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Old 03-15-2012, 12:29 PM   #41
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+1 I used to change my oil and rebuild carburetors too. No thanks.
Computers and carburetors share some dna in that it's possible to work on them and end up with more parts than you started with.
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:12 PM   #42
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Ah, the memories of opening the dusty case, forcing cards into slots, trying to route the ribbon cables, switching the tiny configuration switches with a pen, figuring which is the master and which the slave, getting the power supply cables to reach, different drive mounting standards, getting the case to close, reopening it because the floppy drives don't line up, waiting two minutes to see if it will boot...

Never again!
Not to mention the feeling of frying a CPU or two along the way!

Hardware components change so fast, so if doing a build, be sure to get a current magazine or make sure the site you visit is recent.

Maxium PC (not to get confused with Maxim magazine which is a whole different thing! ) (Technology News, Computer and Notebook Reviews, Computer News, Computer Mods, PC News | Maximum PC) is what I've used before both in book and magazine which offer good how-to directions.

In my opinion, the best benifit of building a PC is if you do it once, when a part breaks down, you have a clue as to how to go about fixing it.

That said, my next PC (not sure when that'll be), I'm tempted to be lazy and just buy one from the store. But also, think about rolling up my sleeves and building the "perfect" pc from parts. In otherwords, I'm undecided.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:11 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Ah, the memories of opening the dusty case, forcing cards into slots, trying to route the ribbon cables, switching the tiny configuration switches with a pen, figuring which is the master and which the slave, getting the power supply cables to reach, different drive mounting standards, getting the case to close, reopening it because the floppy drives don't line up, waiting two minutes to see if it will boot...

Never again!
Well, I've never built one myself, so I don't know how much effort it is. However, I was kinda figuring that...

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I understand, I have been doing this for a long time; a lot has changed, ribbon cable have been replaced with SATA cables (no more master and slave stuff), ... no configuration dip switch to change, longer power supply cables these days too, drives and cards just snap in place no more rails, don't use floopies any more so did not get one.
things are easier these days, as DFA says. But I am wondering if I can really save much/anything over watching for sales (when the time comes - I'm hopefully a year away from getting serious about upgrading).

-ERD50
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:28 PM   #44
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I switched from PC to laptop several years ago and don't intend to go back. I do think that laptops do not last as long as a desk top. There is so much stuff crammed into the laptop that heat can be a problem. From what I've found 4 years of fairly heavy use is about the best your going to get out of a laptop, but, for me the convenience tops the shorter life. Just keep good backups.
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Old 03-15-2012, 03:56 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by seraphim
Former geek here, who used to build his own PCs - we're down to two iPads and a mobile hotspot. I'm not an Apple lover, but the tablets do everything I want from writing to photo editing. They're smaller, load faster, and you don't need a light at night to see the ketboard. Unless you're a gamer or have windows specific program you're required to use...

Just my .02.
seraphim,

Do you do a fair amount of typing on the iPad?

What about things like spreadsheets and working on Powerpoint slides?

(Full disclosure: I tried 'straight' typing on an iPad at the Apple store and at Best Buy, and both times, it felt very awkward. I think I'm used to the positive location and mechanical feedback of a keyboard.)

omni
I do quite a bit of writing on the iPad, and plan to write a great deal more after retirement.. I much prefer it now to a standard keyboard. There's just a learning curve.

A lot of spreadsheets as well - all excel compatible.

Power point? No. Haven't looked into the apps, either, to see if it's possible.

Just checked - there is an MS PowerPoint app for the iPad
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:29 PM   #46
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A lot has changed - never again

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a lot has changed, ribbon cable have been replaced with SATA cables ... drives and cards just snap in place no more rails,
+1
I built several computers myself over the years. DW was always looking for more performance to edit the videos and create DVDs. While she was rendering she would look for something to do. So I setup an old HP laptop to a KV Switch (share same KB, mouse, monitor), so she could read her email and stuff while waiting. She is using the laptop ever since for every day tasks and backs things up to the desktop. I also use Asus laptop connected to KB, mouse, monitor; so it is very quiet in our his/hers office without the 500W+ PS noise of the desktop. I use a 3TB USB3 drive for our backups we take with us on RV trips each year.
I would recommend KV Switch with USB KB & mouse connections and use your Dell laptop again. You may like it. Turn on your BIG guns only for DVD burning and backups.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:48 PM   #47
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Here have been muddling along with a 7 yo Mac G4 powerbook (1 GHz) waiting for the rumored new macs to come out. So ready for a 15 inch laptop, hopefully, hopefully with a screen as non-glossy as possible. Saw this the other day, and so maybe don't have long to go:

