Need to replace our 6 year old Dell desktop - advice please

  bear73 14:40 13 Sep 2013


Our Dell desktop is passed it's best and is suffering numerous problems. We've decided to buy a new desktop for the family to use and would love some advice and recommendations re a good replacement.

We are not big gamers and the pc is used mainly for Internet browsing, storage of photos and videos, MS office. My daughter uses Minecraft but that's it really for gaming needs.

We are happy to a desktop with a tower or an all in one. We'd like 1TB storage and a decent amount of memory (4-8GB). Windows 8. Screen no smaller than about 22-23". Ideally all in one package with keyboard, mouse etc. Our budget is 600-900, but would like not to spend as much as the top budget. If its necessary though then so be it.

We've only had Dell before now and were looking at Lenovo or Chillblast. Chillblast felt a bit daunting as there was so much choice but I know they've scored well in best family desktop tests. Not sure how much stock to place in these reviews and rests etc though.

Any advice appreciated as our pc is so frustrating I need to order a new one ASAP!

Thanks Bear

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:46 13 Sep 2013

Chillblast Commando will be my choice just leaving it until Oct 17th until windows 8.1 comes out.

Hardware wise for a family PC its as future proof as you can get however no bundle software other than windows 8

  bear73 16:14 13 Sep 2013

Thanks fruit bat. Does the fact 8.1 comes out in October mean that's what Chillblast will start to use in their machines?

Just wondered if they would necessarily upgrade the OS straight away.

Is there anything you would upgrade or add in to the spec? Chillblast offer so many options I wasn't sure if certain things were worth upgrading or paying more for?


  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:22 13 Sep 2013

I've looked through the options and really there is no need to change anything its really just a matter of personal choice.

As for whether they will upgrade , yes sooner or later but perhaps not on the 17th, anyway its a free sp1 download and install from MS.

  bear73 16:26 13 Sep 2013

Thanks so much. Not sure our current pc will last until October!

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:32 13 Sep 2013

So what problems has your current PC got?

Make(Dell), Model, op system, symptoms?

This forum is good about solving all sorts of PC problems.

  bear73 19:40 13 Sep 2013

The monitor has stopped turning on at startup and when it goes into sleep mode. I'm getting blue screen of death. I'm getting errors about amount of sysyem memory has changed when I do finally turn it on. It had a new graphics card in March and was ok for a while but now it's playing up a lot. It now takes 3-6 goes to get the screen to turn on. It is also very very slow and we've been saying for ages we'd like to upgrade as it's over 6 years old now.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 21:03 13 Sep 2013

graphics card, cable or Monitor -


Remove refit graphics card to remake the connections - check power and monitor cable at monitor end - try plugging the PC into another monitor or flat screen PC

Vista and 7 are both bad at recovering from sleep mode best not to bother with sleep mode just shut down.

How much spare room on the hard drive?

can you tell us the error number on the BSOD?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 21:07 13 Sep 2013

Speed Up a Slow PC

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use CCleaner

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :- Malwarebytes Superantispyware

Free Antivirus software Avast

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in CCleaner its very safe and also allows you to back up the registry first.

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Right click MY Computer - select properties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a different drive (if you have one), click custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory = set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok. If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the PC to crash (restart).

e) Cut down on the programs that load at start up -- Start - Run type msconfig - start up tab- untick everything except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. see

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives /

i) Check for errors and defrag your hard drives -- My Computer - select drive - properties - tool tab - Error checking / Defragmentation.

ii) If you are using Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 it's a good idea to convert your system drive to the NTFS file system if you have not already. In addition to providing numerous security and data recovery improvements over FAT32 (the file system of choice for Windows 9x/ME and XP Home) it can also speed up your system slightly.

In fact, the only real reason for sticking with the FAT32 file system for any of your data is if you have more than one operating system on your PC and the other OS's can only see FAT32 partitions (as would be the case with Windows 98, for example, which is incapable of reading NTFS data).

To convert your drives to NTFS: Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage' From the computer management window, expand storage and select 'disk management.' Using the 'file system' column of the upper pane of this window, you can easily check what file system each of your logical drives is using. Make a note of this information. Now open a command prompt window by going to 'start\run' and typing 'cmd' To convert a disk to NTFS, type 'convert (drive letter): /fs:ntfs' So for example, if you were going to convert your C: drive, you would type 'Convert c: /fs:ntfs' at the prompt.

b) Drivers Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware This may seem a bit obvious, but keeping your system's drivers up to date can give both your performance and stability a boost. Video card manufacturers release updates especially often, and these can often give "significant boosts" to gaming performance as video card in question is "optimized."

Don't neglect the other components of your system either. Your motherboard manufacturer may have released newer versions of its Input/output drivers for your board, and sound cards and other peripherals can also benefit from newer software.

c) Memory Your memory could be failing try memtest

Add more physical memory, this of course means opening the "box" and fitting a memory module, make sure you buy one that is suitable for your PC. Crucial will guide you through the process of selecting the correct memory. click here for a guide to fitting memory.

  martd7 21:13 13 Sep 2013

Bear 73

i agree with fruit bat,good pc,very good price,windows 7 if you dont want windows 8,and an excellent monitor

  john bunyan 21:27 13 Sep 2013

I am a bit of a "back up" obsessional, having once lost stuff. I have a second Hard drive in my tower - same size as main one (ie 500 gig each). I have my main HD partitioned into about 120 gig for system and programmes and the rest for data (all under a master folder -"My Documents" with the usual sub folders for pictures, Word, Music etc).I use Freefilesynch to make frequent mirror images of my data partition on the second drive and ATI images of the System partition and have a third USB drive to make the occasional clone. All I am saying is - consider a second HD as a back up. I assume you must have a lot of video to need 1TB.

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