TechSpot

Need some advice on new computer

By cookie53
May 8, 2010
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  1. It appears that I am in need of a new computer, and would like advice from people "in the know." I use my computer for transferring home video to dvd, work on family genealogy, and store a lot of photos. I play games online, but not real serious gamer...I surf online, do some of the social sites (facebook) and obviously email. I would like to keep the budget less than $700 if possible. My monitor is OK, but I would not be against getting one that is a bit bigger (mine is 17"). I would like to use Windows 7 and have been advised to stick to 64 bit (not real sure what that means, but I trust the source!.)
    Any suggestions will be welcomed!
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Lots of choices... Have you considered building your own, even if you have a friend help you?

    It partly depends on what old software you intend to preserve, as 64 bit will cause problems if you use certain older programs... But is the best choice for the future.

    Your price range is limiting... look at the price of Windows 7... and a decent hard drive... that can mean $200 of your $700 shot right there.

    Start making a list, whether you buy one made by Dell, HP, Compaq, Acer... and so on... Avoid eMachines, and any bottom of the line pre-built.

    Operating system
    Memory
    hard drive
    keyboard
    mouse
    video graphics

    then start sorting out your choices.

    The secret is to not buy a cheap one... Get one that can be expanded... then you can save money now, but add-on or upgrade components and software later.
    If you plan to buy a pre-built, make a list among Dell, HP, Compaq, and so on.
    Subscribe to websites such as Frys.com, Directron.com, Dell, HP, NewEgg, PCMall, TigerDirect, Gateway...
    You might also want to check your Supermarket magazine rack for Consumer Reports issue on computers, and other computer magazines such as Smart Computing, CPU, PC World, and PC Mag for what they recommend, and what is coming down the pick. There are certain computer brands and models to avoid, no matter what... and you will find a variety of computer websites useful for that... including this TechSpot site, Toms Hardware, and so on.

    Tell us what software you already own, that will be installed in the new unit. And what your time frame is for making a decision.
  3. cookie53

    cookie53 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    First off, thank you for all this info!! I am not sure that I am brave enough to attempt to build my own...mostly because if I screw something up I really can't afford to throw something out due to my ineptitude!!! Although, in the past few weeks, I have become very comfortable getting inside the tower (reseating things and replacing my psu...then taking that out and returning it to the store....apparently, it is my motherboard that is the problem.)
    I had already ruled out emachines...and, I have not ruled out any of the major brands, but I am a bit leary about some of the less popular brands...because I don't know enough about them.
    As to what programs I have and will use in a new computer...I have a Family tree maker, my Kodak digital camera software program, and Norton's 360 3.0 (just renewed my subscription for 2 years...but I have about 50 days left during which I could cancel and get my money back.) Other than those, I think everything else came with the computer.
    I am not on any strict timeline, as I do have this laptop (which is 8 years old, and slow, but works!!) and my son (who still lives here) has a Gateway desktop that I can use. That being said, I am naturally a very impatient person...so when I want something, I want it as soon as possible!!
    How do I know if a computer can be expanded...what would I look for in the literature about the computer? Although I am sure that I could get the perfect pc for $2-3,000, what budget would get me a decent one, and that would do what I want it do, and hopefully last several years? I do have some flexibility with my budget, but I would prefer to keep it under $1000, for sure!
    Also, if you could give me some suggestions as to what to AVOID in certain aspects (such as certain processors, etc.) I would really appreciate that!
    Again, thanks for the help...Hey, if you live in upstate NY, perhaps you can help me build one!! lol
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Consider a used computer... such as a high end Lenovo, Toshiba, or Dell laptop... Then budget for a new hard drive and battery. It doen't appear you need more than that. Just be sure to get the restore disk set.
    Consider a used Desktop... no more than two years old, then load it with memory, at least 2 GB, add Windows 7. The computers that were once the high end Dells, Lenovos, Gateway, HP, or other brands popular in your area.

    In my opinion, a good quality used computer with Windows 7 will be better than most new ones... just get local advice from somebody who knows equipment.

