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Discussion Starter #1
Hi
I need to replace 2 XP PC's for a small business.
They both run a propitiatory business application that is not yet available on Windows 7.
Monitors are not needed.
PC's should be as quiet as possible.
The replacement PC's should be decently fast, and graphics are only needed for business, no gaming.

I see my options as:
1) Ask a local store to build me the PC's from components, and I will install the OS myself, using the license from the old PC's (to be destroyed)

2) Buy a "name" PC, ie Dell or Compaq and downgrade to XP.

Budget for each PC is $500 ($1000 for both)

Any advise from anyone would be appreciated.
 

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Try off-lease machines

The challenge with your two options are that there may be difficulties in getting XP drivers for ultra-new hardware. although a built to order could specify XP-compatible.

A third choice - try off-lease machines from Dell or TigerDirect - the latter have a good selection at the moment (and $x.97 pricing indicates a below-cost price, I'm told)
 

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I built a $500 PC today (with a 125 buck LCD monitor) for a co-worker with parts from Tiger Direct, you will not get anything much better for that price...AMD low end, Nvidia chipset board, 2 GB DDR2 RAM, 250 GB HD, Combo Drive, onboard sound/video etc...there are 1000's of setups.....maybe you should tackle building you own, it is not difficult like 15 yrs ago, IRQ's and DMA stuff, its pretty much only plugs in one way....buying the parts locally can save shipping etc...

Not sure if I we are allowed to sell ourselves here but I would build 2 boxes for a 1000 bucks with good stuff, no monitors/keyboards/mice/software from Tiger Direct bundles....

Not sure about using the existing XP licences you have, this would be a major hardware change, you may have to call 1-800-Microsoft for new keys...I have had to do it because I changed a hard drive and had to explain that before they gave me a new key...it is licenced to the processor, not the user.....

I am here for ya
 

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A $500 per PC budget isn't that bad at all, and there are a lot of low-cost options available. Many local PC stores sell refurbished IBM/Lenovo business desktops, if that works for you. Even Future Shop or Best Buy have low-cost desktops that start in the $400-$500 range.

It would be probably be best to get two identically configured machines to make them easier to maintain and support. Driver support for XP should still be fine for most hardware out there. You could create a single Ghost image for both machines if you ever needed to restore/rebuild either one.

Depending on your needs, Windows 7 could be useful if you get the Professional or Ultimate license and simply run an XP virtual machine client on top of it (I guess they call it XP-mode or something like that). This would obviously increase the base hardware requirements. If you don't need two physical machines, you could possibly spend the entire budget on a single, more powerful machine and run a couple of XP VMs on it. But I have a feeling your needs a relatively simple, and this option would only further complicate your task.
 

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Buying cheap machines for business is often costlier in the long run since the hardware cost is typically the cheapest cost of running computers.

Since monitors are not needed, I assume its background programs and not a PC per person situation so ...

I'd buy ONE good quality machine with Windows 7 Professional with considerable RAM. Then I would create two Windows XP virtual machines and run the programs inside the virtual machines.

By buying one machine, you can upgrade to a better quality power power supply (and other parts) that will likely last longer and be more reliable.

Running one machine also reduces your electricity costs by 50%
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the input and advice.
I'm leaning towards getting a local shop to build them.
I think getting into virtualization would not be useful here.
There will be 2 humans using these PC's as stand-alones.
I said no monitors were needed because the ones that already have are sufficient.
I was just wondering if there were any avenues that made more sense.

Thanks again
AKS
 

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Sourcing through a local small vendor is good for the local economy, and as a small business you do not want to be treated as just another client, you want real face time with your IT Support person(s) and suppliers. You can ask around to find the most reputable ones. Keep all your receipts for tax time, of course. ;)
 

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As Stampeder said, buying locally is good for everyone....just make sure for your 500 bucks per machine you get a dual core CPU (AMD is cheaper compared to Intel) 2 GB of RAM...you did not say what you have now, you may be able to use the CDRoms and hard drives for the new machines, if you have older hardware, you may want SATA drives as opposed to IDE stuff as they read/write faster and all new motherboards have SATA interfaces...like I said before, 1000's of choices...don't let them up sell you to something you don't need.
 

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Win7's XP mode is next to useless for anything except basic applications. It has limitations with hardware and video support. VirtualBox is almost identical, is free and it runs on Win7 Home Premium. Win7 Pro is a waste of money unless you are running a Windows business server.
 

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What kind of hardware support do you think a legacy app needs? Sounds like his app is a perfect candidate, unless it's video intensive. XP mode is also free.
 

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Win7's XP mode is next to useless for anything except basic applications. It has limitations with hardware and video support. VirtualBox is almost identical, is free and it runs on Win7 Home Premium. Win7 Pro is a waste of money unless you are running a Windows business server.
WinXP Mode is just MS VirtualPC with a prebuilt XP image. All virtual computer software like VirtualBox or VMWare has limitations on hardware and video.

He mentioned a "proprietary business application" so what sort of hardware and video do you think he'll need. It sounds perfect for that as the application loads seemlessly from within Windows 7 in XPMode.

Edit: It looks like sillywalk beat me to it.
 

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I don't know what is needed. Just pointing out the limitations of virtual machines, which the OP has now ruled out anyway. We also don't know if the XP licenses are OEM, retail or part of a business support package.

$500 is a limited budget but it can be done easily if a monitor and a new OS license are not required. I would go with a basic AMD 785 board, a low end AMD CPU in a basic case, 2GB of RAM is Ok with XP. Here is a rough idea of what it might cost:
Motherboard: $75-$85
CPU: $50-$75
RAM: $70-$80
Case+PS: $~100 (Don't scrimp on the PS. Lower power is Ok but not low quality.)
Hard Drive: $50
DVD-RW: $25 (Consider omitting this and install XP from a USB drive or image.)
Mouse+KB: $30-$50
Total: $400+

These prices are based on some recent street prices but they can be lower or higher depending on the vendor, sales or promotions. Some online vendors will build systems if a good local vendor cannot be found. In any event, I would get the vendor to spec a system with specific brand name parts. Then make sure that's the way it is built. There is a lot of junk hardware around that is used by some unscrupulous vendors in order to make a few extra dollars on a system.
 

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XP to Win 7

If you get Win 7 Pro you can use the Windows Virtual PC to run your legacy apps. Get your machines custom built ensuring they support Virtual Machine on the mb.
 
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