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View Full Version : Recommend a computer for Mom


ArrowMk84
06-23-11, 10:16 AM
A couple of years ago I bought my mom an MSI Nettop (1.6GHz Atom, 1GB Ram, 160 GB HD), and she's starting to complain about how slow it's getting (all she uses it for is checking email and visiting a few websites - she's the kind of user that isn't even aware that you can multitask programs - alt-tab is a foreign concept as far as she's concerned), so I'm thinking about replacing it. I'd like to keep the total cost under $500, and I've been thinking about a microATX box with an i3 or something. Since I'm use to building powerhouse gaming rigs for myself and the occasional heavy duty development server for work, I'm not sure what I should be looking at in the low-end parts.

Also, I'm more than willing to consider a pre-build box, too.

So what do you guys recommend?

Q
06-23-11, 10:35 AM
Does she use any Windows specific applications? I'm pushing mom's to Linux where I can if all she is doing is web browsing. It just cuts down on the "free" support for removing viruses from people like you and me. ;)

You can build a fairly powerful system with $500. I did a nice AMD build over Christmas for my in-laws for a bit less than that with 4 GB of memory, a nice low-end graphics card, and a beefy processor. Shop around on NewEgg for a bit and put together something nice. Hell, you can nearly put together an i5 2500K system for $500.

ArrowMk84
06-23-11, 11:00 AM
Does she use any Windows specific applications? I'm pushing mom's to Linux where I can if all she is doing is web browsing. It just cuts down on the "free" support for removing viruses from people like you and me. ;)

You can build a fairly powerful system with $500. I did a nice AMD build over Christmas for my in-laws for a bit less than that with 4 GB of memory, a nice low-end graphics card, and a beefy processor. Shop around on NewEgg for a bit and put together something nice. Hell, you can nearly put together an i5 2500K system for $500.

Her email client is an old copy of Outlook, but since she's deletes all her email anyway, losing that wouldn't be a big deal. I'm just not big on Linux, mainly since my experience is limited to RHEL for work and it can be a pain to configure apps on it.

I haven't followed AMD for a few years, so I'm not up to speed on their latest CPUs. How's an i3 compare to an old Atom?

Q
06-23-11, 11:05 AM
Her email client is an old copy of Outlook, but since she's deletes all her email anyway, losing that wouldn't be a big deal. I'm just not big on Linux, mainly since my experience is limited to RHEL for work and it can be a pain to configure apps on it.

I haven't followed AMD for a few years, so I'm not up to speed on their latest CPUs. How's an i3 compare to an old Atom?

An i3 just demolishes an Atom. An Atom has a hard time outperforming 3-5 year old Celerons, so an i3 is going to be a great improvement especially for her usage.

The reason I push Linux for these cases is that most mom's love viruses. If she's not keeping you busy with virus removal and you've got a cheap Windows 7 license available, that's the way to go.

Just stumbled across this:
http://paulisageek.com/compare/cpu/

Q
06-23-11, 11:45 AM
A 21.5" iMac. Cheap, good looking, awesome screen, well integrated, fast, fun and easy to use for every day tasks.

Cheap to a guy who runs 50 graphics cards and twice as many monitors! :p


That iMac is going to be twice his budget.

Redeemed
06-23-11, 11:55 AM
Cheap to a guy who runs 50 graphics cards and twice as many monitors! :p


That iMac is going to be twice his budget.

Yeah... sometimes I think slawter doesn't realise just how well-off he is financially. :lol:

bob saget
06-23-11, 12:26 PM
i would get any prebuild box. remove all the crap ware they come bloated with or reinstall windows.

XDanger
06-23-11, 03:19 PM
Would maxing out the old systems ram and adding an ssd not help?

Whats slowing it down? Is it just websites got more demanding and put strain on the little Atom?

I will add a vote for a flash capable tablet though in this circumstance.

Oscar140
06-24-11, 01:33 AM
A couple of years ago I bought my mom an MSI Nettop (1.6GHz Atom, 1GB Ram, 160 GB HD), and she's starting to complain about how slow it's getting (all she uses it for is checking email and visiting a few websites - she's the kind of user that isn't even aware that you can multitask programs - alt-tab is a foreign concept as far as she's concerned), so I'm thinking about replacing it. I'd like to keep the total cost under $500, and I've been thinking about a microATX box with an i3 or something. Since I'm use to building powerhouse gaming rigs for myself and the occasional heavy duty development server for work, I'm not sure what I should be looking at in the low-end parts.

