Advice please - need to buy a new pc around £300 so probably laptop but which one?

(34 Posts)
Polgara2 Thu 02-Jan-14 09:48:23

Our old desktop only works when it feels like it so thought would replace while the sales are on.

Looking at laptops because I thought they might be better value? But am now getting confuddled by which processor and brand of laptop I actually need! And am getting desperate.

Has anyone spotted any good deals out there? Don't make these purchases very often so don't want to buy a dud.

We use mainly or browsing, office and photos

Thanks smile

MichaelFinnigan Thu 02-Jan-14 10:02:11

I'm in just the same position

Just overwhelmed and have NO idea what a good specification is, nor a good price

Hopefully someone useful will be along soon smile

Polgara2 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:26:05

Right well I've just nipped to asda and I saw a median desktop e059? Reduced to £299 - would that be any good or are medion cheap and nasty? (I know nothing about them)

1sassylassy Thu 02-Jan-14 14:04:38

Medion are now owned by Lenovo,who do make good computers,did you note the spec of the PC you saw?

unlucky83 Thu 02-Jan-14 15:28:08

Far from an expert ...but I got a second hand laptop (dell Latitude) for my DD for Christmas for £150. 4 gb RAM but a pretty small but cheap and easy to replace hard drive. Latitude are Dell's business rather than home computers so are quite sturdy which I thought would be good for a less than careful DD.
Running windows 7 - I'm led to believe windows 8 is pretty dire unless you have a touch screen - or convert it to classic view (It (8) is on my (computer novice) mum's laptop - I'm 300 miles away and have to help her out using teamviewer (remote viewing) and so far my experience bears that out - I'm on Windows 7)
Honestly I wouldn't spend a lot on a basic computer any more - technology is moving so fast that it isn't worth the extra unless you are into hardcore design or gaming - not worth buying to last - even if easily upgradeable.
In 2 minds about massive hard drives - unless as separate longer term storage devices - can slow things like virus scans/defrags etc right down (I have a 1TB PVR - massive mistake - it is really slow to start - as it checks the hard drive- and also to delete things etc ).
Also I think the future is going to be touchscreen laptops that convert to a tablet...(they exist already but aren't that cheap for what you get ) decided not worth spending on a new laptop for a year or so...
And also - I wouldn't buy a new copy of Ms Office for just basic spreadsheets/word docs ...you can download for free open source suites like Libre Office or Open office - do the same as and are compatible with Ms Office. In fact have similar layouts to earlier versions of Office so if you are not running a recent version it should be an easier to get used to. A few differences if you do slightly more complex things - like you will need to redesign any macros you have. Also don't know how old your version of Office is but mine was 2002 (run on XP) and was told it wouldn't run on Window 7 home. I use a couple of databases so needed Access - which would have meant getting the professional version of Office - mega money. I couldn't get my existing Access queries to transfer to Base (Libre office version of Access) so loaded the 2002 version of Access and it runs fine in Windows 7 - no problems - except automatic updates keeps trying to do XP updates on my machine!! (Should really take the time to work out how to do make queries in Base - it would make more sense...and shouldn't be too hard - just need to take the time!)

Polgara2 Thu 02-Jan-14 15:39:27

Median is amd a8-5000 (I think) 8gb ram and 1 tb hard drive - does that sound good?

Was thinking large hard drive for all the photos and well just stuff which seems to accumulate but I do get your point about size. Can't afford to spend a fortune on one anyway but jus want the best value for money that's actually going to work and last a while!

unlucky83 Thu 02-Jan-14 16:32:29

Like I said - not an expert - seems like 8 GB Ram and 1 TB hard drive is pretty standard now - there are still some 4GB ram and smaller hard drives out there on new computers...
Hard drives can fail - so you always need to back up anyway...store on a separate device or even in the cloud...so if you manage to fill a 1TB hard drive you are going to need 1 TB storage as well...hmm Also that would take a long time to back up...
How big is your current hard drive and how full is it?
My hard drive is 500Gb - I have home videos and pictures and music etc and I'm using less than about 150GB inc operating systems, programs etc...all my photos etc are on there but I also have copies of some (older ones) on CDs/DVDs, on two memory sticks (same info on both - one is in another house - IIRC 16GB ones) and also have some in the cloud - I only back up about 6 GB every week...just folders that are likely to have new info in them...

Polgara2 Fri 03-Jan-14 08:50:44

Yes good points again.
I don't know how big our current hd is - I will check this morning (if I can get the pc to actually turn on anyway!) It probably isn't that large as the pc is a few years old

Polgara2 Fri 03-Jan-14 14:45:29

Ok couldn't get it it boot up but did find the very well worn sticker on the side which said 2gb ram and 250 gb hard drive! So am guessing that 4 ram and 500gb would be fine do you think?

What about For the future though when things get more memory hungry as they inevitably do, should I still aim for more ram?

4GB RAM and 500MB disk should be plenty for most people.

As prices are always dropping, best value comes from buying the RAM and disk you need now and upgrading when (if) you need to, rather than buying more now. The CPU is the the hardest bit to upgrade, so if you are going to spend more for "future proofing", spend it on a better CPU, not RAM or disk.

Polgara2 Fri 03-Jan-14 17:53:44

Ok so which is the better processor - I have seen amd a4, amd a6 or intel i3 in my price range (ooh and maybe pentium g2030?)

Thanks very much

I really don't know much about the AMD CPUs, but a little Googling suggests that the a4 and a6 aren't as good as the i3. The Pentium definitely won't be as good as the i3.

