Choosing a new desktop

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Anne Marie is in the market for a new desktop and is keen to have a recommendation on where to look and which brands to consider.

Q. Anne Marie

I’m a senior looking for a home desktop computer. Can you help me with the following:

1. What are the best websites to research a home desktop computer.

2. Can I ask whether you prefer a PC or an Apple Mac?

3. And which desktop computer/model/brand do you prefer?

Your responses will be very helpful and appreciated.

A. Drew

I’ll jump straight into this by answering question two first. I am, and always have been, a PC person, but I can see the appeal of a Mac for many users. I personally feel that if you were to get a Mac, it would be to get a laptop, not a desktop. So, for that reason, I would highly recommend a desktop PC.

Unlike the majority of laptops, which come pre-built with only minor changes allowed, a desktop computer will be very customiseable and not come with a ‘brand’ name (unless, for example, you buy a Dell computer directly from the company). I would always insist on an Intel processor, but, other than that, feel that the majority of graphics cards, types of memory and hard drives are all interchangeable.

In terms of ‘what you need’, I would always start with looking at the packages on offer from a company called MSY and then have a look at other companies such as Harvey Norman

The reality is, unless you are looking to watch videos in very high definition, run a professional design program, such as Adobe InDesign or Photoshop, or play top of the line games with graphics on full, the majority of systems should be suitable for your needs. The great thing about desktops is that if you purchase a computer and need something with a bit more RAM or space, it is very easy to get this upgraded.

I hope this helps. Finally, I recommend reading this article, which may really help with your final decision. 

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).


Total Comments: 8
  1. 0

    This senior would only ever have a Mac for simplicity of use, value for money, reliability, functionality, and after sales support.
    I am not a high end user, but it manages my communications, photos, family tree, documents, budgets, etc. I have Office for Mac because it makes communication with PC users easier, although I believe this is not an issue anymore.
    Software upgrades are free and easy, it never drops out, and always tells me what I need to do. I have aniMac, not a laptop. I can’t stand charging batteries all the time.

  2. 0

    I agree with Drew regards buying a PC, and yes I’m an intel man to but not a Celeron you need an i3 or an i5. I would suggest an all in one not a tower, that way everything is at your fingertips and a touch screen is always handy.
    Happy Computing.

  3. 0

    This senior would not have anything other than a Mac, I have had an iMac for over 8 years still going strong not had one bit of trouble with it, also have a Macbook pro lap top which is fantastic and my husband and I both have an iPad, I won a iPad mini in a competition,very lucky, never lets us down, never crashes or drops out. Ease of use, reliability, updates etc are free and easy. I also have Microsoft Office for Mac too which like Travellersjoy says is not really an issue any longer. Value for money I definitely recommend Macs as previously having had a PC found it was nothing but trouble, crashing and all sorts of problems, even to the point where it needed reformatting. Thank you all at Life Choices for keeping us updated with such a wide variety of topics all of which are very helpful to myself and am sure many other seniors of all ages

  4. 0

    I on the other hand would not touch a Mac. Having used both PC & Mac in different jobs, I recently needed to look at getting a desktop, and the answer was unequivocally a PC. Most of the time it boils down to personal choice – I just did not like working with a Mac.

  5. 0

    Should you choose a Mac or PC (laptop or desktop)? A good question, which requires you to answer a few important questions, such as;
    What do you wish to do with the Mac or PC? Is it for browsing or researching on the internet, sending emails and photos, buying things online, paying bills online, skyping with family and friends? If this is the case then most computers these days will do the job for you, either Mac, PC with intel or AMD processors. Do discuss with your children or g’children, especially if you intend to Skype (PC) or Facetime (Mac). However if your needs are greater then you should know what they are requiring you to buy more powerful machine. Some people prefer the flexibility of an ipad or tablet, which is great for keeping in touch with family and friends when you are on the move, travelling etc. But do buy a 9″ to 10″ model and not one of the small ones, which are okay for younguns with good eyesight.
    However back to Mac or PCs. Someone mentioned the website MSY which provides a number of off-the-shelf PCs with comparisons between Intel or AMD processors. In the current crop on offer I would buy the Intel with the Asus motherboard and not the AMD because it is a better board than the Gigabyte for the AMD processor. How do I know? I simply copied the name and model – Asus Z97-K into my browser and added reviews to find out from the experts. A very easy research and you can do this for the processors too; in fact all parts if you wish. This easy research about two motherboards directed me to which off-the-shelf package I would buy, which is the Intel with the Asus motherboard; the better of the two boards. That does not mean that the Asus is the best choice everytime, so do check out reviews for every board and processor being considered. There is very little difference between the two processors and the rest of the PC is identical.
    Do I prefer Intel processors over AMD, No. I review each on the internet. The last two PCs that I built have AMD processors. Both PCs are working fine and neither have caused me any hassles, with the now 9 years old still going strong.
    Do I dislike Macs? No, I simply prefer PCs because they allow me much more flexibility and I enjoy building my own.
    By the way for anyone buying a computer with a solid state hard-drive (SSD), do not defrag it, because it works differently to a hard disc drive (HDD).
    Wishing you all the best with your purchase and do play it safe with good anti-virus.

  6. 0

    PC or Mac, a matter of personal choice. I use a PC at work but my wife and I have both got Mac’s at home and love them.
    Mac’s are much less vulnerable to virus and hackers which is a point worth considering.

  7. 0

    The new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a great machine. It’s a laptop, can be converted to a tablet by just snapping of the screen and if you are visually challenged like me and don’t like working on a laptop when not mobile, one can connect a large screen and mouse. You can use it traditionally with a mouse or with your finger just like an iPad. It also allows you to use a stylus pen on the screen to write, draw, mark-up and so on.
    Combine it with Office 365 and you are ready for some serious work or just use freely available social media.
    The Surface Pro is also Windows 10 ready.
    A mid range surface Pro 3 costs $1207 at JBHIFi for the 12 inch screen size, i5 Intel processor, 8 GB RAM and 125 GB on board Storage.
    It’s a great buy and you have the best of a laptop, desktop and tablet all-in-one
    The Surface Pro

  8. Profile Photo

    Both my wife and I use Linux based laptops and I have a new desktop, also Linux. We don’t have to worry about viruses, trojans, etc.
    Laptops and all-in-ones have the disadvantage of limited expansion options if in the future you have to upgrade for one reason or another.
    I would recommend either Intel or AMD, but not Celeron as they are an underpowered, “cheaper” type of processor. I’ve not owned a Mac because they were expensive to buy and service.
    Desktops are the go if you’re a Windows fan, as each new version seems to require more up-to-date hardware. If you’re OK with a used computer (less than 5yo) you can get a bargain machine with quite high specs. on the internet.
    I agree with Blinky Bill, Asus is a better brand in most cases and also it pays to read reviews to compare which PC is better than another.
    One last thing – you shouldn’t have to pay more than about $600 for a desktop box!



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