Buying a New Computer

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I think our computer is on it’s last legs. Five years ago when we moved here, we bought the computer on my brand new credit card at 0% APR for six months.  It was around $1000 when we bought it, a nice Gateway desktop computer with flat screen monitor.  We paid it off over six months, although it was a stretch.

Now that we’re considering purchasing a new computer, we’re faced with many options. Do we buy a laptop or another desktop? Do we buy from Dell because I get a discount? Do we get a Mac like Mr. Money wants?  There are just too many decisions.

I’m leaning towards buying a laptop.  I like the idea that I can take it with me if need be.  I would love a Mac Book, but the frugal side of me does not want to spend that much money!  I don’t know much about the different brands of computers, so I’ll probably have to do some research.  At this point, I have no idea how much they even cost. I’m thinking $500-$1,000?  It looks like I have a lot of work to do!

Do you have any computer buying tips for me?

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27 thoughts on “Buying a New Computer

  1. H Lee D says:

    Mac! Mac! Mac! It’s worth it!

    (That’s all I have to say 🙂 )

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    LOL- I was with my brother and sister this weekend and they BOTH have Macbooks. I fall in love more every day! 😉

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  2. K @ Prudent and Practical says:

    D and I were just having this conversation tonight! I can see the advantages of both: a laptop is portable and typically more expensive, whereas desktops are space wasters, typically cheaper, and are easier to upgrade (the hardware). I wouldn’t mind a Mac, but D is a PC guy and Mac’s are so expensive! We keep checking the Black Friday ads for good deals on computers this year.

    And what’s making your computer on it’s last leg? j/c With my laptops the fans have gone out. You might be able to upgrade the hardware instead of buying a new one.

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    Let me know what you guys decide!

    My stupid computer sometimes doesn’t connect to the internet. It’s like I’ll open a browser and then it takes forever for it to connect, or it doesn’t. It comes and goes. And that is so annoying! Plus, some things don’t work (like I can’t change the date in any WordPress posts- and I can do it at work, plus a friend can) so I think it’s something with my computer.

    When it doesn’t connect to the internet is the most frustrating. I am so tired of F5’ing. 😉

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  3. Mrs. Accountability says:

    I have always purchased refurbished from Tiger Direct or Buy.com and have been very pleased. It really depends on what you need. I have never paid over $500 for the box (monitor not included). My son, on the other hand, bought himself a $1700 laptop and loves it. I usually get his hand me downs, so I can’t complain too much. 😉

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    Wow, I’ll have to check that out. We have a monitor but it is an old dinosaur monitor that I paid $10 for at a garage sale. I really would like a laptop so when I go out of town I can take it with me. You are lucky you get the hand me downs!

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  4. Mrs. Accountability says:

    Oh, and I have to say it is nice sometimes to have a laptop, but I really only use mine occasionally because I detest laptop keyboards (at least the one on mine is horrid). I feel like I’m hampered by the keyboard, and having to use the touch pad. If you get a laptop, consider getting one with a keypad, or you can buy one to hook up with USB. I like using my laptop to watch movies, but rarely have time to do that. A great item to have if you are traveling and want to watch a movie. Or if you want to blog from out in your garden. 😉 You can have a place where you set up your laptop, and hook up keyboard and mouse and another monitor. I guess you *could* have the best of both worlds with a laptop.

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    Yeah, I don’t like the keyboards either. That is one of the downfalls of a laptop.

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  5. Miss M says:

    I got a cheapie HP laptop earlier in the year and am happy. I think the computer was $550, if you spend a little more you’ll get a jump in screen quality (the only place this one lacks). I’m not a mac person and can’t imagine spending that much on a computer, they do have some devout followers though 🙂

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    I’ll have to check out HP too. I don’t need anything too fancy, but it would be nice to have a decent screen for editing photos. I’m going to see if my brother can get me a good deal on a Mac. He’s pretty savvy with computers!

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  6. H Lee D says:

    Laptop v. desktop: we have a laptop, which is, at this point, all I’d ever buy. I detest sitting in chairs, so I don’t do any of my computer time at home sitting at a desk. It does travel with me from time to time — more often recently for various reasons — which is handy. If you’re using it at a desk (or somewhere similar), you can hook up external keyboards, number pads, mouse, etc. to it as desired. My keyboard is fine, though.

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    Haha, one of the big reasons I want to get one is so I can sit on the couch and type. 🙂 LAZY! I think I am going to definitely go with a laptop.

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  7. Chris says:

    What ever you do – wait until Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving). Some of the best deals of the year! If you don’t already know, check out: http://www.black-friday.net/ or http://bfads.net or http://blackfriday.gottadeal.com/ (they’re all pretty much the same, and there others). They let you get a sneak peek at the specials, and some of the sites help you build a shopping list. Makes it much easier when you’re battling the crowds. The last two years I’ve done this, and I’ve been in & out, finished all my Christmas & personal shopping within hours! Saved me a headache & a ton of money.