If you are stretching for a better processor, look to see if you can find an i5 in your price range. If the i5 is too expensive the i3 is probably the one to get.

unlucky83 Fri 03-Jan-14 18:59:59

Sorry don't know much about processors - I have Core i5 but a couple of years old...(Computer I wanted was same spec/model etc but Core i3 - mine came from PC world hmm - it was on special offer and the i5 was cheaper than the i3 anywhere - including PC World - and it was the latest i5 confused! )
If you go for 4GB ram (that can be upgraded)....then pretty sure a 1TB hard drive for a laptop is around £50 (obviously you might have to pay to get it fitted/op system reinstalled etc - unless you can do it yourself) so if you start running out of space it isn't that expensive to go bigger...
Other things if you are using it as a desktop replacement get a bigger screen (15inch min) - or get an external monitor and go for smaller if you want it to be more portable...
And enough USBs or get a decent hub - so you can attach external mouse and keyboard if you want (unless you go wireless - you might only need one receiver for both).

1sassylassy Fri 03-Jan-14 20:28:38

I bought an AMD A6 desktop last year for a family pc and was so impressed with it that stayed with AMD when buying a laptop for myself.

Polgara2 Sat 04-Jan-14 08:57:13

Thanks all this is really helpful

So if was choosing between say these :

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/laptops-netbooks/laptops/laptops/lenovo-g505-a6-15-6-laptop-21707557-pdt.html

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/laptops-netbooks/laptops/laptops/advent-torino-x700-15-6-laptop-21646965-pdt.html

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/laptops-netbooks/laptops/laptops/asus-x551ca-sx024h-15-6-laptop-21707561-pdt.html

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/laptops-netbooks/laptops/laptops/acer-aspire-e1-570-15-6-laptop-21743676-pdt.html

Or the aforementioned median e4059 desktop

Which would be best?

Thanks again smile

Polgara2 Sat 04-Jan-14 08:59:01

Oops clearly not mastered links yet blush sorry am on iPad so have to start again

Polgara2 Sat 04-Jan-14 09:06:11
1sassylassy Sat 04-Jan-14 09:18:54

Unless you actually need a laptop,I would go with the desktop,more durability,tend to live longer and far easier to upgrade/replace components if needed.I think its this one you mean,very similar spec to my laptop which has done everything I,ve asked it to do at a very quick speed.

If its going to be a family PC, then I always go for a desktop,no chance of getting knocked off a table,it cant be taken to bedrooms and less chance of drinks being spilled onto vital parts.

Polgara2 Sat 04-Jan-14 09:30:40

Yes that's the one. Well it is a replacement for family desktop but dc are teens with laptops and tablets etc so they're not that bothered! I was thinking laptop so I don't have to buy extra monitor etc as none come with them these days do they? And the portability would be handy for me and dh BUT dh does like a mouse and keyboard rather than trackball etc.

1sassylassy Sat 04-Jan-14 09:51:13

You can plug in a mouse to a laptop ,you dont have to use the trackpad.

unlucky83 Sat 04-Jan-14 10:01:36

Was thinking about this and I might have issues wink...I would hate to go away for more than a couple of days and not be able to access my files...(not keen on cloud storage/remote access ...)
I've had a PC for the last 20 yrs and always had laptops (did have a desktop as well once -a friend gave me but I only used it really as a glorified typewriter). But then I have always done work at/from home (and have more than one iron in the fire eg used to do research and my partners accounts) - my last job I got a new laptop that I could connect to the servers at work ...and I take it if I am visiting my family (we stay for a couple of weeks) ...my personal life is on my computer too ...shopping lists, packing lists, to do lists...even with google calendar and a smart phone I am nearly surgically attached to my hard drive blush! - so anything but a laptop is out of the question for me! (And it is my laptop - no-one else can use it -work confidentiality etc not just me having an overly close relationship with it grin)
DP has a netbook he shared with DDs until I got DD1 her own laptop
Desktops are good though ...with all the advantages pointed out by 1sassy ...unless you are overly attached like I am!

unlucky83 Sat 04-Jan-14 10:08:39

Sorry cross post as I contemplated why I don't like desktops and realised I have an odd relationship with my computer...hmm
At home for work I have my laptop on a 'monitor' shelf on my desk and an external keyboard and mouse plugged in - I do lots of spreadsheets so find laptop keyboards/trackpads less suitable/comfortable ...
Then if I am browsing the web etc I will take my laptop and sit on the sofa or in bed...

1sassylassy Sat 04-Jan-14 10:18:49

Out of the laptops you link too,I would consider either the asus or the lenovo,in personal opinion the lenovo due to the fact I,m typing this on an AMD lenovo laptop but that is my personal opinion,,somebody else will maybe come along and tell you its crap,

In all the reliability surveys I,ve seen asus and lenovo are always in the top half,acer seem to be a marmite brand,you either love them or hate them and I,ve seen more complaints about Advent than any other brand.

Polgara2 Sat 04-Jan-14 10:20:08

Yes I agree - I was leaning towards a laptop for its versatility ( plugging in keyboard etc when in its 'home' place as you both say.) It's just the spec and price if the desktop that is now making me dither again!

Polgara2 Sat 04-Jan-14 10:21:58

Xpost 1sassy.

That's the info I need too. We had an acer desktop which I haven't liked but just couldn't decide if it was me! Had no idea if asus was good or not.

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