    Or get a computer enthusiast in your area to build you one... be sure he or she will be around to tune it or upgrade it every years... College or High School kids with experience, and reputation...


    To attempt to answer your questions,

    ....apparently, it is my motherboard that is the problem.)

    Motherboards seldom fail, but their graphics card, CMOS batter, optical drive, and hard drive can fail. Sometimes (rarely) a memory module can fail.

    Cheap motherboards can fail, and often do.

    I have not ruled out any of the major brands,

    Stick with major brands. They will be around. Parts will always be around.

    If you get a new one, get someone to verify that the motherboard is a good one, and not some appealing, but cheap one that has a high failure rate.

    I have a Family tree maker
    Will work on any computer

    , my Kodak digital camera software program
    will work on any computer

    Norton's 360 3.0 (just renewed my subscription for 2 years...but I have about 50 days left during which I could cancel and get my money back.)
    Many of us do not like Norton 360, but Norton is better than it used to be. It will work on any computer, but when you migrate it to another computer Norton - Symantec will give you a hard drive so copy all proof that it is yours and genuine off the hidden part of the Norton program.

    .
    I am not on any strict timeline, as I do have this laptop (which is 8 years old, and slow, but works!!) and my son (who still lives here) has a Gateway desktop
    Consider a good high end Gateway... even a high end used one... if you have had luck with that one.

    How do I know if a computer can be expanded...what would I look for in the literature about the computer?

    You can go to Crucial.com and look at the maximum memory possible for any computer. If they do not list the computer, you do not want it.

    Get a computer that uses SATA 3.0 drives, then you know it will take up to 2 GB. you do not need more than 250 MB now, but you may want to upgrade some day.

    I am sure that I could get the perfect pc for $2-3,000
    No need. $700 for the right computer will be enough. The Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba laptops are good choices at $700 for the software you use... Only gamers, and designers need more power.
    you do not need to spend more than $700

    what budget would get me a decent one, and that would do what I w
    ant it do, and hopefully last several years?
    Look at the current issue of Consumer Reports list of best computers, then come back here to see what opinions we have about what models Consumer Reports recommends.

    Also, if you could give me some suggestions as to what to AVOID in certain aspects (such as certain processors, etc.) I would really appreciate that!

    Avoid Cheap systems, or systems that appear to be too cheap... until you thoroughly check them out.
    Know what brand and model of mother board.
    Know what type of memory module it requires, and what the maximum memory size is per slot.
    Know the brand of hard drive if possible, and stick to Western Digital, Samsung, Seagate, or Toshiba. Avoid Hitachi, Maxtor, TriGem hard drives. They have histories of early failure.

    Know the CPU that is installed.

    A good indicator on a new one is one that has a three year warranty. If the maximum warranty is only one year, that makes it questionable... If you have to pay more for a longer warranty, that is ok... most computers fail in the first six months, or in the fourth or fifth year...

    A Dell, HP, Compaq, Gateway, Sony , or Lenovo with a long warranty, or the possibility of a long warranty, says something about the computer.

    Cheap Dell, Cheap HP, Cheap Compaq, Cheap Gateway, Cheap Sony, and Cheap Lenovo are to be avoided... They have to put marginal components inside to sell them cheaply.

    I have children in Upstate New York, Connecticut, and Long Island, though I live in Arizona and New Mexico. You can find good computers anywhere... as well as very bad ones.

    An informed purchase makes all the difference.

    There are some terrific Lenovo experts upstate and Long Island... and I assume there are experts for every model you might choose...

    Just take your time. A little patience in the learning stage will pay off well in the long rund.

    If I were to go out shopping for a computer that will do what you need, I would try to wait six months... the best prices will be out in October after college starts, or after graduation is over this spring... Prices become inflated when people are shopping for gifts... July and August will find you lots of lower prices.

