Advice please re buying a new computer

Okay, so my trusty old computer is like me getting older by the day and nearing the end of it's useful life, but I just don't know what to replace it with.Local computer expert (who has had to do surgery on this one a couple of times recently) says to just get a new hard drive as the keyboard and monitor are newish (I replaced them a while back), step-son says get an all-in-one, a friend and my son both say get an ipad.I really only use the computer for emails and trademe, don't download videos/music etc, don't really need to use the computer anywhere but at home, although if I had a laptop I'd probably sit in a comfy chair to use it rather than at the desk.Any advice please as I am totally confused.Oh, and I'm told laptops don't have much storage but my computer only has 960MB ram soI guess pretty much anything would be better.

geek_kuaka, Nov 12, 10:50 pm


Storage and memory are not the same (although the technology they use is becoming similar) Storage is the capacity your hard drive has to store files (photos, music and programs etc.). Memory (RAM) is temporary space which programs need while they are running. Laptops or desktops can have as much of either as you need (within reason) and certainly much more than your requirements. Based on what you say, an iPad will probably do all you need - but definitely try one out before you decide.
An all-in-one is OK but I wouldn't recommend a touch screen unless you really need it, however if your screen is 'newish' then why replace it! Keyboards are only about $10 so don't worry about keeping that.

geek_gj, Nov 12, 11:05 pm

A basic tablet. Something like the new 7" Nexus.
www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/tablets/google-nexus-7-1087040/review

geek_r.g.nixon, Nov 12, 11:06 pm

Thanks - you can see why I'm confused.The other thing is that because I've spent most of my life (well 50 years or so) typing on a typewriter (manual, then electric before progressing to word processors and now computers) I wonder if I would find a laptop or ipad a bit weird to use - I see lots of people sitting using laptops, notebooks, ipads etc outside the library and most seem to be typing with only 2 fingers, whereas I'm a touch typist and totally lost if I have to resort to 2 fingers 'cos I'm holding the phone or something.Are laptops, notebooks and ipads totally different to type on!

geek_kuaka, Nov 12, 11:27 pm

Tablets are different as they have a software based keyboard on the screen so take a bit of getting used to. They are not ideal for word processing at all.

A lot of people touch-type on laptop keyboards. Most people don't due to laziness/lack of education/never having tried it, etc.
The alphabetical layout of a computer keyboard should be the same as a typewriter I assume! So it would just be a matter of getting used to the feel of it.

geek_suicidemonkey, Nov 13, 12:58 am

I'd go with another desktop or laptop. An iPad/Tablet is really a complementary item to a computer. An all in one is fine, but it's really just a laptop with a bigger screen and without the portability. I'd expect a laptop to last around 3 years, whereas a desktop will last 10+ years as they are easier to repair and upgrade.

geek_stevel_knievel, Nov 13, 1:07 am

Combine the three of them (Desktop+Notebook+Tablet) and get an Ultrabook. You will have a solid performance, full-sized keyboard and light weight portability.

geek_ammoola, Nov 13, 3:56 am

What sort of money would I be looking at to get one of those!

geek_kuaka, Nov 13, 8:31 am

$1200+

Or, for just $US200, you could get a Chromebook.
http://readwrite.com/2012/11/12/google-and-acer-crank-out-a-bargain-chromebook

geek_r.g.nixon, Nov 13, 8:57 am


Did he!
If he did, he isn't any sort of expert.
A hard drive is a piece inside the computer that holds the OS and files.
It is not the PC itself.

geek_lythande1, Nov 13, 2:15 pm

I had to replace our desktop earlier this year.Have an HP Probook 6560 with a docking station.I have the monitor, keyboard and printer plugged into the docking station on the office desk.When I want to just use in the notebook in another room I remove from the docking station and off I go.Works really well.I also have got a cooling fan which I sit the Notebook on when using on the docking station to keep the notebook cool.

geek_kellrae, Nov 13, 2:22 pm

But isn't he really saying, that if only the hard-drive needs upgrading, then only upgrade the hard-drive. Isn't it a bit like saying "the car is fine, but the gearbox is stuffed, so replace the gearbox". ! Or is it not that simple!

geek_kuaka, Nov 13, 7:58 pm


Its not the hard drive he has suggested replacing, its the Desktop computer (the box with all the guts in it). The Hard Drive is just the component which stores your data. You don't need to spend more than $500-600 for a new unit (sometimes advertised as an upgrade Box) or $300 or so for a good ex-lease desktop which will do everything you want it for.

geek_gj, Nov 13, 9:39 pm

The context of your OP suggests he (or your interpretation of your conversation) was telling you to upgrade the "Box". What lythande1 is talking about is the definition of "Hard Drive". If your so called "Computer Expert" referred to the "Box" as a "Hard Drive" then he is either NOT an expert or just a really bad one because he's spreading misinformation & incorrect terminology. If YOU call the "Box" a "Hard Drive" then he should have corrected you instead of using your own language in order for you to understand.