Rumor: Apple to launch 15-inch MacBook Air in April, 'effectively killing the Pro'

Tell myself that the time I spend on it, and the reduced hassle factor (we have 2 genius bars within a few minutes drive) justify the cost.
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Don't save much $$
Old 03-15-2012, 05:49 PM   #48
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Don't save much $$

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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Well, I've never built one myself, so I don't know how much effort it is.
But I am wondering if I can really save much/anything over watching for sales (when the time comes - I'm hopefully a year away from getting serious about upgrading).
-ERD50
Cost of computers came down a lot so you don't save much.

It is not very difficult to put together your new supper computer, once you get all the parts. But what I do not like any more is the moment of truth, when you flip the On switch and it does not work. Like the lights are on, but nobody is home. How do you figure out whether it is the CPU from Frys or the RAM from Egg... Without the correct spare part to swap, it is too much work! I have better thinks to do.

Don't do it unless you like a challenge.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:06 PM   #49
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Cost of computers came down a lot so you don't save much.

...

Don't do it unless you like a challenge.
That's what it seems like. I'm just not seeing these 2x savings at this point.

Sometimes I do things for the challenge. Not sure I want to make this one of them though, at least not for what would be my 'main machine', and my main machines become my alternates, no reason for my to build a back up machine.

(
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Originally Posted by EveryLady View Post
Here have been muddling along with a 7 yo Mac G4 powerbook (1 GHz) waiting for the rumored new macs to come out. So ready for a 15 inch laptop, hopefully, hopefully with a screen as non-glossy as possible. Saw this the other day, and so maybe don't have long to go:

Rumor: Apple to launch 15-inch MacBook Air in April, 'effectively killing the Pro'

Tell myself that the time I spend on it, and the reduced hassle factor (we have 2 genius bars within a few minutes drive) justify the cost.
Sounds a lot like 'one more year' syndrome. There have been lots of new macs since the G4! My son was using his G4 Macbook up until last year though. DW got used to the glossy screen on her MBP. I'd probably prefer matte, I don't use hers enough to know if I'd adjust OK.

You will be amazed at the speed difference between any new Mac and the old G4. All the recent programs are optimized for Intel.

-ERD50
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:42 PM   #50
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New Dell XPS 8300 with Intel core i7 here. It is so much better than the 8 year old Dell it replaced. I thought I wanted to upgrade with a solid state hard drive but find this computer is so fast that I do not need it. I like having a big monitor to look at. I would have gotten a Mac but DW says all the educational stuff she uses in her classroom is PC. I may get an ipad for the extra versatility but the desktop with tower and big monitor will prolly always be my primary use computer.
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Old 03-16-2012, 04:59 AM   #51
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NewEgg delivery in 3-4 days
4-6 hours assembly
OC to 5GHz
Cutting edge computer

$139 COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced Blue Edition RC-932-KKN3-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0
$339 Intel Core i7-2700K Sandy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623i72700K
$209 ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
$154 G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH
$499 ASUS ENGTX580 DCII/2DIS/1536MD5 GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$50 COOLER MASTER V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler Intel Core i7 compatible
$50 Creative 70SB073A00000 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer
$22 ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model
$105 Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
$1,399 Dell UltraSharp U3011 30" Height, Swivel & Tilt Adjustable Widescreen LCD Monitor 370 cd/m2
$47 Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Keyboard

$3,013
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:13 AM   #52
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I have a eMachines PC that is 7 years old, a 6-year-old Dell 700m Inspiron laptop, and an 1-year-old Asus eee netbook.

...

I've read that PCs are rapidly dwindling in popularity, so there may be some good deals out there.
Great deals have been out there for a number of years. But, like you I keep things going as long as possible. I still prefer Dell systems, but have an HP notebook with 17" screen for traveling. A bit heavy to carry, but I sacrifice nothing when I am consulting.

Set a budget for yourself, and see what that buys. Then adjust up or down to suit your needs. I think you can get free Word/Excel starter edition. If you buy full Office, that adds 25-50% to cost of system.

Something I ran into with last two installs I went out on--there are no com or parallel ports on an average system now. If you have a trusty old laser printer with just a parallel port, you'll need an adapter, or some workaround.