    Tell us what computer supply stores are in your area... somebody on this list will have an opinion.
  5. cookie53

    cookie53 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    raybay,
    Thank you for all the great info! The two main retailers in my immediate area are Staples and Radio Shack. There are others that are about an hour away, but, if possible, I would rather get it here in town...Radio Shack carries Lenovo, and there are a couple on their website that I would like you opinion on...Lenovo® H230-30221MU Desktop and Lenovo® IdeaCentre® K300 5316-2DU Desktop.
    Staples has a Dell Inspiron 570MT Desktop PC with 20" LCD Monitor that is appealing because of the price....Actually, yesterday, a young salesman at Staples basically discouraged me from buying the Dell...I am sure that his manager would not have liked that...He also told me that they would be getting more computers in later this month, and advised that I wait...
    Can you give me your opinion on those three?
    You mentioned that things on the motherboard go bad before the actual motherboard...Can I ask your opinion on my problem with my desktop? When I turn it on, the monitor says 'no input signal' then goes to sleep...there is a louder than normal fan noise from the tower....This happened first about 6 weeks ago, but at that time, the tower would emit continous beeping, until I manually turned it off...Occasionally, the monitor would work and I could check things out. For about a week, I tried all that I could without changing anything inside...I finally let it sit, unplugged for about 2-3 days, turned it on, and it was fine..I did the diagnostics and they were all fine! The computer worked fine for about a month,then one day I was online, and the monitor went black, then said the 'no input signal.' But there are no beeps from the tower...I tried replacing my psu but that did nothing...I had considered replacing the video card, but a guy at Staples said that he didn't think that was the problem, so I didn't get a new one. Do you think that it could be a bad video card? (by the way, are video cards and graphic cards the same thing?)
    About 2-3 weeks before the initial incident with the 'no input signal,' I had some problems with the monitor going black suddenly..I would shut down the computer and most times, it would come up fine. I got a new monitor cable, and things were fine for about 3 weeks, then the beeping and no input signal, etc...fyi, I checked my monitor on my son's desktop, and it worked fine...So any ideas of what is wrong with that computer will be appreciated!! That is why I am looking for another computer now!
    I doubt that I will wait until October or even the summer...I am a very impatient person, and typing on this laptop does a number on my wrists! I think that I have carpal tunnel...it is much harder, for me, to type on this laptop than the keyboard...
    I will await your opinions on the computers that I mentioned...If you can!!
    Thanks!
  6. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,364   +9

  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    I like the Lenovo a lot, but where we live, the support from Radio Shack is marginal...

    Staples is good in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico... but not good everywhere... just read the paperwork carefully. Staples also has a lot of coupon deals... particularly if you are a long term customer with a purchase history.

    The Lenovo has a weakness in the audio... if you are a big user of music from your laptop, that could be a problem.

    We do a lot of work and upgrades for companies who use Lenovo, and it is our favorite laptop brand... It is not as pretty, nor as fancy, but we find the reliabilty outstanding... and their support for major repairs is remarkable. The send you a box to ship it for repairs, have FedEx pick it up, and have it back to you within three to five days in most cases.
    I do suggest you get the longest warranty possible for any laptop you buy, or at least the opportunity to upgrade the warranty later.
    Klepto 12's suggestions are good ones. NewEgg is often less costly than Staples. NewEgg shipping is very quick, and they take things back without a quarrel should there be a problem.
    The Dell Inspiron at Staples could be a good choice... but remember that Dell comes out with a series of new models every four weeks... so you would have the latest model for a short time... I have no problems with the Dells in the upper half of their price range, but would not consider a bargain priced, or minimally configured unit.
    Talk to the Staples service staff to see if any units seem better, or fail more often. If you get the Dell from them, be sure to register it online at Dell as soon as possible. Dell, too, has an early return privilege... or an upgrade privilege... just watch out for the junk they sometimes sell with them.

    Your problem unit could have any of a number of different problems... failed hard drive, bad memory module, bad cpu cooling fan, or dirt, dust, and lint in the cooling channels.
    You might consider buying a can of Dust Off or other spray cleaner that is treated to prevent static electricity, then clean it out by spraying the dust out while outside.
    The beeping sound is usually either a hard drive, or a memory module gone bad.
    If you have a kid in your neighborhood, have him or her take a quick look at it...
    Any failure can cause the problem: Video graphics card gone bad, etc.
    Can you get it to boot in SAFE MODE?

