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Mac Dude

The age old question, a PC for the relos...

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I'm sure there are more than a few here who get the request from relos - their old desktop running Vista has died and they need a new PC so they call you.

What to recommend...

I've built high end PCs for various folks for gaming, video editing etc, but not really any entry level boxes. You know the type, web browsing, email, looking at photos from their digital camera and that's about it.

I have been wondering if NUCs are the way to go here. Just chuck in some storage and an OS and off you go.

For example, I currently have a request for such a system and was looking at the following :

Intel NUC BOXNUC6CAYSAJR

RAM (replace 2GB with 8)

SSD

Keyboard/Mouse

 

All up about $550

 

The NUC above comes with Win10 Home so you're good to go assuming you have an existing display :)

 

Anyone else had to recommend a PC for this type of use and budget? What did you recommend?

 

EDIT : Thge NUC has the following specs

 

CPU - Celeron J3455 (2MB Cache, up to 2.3 GHz, quad core)

RAM - 2MB DDR3L(Max 8MB)

Storage - 32GB embedded with Win10 Home pre-installed, 1x 2.5" SATA

Expansion - M.2 Slot, SDXC slot

I/O - 6 x USB ports (2.0 & 3.0), Toslink, Mic, Audio out, Lan port, Integrated WiFi

Edited by Mac Dude

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They're OK so long as there's not the expectation of it being used for modern 3D games, and the more demanding 4K and/or H.265 video playback might be a chore.

 

Probably worth your while to compare with equivalent laptops seeing that they're essentially the same thing in a different package.

You could probably do a desktop at comparable price using something like an AMD APU or low-end Intel Pentium.

I've not had a lot to do with the low-end Intel mainstream stuff but the noteworthy thing is that they give you the CPU upgrade option down the road once they devalue and start hitting the market at decent prices. Though in the meantime you'd likely be suffering compared to some of the decent midrange CPUs that some NUCs have.

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I had a look at some of the store built desktops and they aren't really any cheaper. The killer is the SSD - most low end builds have a hard drive, and Windows(yes I prefer to be legal).

 

You're right about laptops though. A laptop at a similar price point could have a AMD Quad-Core A6-7310 processor which would be better, though still a mechanical hard drive.

 

I know I'm getting hung up on the hard drive vs SSD, but SSDs are noticeably faster especially when compared to slow laptop drives...

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I went the NUC route for family/SOHO builds last year, and while they were spec'd higher than what you're looking at, they were definitely worth it (from a 'look how little space they take up, omg it just works!' POV; there's definitely extra money being spent on that form factor).

The only problem is no optical drive built in, but that's becoming less of an issue as time goes on and there's always a USB option.

 

 

But yes - definitely an SSD. Night. And. Day.

 

 

___

What's with that 'built in storage'? The ones I got weren't populated; I ended up getting m.2 SSDs for them, for windows, and an SSD for backup.

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What's with that 'built in storage'? The ones I got weren't populated;

Yeah, I know.

 

This seems to be a one off that has Win10 pre-installed. It seems a reasonable way to buy the OS.

 

Doing more homework, I could probably build one slightly cheaper with better specs (Pentium G4560 for example). Of course that brings with it more 'after sales service'.

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the single core performance of the Celeron J3455 is around that of the old athlon x2 which will make things load a little slower with a ssd than it would with the pentium but otherwise it should operate fine

its a fair bit quicker than the old e350 atom build i replace with a i3 nuc

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Also somethign to consider, is the OS.

Ubuntu (with the default UNITY shell) is by far the easiest OS for anyone to use.

 

If they're anything like my relatives, they do 100% of their computering 'online'.

 

Firefox is the default browser, Open Office is included just in case, Thunderbird is the default email client, USB sticks and what not auto-mount these days, and appear on the desktop.

There is a sidebar (basically identical to the macs bottom bar) to easilyt show apps and which one's open.

