New rig for Mom

Discussion in 'PC Purchasing Help' started by Mize, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    Time to set Mom up with a new computer. One of my nieces visited and now her computer is trashed in spite of Trend Security Suite (curiously same thing happened to the niece's computer a few months back with Trend). Anyway, as a result Mom thinks it's time to upgrade and I'm in charge as usual.

    She only uses he computer for three things: 1. personal finance (Quicken), 2. rare letters (Word) and 3. games (solitaire, sudoku, and various puzzle games).

    I'm seriously considering moving her to Moneydance for finance software (better reviews and less crippled than Quicken and compatible) and either a Mac or Linux machine. Part of the reason is I'm responsible for trouble-shooting her computer remotely whenever she has a problem or a prompt from her firewall or AV software and, if she can't reach me, someone invariably says "yes, let that unknown program do whatever it wants!" and the thing is hosed.

    So I'm pretty sure I could set up either a Mac or Ubuntu (or Fedora) machine with all this software (Moneydance, OpenOffice.org and games) and have it be pretty bulletproof. She won't install more or tinker. The advantage of the Mac is form-factor (iMac 20") and interface and the advantage of Linux is price (free OS) and more free games.

    Thoughts?

    BTW, I set up a newphew with a linux system for email, IM, OpenOffice and surfing and it's been rock solid for longer than any XP install in that house!
     
  2. cychris

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    Mac is nice, but it seems to me that its going to be an overkill for the intended use. What is the budget of the system anyway?

    For the things that you listed you can set up a pretty cheap system that will be adequate to run the things listed.

    As for the Linux part, as long as its set up correctly by yourself with all possible uses, and your mum does not like to tinker (most mums dont, thank god) then it sounds fine too, i like ubuntu myself (and Linux Mint is apparently based off ubuntu?).

    Some hardware specs,
    AMD set-up
    AM2+ motherboard based on either 780G integrated graphics platform or 790GX. 790GX is still integrated graphics but is packed with the SB750 southbridge that helps with overclocking. Also supports pretty much all AM2 Athlons and Phenoms, as well as the upcoming Phenom II.
    An Athlon X2 should be more than enough for the listed jobs. Optional graphics card relies on available budget really.

    With an Intel set-up you could go with either a G45 Intel chipset motherboard, or an nvidia Geforce 9300 Integrated graphics motherboard. A Core 2 E5200 should provide excellent performance.

    DDR2 for both platforms, around 2GB probably.
     
  3. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    The easy route? Dell Studio Hybrid and throw your choice of Linux on it. The fun route? Build a mini-ITX based system and throw Linux on it. Personally I think even mATX is really just to big and unless you honestly want to throw away cash on a Mac option (ugh) then the Dell or mini-ITX option is better and very small. One of the AM2+ Jetway mini-ITX boards, with a low wattage Athlon X2, 2GB of RAM and some other guts and you're off to the races.
     
  4. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    Thanks both. Is that studio hybrid pretty linux friendly? I would probably go Ubuntu Hardy or Hoary.
     
  5. Skrying

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    That I can't answer really. They don't ship it with Ubuntu, but it's really hard to judge anything from that.
     
  6. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    I found a few threads out there and it looks like Hoary (8.10) is gold except for HDMI out (don't care). Kind of steep but not compared to an iMac! Good find.
     
  7. Blazkowicz

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    I like cheap so µATX AM2 board is my first idea. but, nice to hear of that jetway mini ITX! the JNC62K. I would put a sempron LE-1250 on it actually, lower power and performance would be excellent already (especially for multitasking with idle software waiting for user keypresses..)

    Ubuntu is user friendly (when it's set up and it works), gnome is easy to use and most desktop software is there already, you only have to set it up to look a bit better (i.e. less brown and removing the icon for the mail client :)), then make sure you can ssh it to troubleshoot would you need to. (or even, remotely do a backup of her financial data, with scp)

    as a windows user and now gnome user, mac is more confusing to me actually with the unique menu bar and the weird dock.

    while doing a quick check on 2.5" drive, I've found they're quite cheap!, compared to what they used to be. 50€ for either a 5400 rpm 160GB or a 7200 rpm 80GB.
     
  8. digitalwanderer

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  9. BRiT

    BRiT Verified (╯°□°)╯
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    Looks like they're cannibalizing content to drive up google hits?
     
  10. xatnys

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    How about an eee 1000HD? Apart from screen size (10") it could probably work to your needs. The thing is more powerful than it looks, from my experience (I personally use the 701SD however).

    It's also addicting as hell to tinker with.
     
  11. Skrying

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    Why would you get a Atom based system for this? The netbook fade is simply annoying. Unless the mobile option is a requirement then a AMD based mini-ITX solution is going to be tremendously better performing, is going to maintain near equal idle level power draws, and is much more customizable with ease. While the tasks here are certainly not demanding, it just seems pointless to cripple yourself for no benefit.
     
  12. xatnys

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    As far as I know, that specific model is not atom based (and I do understand that the atom itself is rather a cripple). My conclusion is that not only would such a system be fine for the tasks specified, but yes there would be the additional benefit of a mobile system.
     
  13. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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  14. Blazkowicz

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    how so? a 300MHz laptop could be enough for those mom's needs. well for years the saying was that a 386 with 8MB ram was enough for word processing and the like but I digress.
    I would love a tiny laptop with crappy specs. I want netbooks to become even cheaper, I'd like a 150€ one with a nvidia Tegra. Or a similar SoC on x86 if someone does it.

    the day I would really need a super fast CPU I would get a cheap one for my desktop PC.
     
  15. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    I got Asus Eees for the kids and they're great little netbooks. Mom, however, needs the fully keyboard (she's an accountant by training so all numbers go via the numeric keypad) and she's old so a big display. The desktop versions of those PCs would work though...
     
  16. mcsven

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    Personally, I think a Mac is overpriced for what you describe. As for Linux, if she's been using Windows why bother changing? Sounds like hassle and phone calls to tech-support (you) to me. Instead just limit her user priveliges. Power User should do it. After initial setup it sounds like that would be ideal.
     
  17. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    I'm assuming you're referring to Vista since it has better security than XP can ever have. Vista is at least as much of a change as linux so the familiarity argument doesn't hold. As for XP one reason she wants to change is that her computer is running slower. As you know most XP users reformat and clean install about every two years thanks to registry corruption, unloaded dlls, etc.

    From my perspective a simple user does fine with Ubuntu with no slowdowns and no real support issues since they can't muck with it (no root access).
     
  18. V3

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    Go with Linux, you can get her better components with the money you saved. A bigger monitor, ergonomic mouse and keyboard go a long way. If she doesn't like the change, you can install what she had now into the computer.

    I would go with Athlon 64 X2 and 790GX motherboard with 4GB RAM and 2 Hdd. Get her a 24-30" monitor and good mouse and keyboard.

    As with Linux, checked components for compatibility before you buy.
     
  19. Skrying

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    Uh, why such an over powered system? Why 790GX? It offers nothing really over 780G other than forcing you into an ATX form factor and slight overclocking and video advantages. Also why 2 hard drives? An external back up would be more sensible and RAID is a joke.
     
    #19 Skrying, Dec 19, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2008
  20. V3

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    I thought he has a budget of iMac20 and iMac is actually pretty powerful. 790GX is not that much more to 780G, unless he needs microATX. He can have one internal and one external for hdd. I just like having 2 physical hdd for backup purposes. Especially if it is finance and important data.
     

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