    To get into the Windows XP Safe mode, as the computer is booting press and tap your "F8 Key" continuously once or twice a second, which should bring up the "Windows Advanced Options Menu". Use your arrow keys to move to "Safe Mode" and press your Enter key.

    Note: With some computers, if you press and hold a key as the computer is booting you will get a stuck key message. If this occurs, instead of pressing and holding the "F8 key", tap the "F8 key" continuously until you get the startup menu.

    If after several attempts you are unable to get into Windows 2000 or Windows XP Safe Mode as the computer is booting into Windows, turn off your computer. When the computer is turned on the next time Windows should notice that the computer did not successfully boot and give you the Safe Mode screen.

    If it boots into SAFE MODE, get back to us... as that begins to tell us what may be wrong... and that it may be fixable

    By the way, what is your computer brand, model, and age.

    Good luck
  8. cookie53

    cookie53 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Raybay,
    I tried getting into safe mode, although no luck...and, I am not sure if you understood that my monitor shows me nothing, except for the initial 'no input signal" and 'monitor going to sleep' messages....I had already tried the canned air to clean things out, several weeks ago, and different times since...Although I am not crazy about having to spend money on a new computer, I am at that point, because I am concerned that, even I get it fixed this time (and who knows how much that might cost at this point?!), I am worried that next month, or next year, something else will go...
    My problem computer is an HP Pavilion Media Center m7350n. I bought it in late January, 2006...The hard drive and the dvd drive were replaced in the summer of 2008...Another thing with this computer...any time that I had a problem with it, and tried to do a system restore it NEVER worked!!!! Not once!! I am not sure what that indicates, if anything???
    Also, I am not interested in a new laptop...I want a desktop computer...For my needs, this old laptop is sufficient, although maddeningly slow!! But, I am more comfortable with a desktop...You said that Lenovo was a good laptop computer, but what about their desktops? I had never heard of them before I started searching for a new computer...
    I thought that I would wait for a while before getting a new computer, but I am getting more and more anxious just to get a new one, and be done with the hassles of trying to figure out and fix the old one!!
  9. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    I figgered the odds were small, but getting into SAFE MODE is helpful in diagnosing the problem. When you cannot get into SAFE MODE, your machine is not repairable without major work.

    A four-year-old HP is still repairable, though... usually a new hard drive or new memory module(s) if you have the restore disk set that came with it. And you can often buy the restore set from HP for $27-$33 including shipping.

    A new hard drive can be $40 to $60... memory modules are around $65,,, but since you replace them in 2008, the problem must be elsewhere... video graphics card or port.

    Lenovo Desktops are great, but a bit more costly than some other models from Gateway, Dell... but are a good choice.

    Lenovo used to be IBM. IBM sold their consumer computer line to Lenovo of China in about 2004, and they change the name from IBM in 2006 or 2007... still better quality than most, in my opinion. They are famous for their laptops, but the desktops are also good, as long as you don't get the low-end models.

    You will find computers are a bit more costly right now, as they are popular graduation gifts so the price goes up... Prices will come down about the middle of June, and then go up in September as people get ready for college.

    You need a new one to run Windows 7. Support for Windows XP Service Pack 1 and 2 ends in July of 2010... This is a good time to get a new computer... If you get AT A MINIMUM two gigabytes of memory or more, you will have a better operating computer.

