Help! I need a new computer but don't know what to get. - HotUKDeals
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Help! I need a new computer but don't know what to get.

Christmasshopper Avatar
1d, 1y agoPosted 1 decade, 1 year ago
The time has come for me to replace my old computer and I haven't a clue what to get. My old one cost me 50 quid from a car boot sale years ago and it is not coping with what I want to do. It can't run a firewall (whatever that is), because it's too old or not big enough or clever enough (can you tell I don't understand computers?). It keeps catching viruses and running slowly. Last year I asked the computer man about upgrading it and he said it's like putting Jag wheels on a Ford Fiesta, it won't turn it into a Jag.
I can afford to spend up to £500 but I'd rather not if it isn't necessary. I use it for shopping, ebay, emails and browsing. I don't need it for business use, it's just a hobby. I would like to get a decent digital camera sometime in the future so I'll need it for that too.
Should I go for a package complete with a monitor, printer, keyboard etc. like they sell in Tesco? What specification should I look for?
PLEASE HELP.
Christmasshopper Avatar
1d, 1y agoPosted 1 decade, 1 year ago
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#1
[color=darkblue]There are options for upgrading to something that's more suited to you + your future plans for using a digital camera amongst other things.

The Dell 3000 which there is a link to in Hot Deals forum. CLICK HERE - DELL 3000

This is what's available now + I think it's an ideal starter kit:

Dimension 3000 (D02302a)
Date & Time: Monday 7 February 2005 3:12 PM

SYSTEM COMPONENTS
Base Intel® Celeron® D processor 330 (2.66GHz, 533FSB, 256k cache) [Celeron seem to be a much more acceptable option for a CPU than when they were first introduced. Not the best but good enough for the applications you want to use].
Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition SP2 -English [XP SP2 has it's own anti virus + firewall options or you can download good FREE software which is as good or maybe better than.. if you want]
Memory 512MB Dual Channel DDR333 (2x256MB) [Ample DDR RAM which you will find amazingly fast to the speed you are used to + upgradeable as well as capable of running more than one application at a time]
Keyboard Dell QuietKey Keyboard [Just a basic keyboard easily replaced should you want to]
Monitor FP / MG 17in (E173FP) TCO99 Value Midnight Grey Flat Panel [This is a free upgrade at the moment + it's a 17" TFT Nice bonus!]
Hard Drive 80GB IDE (7,200rpm) [Plenty of space for saving data or installing a lot of programmes. You could partition the drive for seperate functions, like digital photographs or imaging {storage space}, whilst having a seperate partition for installing the programmes. There is always the option to upgrade or buy an external hard drive in the future, for storing your work].
No Floppy Drive [You could choose the Dell FD when ordering, which would make the total about £25.00p more than without it. If you don't use floppies, no point having one. Buying one outside of Dell would be a bit cheaper].
Dell PS/2 Scroll Mouse [Just a mouse]
No Modem [Choose a modem from Dell for about £18.00p on the total or buy one outside of Dell maybe a little cheaper]
Optical Devices 48x CD-ROM [Upgrade outside of Dell with a DVD Writer in the future, as the Dell option of £90.00p is double what you'd pay from other online stores like eBuyer for instance]
No Speakers [Not sure if the TFT monitor comes with built in speakers, but your speaker in use now should be okay until you want to upgrade].
Microsoft Application Software Microsoft® Works 7.0 - English
1 Year Collect and Return Service [Make sure you select this option to get the reduced total price of the whole system, but note it's for one year collect + return. If you have a "computer man" as you say above, then you can always get his advice for general information after the warranty].
No Installation Service Selected
Anti Virus Software No Security Subscription [Free to download as stated above + fairly easy to use].
Dell Photo Album Dell Picture Studio - Photo Album Standard (60 Day Trial) [Another type of software that you can find as free downloads or on computer magazine covers often].
Paint Shop Dell Picture Studio - Paint Shop Pro 8.0 (60 Day Trial) [Same as other free download advice above. Incidentally, all the downloadable software is legally free].
Money Off Savings Save £30 Ex Vat [Ends on 23rd February 2005 as do es the TFT monitor offer + double memory free upgrade].
Sub-total £249.00 17.50 % £292.58
Total Delivery Charge £49.00 17.50 % £57.58
Total Price £298.00 17.50 % £350.15 Delivered[/color]
#2
Christmasshopper
The time has come for me to replace my old computer and I haven't a clue what to get. My old one cost me 50 quid from a car boot sale years ago and it is not coping with what I want to do. It can't run a firewall (whatever that is), because it's too old or not big enough or clever enough (can you tell I don't understand computers?). It keeps catching viruses and running slowly. Last year I asked the computer man about upgrading it and he said it's like putting Jag wheels on a Ford Fiesta, it won't turn it into a Jag.
I can afford to spend up to £500 but I'd rather not if it isn't necessary. I use it for shopping, ebay, emails and browsing. I don't need it for business use, it's just a hobby. I would like to get a decent digital camera sometime in the future so I'll need it for that too.
Should I go for a package complete with a monitor, printer, keyboard etc. like they sell in Tesco? What specification should I look for?
PLEASE HELP.