As for the above analogy, that assumption is incorrect. He is indeed referring to the "Box" (Car), not the "Hard Drive" (Gearbox).

geek_lostdude, Nov 13, 9:50 pm

Okay, I said at the start that I was confused, let's just say I'm even more confused now.

geek_kuaka, Nov 14, 12:13 am

We are a bit like Jews in this respect:"two Jews=three opinions"

geek_r.g.nixon, Nov 14, 8:37 am

Well said.I might just wait till this old computer dies completely then I will "have" to do something.

geek_kuaka, Nov 14, 9:15 am

OK, let's clear that up. This is a Hard Drive, Hard Disk Drive, or HDD for short: http://is.gd/JGqicG Which is just a small component INSIDE a Desktop PC: http://is.gd/qz5nuE This "Box" is often referred to as the "Box" or "System Unit" but more prominently INCORRECTLY referred to as the "Hard Drive".

Now that you know the difference, your "Computer Expert's" recommendation should make more sense.

geek_lostdude, Nov 14, 9:29 am

OK, let's clear that up. This is a Hard Drive, Hard Disk Drive, or HDD for short: http://is.gd/JGqicG Which is just a small component INSIDE a Desktop PC: http://is.gd/qz5nuE http://is.gd/AjZXNR This "Box" is often referred to as the "Box" or "System Unit" but more prominently INCORRECTLY referred to as the "Hard Drive".

Now that you know the difference, your "Computer Expert's" recommendation should make more sense.

geek_lostdude, Nov 14, 9:29 am

This thread got too technical, you experts (and I don't mean this in a bad way) should have kept it nice simple and on topic.

There are some good suggestions up in here, go through the posts again and you'll find what you are looking for.

geek_sykotik_ninja, Nov 14, 9:35 am

It may have gotten off topic a bit, but one of my (& I suspect any other tech's) pet peeves is miscommunication due to the of the use of incorrect terminology. If they at least now know the difference, they won't be in for a surprise and potentially worse flogging if they ever try to ask questions about their PC in the future.

geek_lostdude, Nov 14, 9:43 am

Thanks - I can see how this irritates the living daylights out of people who know, I guess I'm the same when I see someone listing something as being "wool" and then when you read the auction it says 100% acrylic.Acrylic isn't wool.It's "yarn".

geek_kuaka, Nov 14, 10:06 am

Get a cheap notebook or netbook. That should meet your needs just fine.

geek_schizoid, Nov 14, 2:56 pm

Confused - much!

geek_kuaka, Nov 14, 4:31 pm

I put my desktop under my desk. I'm a rebel like that.

geek_stevel_knievel, Nov 14, 5:36 pm

i bought an all in one and have had no issues apart from it suddenly deciding it won't copy any files to usb devices, but I'm sure I'll get it sorted.

geek_tamzyn5, Nov 14, 5:43 pm

Kuaka - a summary to date:

1.Replace your "box".This can be less than $100.00 for a reasonable P4 3.2 computer with 512mb - 1gb of RAM.Install windows to this, plug this into your existing stuff and away you go.

2. Buy a laptop or ultrabook

3.Buy an ipad or other tablet.

The reasons why you would do any of the above can also be summarised - as per your posts:

Option 1.Use your PC the same way you do now.

Options 2 and 3.Portability and usability.Laptop can be good for doing the same thing you do now while sitting in a chair, or using at a desk with your seperate keyboard, mouse and screen from existing PC.

iPad - haven't used one much, but don't like the on-screen keyboard at all, at all.

Options 2 and 3 = money.

Option 1 - same as before = less cost.

