Suggestions for desktop computer?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Melakon, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, that's my problem. I may wind up taking an extended absence from here again if the machine catches something nasty. And this is the site I hit more than anywhere else.
     
  2. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    This might help, then: https://www.grc.com/sn/sn-447.htm
    It's a transcript of a radio show that the guys at GRC labs do every so often. This one is about what you can do to stay protected with Windows XP after the official deadline has passed.
     
  3. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for that, J. I bought my first computer in '83, and in all that time I've only been completely without a machine for 2 years.

    It was a rough 2 years, believe me.
     
  4. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    I believe you. There was a time when one could go without owning a computer. That time is no longer. The world has become so interconnected, that to not have a computer, or at least a cell phone, leaves one out of a major portion of the loop.
     
  5. Captain Ice

    Captain Ice Cookie Constructor Moderator

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    Melakon, do you have a Costco/Sam's Club somewhere nearby? When I bought my current machine, they had very capable machines in the $450-$500 range.

    How about a Datadoctors location? They're still building machines with Windows 7.
     
  6. farmkid

    farmkid Commodore Commodore

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    I wouldn't dismiss the idea of replacing the hard drive just yet. If your old computer was sufficient for your needs and otherwise is still okay, you should be able to fix it for ~$60. A new 1TB drive starts at about that much (this one, for example). You should already have a license for Win 7, with the key printed on a sticker on your computer case. Here's an article with instructions telling you how to download the installer which you can use with your key. Don't worry, it's legal, and the download links in the article are to an approved Microsoft distributor.

    It's not quite as easy as just buying a new computer, but it's not hard either. Your eyesight might make it more difficult, but installing a hard drive is so simple I can't imagine it would be hard to find a friend with better eyesight who could help.
     
  7. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I have still not ever used a cell phone. I never call anyone, on the landline, and no one ever calls me except robo-calls and telemarketers.
    There's a Costco up at the mall about a mile away, but I'm not a member and can't justify paying their membership fee for just a single purchase. There's a Data Doctors about 40 blocks away, but I haven't been in that part of town in 15 years. I think there's a Sam's Club about 10 miles away, but again there's the membership issue. And being without a vehicle makes going any distance difficult.

    farmkid, thanks for that info. I would like to see if the data on the crashed disk can be recovered, but most of the stuff I want to get from it can be downloaded again from where I originally bought them (mostly 3d models). I don't think it's just a mechanical problem though, as the computer was unable to access one of my own directories for a few months.
     
  8. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    That's still indicative of the hard disk. Bad sectors (where your information and directories and such are kept) make it difficult, or impossible, for the data to be read. Farmkid's right, replacing your hard drive may be enough, unless you just want to go ahead and upgrade everything while you're at it. Depends on what you really want.
     
  9. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As others have said, if interested in 3d modelling/animation, I'd go for

    * i7/quad core (though i5 will also work well if want cheaper)
    * 64-bit Windows
    * minimum 4gb RAM (though more RAM will be better)

    the two things I think will make a big difference to 3D work are:
    * SSD instead of hard drive (speed difference is really noticeable)
    * spending money on good high-end graphics card.
     
  10. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't really see the advantages of SSDs for 3D work. A great CPU for fast rendering, and a lot of RAM to be able to handle large objects, scenes and textures. And yes, obviously the graphics card. Which comes in handy when you look at recent GPU renderers like Octane.
    I use my SSD for the system partition. I don't store any data on it, as it would wear out the SSD pretty quickly.

    The i7 4930k is hot right now.
     
  11. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Honestly you don't even have to get rid of the interface. Just spend about 10 mins going thru the tutorial and you'll get it. I'm running Windows 8.1 via Bootcamp on my Mac and it's not bad. It's basically Windows 7 with an interface skin.

    It does feel disjointed though, with Metro Apps trying to coincide with standard Desktop apps.

    Microsoft needs to work on it so that it can resize Metro apps if you want, or at the very least add some useful options to the Start button rather than just taking you back to the Metro Tiles.

    You can use 3rd party utilities like some of what Stardock offers to get around these limitations though if you *must* have the Windows 7 interface.


    $500 isn't going to get you a whole lot of PC. J.Allen's link is a pretty good option, probably as good as you're going to get with that budget.
     
  12. farmkid

    farmkid Commodore Commodore

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    This is my biggest complaint about Windows 8, and it's a deal killer for me. When I'm working, I regularly have several programs going at once, and I'm using them all at the same time. On occasion, I even have Linux running in a virtual machine and I'm using some data analysis software there while using other programs in Windows. Having everything run full screen alone makes it much more difficult, but even worse is having everything run full screen and not have a fast way to switch between programs (task bar), or even see what else is running makes the computer virtually worthless for my work. Yes, I know there's the desktop interface, but when I tried it out a few months ago, I found that the start button only took me back to the Metro interface and really wasn't helpful at all. I kept inadvertently going back to Metro without meaning to. Also, the desktop interface was on one monitor and the Metro interface on the other. I couldn't get the desktop interface to span both monitors as I needed it to. Maybe some day I'll go back and try it again with one of the 3rd party start menu programs, but for now there's no need.
     
