Buying a PC

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My 7 Yr(?) old Laptop is slowing down. I'll give it to the kids as the Internet works fine and they could do homework on it.

I don't have much budget at all. I was thinking £250.
I really just need it for Internet, some photoshop, playing music and movies.

The laptop has Core i5, 4Gb Ram, I think. It was always plugged into a separate monitor, which I'll use for PC. 

I'm happy to buy refurbished.
I'm not really tech savvy but happy to hear advice, or recommendations. 
Thanks. 
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  • Electro_HamElectro_Ham Frets: 99
    And it's a desktop I want. 
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 5433
    edited July 31

    New desktop at that price is hard to find.

    Given the difference it makes to speed, I would want an SSD on any new machine I was buying, and I'd want 8GB of RAM, especially as a budget machine won't have a dedicated graphics card so will use system Ram, so 4GB wouldn't be enough.

    The cheapest new desktop on Ebuyer.com that comes complete with Windows is £299.  The cheapest one with 8GB of RAM and an SSD is £340, and the SSD on that is only 120GB, so you would need to add another hard drive for storage. You are looking at around £380 for even a basic desktop new.

    Given your budget, refurbished would make sense.  I would want an SSD in it though.  It makes such a difference to performance - even if it's just a small SSD for the OS, and a separate conventional hard drive for storage.  I would never want to go back to a machine with the OS on a conventional HDD.

    You can find refurbished machines that have been fitted with an SSD:

    https://www.ebuyer.com/858364-refurbished-hp-8200-sff-desktop-pc-cb-pc-hp-8200-sff-i5-8-256-w10pro

    If you are looking at processors, there are a lot of variations on the Intel Core Series.  They are on the 9th generation now.  It's worth checking what generation it is.  From second generation onwards, the first digit normally tells you what it is.  An i5 2400 is 2nd gen, while an i5 3470 is 3rd gen, and an i5 4460 is 4th gen.   It's worth being aware of that so you don't pay over the odds for an older one.

    There are also variations within the range.  E.g the 4th gen i5 comes in 4430, 4440, 4460, 4570, 4590, 4670, 4670K, 4690, 4690K.  The higher numbered ones are a bit faster, and might cost a bit more.  The K variants are often used by overclockers, so might best be avoided second hand.

    For your use, you won't need massive processing power.  My daughters use an old desktop with a 2nd gen i3 for Youtube and games like Minecraft and Roblox.  It would be worth future proofing yourself so I'd look for something slightly faster than that.

    If you want to get an idea of the speed of a particular processor, then this is a useful starting point:

    https://www.cpubenchmark.net/

    SSD over conventional HDD will make a much bigger difference to performance than a slightly faster processor though, so I wouldn't worry too much about the processor specs.  Just be aware of what they are worth, and don't pay over the odds for an old one.

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  • RaymondLinRaymondLin Frets: 4920
    Slow mechanical HDD, 4G Ram won't run Photoshop very well.

    These days I'd want a minimum of 16G of RAM, 4G will mean you will be back here again in a year or so if you want to run PS.  I would stretch your budget and get the £380 machine above.
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  • MattBansheeMattBanshee Frets: 1041
    I bought a pretty decent ex-business, refurb Dell Optiplex from Ebay for £280, though cheaper options were available. I chose an i5 4570, 16gb RAM, 2tb hdd +128gb SSD and it came with geniune Windows preinstalled. Whacked in a GPU and it's still going strong as a gaming PC. You'll definitely find something like that for 150-200, and you can buy a monitor with the change.
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  • MattBansheeMattBanshee Frets: 1041
    Here you go; monitor included for £250 specced to i5, 16gb RAM and 240gb SSD.

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/222881496756
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 3785
    Possible alternate suggestion...

    If all that is wrong is the laptop is "slowing down" - I'd try replacing the physical HDD for an SSD, and re-installing windows.

    That can make an old laptop feel like new, any core i5 will still be perfectly sufficient for your purposes.

    Net cost of this, maybe £50?
    We should all probably bear in mind more when posting on here (and I don't exclude myself from this) that the guitar world is very small, the Fretboard is quite well known, and it is not uncommon at all for the subjects of our posts to read them...
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  • Electro_HamElectro_Ham Frets: 99
    Thanks for explaining all that guys. I should say, I have the monitor, keyboard + mouse. I've 2 external HDD also and I don't mind using external HDD to keep a new PC clutter free. So I really only need the tower. My PC usage has changed a lot in the last 7 years and my aim is to keep a new PC as tidy as possible.
    I hadn't searched ebay though. Do you reckon it's a decent enough selling place for my needs?
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  • vasselmeyervasselmeyer Frets: 2692
    Replacing your laptop's HDD with an SSD, maxing out the RAM and a clean install of Windows would do wonders for its performance. Do you really need a brand new machine?
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  • Electro_HamElectro_Ham Frets: 99
    The kids need a computer for their schooling work. I just thought, I'd give them the laptop and I'd get a tower. The laptop is slow in that it takes an eternity to look through folders of pictures. I cleared hundreds of music albums out of it, and as I say, I've 2 HDD that I only connect when required. If taking it to a local PC shop to get it fixed, then it probably will serve the kids well.
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  • bloodandtearsbloodandtears Frets: 731
    I bought something very similar to this:


    perfect for your usage..

    I actually doubled the RAM and increased the SSD size on request as some vendors offer this.

    After that I put in a sizeable 2.5" HHD for data and a Low Profile Nvidia gaming card and it supports most modern games now too.
    My trading feedback

    is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 5433
    The kids need a computer for their schooling work. I just thought, I'd give them the laptop and I'd get a tower. The laptop is slow in that it takes an eternity to look through folders of pictures. I cleared hundreds of music albums out of it, and as I say, I've 2 HDD that I only connect when required. If taking it to a local PC shop to get it fixed, then it probably will serve the kids well.

    It would still be worth putting an SSD in it.  You can buy a 500GB SSD for around £50 now.   240GB can probably be had for around £30.  It really will make it feel like a new machine, so it's worth doing even if you are passing it on to your kids.
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  • Electro_HamElectro_Ham Frets: 99
    I've just realised, I'd need some sort of wi-fi connectivity too. :s
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 5433
    I've just realised, I'd need some sort of wi-fi connectivity too. :s

    You should be able to buy a WiFi card to go in it.  It will be faster if you can run a network cable to your router.
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  • shrinkwrapshrinkwrap Frets: 229
    edited July 31
    Slow mechanical HDD, 4G Ram won't run Photoshop very well.
    That's really not true - if you are doing multi layer compositions with lots of retouching then yes, but if all you are doing is rebalancing photos and a bit of cleanup, an HDD and 4GB is fine.
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  • Electro_HamElectro_Ham Frets: 99
    crunchman said:
    I've just realised, I'd need some sort of wi-fi connectivity too. :s

    You should be able to buy a WiFi card to go in it.  It will be faster if you can run a network cable to your router.
    It's at the other end of the house unfortunately...........actually, I've had a quick look and it's probably not that difficult to run a cable. I should have done that years ago.
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  • RaymondLinRaymondLin Frets: 4920
    crunchman said:
    I've just realised, I'd need some sort of wi-fi connectivity too. :s

    You should be able to buy a WiFi card to go in it.  It will be faster if you can run a network cable to your router.
    It's at the other end of the house unfortunately...........actually, I've had a quick look and it's probably not that difficult to run a cable. I should have done that years ago.
    Or use Power plugs.
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  • Electro_HamElectro_Ham Frets: 99
    I'll order the network cable. I'll need 30 meters. I'd no idea there was different types of cable, so, would Cat 7 be the one to buy? 
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