 

Not only that, but if they're 'scared of the computer' at all (lots of older rellies get nervous) leaving them a live-CD\USB (so they can always use it if need be), and assuring them its 110% immune to viruses they're going to encounter; they're often a lot happier.

 

If they do stuff 'offline' also, then, sure, teaching linux to people is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

But if Firefox, OpenOffice, VLC player, GIMP (photoshop), Rythmbox or Clementine (if they use an ipod\iphone),,, it really 'just works' these days.

And if they dont know how to 'install' there's an 'app store' built in too.

 

Im still a windows boy at heart, and I use it almost exclusively, but for older relatives, you can't go poast Ubuntu Unity. It's like a friendler macOS

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Im still a windows boy at heart, and I use it almost exclusively, but for older relatives, you can't go poast Ubuntu Unity. It's like a friendler macOS

Yeah, I've thought about this but not been game to get folks to jump :)

 

I do have an old lappy with Unity installed (because, fun). I think it might be worthwhile showing it to them so they realise how easy it is.

 

I haven't played with OpenOffice for a while, any compatibility issues?

 

The only other hurdle is getting them to let go of Outlook...

Edited by Mac Dude

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use to use thunderbird but these days i just use gmail it seems much simpler and has less problems

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You can pick up cheap (usually under $10) licence keys for Office and Windows on eBay from system dismantlers, though in most cases to get Outlook you'll need something above the Home & Student version of Office (the UK based ones probably best to deal with).

 

I use OE Classic for email but the annoyance of the free version is it only allows 1 filter definition although I've got ISP level filtering and can create definitions there.

I'd probably just put Thunderbird on and tell them to learn it and put up with the constant updating.

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Im still a windows boy at heart, and I use it almost exclusively, but for older relatives, you can't go poast Ubuntu Unity. It's like a friendler macOS

Yeah, I've thought about this but not been game to get folks to jump :)

 

I do have an old lappy with Unity installed (because, fun). I think it might be worthwhile showing it to them so they realise how easy it is.

 

I haven't played with OpenOffice for a while, any compatibility issues?

 

The only other hurdle is getting them to let go of Outlook...

 

 

to let go of outlook, show them how good HOTMAIL (outlook.com) has actually become.

 

If you can get them to go "online only" (as much as I hate it) there's just no better solution for a 'home user' who doesn't need to manage their own data.

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You'll need more than 32GB storage. Especially if massive Windows updates kick in!

Even with a slim version of Linux, it would still want more storage.

Edited by Jeruselem

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It's got the M.2 slot so you could put another drive in (seems it has inbuilt MMC device of 32 Gig).

Then you can just point documents and program files to store there.

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You'll need more than 32GB storage. Especially if massive Windows updates kick in!

Even with a slim version of Linux, it would still want more storage.

 

Nah you wouldn't with Ubuntu, it uses about 8~10GB depending on how heavy you install it (tick the 'non open source software' options etc.

20GB for temp files is a lot....

And despite popular belief, they're unlikely to have 20GB of music or some such; because it'd basically fill a 32GB iphone, and no one (non power user) does that.

Even if they did, its probably ON THE PHONE, and we're talking end users; so, "what's a backup?"

 

Of course there are exceptions, but come on, we gotta play by most common denominator here.

 

Where you're likely getting tripped up is that in Windows, you need to install "better software" for almost all tasks.

In Ubuntu Unity, for the 'non tweaker', firefox, thunderbird, gimp, openoffice, vlc player, and so on, are "good enough" and in some cases, the best choice already.

That "8GB install" ALREADY has all the software one could want (as a non power user).

Edited by Master_Scythe

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Flash and SSD drives don't behave very well when they get full so I'm always on the side more is better.

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Flash and SSD drives don't behave very well when they get full so I'm always on the side more is better.

Agreed, though the box in the OP has a number of storage expansion options.

 

Anyway at this stage it looks like they want to revive the old PC, sigh.

 

maybe just an SSD and rebuild in the end.

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