1st thing is to decide what you want to use it for - I know that can be easier said than done, but if for example you just use the web and email then you really dont want a powerful PC. For digi-photos, plenty or ram and fast processor is good for manipulating the images, for games you want a good video card. For camcroder home movies etc then a large fast hard disk, plus CPU & RAM.

What's wrong with your existing monitor ? do you need to replace it ?
Personally I make my own but I always recommend friends to Dell - they take some beating. Unless htere was a really good case for doing so I wouldn't buy a printer and PC combined, better to custom fit both items to your needs rather than buying one that has it all rolled in and is trying to be everything to everyone and usually failing.

If you have any specific questions I'm happy to try and help where if I can
#3
Thank you for your advice.
My reasoning behind getting a complete package was that I could give my son the old one. The monitor works ok but if I keep it he won't be able to use the boxy thing, whatever that's called. Also I like things to match, but left to my own devises I would probably pick a computer to match my wallpaper. I really do need help because I can't tell anything from the numbers in the specification. I'm just guessing that the bigger numbers of GHzs or Ks are probably better. Is that right?
I looked at the one Rayman suggested. Then someone told me that a dvd writer would suit me so that I could store photos on dvds. It sounded good but I didn't understand a word of it! If I would be better with a dvd writer, am I better to buy it with one? Even if I can buy one cheaper from somewhere else, I will still have to pay someone to fit it, so it might end up dearer.
HELP!
#4
You're welcome for the advice.

That is the downside of buying something without the devices you want to use + fitting a DVD writer is really a very simple job. If you lived near me, I'd fit it for nothing!

Should you choose the retailer to add these items + upgrades, in the knowledge that it's all covered by the guarantee, it would give you some satisfaction at least. So it's a good choice for compatibility as well as receiving the whole lot installed in one go.

The Dell site allows you to choose the things you want by unchecking + checking the options you require. Once you click on "update price" at the bottom of each buying stage, you can see a subtotal. If you add 17.5% VAT to that total + the delivery charge, for the £500 you're willing to spend, I think you'd be inside that budget.

If you would like me to go through buying one from there, which wouldn't exceed your budget of £500, then post you the details of what's included or not, just ask.
#5
A DVD writer is good but not essential. You should have a CD writer at the least though. A DVD can hold 4.7GB while a CD holds 700MB. If you buy a 3 Megapixel camera your average picture size will probably be ~1MB so you could fit around 700 on a CD and 4700 on a DVD. Either way that's a lot of pictures. The advantage of a DVD writer here is that you could burn a DVD with the pictures and play it in anyone's DVD player. However, most DVD players also support picture CD's so it's not much difference.

As Rayman says though with £500 you should easily be able to get set up with a system with TFT monitor, DVD writer, etc. so I wouldn't bother skimping on the DVD writer.
#6
We bought ourselves a Dell 3000 package, but without the DVD. I think it's brilliant for the money you pay. Our last PC spent most of it's life with the cover off :lol: We have had no problems with it, and it's definately a worthy option.
#7
You are all very kind to help me. Thank you.
I need more advice on the CD ROM / CD writer / DVD writer options. What is the difference between a writer and a rewriter? And if I had one would I be able to use it or are they complicated?
Rayman...Do you have a link to the cheaper DVD writer? I am going to ring the computer man to ask how much he would charge to fit one. I think I am going to hae to call him out to set the new computer up for me anyway, so he might not charge much extra to fit one. But then what happens to the CD thingy that is already in it? Will he take that out or do I keep that as well?
#8
I think any CD writer or DVD writer will be a re-writer also. DVDR = DVD write; DVDRW+ = DVD rewrite + format; DVDRW- = DVD rewrite - format; CDRW = CD rewrite. Any rewrite does write and rewrite :)

Your best option is to get a DVDRW+/- so you have both formats. This is fairly common now a days anyway. The formats don't have any real difference between them but you have to make sure you buy DVD discs that match, so if you buy a +/- you won't have to worry about that.

As for using it that all comes down to the software! Any DVDRW drive should come with a software package such as Nero that you will use for writing DVDs. For something like pictures it is basically drag and drop and the software will have a step-by-step wizard. However it is still something you may need to get the hang of. If you want to copy your DVD movies it is more complicated and you will need some other software.

Hope that helps :)
#9
You can buy a low priced but good quality DVD/CD Writer from online retailers such as eBuyer or SVP [BlankDiscShop.Co.UK]. At the same time, you can buy the media to write to.