    A computer kid in the neighborhood could probably fix your HP for $75 or so, but you would not be able to run Windows 7 on it.
  10. cookie53

    cookie53 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Raybay,
    Do you think that my computer's problem could be as simple as a video card? I was going to replace it last weekend, but a couple techs at Staples said they didn't think that it was the problem...Also, if it might be that, and I wanted to change it, would I just take it up to Staples and get one that would be comparable? then, would I just put that one into my computer? Would my computer recognize and walk me thru anything that I might need to do? If you think that it might be the problem, I would be willing to try it!!
    In the meantime, I went up to our local BJ's and they have a bundle that sounded interesting...would you mind giving me your opinion about it?...The price for the bundle is $800. I would like to know if you think that the specs are good, and if it is worth the money.
    These are the specs (taken from their website) and I checked the box up there, so it is the same bundle.
    It is an HP Pavilion p6336f-b
    Intel Pentium Premium E5400 processor for fast processing
    1TB, Serial ATA hard drive offers ample storage for important files
    7GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM memory ensures speedy multitasking
    SuperMulti DVD±RW/CD-RW drive offers dual layer support and LightScribe Technology that allows you to create labels directly on LightScribe CDs and DVDs (sold separately)
    Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500 with 32MB integrated shared graphics memory and high definition audio with up to 7.1 surround sound capabilities provide an immersive multimedia experience
    15-in-1 memory card reader supports SmartMedia, xD Picture Card, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital (SD), Mini Secure Digital, Compact Flash I, Compact Flash II, IBM Microdrive, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro Duo, RSMMC, MMC Mobile and MMC+
    6 high-speed USB 2.0 ports offer fast digital data transfer and easy peripheral connectivity
    Built-in 10/100/1,000Base-T networking interface with RJ-45 connector offers high-speed internet browsing
    Includes HP USB keyboard and optical mouse
    HP w2338h Vivid Color 23" widescreen flat panel monitor with BrightView technology and integrated speakers offers a clear picture while computing
    Includes Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit operating system
    Software: HP MediaSmart Software Suite, Cyberlink DVD Suite Deluxe, Microsoft Works 9.0, HP Total Care Advisor and Norton Internet Security 2010 60-day trial
    Inputs: 6 USB 2.0, microphone, line-in, LAN and 15-in-1 memory card reader
    Outputs: VGA, DVI-D, line-out, digital audio, headphones, rear speaker, side speaker and subwoofer
    Expansion slots: 3 PCI Express
    Includes computer, monitor, optical mouse, keyboard and power cords
    Dimensions: 16.9"l x 7"w x 15.3"h (computer); 7.6"l x 22.2"w x 16.3"h (monitor)
    Weight: 9.8 lb. (computer); 13.2 lb. (monitor)
    Warranty: 1 year limited hardware; 1 year technical toll-free assistance
    (Model HP P6336F-B)


    To answer one of your previous questions, there is no one who could look at my computer...used to have a kid a few doors away, but he moved...
    I am concerned that if I put much money into my current computer, that next year I will face either no support for some of the programs that I am currently using (XP) and that if anything else breaks down, I will end up needing a new computer then...Do you think that I am just trying to justify getting a new computer, or does it make sense to you? My hubby, who knows NOTHING about computers (except that they are "expensive toys" in his opinion) thinks that I should try to fix this one.
    I appreciate your input, on the question about video card and also on this bundle.
    Thanks!
  11. cookie53

    cookie53 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Raybay,
    I am not sure if I had explained the symptoms that my computer is exhibiting...but basically, when I turn it on, the tower powers on, but there is loud fan noise...which doesn't get quieter...at other times, when the computer was working fine, the fan might be loud for a second or two after starting, then quiets down..now, it stays loud...and the monitor just says "no input signal" and then "monitor going to sleep." Thought that fan noise might be indicative of something?? thanks!
     
  12. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The most curious aspect is the fan noise...
    And this, combined with the "no input signal" could be the video graphics card. Many don't last more than two years, and most have failed by four years.
    The question is whether the computer has a separate video card, or if it delivers the video graphics signal from the motherboard.
    I could also be the fan itself.
    Do you have a friend or neighbor with a computer nearby. One necessary test would be to try the computer with another monitor, and try your monitor with another computer... to rule out the monitor as the problem.
    You can get decent video graphics cards for $25 at NewEgg, Frys, Directron, CDW, PCMall, etc. They cost a LOT more in such stores as Radio Shack and Office Max...

