‘puter troubles, desktop edition

It never rains but it pours.

Remember how my laptop was going kaput a while ago, and I asked for tablet advice? (Thanks for all the responses, btw. I ended up going with a Google Nexus, and I’m quite pleased with it. In fact, that’s what I’m writing this post on.)

Well, my desktop has been acting strangely, to the point where I think I should look into getting a new one. The current one is pretty elderly, and I think I’d rather make the switch before it goes completely belly-up.

So now I’m looking for opinions on that end of the spectrum. I’m a Windows user (please don’t try to get me to convert), and 90% of the work done on that machine falls into the categories of word processing and internet, so I don’t need anything massive. I am running Lightroom these days, though, and I’ve found that sometimes I can’t even play Steam games on the thing because they’re too advanced for its graphics card; ergo, I’m likely to aim a bit higher this time than my usual bare-bones build. Current machine is a Dell, as was its predecessor; I’ve been happy with them, but I haven’t been keeping up with the state of the art, and I don’t know whether I should be looking at other manufacturers.

Corollary question: Windows 8? [profile] kniedzw tells me I will haaaaaaaaaaaate it, because I started computing back in the days of DOS, and object to operating systems that try to keep me from rummaging around in their guts. I’d be interested in feedback from people who have used it at all.

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0 Responses to “‘puter troubles, desktop edition”

  1. fhtagn

    Hmmm. Windows 8 is … horrible. It has two distinct user-interface styles existing simultaneously, with some features only available in one or the other. At its core, it runs well and smoothly, but the actual UI is a nightmare.

    If you’re happy with Dell, it’s worth looking at their “Dell Outlet” which sells refurbished machines ie. former display models, models where a few bits have needed to be replaced etc. In the UK at least they get all the mandatory sales law protections and warranty whilst generally being about 40% cheaper than an otherwise arguably pristine machine where you’re paying for unopened packaging.

  2. benbenberi

    Windows 8 is horrible, but I’m told it’s possible to put on a skin that looks like Win7 & gives you back a proper start menu, desktop etc. Unfortunately new Windows machines all come with Win 8 these days, no way to avoid it if you want new hardware. There are rumors Microsoft is going to release an update that lets you get rid of some of the more ghastly features of the interface, but no date announced for that.

  3. jmpava

    I got a new laptop a few months back and got Win8 on it deliberately to get used to it (I have 7 on my work machine). You can still access everything you used to be able to, the ingrained search is actually very quick and useful if you need it and it is a lot stabler and reliable then prior Windows OS’s. A lot of people get stuck on the metro ‘desktop’ thingy and it’s… weird. I don’t use it, but Cora has actually beat it into shape and converted it to her will – she’s good like that. But there’s no requirement to use it at all. I guess I just don’t find Windows 8 actually hiding that much more then I used to – the task manager has far more information, for example. There’s been some crazy automatic stuff like driver and printer setup, network sharing (seriously, there’s some crazy awesome network sharing stuff available that Cora and I are loving the heck out of) and remote desktop never dies on me (yes, this was a problem before). Yeah, there’s no start menu, and if you use standard desktop mode (not the metro layout thing) that’s the most notable thing. But the integrated charm search thingy works well for that… Or just browse through explorer if that’s the type of person you are.

    I mean, yeah, there are definitely some REALLY weird design choices but just know that the metro tablet view thing is NOT mandatory. I basically never use it and there’s no requirement to. And if you can get past those UI aspects, the actual ‘doing’ stuff is better, so far, IMO.

  4. rymrytr

    I’m so old, I long for the days of W98SE…

    Anyway, I wonder if it will come down to the same thing as before. Those of us that don’t change to Win8 will find that we must because MS will not support Win7 someday… as they have done in the past?

  5. icedrake

    I’ve heard good stories about Dell and I’ve heard terrifying ones. There seems to be not much in the middle. Just hope you don’t need to send it in for service and you’re generally OK. Have you considered getting a local computer store to build you one from scratch? Any sort of upgrades from the Dell or HP configuration tools tend to be overpriced in my experience.

    (also, definitely Win7 over Win8, and what’s your budget?)

  6. spiffikins

    I have used windows 8 for a grand total of maybe…45 minutes on two separate occasions and I hate it 🙂

    My friend has it, and says it’s fine if you go into the lower level settings and turn off all the “windows 8 things” and make it look/act like Windows 7.

    I have heard that Microsoft is giving up on shoving this new interface down everyone’s throats, and is releasing a new version shortly (or a service pack on steroids) that will switch back to the standard Start menu interface.

    I think the default Win8 interface *might* be potentially ok on a tablet, where you have a tiny screen and want to maximize whatever app you’re using to the full size of the screen – but as a desktop o/s without a touch screen? Needs to go away now, before I killit with fire.

  7. eve_prime

    My employer has decided likewise — our IT staff doesn’t like Windows 8, they don’t want to inflict it on the rest of us, and they don’t want to have to live through the experience of getting us to accept it.

  8. bryant

    I currently recommend Dell Alienware X51 desktops. Reasonably priced, and very small — they’re about the size of a gaming console. The entry level model will run you $650 right now, it’ll do all the word processing and Web you need, and it’ll be capable of running anything released this year although you won’t get insanely high frame rates.

    had a problem with the wireless (endemic on the early models) and Dell sent someone to the house to fix it; you get a year of in-home service on the basic warrantee.

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