Choosing A New Computer


Corn Fed Hick...
...on the slake
Our computer is on the way out and despite my poor choice last time I've still been given the job of getting a new one.

Generally it gets used for a bit of word processing, internet, storage of photos and music. Don't play any computer games or the like.

I like the look of the Sony 'all in one' but they're quite pricey. HP do a similar sort of thing for about half the money but I don't know what they're like. Mrs 3BM is hesitant at getting another Mac as ours hasn't behaved itself very well.

Any recommendations or ones to avoid? :laugh:


Well-Known Member
I would avoid any own brand stuff at PC World etc, like Advent. Instead go for a brand such as Dell (online) HP, or Toshiba (for laptops) sony are ok but as you say a bit pricey.

Watch out if buying online from Dell, prices look cheaper than they really are, as you may need to upgrade the spec to get the right amount of memory etc.

Software included with new PC's is usually a trial period only, don't let it sway your choice unless you're sure it's the full product.

Avoid Packard Bell like the plague. My brother had one from PC World, sent it back and it took a month to repair, because he didn't have the 'extra' insurance, very poor service. And it's broke again but now just out of warranty.


Legendary Member
My son worked very hard (at 17) to save to buy his own laptop. He got a Sony Vaio and he's very pleased with it, when I get a go, not often, it seems impressive. No faults to date other than a key coming off the keyboard which was replaced FOC in a couple of days. I have two HP laptops in my office and another at home, and all have been faultless. The home one had to suffer five different users for about two years and got in a bit of a mess. I re-formatted the hard drive, reinstalled all the software and it's like new, very impressed.

My advice would be to be very clear about what you want to achieve / do and then ask a tech savvy friend for advice. I would definetly get a laptop rather than a PC, it's neater, tidies away easily and obviously portable. Any machine will be a relatively expensive purchase, I think it's a false economy to buy cheap, this is a purchase which will last a long time and give you a lot of value for money. Go for a recognised brand, Sony, HP and Toshiba would be my choice if buying a laptop.
I'm using an Advent laptop at the moment - about 8 years old now. BUT it was a Medion build - don't think they are the same quality now. BTW either Aldi or Lidl sell Medions when they have their specials on them. Have been running Ubuntu on it for around 3 years now and a hard disc change yesterday has also got me a dual XP boot on it.

Desktop is a no name thing built up by the lcs (local computer shop, see what I did there?) built to my specs at the time and easy to return for repair, which its never needed any attention anyway. Could be a good option if you have a decent one anywhere close and they listen to what you need.

+1 on Packard Bell. Have a friend who works for PCW occasionally, says they send them back by the van load, but he likes Acers.


New Member
I would advocate very very very strongly in a custom build. It will actually be cheaper than a standard box, rather than the other way around as it is with most other things. Every computer Ive owned since age 18 has been a custom build.


1) It will be cheaper* (probably, unless you want a high spec machine)

2) It will be spec'ed to your requirements, so will eliminate things which you dont need.

3) Because it will be built into a case, if you ever need to upgrade you can have this done. With a off the shelf PC, the innards are moulded, so if you need to replace anything, it will probably have to have the same dimensions exactly and limits your choice. This is the main reason I moved to custom builds.

Just find a decent LCS (local computer shop) and have a chat to the guys there, see if you think they are trying to skank you out of your money, and if not start talking shop about a new comp. I am very confident you will find it a much better experience than buying a CSO (computer shaped object)

Im from an IT background, so that where Ive got the information from if that helps :evil:

Dan B

Disengaged member
I build my own (just as with bicycles), but I am reluctant to recommend this course of action to anyone who doesn't want to learn how to (just as with bicycles). And tbh for a basic system I doubt it will be cheaper than buying from Dell or the like unless you have parts you can reuse

But by all means avoid Packard Dell.
I have also always built my own, but I cannot see how a homebuild can compete price-wise to a cheap mass manufactured box shifter company like DellCompaq. And you have to add your build time and expertise to that, plus guarantees for individual parts could mean a lot of hassle if something stops working.

Building your own is great if you either have parts lying around, or are after specific hardware configuration though.

Check out somewhere like or for some cheap machines.


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
Built my own as well, sticking to a budget, but with options for upgrading RAM, HD and graphics later - which I did.

One thing that is worthwhile, especially if you have photos and other important stuff, is to build a RAID system - you fit two discs that 'appear' as one, but if one fails, you replace the broken one and it rebuilds itself - That's what I looked for in my machine 5 or so years ago - outdated now, but still pretty nippy.

Or, as some folk point out - Local Computer Shop for the base unit.
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