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Discussion Starter #1
My sister-in-law's 6+ year old XP Pro, SP2, IE6 computer finally ended its own life yesterday. New power supply about 15 months ago along with another 2 gigs of memory. The 19" digital monitor is good as are the wireless Microsoft keyboard and companion wireless mouse. Outboard USB speakers are also good. What I am looking for is a computer without these add ons. I reaize this is a difficult-to-find product and will likely have to buy a unit with one or more of these peripherals. I have done a fast search of local retailers such as F.S. and B.B. What scares me are these new slim line cases with such high specs. Are they the new norm? Still googling but thought I would get other reliable opinions here. Thanks for listening or reading or whatever. sailmaker
 

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Sounds like a custom computer would be the ideal solution for you. Avoid Future Shop / Best Buy and look more towards a smaller shop that sells PC components. With that kind of place, you could pick and choose whatever hardware you wanted in the machine and go from there.
 

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Yes, I think they are norm for non-gaming uses. And some of those specs are not that high, but do make using Windows 7 a lot more enjoyable. But I though most desktops from Best Buy or Futureshop don't include a monitor or speakers so you should be able to get her a good desktop PC for $400-600. Yes, they probably will include a keyboard and mouse but I doubt you find a cheaper desktop PC without them even if you were to build it yourself. And if she only uses a PC for browsing, email and Office applications, one of those HP Slimline desktops should make her very happy.

$380 HP Slimline Desktop Computer (S5601F)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You are both right of course. My wife's and my computers have always been custom builds going back a decade or more, from Premier Computer in Etobicoke ON. They no longer have a store front only internet sales and I am not inclined to go that route yet. Yes all factory systems have Win 7 Home Premium as a OS. Probably 2 or 3 recover discs but not the actual Microsoft genuine OS disc. That also is not to my liking. Nor do I want a key number over the internet. It always amazes me what a dollar will get you today in computers. Only business I know where you get far more for far fewer dollars today than even 3 years ago. Keep the ideas coming folks.
 

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I would check out somewhere like Tiger Direct, they have some good deals. I just helped a neighbor pick up a nice powerful PC for around $600, he is very happy.

The first thing after getting home was to create the "Recovery Disks", a pain but worthwhile if there is an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Pinza: I took sis-in-law's computer to Tiger Direct yesterday and that is when the sticker shock came. They used to charge $25 to pop open the case and have a fast look around. That became $35 a few years later and now it is at least $80 plus tax UP FRONT and in our case it would be $160 up front because symptoms indicate a hardware problem. I had a fast look around and the desktop units were few and far between. The big push is laptops, row upon row on display. F.S. and B.B. and Staples and Office Depot all within easy driving distance from one another, even Costco so I see a day of cruising the isles in my future. Back here when I have some news.
 

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$160 to have a look.? That is way too steep.

I must admit the one we got was from On-Line, so maybe that is the difference.

I must admit, I could not live without a Laptop now and they are as powerful as Desktops so they do make a good alternate.
 

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I find BestDirect has even better prices than either Tiger or Newegg. I built my HTPC with parts mostly from them. I bought my CPU at Tiger only because it was on for an exceptionally good price.

The one area where you may see an advantage in pre built machine is in the OS cost. An OEM Windows 7 Home Premium runs for about $100 which can be a large chunk of a $400 or $500 machine.
 

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I have had luck with NCIX and their prices are very competitive.

You pick what you want from their site and they build it for you...

If you do go there...after building a pc...ask them to call you and ask for their best price...the last one was 300 cheaper after asking.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My eyes have glazed over researching the hell out of this on the internet. A few months shy of 80 so not keen anymore getting down and dirty building from scratch although the end product would have what I could live with.
Also not keen on mail order product, shipping to us, shipping out when (not if anymore) it goes belly up etc. Beth prefers XP Pro and Tiger Direct has Lenovo systems back from lease and refurbished. They have Pro and not too much peripherals, more or less what Beth wants. So I googed Lenovo quality and came away not overly impressed. These units may be close to or over 5 years old, time to put them out of their misery. Next step may be to convince Beth that a lap top is the way to go except for screen size. Hey, don't put that Jack Daniel's away, slide it over here! :p
 

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Discussion Starter #14
JD on the rocks!!! No coke thanks. :p I forgot about Wintronics, not too far from here. Thanx for reminder. I have more or less narrowed it down to HP P6604F or HP P6632F at Future Shop (can't believe I said that); HP P6706 at B.B; or Acer AM3400 at Staples. Shame on me but they are all in stock, off the rack ready to wear. Toss out the mouse/keyboard set and go with her wireless Microsoft set and her 19" flat screen monitor. And the winner is ..... Stay tuned. sailmaker
 

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I was in a similar situation last year and ended up buying a PC from Dell during one of their Days of Deals. It was around $380 for a PC with Windows 7 and 4 gigs of ram and it is still working great. I have never really been into custom built PCs or anything, but I am way happier with this PC than the last one I bought from FS (a HP). Worth considering...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Dell used to be great (weren't they all when made in North America) but past half dozen years or so I see or read about a lot of grief with Dell service and their CSRs. A "corporate" decision has been made and today or tomorrow Beth will be buying a HP P6706F from Best Buy @ $550. Then comes the fun of burning back up recover discs etc. and fast track learning Windows 7. Probably one or two more update posts here then closing out. Thanks to all who read/wrote and offered your opinions, always appreciated. PS: There is a lot of data on the old hard drive and trying to retrieve it will require even more JD/rocks. :p sailmaker
 

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Dell may still be assembled in N. America but I doubt many of their parts were ever made in the U.S., except perhaps in the early days of the '80s when many parts were (and were pretty pricey relative to today).

Dells are o.k. I've had one box as my HTPC for nearly 2 years now (bought during some deal). Only had the HD fail within a week. Other than going through the motions to get tech support to send me a new one (which arrived next day) and sending the dead drive back, it's worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
And The Winnah Is .... dum de dum dum

HP P6706F Picked it up mid afternoon and sales rep said we could get an HP 3-way printer for $20, regular $160. Beth paid with debit card so I did not see the sales slip with the taxes and eco fee ($25 ???). Started plugging in peripherals and fired it up to see if it would churn. Did not really want to do that (my bad as they say) because of time constraints. Told Beth to not do anything silly :rolleyes: and left. I have usb cable for printer and some DVD-R discs to burn recovery info. Phoned her after supper and asked what was happening on screen. "I don't know, I got distracted by playing a game". Sheesh!!! Half a mind to walk away from this. Anyway that is the latest.
 

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Too funny.......lol

Setting up a new out of the box PC can certainly be interesting to say the least.

I know the one I did recently, took well over 4 hours and sevral ounces of Scotch to get going.

The Windows Updates took for ever, I am not lucky enough to have 'real' High Speed Internet but still we expected that it would be much faster to finish setting up than it was.

Oh and that was before we started putting Office etc on the thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
But wait .... there's more

Beth has already made contact with her bank to set up new password etc so she is well on her way. Now starts the installing of Avira, Erdnt, cookie monster, and lots of other programs, you know the drill. Biggest problem will be getting info off old hard drive. That means .... oh my gawd. :(
 
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