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Recommendation for low-end desktop PC for office environment

Posted on 2010-11-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I work for a small non-profit organization (it's an animal shelter).  We have about 50 desktop PCs all running Windows XP Pro.  Most of the machines are used mainly for accessing web-based apps, with maybe a little bit of word processing thrown in.  Some of the computers are seven or eight years old.  They're slow, and I just had a hard drive fail a couple of months ago.

I want to upgrade the ten oldest machines, but the budget is really tight right now.  Donations are down, the endowment is doing poorly, etc.  I'm getting pressured to pinch pennies.

What would people recommend for a low-end, inexpensive desktop system that would run Windows 7? (I don't care about Aero.)  Hopefully, the PCs would have a useful lifespan of at least four years.

I'm not necessarily looking for a recommendation for a specific vendor (although that would be nice).  Even just basic specs would be helpful so that I can get price quotes.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:chernavsky
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Expert Comment

by:Montoya
ID: 34180126
The trick here is getting an inexpensive computer with a 4 year lifespan.

http://www.nextag.com/All--PRICE-Under-300--zzdesktop+computerz1zB3mz5---html

Many acceptable deals there. You will have better luck with name brands, in my humble opinion, simply because the parts will be available longer for lifecycle and support reasons.
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Accepted Solution

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willcomp earned 500 total points
ID: 34180372
The Dell Vostro line is a good option. The Vostro 230 with monitor for $389.00 in this link is a good deal. Vostros are generally reliable and don't come loaded with a bunch of crapware.
http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/vostro-230/fs
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Henderson
ID: 34180627
For the uses you indicate, any modern computer would do the job.

Just make sure you get 2GB of RAM, preferably 4GB. A low end graphics card would be a plus.
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Expert Comment

by:Anthony Russo
ID: 34180723
I agree the Vostro line is good for your expected use. I personally had a Vostro 200 that served me well for years and I really did more intense uses on it such as 3D and gaming (added a video card to it and it held stable).

Good luck,

Anthony
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Assisted Solution

by:Alan Henderson
Alan Henderson earned 200 total points
ID: 34180820
1. Another alternative is to convert all your tired machines to Linux. Even newbies will soon pick up Linux Mint 10. Replace the HDDs if necessary.

2. For the uses you indicate I don't see what you stand to gain by switching to Windows 7. Reinstall XP on new HDDs if you really wish to curb spending. 250GB - 500GB HDDs are really inexpensive.

2. I have Windows 7 running on an HP 210 netbook with 2GB of RAM, a pitiful CPU and no dedicated graphics. For word processing and Internet use it functions perfectly well if a little slowly. Any inexpensive PC with a dual-core processor (or better) will do much better.

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Author Comment

by:chernavsky
ID: 34180828
Vallis, thanks for the tips.  I'd go with Linux, but one of our web apps requires Internet Explorer.
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Assisted Solution

by:bz43
bz43 earned 200 total points
ID: 34181124
You can run Internet Explorer in Linux.

You can use the free IEs4Linux at, http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/page/Main_Page

Or purchase CrossOver Linux Standard at http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxlinux/

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Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 34182769
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Author Comment

by:chernavsky
ID: 34278468
Thank you for all the great advice.  Sorry that I left this question open for so long.  I will close it now.  Thanks again!
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Author Closing Comment

by:chernavsky
ID: 34278475
Thanks!
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