Hope that helps.

geek_duggin, Nov 21, 3:31 pm

And most of the so called experts are telling her to buy something she doesnt need or understand how to use like ipadswhen all she wants to do is email and facebook maybe the odd document writing and she has already stated she is old school typist so why go and change her from using a keyboard she already knows how to use.
Op as mentioned above there somewhere it was suggested you just get an upgrade box as you have not long replaced the monitor so you dont need all the other bits just make sure you get or have any disc's for any programs you might have installed you might want to keep using

geek_newbie5, Nov 21, 4:34 pm

Shame they not Kiwi prices :(

geek_ianalice1, Nov 21, 5:43 pm

Seriously ( in 2012) !
You'd actually recommend someone buy an old P4 with "upto" 1GB ram!

geek_ross1970, Nov 21, 6:11 pm

Its not that long ago you could come to the computer board and get good help for any queries or problems

geek_newbie5, Nov 21, 7:34 pm

Its not that long ago you could come to the computer board and get good help for any queries or problems.
Now you ask a question or want help with something and 10 different people all offer 10 different solutions except for the 1 or 2 of the old hands here but they just seem to sit back and laugh at some of the solutions then offer their bit so you dont know for sure who is right

Bring Back The Doctor

geek_newbie5, Nov 21, 7:34 pm

I agree with you mber2.but this thread has been quite helpful to me too as I am in a similar position to the OP but am a bit more PC savvy.(no offence PC).what I don't miss are the sarcastic and belittling remarks of some posters in the past who really made us feel like idiots with their comments.(it was the same posters everytime.not mentioning names). In contrast,this thread has been really interesting to read and I feel a bit more ready now to go out and get what I really need.Thanx everyone.and kuaka I hope you find what you are looking for.best of luck

geek_beastie3, Nov 21, 7:59 pm

It depends. My P4 3GHz with 2GB of RAM, cost me $60.
I'm using it now, on Windows 8 64-bit.

geek_r.g.nixon, Nov 21, 8:26 pm

I know who you are talking about beastie3.
The same person who made the doc go away
yes I too learnt a lot from here in the past and have solved a lot of my computer problems in the past just by reading some of the posts and responses

geek_newbie5, Nov 21, 10:58 pm

i bought a second hand computer for $75 off trademe and its fast ,, a few months ago a buddy gave me a brand new computer ,,, 2tb hard drive, 16gb ram, intel i7 chip anda 24in screen and its no better than the $75 computer.

geek_aktow, Nov 22, 2:09 am

Yes, it depends on what you're using the computer for. If it's just web browsing and wordprocessing you'll notice little difference between the old cheapy and the new beast, but if it's more intensive stuff like playing the latest games, video editing, etc. you'll see the gap is huge.

geek_stevel_knievel, Nov 22, 4:05 am


I have a Nexus 7 not intentionally it in a random bag of crap from 1 Day -so not complaints , have Trade Me app all good but it does not display all the info I get on my desk top example Sold items -I cannot view buyer delivery addresses

geek_jacky18, Nov 22, 8:07 am

Read the post.The only stuff I can't do on a P4 3.2ghz with 4mb ram - Linux - is video rendering.For what the OP wants an ex-lease business machine would do everything and probably last her a lot longer than a low end new machine.And yes, for $100.00 I've bought two.

geek_duggin, Nov 22, 11:32 am

Read the post.The only stuff I can't do on a P4 3.2ghz with 2gb ram - Linux - is video rendering.For what the OP wants an ex-lease business machine would do everything and probably last her a lot longer than a low end new machine.And yes, for $100.00 I've bought two.Plus about $50 for another 4gb ram and it should handle nearly everything the OP wants.

geek_duggin, Nov 22, 11:32 am

Us "oldies" know a thing or two, eh!:)And I bet it works just fine.

geek_duggin, Nov 22, 11:33 am

Get an iPad. Soo simple, awesome battery too, consider a cheap Bluetooth keyboard and iPad stand if your going to be typing lots.

geek_kieran211, Nov 22, 1:22 pm

Love my iPad with 3G and wifi, use it in preference to my computer

geek_oldbnz, Nov 24, 6:20 am

Personally I wouldnt recommend the Ipad.Id say go for a laptop.

You say the laptop doenst have as much storage as a desktop, it doesnt price for price, but for what you need it for it will be fine.It will also have the portability factor over the desktop.Both around the house and can be taken away with you if need be.To be used fully portably around the house its assumed you have wireless internet.

I have a desktop a laptop and an Ipad.The ipad to me is in the lounge and picked up to a) look up things whilst wathcing tv, and only briefly and dont want to start up the laptop.b) do something that doesnt require too much typing as the keyboard bugs me (im also a touch typist) c) play gamesand d) take away with me when i travel to use itnernet etc due to smallness

I wouldnt bother with an all in one.more expensive and who needs a touch screen anyway, esp if you have a decent one.

Also was given a blue tooth keypad that works in the ipad, but dont really use it.

geek_christin, Nov 24, 6:30 am