Friday, August 28, 2009

New Computer

Its time for a new computer for our home. Ours still works, but the kids' is just too slow and old. Cora and I are getting a new machine and the kids are getting our current one. Any suggestions? I think I'll pass on a modem, haven't used one in a few years and I can't see going back to dial-up. I think one DVD/CD-RW drive would be enough. Or should I get a blu-ray drive or 2 disc drives? What else don't I need anymore or should have just in case? Monitors have gotten much nicer in the past several years. Any suggestions? What would be a good general purpose home machine? I'm not into on-line gaming, so it does not need that kind of power. I might watch video downloaded from Netflix or Hulu. Thanks.

5 comments:

Dean Pentcheff said...

Take a serious look at the Apple iMacs (http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/imac). [Disclaimer: I am not a member of the Apple cult, being a happy user of Linux, Windows, and Mac computers.]

The displays are very nice, the machines "just work", and because they're a unified box there are far fewer dangling cables and crap for a home. Netflix works fine (I don't know about Hulu).

One reluctance people have is the "inability to add hardware" to something like an iMac: you can't open it up and plug in a board. Realistically at this point, do you replace video cards? Do you plan on upgrading your DVD drive? If you decide you need more HD space, you'll probably just buy an external drive anyway.

We've found the iMacs to be elegant, useful, and well suited to home use.

PShufeldt said...

Second hard drive, with the two drives set up in a RAID 1 array, saved me when the primary drive died. Computer kept functioning (with warnings every time it booted) until I got a replacement drive installed. If you are lax about doing backups, this can definitely be a useful addition.

Second DVD/CD-ROM drive is handy for making duplicate discs, especially ones which contain large files that don't originate from your PC.

USB connectors on the screen or keyboard are very useful, especially if you have a tower case which sits on the floor.

Unless you want some of these extras, why not get a large screen (17") laptop? Portability has a lot of advantages, and I find that the desktop screen level works far better with bifocals.

Mike Kreyche said...

Good point about laptop screens and bifocals. But to me, 17" doesn't cut it any more. I just got a 24" monitor and I love it! I can put up two full page documents side by side! Computer glasses are saving my neck--the monitor can be any height now. I don't truck my computer around that much, but when I do, I need my development environment and everything. I got tired of lugging my 15" laptop, so my new machine is a 13" with quite a bit of oomph (Dell Studio XPS 13). eSATA is incredibly fast compared to USB or Firewire. Highly recommended! Not very common yet on external drives so I bought a bare drive and a Netdisk enclosure. Consider one CD/DVD drive and get a Blu-ray later when they're cheaper. Happy shopping!

Mike Kreyche said...

Good point about laptop screens and bifocals. But to me, 17" doesn't cut it any more. I just got a 24" monitor and I love it! I can put up two full page documents side by side! Computer glasses are saving my neck--the monitor can be any height now. I don't truck my computer around that much, but when I do, I need my development environment and everything. I got tired of lugging my 15" laptop, so my new machine is a 13" with quite a bit of oomph (Dell Studio XPS 13). eSATA is incredibly fast compared to USB or Firewire. Highly recommended! Not very common yet on external drives so I bought a bare drive and a Netdisk enclosure. Blu-ray will be cheaper if you can wait a bit. Happy shopping!

David said...

Hey Uncle David,
First things first if you're buying online look at newegg.com, they have everything at very low prices. I highly recommend getting two DVD drives it just makes life a whole lot easier for making cds/dvds and plus they're like 20 bucks now. however two HD's aren't that necessary, unless you download a boatload of giant files one HD will suffice, I've only had one HD crash on me (out of the like 20 that I've had over the years)and mom told me to put it in the freezer, I was able to get all my data off of it before it died and it was still under warranty so a new one came pretty fast. not saying it doesn't happen but desktop internals dont have a lot of things to mess with them other than heat/dust.

Depending on how much you want to spend, I can give you specific recommendations or you can just look on newegg.

As for monitors viewsonics are usually the cheapest, I have a 28" but the blacks aren't too good and the brightness is pretty low, go with samsung or dell, both make great monitors for cheap and they have lots of inputs on them (HDMI, DVI, component, composite). Bitsy and Jared have a 24" samsung and I love it. Its the perfect size, small enough for a desk, big enough for watching movies. The large screen laptops (17"+) dont fair to well after about a year and a half, both my roommate and friend have a 17 inch laptop that they're about to ditch due to overheating/battery problems after just around two years of use. laptops arent meant to be left on for long periods of time, and with 17" people tend to use them just as a desktop (leaving them on all the time). Anyways desktops are much much cheaper than big screen laptops, you could go the imac way if you want to spend about a grand more than you would the PC route. We just got my dad a gateway/acer netbook and he absolutely loves it, thats another thing to look at.

If you have any questions hit me up with an email
-DJ