    There are not many tricks to replacing the video graphics card. It is a bit tricky to remove one until you figger out how to move the little clip at the socket which holds it in firmly. Then it just pulls out.
    The main trick is knowing whether your computer needs a PCI card, AGP card, or PCI Express card.
    So we would need to know brand and model of computer, or have you take out the existing card to tell us what model it is.

    There could be a lot of different causes for the loud fan noise... including a defective fan, or dust, dirt, and lint on existing fan blades.
  13. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The new HP computer you list should be fine for that price... Be sure you get, or can get, the recovery disk set with it...
    That is quite a package for the price. I am not fond of HP computers, nor their support system... but all the specs seem acceptable for that price... with the monitor included. It has all the memory you will need, and a hard drive that will hold anything you can put on it... though it might run a bit more slowly with a hard drive that large. I would want to know the brand and model of hard drive... If Western Digital or Seagate, I would be happy. Not so happy if it is a Samsung, Hitachi, or Maxtor
    Otherwise, it is hard to fault that package, based on the usage you have previously described.
    There are several components that are a matter of personal choice. For instance, the Norton security could cost you after the 60 day trial, but you can replace it with Avira, Microsoft Security Essentials, or AVG after the 60 days.
    Good luck. Looks as if you are moving in the right direction.
    As for the video card on the old computer, it is difficult to say.
    You definitely have a hardware problem... hard drive failure, memory failure, CPU fan... but there is no reliable way to predict what it is with this online forum.
  14. kokoko

    kokoko TS Enthusiast Posts: 113

    My computer is HP. It works great.
  15. cookie53

    cookie53 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Raybay,
    Thank you for your input (again!) I already have a subscription to Norton's (bought 360 3.0 last year, and renewed the subscription just recently)...so I would be covered that way. I have no idea the brand of the hard drive...I will see if I can find out.
    I have had some reservations about getting another HP, but since I purchased this one (Jan 2006) I have learned a lot more about the workings of computers, and think that I am more aware of problems, and to either fix, or at least recognize them early enough (if possible) to get them corrected. I have had a few problems with this computer, before this last malfunction, and for the most part, I had no complaints about the service...other than the fact that all techs are in India (as with all companies nowadays!!) It is sometimes hard to understand them..
    If I get this bundle, I will definitely find out how to get restore discs, if they don't come with the bundle...
    Re: the fan noise....Two years ago, when this computer had the problem which led to a replacement hard drive and dvd drive, there was also the loud fan noise....and, it seemed to confuse the HP techs at that time, too...During the time that I was trying to figure out what was wrong, I spoke with HP techs a couple of times...So, perhaps this particular computer always had some sort of problem with the fan(s) that only manifested when there was problem with hardware...I don't know...It is rather disconcerting to have my computer doing something (such as the loud fan) that confuses the experts!!!! lol
    Oh, I had also checked my computer with another monitor, and got the same 'no input' message, and then I hooked my monitor to my son's desktop, and it worked fine...so, the monitor is fine.
    I will let you know the maker of the HD....I might just go up and buy the computer, then tell you what the manufacturer is...I can always return it if you think that the HD is terrible...Apparently, I have that option within 14 days, as long as everything is returned with it.
    I will keep you posted!!!
    Thank you for all your assistance!
  16. cookie53

