Mom needs a new computer, your help wanted

z1ggy

Lifer
May 17, 2008
10,004
63
91
I don't want her to break the wallet on this one. Nothing really fancy is needed, she only uses computers for checking email, browsing the web and putting pictures from the camera online, etc etc. She would need a new monitor as well and speakers. I have been checking out Dell, but a lot of the things are over kill or lack in an area. Any other places to check out? Not looking for her to have to spend over $400.
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,168
60
91
Depends how much you think your mother is worth, and how much she will use her computer. A lot of people from time to time want to watch video clips so the computer should be able to open it and play it in HD. If she edits pictures at all, there may be some things that just require a fairly powerful computer.

I think spending more up-front will make a computer last longer.
 

z1ggy

Lifer
May 17, 2008
10,004
63
91
She doesn't edit the photos, she just puts them from her digital camera and uploads them to the walmart website then picks them up in store or something. She is lucky she knows how to turn the thing on and off so it is a waste of money for her to spend a lot. The one she has now is a compaq and is like 6 or 7 years old...the cpu is 900 something Mhz which is basically stone age stuff. Maybe I am better off just going to Best Buy and looking there..
 

novice

Golden Member
Mar 9, 2000
1,169
0
0
My wife has an Emachine that we picked up for $250 on sale a couple of years ago. It only came with 1 gig of ram and Vista crawled, but once I threw in a pair of 1 gb sticks of ram and an 8500 GT video card, it perked right up. It was only a single core Athlon 3800, but it still worked pretty well for what she uses it for. Of course, I can't leave things like that alone, so now it has a 5600x2 cpu and a 9600 GSO video card along with a 400W PSU, total about $140 after rebates. It runs a lot better now.
Ordered an Emachine refurb from the new Circuit City for one of my sons a couple of weeks ago. Came with 4050e x2 low wattage 2.2 Ghz cpu, 320 gig HD, 3 gig of ram, Vista Home premium, was about $290 delivered. Threw in an exta gig of ram (it actually has 4 DIMM slots on the MB) and an old 7900GS video card and a 460W PSU, and it runs like a champ.
 

z1ggy

Lifer
May 17, 2008
10,004
63
91
Those things you added would be luxury to her. Right now I think she has .5gb of memory and on top of that its DDR. Her psu is probably like 300w and its got onboard video..she has never really complained to me about the speed or anything because she doesn't really know any better, so the lowest of low end machine right now would be 10 times better than what she has now...so $290 plus $150 of upgrades is a little pricey because that still doesn't have a monitor or speakers right?
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,168
60
91
I am using an integrated system with an E7200 and 2 gigs of RAM. It cost me about $600.00 or so with the OS and a 18.5" Widescreen Monitor. I kind of like the little widescreen. I got it from Dell for around $100 when it was on sale. It is only 740p but that is just fine for most things. I built mine from an Intel Motherboard and an Antec Case from www.directron.com

Just use whatever retailer you think is a good deal. Wal-Mart sells Dell. Sometimes the deals disappear after X-Mas.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,326
10,034
126
Check out this system for under $300.
http://www.directron.com/sysbackschool1.html

Processor: Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 2.50GHz 800MHz FSB, 2MB Cache.
Memory: 2GB DDR2 800 (2x1GB) dual channel memory.
Motherboard: ASUS P5QPL-AM MicroATX motherboard with Intel G41 Chipset.
Video: Onboard integrated graphics.
Audio: Intel High Definition 6-channel audio.
Storage: 160GB SATA Hard Drive
Optical: 22X SATA DVD-RW Drive
Case: Cooler Master Elite 330 RC-330-KKR1 mid tower case with 350W power supply
LAN: Gigabit (10/100/1000 Mbits/sec).

Edit: For a monitor, this week, Staples has a 21.5" e-machines 1920x1080 HD monitor for $100, and they also have a printable 10% off coupon, check their weekly ad for the week of Dec 20th. Between myself and a relative, we picked up three of those monitors.

So that leaves about $10 in the budget for some cheap speakers.
 
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Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
3
0
To z1ggy,

Face the facts, your Mom does not need much computer horsepower. She would be happy with a $125.00 refurbished dell that has XP pro pre installed. I bought one of those units for a back up computer and its proven to be very reliable.

But as new computers get faster and cheaper, buying a minimal system at around $400
should not be a big challenge. As long as you can go XP or win 7 rather than Vista, your Mon should be a happy camper. But avoid no armed bandits inkjet printers and regard the monitor as an extra. You do not need a high end processor and go for integrated video and sound.
 

0roo0roo

No Lifer
Sep 21, 2002
64,862
84
91
its not overkill, 400 at dell can be decent. older user= bad eyes=bigger screen= good. win 7 with perfect gui scaling unlike xp also good. also for older users/women i remember there was astudy or something that showed wide/large screens allowed better gui navigation. so don't skimp on the display. user friendliness is partly about responsiveness, slow computers make a n00b timid. and its annoying, snappiness is win for the casual user..or hell any user. but the less you understand the better it is for it to perform smoothly so it doesn't get frustrating or confusing/scary.

so lemon laws suggestion of some pos slow xp machine is way off the mark.
 

