Hewlett Packard S3514 - do I buy?

  renard 00:15 01 Nov 2008

I am considering buying the following desktop PC package. It is needed for normal household use - internet access / email / 'my pictures' / children's homework projects and basic children's games.

The package is a Hewlett Packard Pavilion S3514 with HP 19" TFT monitor and HP F4180 printer / scanner / copier. Windows Vista Home Premium loaded. Total cost £450.

The spec from Hewlett Packard's website is here:

click here

I don't really need the printer as I already have a newish Canon printer, but presumably I can sell it on.

Having been thoroughly bewildered by the choice of PCs, I am inclined towards this one. But before shelling out my hard-earned cash I would be extremely grateful to hear from anyone who has the S3514 or can offer any other advice.

Many thanks, in anticipation.

  chub_tor 22:46 01 Nov 2008

The HP is a good machine, not outstanding but good and certainly adequate for what you will be using it for. Personally I don't go for bundled deals and if I was looking for a machine with a similar spec to the HP I would go for click here and with the money you have saved buy a really good monitor, as big as you can afford.

That's my contribution I'm sure that you will get others.

  rustyboy 12:00 03 Nov 2008

What warranty does it come with?
To be honest with you there are alot of machines around that will do what you require for alot less money thatn that.
How old are your children?
The reason i ask that is depeneding on their age will depend on what type of games they want to play and your machine may not be capable of playing the type of things they like.

Take a look at these people
click here
they have a good reputation a decent warranty with all thier products and they are not overpriced.

  renard 22:01 03 Nov 2008

Very many thanks for your replies, chub-tor and rustyboy.

From what you advise, it appears that I was about to make the wrong decision by buying the HP package. I will certainly now be considering Acer, chub-tor - and someone else has said I could get a decent machine from Dell, which I hope is good advice!

rustyboy: the children are an 8-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl. I can't imagine them wanting to play any particularly sophisticated games, just lower end stuff. Or perhaps I am mistaken . . .

I'm sure I am not alone in finding this selection process somewhat bewildering. It seems there are so many pitfalls awaiting the unwary newbie, and I don't want to buy an unsatisfactory machine.

  rustyboy 22:33 03 Nov 2008


My eldest was 8 when he discovered online gaming, he's now 11.
Its now difficult (if not impossible sometimes) to seperate him from his 'World of Warcraft' and my daughter (10 yrs) is a facebook fanatic.

Power Flyer AMD Tower System,
Black and Silver ATX MIDI Tower Case,
400 Watt Power Supply Unit,
Gigabyte GA-MA69VM,
AMD Athlon 5000+ X2 Dual Core 2.6GHz 1MB Cache,
Kingston 2GB (1x2GB) DDR2 800MHz,
160GB 7200RPM SATA II,
Samsung SH-S223 22x DVD RW Black SATA,
nVidia GeForce 9500GT 512MB,
Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 Home Premium (64-bit),
19" Widescreen TFT 1440x900 5m/s Monitor,
Keyboard and optical mouse with Desktop Speakers,
Built-in audio,
2 Years Return to Base inc. 2 Years Free Collect & Return Parts & Labour.

The machine ive listed above can be purchased from the site I mentioned above. It costs the same as the HP machine you first looked at but comes with a better specification. This will be able to play games and DvD's etc for your children and be more than able to run everyday computing stuff. The main difference is it has a dedicated graphics card to allow for the increase in performance and it comes with an all singing all dancing 2 year warranty. Also their customer service lines do not keep you hanging on in a queue for 20 minutes unlike the larger providers. Dell and Mesh to name but a two. Use it as a base line for what you should look for and don't forget to look at the warranty the various providers include. You'll be suprised at the number of large manufacturers that will only give you a 1 year RTB (return to base - which means you have to pay the postage to get it back to them). A 2 year collect and return warranty is usually an extra which can cost upwards of £60.00 which really bumps up the initial outlay.

Good luck

  renard 00:05 04 Nov 2008

Many thanks for going to so much trouble on my behalf, rustyboy.

I have looked at the PC you recommend. I also understand your advice about getting a dedicated graphics card.

Please may I push my luck with a few more questions?

1. What is a 400 Watt Power Supply Unit? Does it mean another piece of kit sitting alongside the PC?

2. Please can you explain this: Gigabyte GA-MA69VM ?

3. I assume this "160GB 7200RPM SATA II" is the hard drive. Would it be advantageous to upgrade to 320GB, or is 160 adequate?

4. "SATA" keeps appearing. What is that, please?

5. Finally, I am inclined to opt for a Micro tower case, to save desktop space. Would there be any drawbacks to such an option?

I do hope I am not being a nuisance. You have already been more than helpful over this issue.

Warm regards.

  natdoor 10:53 05 Nov 2008

Without wishing to steal rustyboy's thunder and without going into details:-

1. This just means that the power supply within the PC can deliver 400 watts, which is more that in basic PCs.

2. This is the motheboard.

3. It wouldn't cost a lot more and would provide more storage. Whether you need it or wish to have all your eggs in one basket (HDDs do fail) is up to you.

4. SATA refers to the interface used to connect to HDDs and DVDs etc. It is the latest technology, being faster and causing less obstruction to the passage of cooling air in the PC because of the cable used.

5. Less scope for upgrading but this may not be a poblem for you.

If you wish to find out more about these and other topics, you could use google or an equivalent.

  Joe R 14:09 05 Nov 2008


if you want to go just a little further, PCA's best buy in the under £500 category, is a far more powerful system. click here

  rustyboy 14:11 05 Nov 2008

As Nat said with one addition.

3. You could go fro the bigger hard drive if your budget allows. It depends what you intend to store on it other than the normal desktop programs, office programs and a few games for the kids. Rather than spending and extra £20 or so on a larger drive. You might look at buying something like this
click here

It plugs straight into your computer and can be used to keep copys of anything you have on your PC so that (heaven forbid) anything goes wrong with your machine in the future you will have all your important photo's , music & documents backed up.

a 160gb drive is enough to save 32000 photos (using a 5 megapixel camera)or 53333 music tracks (taking the average music track as using 3mb of space) so Unless you are going to have a huge amount of stuff on it 160gb should be enough for general use.

  rustyboy 14:22 05 Nov 2008

Im sorry Joe but I dont agree there.
its not that much more powerfull (if at all) and its £50.00 more expensive with only a 1 year parts and labour rtb warranty.
So you would end up paying more for a similar system and only having half the warranty.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask. I hope out posts havent made things worse for you.

  Joe R 14:56 05 Nov 2008


glad you posted there.

The system I was referring to, was the Arbico elite 8595, but obviously my link is not going to the right page.

This will give you the PCA review. click here

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