Cheap desktop

  Mike_R 18:34 26 Jan 2009

I'm looking for a replacement desktop for my grandchildren. The present 3 1/2 year old Evesham Axis 64KD desktop is playing up. I've had to reload Win XP three times recently, and now it will not boot up, so I'm told. Just a blank screen with a no signal message. I've yet to have a look at it, but I'm fearing the worst. I've seen an Acer M3201 advertised in PC World for £399, and am wondering whether it would match the old Evesham.
The grandchildren are not into gaming in a big way, and really need it for the WEB and homework. The eldest has an XBox which satisfies his wants.
I would welcome advice on the Acer and any suggestions on any other desktops under £500.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 19:00 26 Jan 2009

click here I would consider this. It will be more than enough for homework, web browsing, comes with 1GB of RAM, a 17" monitor and is only 264 squid.


  961 19:14 26 Jan 2009

Try Dell. You'll get a desktop for just over £300 inc delivery, even less if you don't need a screen, even less again if you haggle hard

Try a phone call early evening when the sales guys are trying to reach a target, Sat especially.Make sure you know the price of the cheapest by looking at the web site before you ring

Don't buy an extra warranty. If it works when it arrives it'll probably work forever.

Make sure you have a good security suite (e.g. Kaspersky, free from Barclays if you are online with them or a tenner from e-buyer etc)

  citadel 19:17 26 Jan 2009

you could try freecycle as many people have a spare pc they don't use. normally these are working ok bit have been put to one side when a newer more powerfull pc has been bought.

  birdface 19:22 26 Jan 2009

Maybe try a different monitor.3 1/2 year old it should have a few years left in it yet.

  Mike_R 23:28 26 Jan 2009

The Dell looks interesting. Has anyone had much luck with haggling?
My first task tomorrow is to see whether the problem is the monitor. However, that will not account for the three previous blue screens, although heaven knows what number one grandson has been upto. He did manage to get a virus on the laptop.

  961 09:30 27 Jan 2009

Your last post may have hit the nail on the head

The trouble with grandchildren is that they probably know more about computers (as well as other things) than you do by a long way. Unless the computer is sewn up tight with security then you can spend all your days sorting things out, quite apart from leaving you with stuff on your hard disk that you don't want there. Check list of internet sites visited regularly as a matter of course

One idea for controlling things is to set you as the administrator and allow the kids very restricted access with each one having a separate account

To get back to Dell. Yes, you can have success haggling especially if you find a guy who needs to sell only a few more to get to a daily/weekly/monthly target. In these days when everything is down to the bare bones you must appreciate that the margins are paper thin and you will have more success down the "get something added on for free" rather than much in the way of cash discount. However, free delivery is a must (although often given now as a matter of course), alittle more memory, better graphics card etc. But the secret is to go on the web site, configure the computer you want, excluding all the bits they want to charge more for and go from there. It's often hard to arrive at the headline price they show on the first page but it can be done

  Taff™ 11:27 27 Jan 2009

I`ve set up two of the Acer M3201 machines since Christmas and they are very good. The keyboard and mouse are very basic so I`d budget for a wireless set up. You`ll also need a set of speakers if you don`t have them already. At £399 for a quad core with a 19" monitor you can`t really go wrong and I doubt if you`ll get a better deal out of Dell.

Grab a free copy of OpenOffice v3.00 and you have an Office Suite that`s compatible with Microsoft Office which will sort out the homework front. You`ll need to update several programs that come pre-installed on the Acer. Adobe Reader can be dumped and replaced with PDF Xchange Viewer. Java is out of date so visit for the latest and delete previous versions.

One tip though. On Windows Update don`t take the optional graphics card update. The system doesn`t like it and it throws up an annoying message at boot up.

  Mike_R 14:40 27 Jan 2009

I'm wondering whether an SP3 update has screwed up the PC. So I will pursue that before I scrap the desktop.

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