Question New system for Office/Internet use - prebuilt or custom built?

pete6032

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Dec 3, 2010
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I have a family member who needs a new computer for everyday use. Things like word processing, email, internet. Current system is custom built and lasted about 10 years. Given their needs would you recommend I buy something pre-built or build something custom? The current PC has literally nothing salvageable except for the PSU and some DDR3. Pretty sure the HDD is 2.5 inch SATA.
 

Tech Junky

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Up to you. Custom offers performance advantages you pay dearly for in a prebuilt but, the prebuilt comes with a warranty and support.

For the basics you mentioned and nothing performance related like gaming or video editing it might be easier to pick something up that works out of the box. Budget options are out there and looking for 12th gen Intel would be ideal to last another 10 years and if they decide to add performance gear it will support just about anything today and through the next few years.

The 2.5 sata works fine then slap it into the new box or clone it to the new NVME in the new PC and use the 2.5 for additional storage as a 2nd drive.

I built my current "server" for $1500 but, tweaking things down a bit could bring that down to ~$1000


Of course once you dig into things or think of something else the price goes up but, it's going to offer performance based on needs not just the generic for the masses you get with retailers.
 

Tech Junky

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@VirtualLarry That little thing is interesting. Not quite what I would need but, I can find some uses for it potentially. Just drop in RAM / CPU / drives and you're off to the races. 1 PCIE slot for adding something or get creative with an M2 M-key adapter for the 2nd M2 slot.

The only issue seems to be finding one for sale somewhere in stock.
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
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Oct 25, 1999
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My experience with real life shows that Build by Friend that knows what he/she is doing and willing to offer Help when needed. It is always better then buying from the "Band of Fleecers"

Otherwise, I would suggest buying a suitable level computer according to need from Dell or HP (these two at least mange to pretend that they are willing to Help).


:cool:
 

dlerious

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Mar 4, 2004
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I built my current "server" for $1500 but, tweaking things down a bit could bring that down to ~$1000

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/rp7mmr
Of course once you dig into things or think of something else the price goes up but, it's going to offer performance based on needs not just the generic for the masses you get with retailers.
Why so loose on the memory timings (22-22-22)? The Vulcan Z has 16-20-20 for only a few $ more.
 

pete6032

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Dec 3, 2010
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Have you considered something like the DeskMeet, OP?

That looks interesting but they're out of stock most places.

Any differences in the Intel cpus in NUC pcs in terms of performance? What generation was the last major performance boost? Could I get away running a 6th gen i5 m cpu?
 

VirtualLarry

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Aug 25, 2001
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Any differences in the Intel cpus in NUC pcs in terms of performance? What generation was the last major performance boost? Could I get away running a 6th gen i5 m cpu?
DeskMini / DeskMeet are superior to NUC in performance, as they use standard, off-the-shelf, real desktop CPUs and APUs, not watered-down "U" or "Y" series CPUs, with lower TDPs and core counts and freq. than "real" desktop CPUs.
 

ubern00b1

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Jul 6, 2017
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I have a family member who needs a new computer for everyday use. Things like word processing, email, internet. Current system is custom built and lasted about 10 years. Given their needs would you recommend I buy something pre-built or build something custom? The current PC has literally nothing salvageable except for the PSU and some DDR3. Pretty sure the HDD is 2.5 inch SATA.
I would not reuse a 10yo PSU regardless of the brand/model, unless that has been replaced in the last few years. I wouldn't exactly call DDR3 salvageable either unless you have some older systems knocking about you can throw it into.

You also fail to mention the most important thing... budget, I mean if you are on a supertight budget you can build something like what I have outlined below for about $400 all in, obviously does not include OS or peripherals etc but would be solid for a general use computer for the web and general office tasks etc and you can improve on this if you have a better budget available to you.
 

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ubern00b1

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Jul 6, 2017
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Any differences in the Intel cpus in NUC pcs in terms of performance? What generation was the last major performance boost? Could I get away running a 6th gen i5 m cpu?
Why on earth would you want to consider a 6th gen mobile CPU when you can have much better performance and support using current or last gen for the same or lower cost :confused:
 
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pete6032

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Why on earth would you want to consider a 6th gen mobile CPU when you can have much better performance and support using current or last gen for the same or lower cost :confused:
The system does not get used much. I will look at the config you posted. I'm in the US so could probably get some of the equipment a bit cheaper.
 

OlyAR15

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Oct 23, 2014
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Things like word processing, email, internet.
None of that requires much of a computer. An iPad can handle all of that, so there is no point going crazy with the specs. What is likely more important are things like form factor, size, noise, etc. Depending on budget, a laptop would work well. I also like the Dell Optiplex Ultras. They combine the benefits of an all-in-one, but allow you to choose whatever monitor you want. If you get one with USB-C with power delivery, you can run the PC off the monitor with a single USB cable. I have 2 of these machines, and the main issue is price. Otherwise, they are fantastic office/gen purpose machines.
 

pete6032

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Tech Junky

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If it meets your needs then sure. You could go current gen though in a sff PC. Seems like budget is the main concern though.
 

OlyAR15

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Oct 23, 2014
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How about something like this? It's only $200.

I was thinking I could upgrade the SSD to 512GB.
That will work. Only issue is that it won't support Win11. Win10 will lose support in 2025. If your friend doesn't mind running an unsupported OS, then it can still be used for a long time. Otherwise, you might want to look for something with at least an 8-series CPU or higher (or the equivalent AMD chip).
 

pete6032

Diamond Member
Dec 3, 2010
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That will work. Only issue is that it won't support Win11. Win10 will lose support in 2025. If your friend doesn't mind running an unsupported OS, then it can still be used for a long time. Otherwise, you might want to look for something with at least an 8-series CPU or higher (or the equivalent AMD chip).
What will make it lose support exactly? I was reading the 8th gen Intel processors were way better due to being 6 core CPUs.
 

OlyAR15

Senior member
Oct 23, 2014
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What will make it lose support exactly? I was reading the 8th gen Intel processors were way better due to being 6 core CPUs.
Win11 only supports recent CPUs, basically from Coffee Lake and higher (although it does support a few Kaby Lake chips), in addition to requiring Secure Boot and TPM. Now, there is a workaround to installing Win11 on unsupported PCs, but there is no guarantee that those PCs will continue to be able to install future updates.

List of supported CPUs: https://www.tomsguide.com/news/these-are-all-the-intel-and-amd-cpus-that-can-run-windows-11
 

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