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Thinking about finally breaking down and replacing my OLD desktop tower (running windows 98, I fear its days are numbered, even though its sufficient for my needs, it works worse and worse as the days go by). My needs are pretty rudimentary, I need it to be able to run firefox and thunderbird (mozillas version of IE and Outlook), and windows media player so I can listen to music online, and really thats about it, which I think EVERY computer can probably run. I don't do any downloading, gaming, ect that would need upgraded internals, i'm guessing the most basic computer I could possibly buy will be 10x better than I will utilize. I already have a functional keyboard, speakers, and moniter, and don't see any sense in replacing any of those until they kick the bucket.

Can anyone recommend something that would fit my needs for the least amount of $? I found one at dell for $299, not bad, but the cheaper the better for me. I would even consider a refurbished one that was more modern than what I have if I could find something for a good price.
 

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Skeet Man, I am glad that you mentioned refurbished as that can be the real way to go. I have bought several refurbished HP's for really good deals. Just go to their website and see what they have. My lastest is a 4 years old and had 2.3mhz memory with a 40 gig HD and I bought it for $300.00. Look around before jumping in. Jackie B.
 

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Go to Best buy and buy one that's going out of inventory. I got the whole deal here for 300, 160 HD, 2.5 Mhz and that was a year ago.

I would do it again if i need one.

HM
 

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Go to Best buy and buy one that's going out of inventory. I got the whole deal here for 300, 160 HD, 2.5 Mhz and that was a year ago.

I would do it again if i need one.

HM
 

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You might want to look at Dell. They have some decent deals on entry level systems. I would NOT recommend anything from HP. Their support is horrible and many of their products aren't quite up to snuff. You could also look around for a refurbished unit from a host of outlets. Tigerdirect.com, Microcenter.com, outletpc.com, Buy.com, txmicro.com, and any local computer show might be a good start. I'd stay away from eBay, unless you really know what you are buying. I hate to say it, but Best Buy is the pits. They are usually way overpriced and their computer repair service is usually pretty poor. If they have something on sale, it's probably ok, but don't let them "accessorize" it or try to service it. They tend to try selling you things you don't need. Their extended warranties aren't usually worth it either. Even WalMart might have a decent deal at times. You might want to check your keyboard and mouse to see if they would be compatible with a new unit. Some of the new ones do not have ps/2 ports for mice or keyboards. If your old hardware is ps/2, you might need to get new stuff or buy an adaptor to convert them to usb. A decent flat panel monitor is pretty reasonable these days as well. It's sometimes cheaper to buy the "package" than to buy individual items like keyboards, speakers, mice, and monitors.

I've seen many bare bones towers go for around $150, even with XP preloaded. A solid Pentium 4 2+ GHz would usually do for what you have in mind.
 

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I recommend an entry level Dell system. Just buy a bare bones system if that is all you need. I bought one for my daughter, a new teacher, a few years back for under $500 and she loves it. I also bought her a Dell 1700 Laser printer that is a workhorse.

If you are in education or are a student, you can buy a discounted version of Microsoft Office. AVG is a good, free anti-virus.


I think that you will experience more spyware, malware and viruses when you upgrade from Windows 98 and/or go to a higher speed connection. As such, you will need some type of spyware prevention/removal tool.

I still have an older DELL Inspiron 550 using Windows 98 that is a standalone. I use it for Word and Excel. It is almost a boat anchor but, connected to a laser printer, it still has value in some applications.

Look for specials especially around back to school time (August). Free shipping is sometimes available. I have not had good experience with refurbished electronics but others may have.

HP stuff is OK but I prefer Dell and my brother works for HP.

For years, I used Compaq but they were bought out by HP. The Compaq's of the early 1990's were really well made. Now, I think that all manufacturers have cut back on their quality control. It is IMO more of a Break/Fix kind of world.


Ed Ward
 

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Try Computergeeks.com I have bought 3 from them. They are refurbs and seem to have a huge selection. Nothing but good results here!
 

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I just bought a new one from Micro Center for $499 pretty well loaded with a dual core processor and 320Gig hard drive that really flies! Its my 2nd one from them, and my buddys 3rd from them with no problems at all and a great warranty. They also had Dells and HP's right next to them, but they would have been at least $100 more for the same features. They call their brand a Micro Spec. They also had a plenty good one for $399 that was fast. I'm pretrty happy with their deals. If you have a store near you, take a look.
 

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Forgot to add try your local pawnshop I have had good luck buying those and reselling. After Christmas they are full of deals.
 

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My experience with Dell is not good. I bought a new 518 with all the whistles and bells and the SOB is blue screen nearly every day. The customer support people are useless. I have contacted them 14 times and still am having troubles. Screw Dell, buy anything else but. BRGII
 

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I'm on my second Dell...and nothing but good things...bought a new XPS 8 months ago and it's been bulletproff since day 1.
 

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Go to pricewatch.com. Near the top left under "computers" click on "desktops." On the right side of that screen you will see a list including "refurbished pentium." Click on that. They have decent Pentium 4 computers starting at $60 (it says $80, but when I went to the Kailey Computer website they actually start at $60). You can get WIndows XP Pro for an extra $15. They offer all kinds of options including extended warranty. If you don't like that company there are plenty of others listed on pricewatch.com.

Shoot well and often,

Mark.
 

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I didn't think I needed Windows. Can't you just take off one of the side panels if you need to look inside? ;) .....Rick
 

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I would make one suggestion when considering ANY computer: new, refurbished, desktop, laptop, whatever. If you are buying a Windows system (XP or Vista), buy one that comes with the full Windows installation disk that was used to install the operating system.

Without that disk, you will either be tied to the manufacturer for recovery support or you will be completely unable to recover the system should a meltdown occur. A full installation disk contains recovery tools and other applications NOT available anywhere else. You will also have a product key for the operating system should you ever need it for upgrade or installation on a replacement computer. The "recovery" disks that some manufacturers send with their computers are NOT installation disks and don't contain the system tools. HP and Compaq, for example, are notorious for sending proprietary disk packs with their systems and withholding the all-important system disk unless the buyer complains and demands the system disk as well.

Buying a computer without the system installation disk can be a costly oversight.

Carol Lister
 
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