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Thread: Advising friend on a new PC.

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Advising friend on a new PC.

    A work colleague has asked me for help on getting a new computer. We don't work in the IT sector (healthcare actually) and so my interest & experience in IT makes me known as 'the computer guy', which i don't mind.

    My work partner wants a replacement PC for a current 4 year old one, and although i dont have any specs for it she is clear that she wants "a whole new computer", budget "under £1500".

    I'd like to get her a machine for £1000 to £1200 so she can not have to stretch too far. She also isnt too specific about what she wants it to do, just 'normal stuff' (ie it's for the family inc 2 teenage girls - not hardcore gamers!). Lots of them have ipods (actually i helped her get an iRiver for Christmas which is quite cool....) so i thought i'd pay attention to the audio side of things, but am not thinking 7.1 surround or anything. If anything it may be better for quality 2.1.

    My first thought was to look at getting components similar to what i have, maybe with an A64 3700+ or dual core, but also to focus on asthetics alot to get the 'wow' factor, so was particularly thinking about getting the same Dell widescreeen monitor, a quality keyboard & mouse, and probably same Antec P180 case for quietness.

    HOWEVER, and to the point of my post, me being 'the computer guy' means that i inevitably get all the questions, and if anything goes wrong (work or home!) i get called out. For my personal home PC, i can quickly diagnose motherboard issues, RAM timings etc etc as i'm so familiar and know how to replace, RMA and all the rest. I'm not sure i like the idea of providing 24/7 on-site tech-support for the next 3 years, at least not on my own, so more and more i'm drifting towards the idea of buying from a retailer. I was wondering what people thought of the following options::

    a) buying a decent base unit inc windows etc all installed & covered by a warranty from somewhere (mesh, evesham, even Komplet if their warranty is any good) and still buying 'wow' factor peripherals.
    b)getting an entire unit from the above and trying to spec something out to meet the above.
    c) building self and keeping fingers crossed nothing goes wrong.

    Opinions please??
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  2. #2
    Asking silly questions menthel's Avatar
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    I think go through with her exactly what she wants it to do and if its not gaming, 3d creation, video or music creation then point her to a decent system building company. If all she needs is a standard browsing, mp3, word processing jobbie then she could do it for £600-700!
    Not around too often!

  3. #3
    Beard hat ftw! steve threlfall's Avatar
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    This easily fits the bill at £650 (may need some better speakers though if they want high quality)

    Definately get a pre built (turnkey) system or your fears of tech support hell WILL become a reality... i know all about that

    You could just get a base unit and then buy a top monitor and peripherals but what if they went wrong... more tech support.

    Find out exactly what they want from it. I shouldnt think they need to spend anything near that much though

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    If she just wants it for general use, and you want to buy ready-built. Then I'd probably go with dell as they sell computers so damn cheap now that even if you tried to build a computer with the same specs it would cost more.. I'm talking about £300-500.

  5. #5
    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    i'd got with a prebuilt system for around the £600 - £700 then perhaps spend a few hundred more on any peripherals they might need (printer, scanner etc, but then if they are replacing a system they will probably have these already)

    This is my general advice on PCs to people these days: Spend little and often. There is no point in spending £1500 on a PC now unless you are using it for high end games or as a graphics/video workstation. Spend £750 now and in 18 - 24 months spend another £750 and you will get far far more for your money. You will keep with the performance curve better, you get more warranty for your money. It's not as much to shell out in one go, and you get to either sell the first PC, or give give it away to a friend/family member that can't afford or justify their own brand new one.

  6. #6
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Some very interesting points there, thanks very much.
    I may well revise the cost down a little, but am still tempted to want to get some 'wow' factor, as she already has a working PC but wants a little glitz.
    I will however try to get her to be more specific about what she wants.
    Nice one everyone, that helps.
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    Senior Members' Member Matt1eD's Avatar
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    Get pre-built:

    If you build it yourself, EVERYTHING is your fault. Whatever it is it's your fault. Also ime people don't maintain their software and OS properly which creates diagnosing some problems much harder as you find that one of the kids (or the parent) as gone and screwed something up by visiting a p0rn site.

    Also unless you have all the spare parts in your house at the time, hardware replacements are a fag having to wait for RMAed parts.

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    Beard hat ftw! steve threlfall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt1eD
    Get pre-built:

    If you build it yourself, EVERYTHING is your fault. Whatever it is it's your fault. Also ime people don't maintain their software and OS properly which creates diagnosing some problems much harder as you find that one of the kids (or the parent) as gone and screwed something up by visiting a p0rn site.

    Also unless you have all the spare parts in your house at the time, hardware replacements are a fag having to wait for RMAed parts.
    Also, whatever you reccomend they do, when it goes tits up it will be your fault. They will have you round repairing it all the time.

  9. #9
    Senior Members' Member Matt1eD's Avatar
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    What has really pissed me off in the past, was setting up someones broadband with security and stuff. Then they go and disable the firewall and AV, what happens? They get infected and blame me.

  10. #10
    Mike Fishcake
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    I've done it before, and never again. Never build systems for friends and family. It just isn't worth the hassle!

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    I have had most of the above before ... don't know why i am still thinking of a self-build
    Guess i must have a Sado-Masachist streak!
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
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    When my mother rings me up and says 'Tim, I've got someone here with a computer problem' I tell 'em to ring PCWorld.

    The best thing you can do is say 'no, but I'll teach you about them so you know what to look for and what you want'

    If they can't be bothered or excuse themselves for lack of time, then let them make their own mistakes. You shouldn't help people who can't help themselves first. If they're old enough to blame you, they're old enough to shame themselves.

    Head for the hills!
    Tim N

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    Senior Members' Member Matt1eD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim_n
    When my mother rings me up and says 'Tim, I've got someone here with a computer problem' I tell 'em to ring PCWorld.
    I'd do it, if people payed me. They don't expect to have to pay me though!

    Thanks for reminding me, I have yet to play some of the PCWorld games!

  14. #14
    smtkr
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    Just tell her to buy a mac

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    Beard hat ftw! steve threlfall's Avatar
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    I have my elderley next door neighbours calling me every 5min with "email problems"...

    In outlook express they keep making the tooler dissapear by right clicking on it and then deslecting toolbar. God only knows how they keep doing this... Not that it really matters anyway seeying as all the controls are in the file menu (they just like the nice visible buttons presumably)

    Now i dont mind helping out and i do but this is always there problem. I have written down what they can do to remedy the 'problem' and have even printed out screen shots of me right clicking and selecting toolbar but to no avail

    When will they bring in a computer licence

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    Senior Members' Member Matt1eD's Avatar
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    ECDL my friend....

    bastard load of out of date rubbish!

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