Derek Hanson

Member
Nov 22, 2009
27
0
0
I just finished up a rejuvenation process on my former PC build circa 2003 to give to my parents as a christmas present of sort.

My machine (I was using it right up until tonight) is a good step up from the Windows 2000 box it will be replacing:

Athlon XP 2500+ (Oh YEAA Barton Core baby!)
2GB DDR (upgraded from 1GB)
Shuttle nForce 2 board (remember when shuttle made mobos?)
ATI 9800 PRO all in wonder

Installed W7 home and was surprised how well the old hardware keeps up. It's not winning any awards but for around $200 for OS, 1GB ram, and a new case (mine was a little tooo 133t circa 2003 for them) it's right in there budget... And mine, since it's a gift.

It seems that Windows 7 is running reasonably well on all kinds of crap ..
 

M0RPH

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2003
3,305
1
0
Check out this system for under $300.
http://www.directron.com/sysbackschool1.html

Processor: Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 2.50GHz 800MHz FSB, 2MB Cache.
Memory: 2GB DDR2 800 (2x1GB) dual channel memory.
Motherboard: ASUS P5QPL-AM MicroATX motherboard with Intel G41 Chipset.
Video: Onboard integrated graphics.
Audio: Intel High Definition 6-channel audio.
Storage: 160GB SATA Hard Drive
Optical: 22X SATA DVD-RW Drive
Case: Cooler Master Elite 330 RC-330-KKR1 mid tower case with 350W power supply
LAN: Gigabit (10/100/1000 Mbits/sec).

Edit: For a monitor, this week, Staples has a 21.5" e-machines 1920x1080 HD monitor for $100, and they also have a printable 10% off coupon, check their weekly ad for the week of Dec 20th. Between myself and a relative, we picked up three of those monitors.

So that leaves about $10 in the budget for some cheap speakers.

This doesn't come with an OS.
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
3
81
Ubuntu is all mom needs for the tasks she performs...

"she only uses computers for checking email, browsing the web and putting pictures from the camera online, etc etc.
She doesn't edit the photos, she just puts them from her digital camera and uploads them to the walmart website then picks them up in store or something. "
 

0roo0roo

No Lifer
Sep 21, 2002
64,862
84
91
not.

she should learn windows. its what her friends and such use and those skills are transferable. getting help is far easier. unless you are sitting right there with her on call ubuntu for mom is a sad joke.
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
3
81
All her friends are hard core Linux users. If she went into debt for a Windows OS, she would be the odd man out.
They would ridicule her for being yet another Microsoft Lemming
 

z1ggy

Lifer
May 17, 2008
10,004
63
91
My mom isn't an idiot, she is just really slow with the whole computer thing. I was going to see if maybe she could deal with a laptop. Already has speakers and a screen built in, obviously. And also, I am hoping on the windows 7 boat with most of you. It is just going to be easier to help her if she needs help since I use windows 7 so when she has issues, I can talk her through it on the phone... I really don't know that much about ubuntu or linux.
 

lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
57,407
7,591
126
Ubuntu's pretty easy to deal with. You really shouldn't have to provide much in the way of support. I'd block notification of distribution upgrades, and the rest should be straight forward. That would solve most(all) virus problems, and it's a nice O/S, that's modern, and visually appealing.

If nothing else, you should download a live CD and check it out. Even if you don't want to use it, it's fun playing around with a different O/S to see other ways of handling the same tasks.

Edit:
grammar
 

0roo0roo

No Lifer
Sep 21, 2002
64,862
84
91
yea but its a stupid idea to saddle mom with it. its user friendliness is severely overstated. never mind the op uses win7 and doesn't know much about it anyways. in any case win7 comes with a dell or whatever anyways.
 

novice

Golden Member
Mar 9, 2000
1,169
0
0
I just ordered one of these for my sister in law.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...&Sku=W180-3190

For $189 shipped, it would be tough to beat. Add a $99.99 Emachines 18.5" LCD monitor from Staples and you are in under $300. Won't be the gaming monster of the year, but is upgradable, if she wants or needs more speed. May also need some cheap speakers, but those are easy to find. Could replace the single core Celeron with a dual core for $50 to $60 which would help it a lot. But since my wife's sister is currently on a KLE-133 motherboard with onboard video, a Duron 1.3 and 256 mb of PC-100 ram (trying to run XP), this new system will fly, even on a Celeron 420 and Vista.
 

Winterpool

Senior member
Mar 1, 2008
830
0
0
I think it's possible to get a respectably powered notebook (ie not an Atom) for about $400 on sale these days. The screen will likely be about 14-15 inches.

If a user, even a minimal user, is going to keep a new computer for a while, I feel wary about underestimating future processing demands. My main concern is that video, particularly in its pernicious Flash incarnation, is all over the place now. Flash Player is supposedly getting more efficient (and able to take advantage of graphics acceleration) next year, but it's still an awfully bloated format.

All sorts of people I know who didn't previously concern themselves with 'computer video' are now watching streaming media on Hulu, YouTube, etc. I also suspect more and more friends and family will be sending homemade videos to each other, the way photos really took off this decade. Most current cpus should play 720 HD video fine, if it's a regular H.264 file, but higher resolution Flash can be a problem for the cheaper cpus, at least with the current software.