Advice on New Computer Purchase

  Juni 10:48 11 Dec 2006

My 15 year old son wants a computer for Christmas, his main use would be for MSN chat and gaming. (should be for educational needs as well - but don't tell him that) It's a minefield out there and there are so many different options. Can any one give me a nudge in the right direction (budget £500 - £700)

  rawprawn 11:42 11 Dec 2006

Dell, good honest workhorses Dimension 9200 at the top end of your scale and E521 at the lower end. Anything in between and if you buy now I think you can get a free upgrade to Windows Vista when it is launched
click here

  keef66 13:00 11 Dec 2006

For MSN chat and educational needs, you could get away with spending considerably less than £500. As soon as you add gaming to your requirements, you're well into £700 territory and beyond.

Is gaming definitely required? I only ask because I have 2 sons, 17 and 15, who now do all their gaming on the Xbox, and the pc is used only for internet, MSN, music files and homework.

This forum and others is full of queries from people who have bought Dell pc's designed for internet and office work, and finding they simply cannot be upgraded tp play today's games

  Totally-braindead 13:40 11 Dec 2006

No particular PC to recommend but if he'll be playing games on it make sure it has at least an AGP slot ot better still a PCI Express slot so you can upgrade the graphics if required.
Have a look at the Novatech ones perhaps.

  mymate 13:42 11 Dec 2006

Dell has free delivery on at the moment so you save £50.

  keef66 13:52 11 Dec 2006

you could do worse than pick up a copy of PC Advisor and read the top 10 lists and buying advice that goes with them. You'll more than save the price of the mag by making an informed purchase.

  Kate B 13:54 11 Dec 2006

One thing to bear in mind about Dells is that they can be difficult to upgrade.

  Pamy 14:08 11 Dec 2006

I have said this to everyone that asks this question, ask your son what he wants, they know more than you think, they have friend with computers, if you want it as a suprise then try talking to his best friend.

  Juni 19:08 13 Dec 2006

My thanks to all those who have offered advice, I'll bear in mind that Dell can be difficult to upgrade, and also the fact that a lot of games are played on PS2. Asking my son what his requirements are would probably be a mistake, I'll end up paying £1000's for a state of the art machine that does everything except make the tea!!!

  DrScott 19:21 13 Dec 2006

actually asking would be a good idea, since if he has a PS2 for games, and games would not be the primary use of the computer, then you're already saving at least £400. If he really wants a computer for games as well, then you're going to have to think a bit harder about your budget :)

Dell are perfectly adequate, and whilst upgrading is something I do all the time, it's rarely straight forward and I suspect a Dell would do you just fine.

'Future-proofing' is also impossible, and whatever you buy now will be out of date in 6 months time. Just think about what you really need, what you're likely to need from the PC in the forseeable future, and go from there.

Controversially, an Apple Mac is rather a good choice too...

  961 19:21 13 Dec 2006

Take him to PCWorld or if it must be under the tree, go yourself

Let him pick within your budget.

Pay with a credit card

It really is a bit late to buy on the net, what with delivery problems and dead on arrival. Nothing worse than switching it on at Dec 25 and having no response

He wants, you want to give, go and get, take it home in the car, see it works, if it don't take it back and change it

Advent and other PCWorld makes aren't the last word, but they do work, they are reliable, and they are value for money

If you want to go the other route, then Dell are value. Again. not the tops, but reliable

Any other mail order, it's too late for Chrimble. Try the New Year sales

Whatever you decide, Happy Christmas! Enjoy

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