Help Me Decide Upon a New Computing Machine

I have decided that, even if the maclargehuge HP laptop could be resurrected, it’s time I got a desktop anyway. A laptop can’t give me the computing power I need going forward in mah bidness. I need something that can handle streaming movies or music whilst also running Photoshop or Corel. I need something that doesn’t mind me having twelve gajillion tabs open while all that’s going on. And the computer repair dude I chatted up at Staples told me that if I want a Windows 7 machine, I’d better act now, because they soon won’t be an option. I do I DO want my Windows 7. I bloody hate Windows 8 with a burning and enduring passion, but I loves my Windows 71.

I’ve been an HP person for decades, but I hear their quality sharply declined in the last few years, so I’m open to other options. I’m looking for a durable machine with an HDMI port, Windows 7, enough processing power to multitask smoothly, at least 1tb of storage, and wi-fi connectivity. I’m trying to keep it under $500, since I’m far from made of money right now.

So far, it’s looking like Lenovo is going to be my best bet with those specs. What do you think? Good brand? If so, should I go with this beauty, this beauty, or a different beauty? Is there another brand I should be investigating? Bestow upon me your wisdom!

And thank you for always being awesome in the helping Dana with electronics department, my darlings. This blog wouldn’t survive without all of you.

Image shows a kitten sitting inside a desktop tower. Caption says, "1 Megacat processor."

1. Yes, more than I would love a Mac. Don’t even talk to me about Mac. People, I was there on the front lines when the very first iPhone launched. I endured selling the fucking things, then doing tech support for them, from the original through the iPhone 5s – 8 of the fucking things. Until our call center specialized, I got to see how they matched up against other companies and operating systems. I had to listen to the fanbois blame everything except Apple for ever single problem. I had to listen to them blame our network for issues even when a Samsung in the same damned room was working perfectly. This has instilled a deep, burning, abiding hatred for all things Apple, and that’s even before we get to the fact that none of the software I have will run on their OS, and the fact they’re insanely overpriced. I’m so sorry if you like them. But fuck Apple. Forever.

Help Me Decide Upon a New Computing Machine

7 thoughts on “Help Me Decide Upon a New Computing Machine

  1. 1

    I think you’d be happy with either of those Lenovo desktops you linked. The $80 price difference looks well spent in terms of the extra system memory and processor difference. The integrated graphics on these chips have improved so much over the past generation, and I think either would be fine. The only thing that confuses me are the images on those Amazon pages. They must be using stock photos for all the towers. The back panel for both computers show what looks like a discrete graphics card in addition to the ports for the integrated graphics. From the descriptions, neither actually has a separate card. Honestly you do not need one.
    The ports in the front of the case are convenient, though make note that it doesn’t look like either USB port is the higher speed USB 3.0 port (those are the blue ones on the back). Of course you can’t be entirely certain what your actual computer will look like since those photos aren’t exactly what they’re shipping. If you have an external disk drive or something that can benefit from faster transfers, just check which ports you use.

  2. 2

    I’m a DIYer, so I think anything I don’t build with my own two hands (mining out all the metals and forming circuits …or is that Minecraft?) is crap. But I do have some general advice on electronics buying.

    There are two main schools of thought and they generally come down to “money” vs. “less money.” You can either buy the best equipment you can currently afford and hope it stays good enough long enough (and this is what I tend to do, only piecemeal) or you can go for the last generation’s specs and get it cheap. Although, workstations don’t seem to get as discounted as, say, cameras. I’m not sure why.

    If you have a little bit of know-how or are willing to learn, you might want to consider a bare bones system. You can get a decent barebones (case, power supply, motherboard, cpu, and RAM) at a decent price. You’ll still need a drives and peripherals and the OS and you may want a graphics card even though almost all motherboards have graphics built in these days.

    But it’ll take some work to shop for the right stuff and you’l lhave to put the extras in yourself and install the OS. And you won’t get some tech support plan (but given the state of most desktop support, it’s probably not a bad thing.)

  3. 3

    I understand your hatred of Windows 8 [1]. I’ve only used it for a few minutes when trying to help a neighbour, and it frightened me so much I went a-googling for remedies, even though I’m not planning buying a new computer for a while. I found out a couple of things. Microsoft have a new version in the wings, called, illogically enough, Windows 10, which is supposed to address ‘customer issues’ with W8. Also, Microsoft have made it possible to buy W8 and legally downgrade it to W7 for free – possible, but it sounded a huge hassle.

    I am less clear why you need to stream movies while running your business.

    The Lenovos look very good value to me, but I’m in the UK, and all computers for sale in the US look very good value to me.

    For business use, you need to take security and backups seriously, especially if you have a customer database and accounts etc.

    [1] I have used computers since 1989, and have hated several versions of Windows, two versions of Mac OS, one version of Red Hat Linux, and enough versions of Ubuntu Linux to fill a small zoo.

  4. 4

    Two months ago I replaced my POS Gateway with a Lenovo IdeaCentre H530 desktop box, which I like. It comes with Windows 7 Home Premium, 4 GB of RAM, 1 TB hard drive, dual core 3.0 GHz CPU, graphics coprocessor, and a DVD drive. It lists at about $400 with keyboard and mouse but without monitor.

  5. 5

    For the intensive tasks you describe, plan on upgrading to 8 gb if your system does not come with it.

    We had some unfortunate professors get Win8 when it first came out. Sad cases. But 8.1 is much better, and it runs faster too. So while we are running 500+ computers on 7 professional, we are OK with 8.1.

    Those are both good systems.

  6. 7

    I was going to jump on the do it yourself bandwagon…

    Figured that I oughta at least go look around. See what kind of systems are available.

    Google sent me to TigerDirect. I’m usually of the opinion that they are a little overpriced. But they have this lenovo system for $479.99.

    I5, 8 gig of memory, 1tb hard disk and 1 hdmi out. Seems to hit your list.

    If you want to look into building your own PC. MaximumPC magizine alway dedicates the last couple of pages to 3 different systems. One of which is a basic $500 PC. And the cool part is that they put each issue up in full on their website. After 6 months. So you would be looking at specs for a 6 month old $500 PC. Probably a bit cheaper by now. It’s off the main page. Look for PDF Archives in the menu.

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