Also, I'm more than willing to consider a pre-build box, too.

So what do you guys recommend?


A friend of mine bought a SYX with a AMD dual core about 1 1/2 year ago just for surffin and e-mail and hasn't had so much as a hick-up so far, I was impressed considering it only cost $299

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=437531&Sku=SYX-2068

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6753709&CatId=5138

ArrowMk84
06-24-11, 09:12 PM
Thanks for recommendations guys. Of course now she tells me she doesn't want a new computer, she just wants hers to go faster... :banghead:

Nope, sorry, I'm not overclocking a dinky little Atom...

Q
06-24-11, 09:19 PM
Thanks for recommendations guys. Of course now she tells me she doesn't want a new computer, she just wants hers to go faster... :banghead:

Nope, sorry, I'm not overclocking a dinky little Atom...

Throw a light weight linux distro on it and another gig of ram if you can.

Hogrider
06-24-11, 11:34 PM
Get her an ipad.

wheeljack12
06-26-11, 05:14 PM
why not get one of those shuttle mini systems and build with that. Small, yet can be as powerful as you need.

Q
06-26-11, 05:44 PM
why not get one of those shuttle mini systems and build with that. Small, yet can be as powerful as you need.

I'm against this only because of how much you'll pay for the case. For this type of build, a super cheap mid-ATX case will run $30-$40. Unless size is a priority, I would spend the money elsewhere at this budget.

john19055
07-01-11, 12:13 PM
If she just uses it mainly for a browser then just get a motherboard that has the build in graphics and sound card .Then get a AMD athlon II for around $60 or a Intel Pentium E5700 Wolfdale 3.0GHz for around $65.

Hogrider
07-10-11, 12:06 AM
Just got back from vacation and seeing my mom. She doesn't know crap about computers but she can control my sister's ipad easily. If I had the money I'd buy my mom an ipad.

XDanger
07-10-11, 08:05 AM
Barns&Noble thing and do the thing on it ..you know... that thing

Rakeesh
07-10-11, 06:59 PM
I'd just stick to the basics. Get any CPU made within the last 3 years, and 4 gigs of ram, with a minimum 100 gig hard disk. If you do that, you can find something very cheap, and will definitely handle anything she will want to throw at it. Get an OEM copy of windows 7 and call it a day. You'll probably spend less than $300 on the whole thing.

If you go with anything fancy, you complicate things. Complicating things for people who aren't tech savvy leads to problems. I highly recommend against any kind of tablet, and anything apple, because the fact is, EVERYBODY knows how to operate a PC, so the people she can go to are virtually infinite.

Let's look at an example. Suppose she has a problem with her internet connection, and she needs to call her ISP to have them help her solve it, and you aren't available to help. They aren't going to help her troubleshoot an ipad, I'll tell you that much right now.

Let's say either you or her move, and the distance between you increases. You're going to be around a little less so you can't always help with her problem. Well a good neighbor of hers probably owns a PC and can help with that. He doesn't own a macintosh though; nobody does. And in spite of what apple claims, macintoshes don't "just work," they have their own share of problems, believe me.

Especially stay away from linux. Who is going to help her when say she tries to start firefox, and one day it just says "segmentation fault" and the problem is related to a faulty driver (a common problem in linux.) Good luck having her find out which one it is. And lets not forget the fact that her neighbors and her ISP probably don't know linux, so she'd have to always come to you for help.

Trust me on these things. I have to help people who know nothing about computers figure them out all of the time. You have no idea how complicated they think that, say for example, setting up a wireless connection can be. Hell, I regularly have to explain the difference between a web browser and a search engine to these kinds of people all the time, and even after doing so, they still don't get it.

Thanks for recommendations guys. Of course now she tells me she doesn't want a new computer, she just wants hers to go faster... :banghead:

Nope, sorry, I'm not overclocking a dinky little Atom...

In that case, reformat the thing with a stock copy of windows. Do NOT use any kind of recovery disk or recovery partition. OEM's like to include a bunch of little crapplets that slow down computers because they get paid to do so. Reformatting with a stock copy of windows however eliminates that.