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Need help choosing a desktop computer under $500

mkramer777
mkramer777 asked
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I am looking for a desktop pc for a friend who has a small lawn service.  He needs 4 desktops and he wants the price to be under $500 for each.  Take a look at the screenshots of some computers I found and let me know which one you think is the better machine, or possibly if both are not the best.  The programs being used on the computers are quickbooks, email (yahoo mail) and just browsing the interent.  Quickbooks will be used 90% of the time during the day.

I also added a refurbished Dell computer (he said refurb is ok) to the mix so let me know if the specs of the refurb are pretty good.  Thanks!
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Tom CieslikIT Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
I would stay away from AMD processor so for me Lenovo is not an option. If you can find same model with i5 processor then This would be my choice.

First 2 computers are OK, I would say second one is better but has regular HDD, so I would buy Dell and in addition some 256 GB SSD drive for about $45.00 and clone system using AOMEI free backupper.

256GB SSD Sandisk

You will get faster computer with i5 processor 16GB Ram, - perfect for office tasks
Iamthecreator OMIT/EE Solution Guide

Commented:
I would go for the Dell
Better specs, price and includes a monitor
In the description it shows a HDD but below it shows a 120G SSD

Author

Commented:
Any hesitation going with refurb Dell's?
ste5anSenior Developer

Commented:
The Ryzen based machine should be based on newer technology. Thus the Ryzen is a little bit better performing then the the Dell i5. CPU wise as well as onchip/board GPU wise.

From the price perspective, the Dell i5 using a larger SSD (120GB isn't enough in most scenarios) is the better option.

And you may loog for a 8GB system, cause this enough for simple office usage.

Author

Commented:
See screenshot.  I had changed the config on the website to add a SSD hard drive.  You can see in the screenshot that I changed it and now it says that there is no HDD.  It is better to have the SSD than HDD, correct?
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Author

Commented:
All I'm hoping for is that this computer outperforms the i3 processor he has right now in his lenovo desktop.  Do you think the Dell will outperform?
IT Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2017
Commented:
Yes, Most i5 processors are quad core.
If you can select SSD drive on this website, select 240GB SSD but if price will be to high, you can buy regular HDD and in addition SSD from eBay and copy drive over.
I think 120GB is too small. On the beginning it would be OK but you'll realize that Windows updates, especially version upgrades are huge and If you'll decide to install Office and other applications like Adobe , etc,, 120GB can be not enough.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
I've used AMD products for years and have no problem with them.  Do a little research on cpubenchmark.net and you'll see AMD typically offers the biggest bang for the buck.  That doesn't mean I avoid Intel, but every time I do the comparison, AMD wins.  I'm responding on a system I built with a Ryzen 5 now.  My media center (still in use) runs off an FX-6300 based CPU and my home "server" is running off an FX-8000 series CPU (which I expect to get some money back for).  But all have performed quite well over the years.

As for any new PC, these days I would NOT be buying anything with ONLY a traditional hard drive.  An SSD is a MUST.  Keep in mind that the Hard drive is typically the slowest major component.  Look at your friend's existing PC... is the CPU being hammered or is it the hard drive (Resource Monitor).  Odds are, especially if it's not a new system, it's using a traditional spinning hard drive.  

SSDs with SATA connections are fast... but SSDs with NVMe connections will blow them out of the water.

If you want a PC that's fast, you can look at this:
https://psref.lenovo.com/Detail/ThinkCentre/ThinkCentre_M630e_Tiny?M=10YM0034US
https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-ThinkCentre-10YM0034US-Desktop-Computer/dp/B07W5H2WXW/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=10YM0034US&qid=1579713465&sr=8-3

Yes, it's an i3, but it's an 8th gen i3 and it's faster than any 3rd gen i3 and most 4th gen i3s.

And if you can get him up another $100 per machine, it opens a world of options that include 256 GB SSDs (While you CAN do 128GB SSDs, the 256s will be less prone to usage problems especially in an environment without a centralized file server.