As Paul says [also explains it's needs + functions well], you have to make sure you buy one that's +/- capable [most new models are now].

You would be able to keep the CD-ROM drive if there's a spare bay in the base unit. Although replacing that isn't really losing anything, as your DVD/CD RW+/- would act as a CD-ROM also.

This one is silver but other colours are available to match your sytem: [color=blue]CLICK HERE[/color] would cost you around £49.00p Delivered. It's capable of faster writing speeds to DVD Media + one of the fastest at writing to CD-R. It reads as a CD-ROM fast also.
#10
:D I spoke to the computer man and he said the computer you have recommended will be ideal for me. He said I should check if it has a LAN connection. Does it have a video or graphics card on board? And how many PCI or expansion slots does it have? Apparently I need a minimum of 3 but 4-5 would be better.
I haven't got a clue and now the link to the Dell store is temporarily broken I get a message to say that Dell are trying to fix it. I've had the same message for the past 3 days. Perhaps they are as competent with computers as I am :!:
#11
Yup the Dimension 3000 does have a LAN port. It also has 3 PCI slots but no AGP, that's only a problem if you want to do serious gaming on the computer. The video/graphics card is onboard Intel Extreme2 which is a basic video card nothing fancy.

The link should still work. Follow this link: Dell Home and Home Office

Scroll down and then enter E-Value code: ONL-D02302a . Type ONL in the first box and the rest in the second box. On the next page change to 1yr CAR cover to reduce warranty cost and bring the total down to £328 inc. VAT and shipping. If you want to add anything else this is the page to do it too. As Ray said you can easily find a DVDRW drive for less than the £138 Dell wants to add it on!
#12
Okay... It has three PCI slots - Integrated 10/100 Ethernet Network Interface [LAN - Can connect a Broadband Modem to this + it's faster than one connected to USB] - 6 USB 2.0 Ports [2 Front - 4 Rear] Ideal for adding extenal devices later on! - Integrated Stereo Audio - Integrated Intel® Extreme2 Graphics.

So it looks about right for the least he suggests to you.
#13
The link is still not working after I enter the E Value code. But my mind is made up. That's the one I'm having.
Has anyone seen any sites offering cashback on Dell purchases?
Thank you all for your help and your patience with me.
#14
Please try this link: [color=blue]SEARCH BY E-VALUE CODE AFTER CLICKING HERE[/color] Code is: 305 - D02302a

It's our very own HUKD's from the front page + should work fine.
#15
Try going directly to this link: Link to 3000

GreasyPalm gives 1.5% cashback on Dell, if you haven't signed up yet there's a link at the top of the Hot Deals forum here.
#16
That's great :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
The new link works and what's more the free delivery deal is back on so the price has come down from £350 to £328 while I hae been dithering and you have been helping me choose.
THANK YOU :!:
#17
And what's more....
When I get my new computer the letter 'V' key will work properly and I will be able to type 'HAVE' instead of 'HAE' every time :lol:
#18
Great :D But where'd you get that V? lol
#19
It works when it's in the mood!
#20
:cry: :!: :!: :!:
HELP
The options on the memory have changed now it's 1x256. Yesterday it was 2x256. Now 2x256 is loads more money even though yesterday the offer was valid until 23.2.05.
I am so confused.
#21
Which link are you following? I think Ray posted the Small Business link which may be different. Ok let's do this again ;)

Go here: Dell Home, scroll down to Search by Evalue code, enter ONL in the first box and D02302a in the second box. Those are zeros not oh's ;)

I just used that link and it worked for me, I checked the specs and it's 2x256 (512mb) and £328 after putting down the Service to 1YR CAR.

Let me know if it works!!!
#22
Is the ONL bit a zero or an oh?
#23
To get the £327.83p price, you must go to the Small Business website. Enter the E-Value Code 305-D02302a in the two fields. That should bring up the system with all the previously stated specifications.
#24
It's an "oh" :D If you're not sure you could copy and paste but make sure you don't copy a space on either side or it won't work!
#25
Oops :oops: Paul's works as well, but for some reason the code is different.

:D
#26
Phew we're making this sound complicated :D It's actually exactly the same machine between both sites and both have 512mb so I'm not sure why it showed 256mb for you?!
#27
Done it!
At least I've managed to order the package from Dell.
I hope ordering the CD/DVD/+/- thingy is less complicated. Will the silver one match? Obviously, with my level of technicality, I mean will the colour match.
#28
The front of the Dimension 3000 is a sort of a greyish/silver but the drive that is in there is a black colour so you should go for a black drive if you want it to look like a from the factory Dell :D I'll take a look for a DVDRW drive tomorrow if I have time, but the one Rayman posted is probably a good choice :)
#29
Thank you.
#30
My new computer arrived this morning. It looks very nice and the delivery speed was impressive.
I am going to order the DVDRW+/- thingy today.
:?: Rayman I have clicked on your link to the NEC DD-3520A 16xDVD R/RW Dual Layer Internal Silver OEM, but I think I would prefer a black one. It offers NEC ND-3520A 16xDVD R/RW Dual Layer Internal IDE Black as an alternative. I don't know what OEM or IDE stand for. Is this a good alternative or should I go for the silver one and learn to live with the colour? :?:
Thank you for your help.
#31
IDE is the interface to the computer - don't worry about it both drives (silver or black) will be IDE so that's fine.