    cookie53 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Raybay,
    Well, I got the bundle that I told you about...It is really nice...I believe that the hard drive is Western Digital, because in one place that says manufacturer of hard drive it says:WDC WD10EADS-65A 2B1...Does that make sense?
    I have been playing with this computer all day...such a difference from the laptop, and my old computer...faster for sure, and the Windows 7 is cool...One problem, which is minor, is that the keyboard is a very basic one...but that is OK...I think that the price was decent...when I was going thru my old computer's paperwork, for the computer, monitor and a HP printer/scanner 'All in One'...it was $1700 plus tax!! Talk about things getting cheaper as time goes by...and this computer is much bigger (memory, etc., and the monitor) than the other one...One thing with the other one...I had to get one with a tv tuner, because I needed to transfer VHS home movies to DVD...so that added to the cost at that point...I don't need that anymore...I don't know if this one could do it or not...haven't totally figured out all the things it can do...
    I want to take this time to thank you one more time for the help that you have given me...it is a comfort to have someone "out there" who has some answers and who is not trying to sell me something!!
    Thanks again!
  17. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Thank you for the update. It appears you got a nice package.
    Look for opportunities to upgrade the warranty, as it is in the third year and after that problems come up.
    Yes you have a Western Digital.
    You can get excellent keyboards cheaply... as time goes by at a variety of discount sites, or on eBay... Just notice the boards of friends and businesses, as there are more bad than good.
    However the technology is such that they are easily manufacturered cheaply. We buy ours in boxes of 24 new name brands for $6.00 each... and most big name online vendors have sales from time to time... the trick is knowing which ones to get... and that is why you evaluate as you go...
    Watch for the new service pack for Windows 7, and keep other programs updated. When the Norton antivirus reaches maturity, consider Avira, Avast, AVG, and other deals. You can buy Norton with a year of updates in a box online for as low as $6.00 so no need to pay their $79 upgrade cost... if you prefer Norton. Avira is free to non-commercial users, provided you don't mind running the scans manually.
    Good luck.
    Keep us informed of good features and problems as time goes on. We can all learn from you on TechSpot.
  18. ultragrey

    ultragrey TS Rookie Posts: 69

    The configuration you may need is-
    Intel® Core Duo T3400 Processor
    (2.0GHz - 1Mb L2 - 667MHz)
    Intel GL40 Express Chipset
    2gb DDR2 Memory
    160Gb HDD (at least)
    DVD±RW Super Multi Drive
    Intel ® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M up to 285Mb
  19. cookie53

    cookie53 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Hey everyone...especially raybay..
    I finally got a hold of the friend of my friend who works on computers (I mentioned him a few weeks ago?)...anyway, I talked to him about my old computer, because I figured maybe he could fix it, and I would give it to my daughter ( I am not giving up my new computer..I love it!!)..Anyway, he thought that it might be the video card...If you will recall, a couple of techs from Staples told me that they didn't think it was the video card, and talked me out of buying a new one...they talked me into trying the power supply unit (which I did, and it wasn't the problem)...
    So, long story short...I bought a new video card and put it into my old computer...It is working perfectly now!!!! the loud fan noise is gone, too!!
    so, for future problems...for anyone who might have a monitor that only shows the 'no input signal' and goes to sleep, and the fans in your tower sound really loud...try replacing the video card! I think that most stores now will let you return the item within 14 days, if it doesn't work...so, other than time, you have nothing to lose!!!
    I know that I learned something!!!
    Hope this helps someone else!!
  20. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Thank you for the update.
    We suspected Staples folks were wrong in their assumptions. Whenever you have an undefined hardware problem it is best to test every piece of the hardware.
    You are now on your way to becoming a computer tech.
  21. cookie53

    cookie53 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    When do I get past "newcomer in training?" lol
  22. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    23 posts should do it.
  23. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    I gather it is already purchased, and the TechSpot member is a happy camper.
  24. cookie53

    cookie53 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 29

    I am a very happy camper...and, I am happy that I will be able to help my daughter out, too...she will be in need of a computer soon, as she has kicked out the man in her life..so she is left with two young sons, and a limited income...and when he goes for good, he will be taking their computer (he was the one who was into the computer more than her)...so, my old computer will be fine for her...I just need to clean it out for her, so my old junk isn't on it...
    Although I have never been able to do a restore on that computer, perhaps I can do a full recovery???? Oh well...I can delete the crap on there that is my doing!
  25. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    If it has manufacturer recovery disks I would just do a full recovery, once you've got everything you need off of it of course!

    If it uses a OEM windows install disk, just re-install windows, formatting the C: drive during the installation.

    Both routes will give your daughter a as new computer, fresh and ready to go. :)
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