Which PC for under £500(ish)?

  Tycoben 13:16 11 Nov 2009

I currently have a Mesh, which I've had for almost 5 years and had nothing but trouble with in that time. It was (in theory) a good model too, but it's now got to the stage where I have to replace it, but I'm baffling myself with what's out there and what will best meet my needs.

I use my pc for the internet, emailing, word/excel documents, uploading and basic photo editing, and also for playing games. I enjoy games like the Myst series, Sims, rollercoaster tycoon etc, so I'd like the pc to be quick and responsive enough to enjoy playing that sort of game.

I don't have the money to spend more than a few pounds over £500, and a good pc for less would be even better! (I don't need a monitor or any other peripherals). I'm also looking at high street retailers, rather than online, as my experience with Mesh has totally put me off and if I have problems in future I'd prefer to be able to deal face to face with someone. I know I'll get less spec for the money buying it that way though.

So far, I've looked at the Hewlett Packard P6206
click here

the Packard Bell iXtreme X5620uk
click here

the Dell Inspiron 546 MT
click here

the Compaq Presario CQ5115uk
click here

and the Acer Aspire M7300 (which is over budget really)
click here

as well, as out of interest, the Mac Mini.
click here

But I've totally baffled myself, and don't know which (if any) would be the best option for me.

Any advice, input or alternative suggestions of more suitable machines would be much appreciated!

Thank you very much.

  numpty_uk 13:51 11 Nov 2009

We recently bought from Novatech & are 100% happy with our new pc.
So you could try them?

  GaT7 17:47 11 Nov 2009

I'm not sure of the graphics requirements for the games you mention, but try to avoid one with integrated graphics (1st, 2nd & 4th in your list), or one that's OTT (the 5th in your list). The Dell & the Mac Mini are a bit weak on the graphics side as well, but somewhat better than the integrated ones.

Try to aim for a minimum of a HD 4670 - this will not require a PSU upgrade (for most modern systems) & will even run some of the newer games reasonably well, so should last you a while. You can always get a PC with integrated graphics & install a HD 4670 for ~£50, e.g. click here / click here / click here. Just make sure the case is a normal midi-tower & not a slim-type one (ask us if in doubt).

The HP P6206 together with the graphics upgrade should be just fine.

Another thing you may want to get is Windows 7 pre-installed - i.e. instead of Vista, unless you don't have a preference. G

  TipTop20 10:22 12 Nov 2009

Tycoben why dont you have a look at Cube247! Very good company with great after sales. Theres some really good systems on there website, and you can always swap and change components. If you are only needing the base unit, and are wanting it for gaming i would suggest the Zenith system, great spec with a good graphics card. My friend has just bought the Zuben system - similar to the Zenith but with a intel processor and got it for next day delivery. Might be slighly over your budget but definately worth looking into!

  Managing ed 10:59 12 Nov 2009

Latest budget desktop PC reviews (even if you don't buy one of these models, it's worth seeing what is available to compare and contrast): click here

  Tycoben 14:34 12 Nov 2009

Thank you for the input and advice so far.

In response to Crossbow7's post - How easy is it to do a graphics card upgrade on a pc? I'm asking as the sort of person who never understands what the heck I'm looking at whenever I look inside the tower, and have never changed or upgraded a component in my life! I'm not daft, but I think I can say with confidence that the inside of computers is not my forte...

I shall have a look at Cube247, thank you TipTop20, although as I said before I've been a bit burned by the Mesh experience and it's tainted my view of online retailers a bit as a result. Unfairly, I know, as there are obviously good ones out there. But, at the time, everyone was saying Mesh was good, and that didn't pan out so well for me!!!

And I shall read the budget desktop reviews too, and see if anything else grabs me, thanks Managing Ed.

  GaT7 17:22 12 Nov 2009

It can seem daunting at first, but is relatively easy.

The graphics card will only fit in one of the slots, & needs slotting in with the PC turned off. On reboot, you double-click on the driver install file (supplied on the disk or freshly downloaded) to install, then reboot again. Once in Windows you may need to change resolution settings to suit your monitor.

There are many guides out there with screenshots & videos (e.g. click here) & we can help you if needed. G

  Hawk eye 20:14 13 Nov 2009

I ordered one 4 weeks ago and still do not have it. I'm getting really fed up!

  naineysman 23:21 14 Nov 2009

absolutely no worries

click here

  sharpamat 13:12 15 Nov 2009

Bit more than your budjet on offer this week but look as specs and 3 year warantee click here

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