    As far as Mac or PC – Macs are nice but for me it’s just not worth the price, especially now that they use Intel chips just like PCs. You can easily get the same/similar spec hardware for about half the price of a Mac. But if you can find a refurbished Mac, then that might be an option.

    I just bought a new (for me at least) laptop this summer while I was traveling after my 10 year old started to have some troubles (the lcd screen is dying). My home desktop also finally gave up the ghost too. Found the laptop on Craig’s List for $200 and it even came with a transferable extended warranty (expires this January). It does have a small hard drive which I just ordered a new larger one to upgrade it too (cost me $79 for over 3x the current size). Of course I think I got lucky. If you do go the Craig’s List, make sure they have the paperwork, manufacturer’s discs, etc, basically to confirm that it’s their laptop to sell and not stolen.

    I’ve been helping a co-worker look for a laptop for your son. Found a great deal at microcenter.com ($459) – don’t know if you have one near you but they do also ship. Other good computer websites are: newegg.com , outlet.dell.com (Dell’s online outlet), mwave.com and techforless.com – I’ve purchased either systems or computer supplies/parts from all these places over the years and have been very happy with them all. I’ve also purchased stuff from other dealers and have been let down, specifically some on eBay & also tigerdirect.

    I would go to various local stores (Best Buy, Fry’s, etc), see what’s out there, figure out what your needs really are, is it going to be a desktop replacement that barely moves or is it something you really want to be able to easily travel with? I personally like the 14-15 inch screens. The 16-17 (on up) inch ones are just too big to travel with. My mom on the other hand likes the 13 inch as they are usually under 5lbs so it’s easier for her to carry. If it’s really just going to stay in one spot and occasionally move around the house, then a larger screen one is nice. Also recommend getting an extended battery from the get-go, you’ll thank me later if you do and if you don’t, later you’ll wish you had.

    Last bit of advice – stay away from netbooks! They’re basically not much better than a smartphone but with a bigger screen – not even close to being a desktop replacement. They do have their niche, but most people I think would find them too limiting in what they are capable of.

    Good Luck!

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    Wow, Chris! Thanks so much for all the tips. I think I’m going to scour the Black Friday ads and go from there. I am so excited about getting a laptop soon! I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me all of that!

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  8. Catherine says:

    Since you still have a working monitor, you can probably get a decent dell for around $300 (sans monitor). Dell laptops are pretty good, too. Make a list of things you use your computer for and go from there – if you just do e-mail, blogging, and minor photo editing, then you probably don’t need a duel-core processor with all the bells and whistles.

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    My monitor is sooo old (I got it from a garage sale for $10 a few years ago!) but works. I’m hoping to get a decent laptop with a nice screen. I’m excited!

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  9. Chris says:

    I just checked. Apple store web site has refurbished Macs on sale. Just type “refurbished” in the search box to get to them.

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  10. Tiffanie says:

    Hey! So exciting to get a new computer! Always fun in my book, lol. So, since you do photos—I am going to have to say “GO MAC!” Although I don’t have one, I’d really really really love one. However, if you are just going to do minor photo stuff a PC would serve a good purpose as well.

    Those sites mentioned before, Newegg.com included are all good sites. Also, Best Buy will price match other stores. (Not sure if they do web matching though…)

    If you want a good screen, make sure you get something with 720i/720p or higher, like 1080i or 1080p. The “p” stands for progressive and can handle motion better than the “i” (interlaced). But if you are just looking at laptop screens the difference between the i or the p will really not be a point to ponder.

    Anyway–hope this helps!!!

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  11. Nate says:

    Looks like we’re in the same boat. I have a PC notebook and I am switching to Mac, mostly because it is actually more economical. I am a software/hardware engineering student and I generally need to stay up do date with the latest operating systems. So I bought this Sony about 3 years ago when I was starting college. Then Vista came out and Sony only offered limited support. Then Windows 7 came out and Sony offered no support of the new OS. My friend with the 3 year old MacBook is running Snow Leopard just fine. So, while Apple is the more expensive choice initially, you probably won’t have to buy a new computer every 2 years in order to have the latest (most secure/functional) software.

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  12. Derek says:

    If you want to save money on a computer there is one way to go, build it. There are plenty of resources out there that will guide you through the process. I’ve done it many times and order all the parts from Newegg. You can build a computer that matches your needs perfectly, for a cheaper price. It might seem intimidating but if you have a friend good with computers offer him $50 to do it for you.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you have to buy the software. As an IT student I got windows for free so that saved a lot of cost for me. I use Open Office to save a bit more money as well.

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    That’s a great idea! My brother is actually really good with computers. I should see if he can build one for me. Thanks so much for the tip!

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