I'm still convinced these computer things will never catch on.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:55 AM   #53
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After my post, I went through other messages and made a few notes:
- two burning drives, best performance will be with a desktop and internal bus.
- Mac, you may be presently surprised. But none of your PC software runs on it without purchasing add'l software. Then you have two OS's to keep updated!
- Support, if you work at a PC place, your computer guys have solutions for you. What about your legacy software. Do you use Quicken?
- Deskspace, plugging in a lot of peripherals to a notebook is a pain. If you get a dock thingy, it takes up real estate. If you have room, that's fine. See below.
- Self-build, you won't save anything by doing this. You'll learn a lot about what you don't know, though.
- Battery useage, factor in the cost of a notebook battery replacement or two down the road.
- Solid state, really nice option. Higher cost.
- Tablets (yes there are others), I only see these as auxiliary things, like a phone. You could cut the pc cord and see what it's all about.

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Old 03-16-2012, 06:55 AM   #54
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NewEgg delivery in 3-4 days
4-6 hours assembly
OC to 5GHz
Cutting edge computer


$3,013
I take it you are a gamer Zero? I have never gotten into it so I don't need anything like this. Guys who worked for me were fanatics and built or bought high end machines. You have to be pretty particular about your Internet access as well since a little latency could overcome the advantages of the box. Next step will be specialized furniture to fit.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:20 AM   #55
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NewEgg delivery in 3-4 days
4-6 hours assembly
OC to 5GHz
Cutting edge computer

$3,013
Wow...a bit more that I was planning on paying.

And probably a lot more capability than I would ever use.

(I did assemble a Heathkit ham radio in 7th grade and that was a lot of fun.)

omni
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:31 AM   #56
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After my post, I went through other messages and made a few notes:
- two burning drives, best performance will be with a desktop and internal bus.
- Mac, you may be presently surprised. But none of your PC software runs on it without purchasing add'l software. Then you have two OS's to keep updated!
- Support, if you work at a PC place, your computer guys have solutions for you. What about your legacy software. Do you use Quicken?
- Deskspace, plugging in a lot of peripherals to a notebook is a pain. If you get a dock thingy, it takes up real estate. If you have room, that's fine. See below.
- Self-build, you won't save anything by doing this. You'll learn a lot about what you don't know, though.
- Battery useage, factor in the cost of a notebook battery replacement or two down the road.
- Solid state, really nice option. Higher cost.
- Tablets (yes there are others), I only see these as auxiliary things, like a phone. You could cut the pc cord and see what it's all about.
target 2019,

You brought up some good points. Thanks.

I don't have much legacy software, don't use Quicken, don't work (so no free IT support ), have lots of space (1800 sq ft house for 1 person) but can't foresee ever using 5 monitors LOL.

That's a good point about considering the lifetime cost of future laptop battery replacement.

(BTW, just curious, how do long do iPad batteries last and what is their replacement cost...anyone know? Or are iPads considered a disposable item?)

omni
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:34 AM   #57
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(BTW, just curious, how do long do iPad batteries last and what is their replacement cost...anyone know? Or are iPads considered a disposable item?)
Battery replacement costs $99 after the warranty period (which is one year unless you purchased the extended warranty).

Apple - Batteries - Battery Replacement
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battery is OK
Old 03-16-2012, 11:15 AM   #58
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battery is OK

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- Battery useage, factor in the cost of a notebook battery replacement ..
I see having a battery as an advantage when power goes down.
And price is not bad:
ASUS Notebook battery - 6-cell - $47. It's like getting a new UPS after 6-7 years or so. Our HP laptop is more then 7 years old and battery is OK.
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Old 03-17-2012, 03:34 AM   #59
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Have you tried the Amazon guide to laptops and desktops :
Amazon.com: Laptops, Tablets & Netbooks

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Any suggestions on what I should consider as replacement for the eMachines PC?

omni
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:03 PM   #60
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Something I ran into with last two installs I went out on--there are no com or parallel ports on an average system now. If you have a trusty old laser printer with just a parallel port, you'll need an adapter, or some workaround.

I'm still convinced these computer things will never catch on.
target,

Aaack! I hadn't even considered the printer angle.

And, yes, I have an hp laser printer that I love. It's a true workhorse that has performed flawlessly for probably 7-8 years. I'd prefer to keep it if/when I replace the current PC.

I'll have to get an adapter, I suppose.

Any foreseeable issues with printer software/drivers, etc?

omni
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