Which starter PC

  dawsonc 18:45 08 Jan 05

Have been assigned the task of sourcing a starter PC for my Dad who has decided he needs to join the pC age.
He'll use if for the very basics...Internet, Office work and some very basic photograph stuff.
Budget of around £500.
Have already decided to make sure he gets 512k of RAM and a HDD of at least 80Gb. Not sure on processor although I get the impression from this site that AMD give better value.
Have thought about buying from the outlet site at Dell, but am interested in nethighstreet..com, tiny or carrera.
What views do you itk people have ?

  DrScott 20:09 08 Jan 05

Well at the risk of being a little controversial, you might consider building a PC for your Dad. It's actually much easier than it sounds, and you will get a better value PC :) And you'll more of an idea of what to do later on if your Dad does anything to damage it!

This site is a good place to start click here

I've used this site's forums to put forward the specs for a computer for my Dad (under SemperSi), and there are a lot of people who will check the proposed system for you and advise.

If you really don't want to build then the Dell range are generally pretty reliable and good...

  pj123 21:08 08 Jan 05

Or you could give click here a look.

  Starfox 21:39 08 Jan 05
  rdave13 21:57 08 Jan 05

Good value startups but remember the backup disk and delivery cost.Good robust comps,and high grade specs, compared to Dell.
Had mine 2 years and no complaints.

  dawsonc 20:32 09 Jan 05

Processors on the lower price models seem to be either Intel Celeron or AMD Sempron while I was thinking that I should go for either AMD Athlon or Intel P4...Any thoughts?

  TomJerry 21:04 09 Jan 05

pick up one he fancyat his price point, any £500 pc will do job nicely

for example

Comet: £499 HEWLETT PACKARD A708 click here

Pcworld: £499 COMPAQ INTEL PENTIUM 4 505 PC + 17" TFT click here

you can upgrade the memory to 512Mb (not kb in your post) click here

he can take back to local shop if anythig wrong

  sharkbait 22:11 09 Jan 05

I used to be an Engineer for a large american computer company, and I used to build my own PC's .......Buy a Dell; you'll not regret it. It's cheaper, you'll not have compatability problems (you know these system hangs that you blame on Microsoft)and if you want to upgrade the system you can afford to get the fancy Graphics & Sound cards.......

Or spend £100 on a motherboard, £100 on the processor £100 on Windows, oh and then you need memory, hard drives, case, power supply, cooling, time, energy, monitor....etc....mmmmmhhhhhh

  DrScott 15:33 10 Jan 05

A 64 bit CPU runs 32 bit applications faster, and is also more 'future proof'. So I recommend AMD Athlon 64 CPUs :)

There are lots and lots of threads comparing Pentium 4s with AMD CPUs so type a search for it.

I agree with Sharkbait about Dell, but building is more satisfying and not really that expensive... depends on the components you choose! It is just easier to order one all ready to go... but where's the fun in that?

For what he's going to use it for, you don't really need the most powerful processor etc.

Make sure the graphics card is basic as he will not get any benefit from a more powerful one.

I would make sure he gets a TFT monitor as they are much better for that sort of stuff than a bulky CRT.

I doubt he would ever fill a 80GB hard drive so if theres a deal that does not have a 80GB one (although most do these days), don't let it put you off.

I would agree that a PC from PCworld would be a good idea for this sort of PC, where you can see if you like it before you buy.

  DrScott 16:58 10 Jan 05

mmmm... if you are going to PCW I would make sure you know what you are talking about and exactly what you want before you get there. In my experience, I've found the staff at PCW rather lacking in knowledge, but rather too well endowed with sales technique. I can almost guarantee that you'll spend about another 10 to 20% over what you intend to.

Plus I'm not convinced by their 'support' services... I only say because any queries I've ever had they've been less than useful at answering.

But that is only my experience... others have probably had better!

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