  13. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah I think Microsoft is kind of desperate to show that they have bright fresh ideas. So they force people to adapt to the new style as if it was something "fresh and new".

    I think Windows 9 will still push it out, but perhaps will be more lenient in others.
     
  14. Random_Spock

    Random_Spock Commodore Commodore

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    Exactly. I can't stand Windows 8 for that reason... the whole forcing people to use Metro. Not everyone has a touch screen computer Microsoft :p. They need to iron it out in that regard.
     
  15. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    The $500 limit is about as high as I dare go, since my only credit card has a limit of $1000. I hate being poor, things were much easier when I actually had a disposable income. And thanks for the additional suggestions everyone.
     
  16. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well the problem is that they are used to being a monopoly, but the market has shifted to Apple and Android devices.

    I'm typing this from my MacBook, and my phone is a Sony Xperia.

    I only run Windows at home because of games (although my Mac can handle some decent games on OS X. I've been playing Bioshock Infinite at full Retina resolution with no real lag on OS X).

    So Microsoft is scared of losing marketshare, and struggling to come up with something that doesn't look like they are stealing it from Apple or Google. I gotta give'em props for trying, but they should have let people switch to the old interface if they so wanted to. At work our servers are running 2008 R2, but we don't bother enabling the Aero, we just leave the classic 2000 interface, 'cause why do you need more?

    I see a lot of people in the office disable the Aero in Win 7 and also use the classic interface.


    Why don't you consider buying a used PC from Craigslist? Get a tech savvy guy to go with you and check out computers for sale. For $500 you could potentially get a kick ass system from a couple of years ago that will have balls to do 3D work.
     
  17. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Except as already been pointed out... they don't. I use windows 8, I saw the metro screen for about 30 second when I first set it up, I've never been back and it's just like an enchanced w7.
     
  18. RobertVA

    RobertVA Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Moving the pointer into the upper left corner of the screen then down the left edge isn't fast enough for you?

    For those who aren't familiar with Windows 8 that procedure displays a list of thumbnails representing all the running full screen apps down the left side of the screen. On my laptop I just need to swipe from the left edge of the touchpad. If you left the classic desktop open it's included in the list.

    From the start screen you can start to type the name of an app you want to open and search will usually display a short list containing the desired app by the time two to three characters are typed. Click the app name to open it. Works equally well with apps that require the classic desktop to open.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  19. farmkid

    farmkid Commodore Commodore

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    It's not as fast as just clicking on the other window. If I can see part of the other window, all I have to do is click on it; that's one mouse movement and one click. In Windows 8, that's one mouse movement, a scan through several thumbnails to figure out which one is the right one, another mouse movement, and a click. When I'm doing that every minute or two, that's a problem. But that still leaves the problem that I can't see more than one program at a time. I'm frequently looking at data in one program and comparing it to data in another. I can't do that if everything runs full screen.
    And somehow that's better than just clicking once in the quick launch bar, or once one start button/orb and once one the menu? What if I can't quite remember what it's called, but I'll know it when I see it? Then I have to try typing several things before getting it right. Sorry, that's not better.

    From what I've seen, the Metro interface is great for a tablet or for someone who uses just one program at a time, but it makes the computer practically worthless for someone who uses it the way I do.
     
  20. RobertVA

    RobertVA Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I just don't find dragging the pointer down the left edge of the screen to require that much effort. Also, any app that would run on Windows 7 or earlier would have to be run in Windows 8's desktop where you would still be able to cascade their windows.

    While the "full screen" apps are usually displayed one at a time you can drag one of those thumbnails into the display to experience two apps "tiled" horizontally on the screen.

    While Microsoft was probably wanting to make PC Windows function in a manner closer to the way tablets work there are some other advantages. I've noticed a tendency towards desktop applications (including Microsoft Office) using a growing percentage of screen real estate with side bars and tool bars (sometimes called "ribbons"). That leaves significantly less room for the actual document, which may be a web page, spreadsheet, data table, source code listing or photograph. In the Windows 8 apps the tool bars and menus are hidden along the edge of the screen in a manner similar to the task bar in the earlier versions of Windows when the hidden option was activated.

    I don't see where the quick launch menu is significantly different from items pinned to the start menu in earlier versions of Windows or the start screen in Windows 8. The start screen in Windows 8 is a quick click in the lower left corner of the screen away, very close to where earlier Windows versions normally placed the quick launch menu. Start screen tiles can be rearranged by the user so that frequently used apps (full screen or for the classic desktop) are conveniently on the display without horizontal scrolling.
     

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