OEM means it supplied just as a drive in a plain brown box - its the type usually sold to manufacturers, it's not in a nice bright box with sets of scres and interface cables that you'd normally find it your were buying it from a shop. - this may help
http://www.aria.co.uk/faqview.asp?faqid=3
#32
Yup OEM is just fine. You're basically just not going to get the fancy box etc. that you just throw out anyway. The only question I'd have is whether it will still come with software in this case as you'll probably want Nero or something to burn with....
#33
As Paul + 45ure have said "The black version will be fine as will the OEM".

It probably won't come with any software or cables, but this is normal for OEM [as above again].

The better option for a beginner is to go for a Retail Box, as it will come with software, but is usually much more expensive.

With OEM, you'll need to buy writing or burning software. Debatable which is best, but the majority of people use Nero 6 [I think]. Easy CD Creator is another good alternative to concider.

I prefer Nero myself, because it has a very user friendly interface that I think you'd pick up fairly quickly. Also, as someone else on the forum said "Buy a Re-Writable plus or minus DVD media [DVD+/-RW] as well as a ReWritable CD [CD-RW blank disc]." That way you can practice recording + erasing to those, until you're confident to write a permanent DVD+R/DVD-R [the discs with no "W" in their name].

HUKD POST - NERO RELOADED RETAIL

EASY CD CREATOR HUKD POST

NERO 6 - OEM VERSION - HUKD POST

Hope that helps a bit.
#34
So what do you recommend I buy then? Why is the Nero free, is there a catch? Do I need to order the black thing from ebuyer and a box of Nero or CD creator to go with it? Am I really stupid, or is this complicated?
#35
Naw we just like to make things complicated ;)

Here's what to do, but the black NEC drive and then buy the Nero for £2.99 and you're set. The NEC drive is the actualy physical DVD drive and Nero is the software you need to use it. Nero is so cheap because usually it comes free with the DVD drives but because you are buying an OEM drive it doesn't have the software.
#36
[color=darkblue]Sorry I took a while to get back to you.

The free Nero will work with the DVDRW from eBuyer. The black one, if that's the colour you want.

Nero that's free is an older version, it's also just a disc with Nero 6 on it [no box just slipcase I expect]. Delivery times might not be as quick as other places. This software will be able to be updated online to the latest version allowed.

The retail [boxed] version, sometimes comes with other software [not always]. It's more expensive, but you get a manual + the latest version [almost, as you are able to update it online also].

So, I would recommend Nero 6 personally.[/color]

[color=darkblue]I know I'm confusing you, but you could buy all the necessary DVD/CD stuff at around £85.00p delivered from BlankDiscShop.Co.UK [delivery 2 - 4 days.:[/color]

BLACK NEC DVDRW DRIVE

NERO 6 SOFTWARE

DATAWRITE 8x GREY DVD-R

[color=darkblue]Buy them all from one place: The DVD Recorder Drive, Pack of 25 DVD-R [buy a DVD+/-RW if you want an erasable disc to practice on] + a choice of which Nero suite [1 is fine].

Take a look at other items on there, such as a CD Marker Pen or DVD cases...[/color]
#37
Thanks for that Rayman. Your links are really useful. When I come to order the NEC-3520A and Nero suite it also asks me do I want a Twin UDMA ATA 66/100/133 IDE Data Cable for £1.79. Do I need one of these too?
#38
Christmasshopper
Thanks for that Rayman. Your links are really useful. When I come to order the NEC-3520A and Nero suite it also asks me do I want a Twin UDMA ATA 66/100/133 IDE Data Cable for £1.79. Do I need one of these too?

Nope you should be fine. Even if you keep the CD drive that's in there right now the cable it uses will have another spot on it for this drive.
#39
Thanks for that Paul. Your help is very much appreciated.
#40
I wanted you to be the first people to know my new computer is up and running. I am delighted with it. It is fast. The screen is huge and clear, and the mouse and keyboard are very tactile. And what's more the letter V works every time.
L :lol: :lol: K V V V V V V V V
Thank you all very much for your help and advice.
I haven't tried the DVD thingy yet, but it looks good.
Only one teeny weeny problem, Windows XP doesn't recognise my camera, but it was only a cheap one so I've had my money's worth out of it.

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