How do I chose a good budget desktop computer?

Started Nov 14, 2012 | Questions thread
skyglider Veteran Member • Posts: 4,577
Re: I appreciate everybody's advice! I ended up getting a new base model Dell XPS 8500.

FNorman wrote:

It is expected to be delivered this coming Wednesday. The computer has an Intel i5 processor, 1TB hard drive, and 8GB of ram. It came to $686.60 with tax (which is always ridiculous living in NY). Two day shipping was free. Additionally I will be getting a Dell gift card for 5% of the purchase price for having purchased it through the Dell Member program (Who knew AAA could get you a discount on a PC?) and another 5% Cash back on my credit card.

Based on what I have read on other threads the only thing I'm nervous about at this point is Windows 8. I would have purchased a Windows 7 machine, but they seemed to be in short supply, and some of them actually seemed to cost slightly more.

I think I can learn to live without the "Start menu." The compatibility issues with older programs could be an issue. I see Picasa hasn't released a version specifically for Windows 8 yet. Additionally I bought a Canon Canoscan 9000f to bring some of my family's old photos back to life, so fingers crossed that it works well on the new OS.

All in all, I think I will be happy. I ended up spending a little more (I had been leaning towards a sub $500 model for the past few weeks) but the expandability of the XPS appealed to me and I like that I can add to it if I want to down the road.

Congrats on a great choice of hardware.  (Not so sure about the windows 8 though) 

One suggestion.  When you receive your new PC, maybe consider partitioning the HDD for 124 GB for the system (and programs) partition.  Then if you decide to upgrade to a SSD later, you could get a 128 GB one and transfer the system into the SSD.  124GB would definitely be smaller than a 128GB SSD so the transfer should work.

Also, making a smaller partition for the system and programs will allow you to backup your system easier.  You can make more frequent backups of the data partition without having to needlessly backup your OS and programs.  You can backup your system partition when you install new software without having to backup your data partition.  Lots of advantages to keeping system and programs separate from your data.

However, there's a caveat.  Owning a Dell laptop, I know that Dell says that partitioning the HDD can void tech support from them.  But I think that's just a CYA and they will still provide tech support.  I partitioned the hard drive on my laptop when I received it but never had to rely on Dell's tech support anyway.

Just some things to consider,

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