table software and general purpose "CAS" software for design and running vinyl cutters/plotters. With that being said, the iPad is a pretty handy tool for certain design tasks.

I have a large iPad Pro model that's a few years old. The Apple Pencil is excellent for on-screen drawing and sketching. I had looked at other devices like the Wacom Cintiq portable computer. The iPad Pro did just as well for less than half the price. I can draw or sketch in the iPad versions of Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop and then further edit the same files in the Windows versions of those applications on my work desktop or notebook at home. There are some design applications made specifically for the iPad that are dirt cheap yet fun to use. Procreate is one of the best. I also have PC and iPad versions of Affinity Designer. My shop has a smaller iPad fitted with a tool called a "Spike," which is handy for doing quick/rough measurements of store fronts and other large outdoor spaces. The Spike works with the iPad's built in camera. You can use the Spike device with a smart phone, but an iPad with its larger screen makes things much easier.

We primarily buy Dell machines for my workplace. I would not custom build a PC with the motivation to save money. There are lots of mom and pop shops that do that, but they often use the cheapest, most sketchy components they can find in order to squeak out some profit margin and still be competitive with big companies like Dell and HP. I would only build a custom PC if I was doing the build work myself and cherry picking exactly what I wanted to go inside. Overall that's going to end up being a more expensive route, especially when assembling a really powerful system for either gaming or design/creative work.
 

Dave Upton

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Even though I do graphic design work for a living, I'm primarily a PC guy. The sign industry is very rooted in the Windows-side of things. Very little of the industry specific software runs on the Mac platform. That goes for large format printing RIP software, routing table software and general purpose "CAS" software for design and running vinyl cutters/plotters. With that being said, the iPad is a pretty handy tool for certain design tasks.

I have a large iPad Pro model that's a few years old. The Apple Pencil is excellent for on-screen drawing and sketching. I had looked at other devices like the Wacom Cintiq portable computer. The iPad Pro did just as well for less than half the price. I can draw or sketch in the iPad versions of Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop and then further edit the same files in the Windows versions of those applications on my work desktop or notebook at home. There are some design applications made specifically for the iPad that are dirt cheap yet fun to use. Procreate is one of the best. I also have PC and iPad versions of Affinity Designer. My shop has a smaller iPad fitted with a tool called a "Spike," which is handy for doing quick/rough measurements of store fronts and other large outdoor spaces. The Spike works with the iPad's built in camera. You can use the Spike device with a smart phone, but an iPad with its larger screen makes things much easier.

We primarily buy Dell machines for my workplace. I would not custom build a PC with the motivation to save money. There are lots of mom and pop shops that do that, but they often use the cheapest, most sketchy components they can find in order to squeak out some profit margin and still be competitive with big companies like Dell and HP. I would only build a custom PC if I was doing the build work myself and cherry picking exactly what I wanted to go inside. Overall that's going to end up being a more expensive route, especially when assembling a really powerful system for either gaming or design/creative work.
Honestly, the hardware you get from Dell/HP etc is about as cheap as it gets, even worse than cheap DIY PC parts.
I purchase a few thousand machines a year for the employees at my company (I lead IT) and have seen the issues with these brands again and again.
I know it may not sound like a good idea, but I steer folks away from the big brands all the time in favor of a well built PC from companies like Digital Storm, NZXT, Falcon Northwest etc. You'll pay a slight premium, but it's well worth it.

As @John Dirk stated - there is always the option of having your local Micro Center/PC shop build you something as well. All I can say with certainty is that a well built PC is going to be a lot more reliable than a Dell/Lenovo/HP in the longer term, especially in terms of thermal management.

@Robert Crawford - if you want to go the route of a custom built PC but don't want to use Micro Center or the brands you recommended, PM me and I can connect you with a local in the Detroit area who can build your PC for you.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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FWIW, I hadn't had much problem w/ Dell's machines in the past... other than the optical drives failing rather quickly -- I had 2 on separate machines fail on me w/in several months each, but I didn't really care too much since I wanted to replace them w/ better burner drives anyway. Otherwise, they're just alright for normal uses (or even typical IT dev work as I've used them plenty for work over the years)... though I usually went for a fairly minimal XPS model (w/ higher end cpu) for myself and then upgrade some parts (like RAM, SSD, etc).

I opted for the DIY custom build route again for my current (2-plus-yo) PC mostly because I wanted better for video editing, better expandability, etc (plus Dell didn't offer AMD cpu option anymore). My last (personal) Dell XPS desktop (w/ a Core i7 cpu) from ~9 years ago is still kicking just fine (for general family/shared uses), but it's gone thru plenty of basic upgrades.

But yeah, I'd agree the parts Dell uses tend to be fairly cheap and/or somewhat lower grade/performing... although usually/mostly still fairly standard and replaceable/upgradeable unlike some of the other big name brands like HP...

_Man_

PS: I did also have a used XPS 15 laptop a few years back get flakey and fail on me, but not sure if that's Dell's fault or the seller. My son had the same laptop w/out any problems other than a couple middle keys failing probably from his gaming plus the battery becoming bloated and needed replacing.
 

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