XMAS PC gift for wife (1 Viewer)

navychop

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My wife wants a new PC. She's had a laptop for 4-5 years (my, how time flies - I still think of it as new!). It has minor problems, such as once in a while taking a few minutes before the bios login appears. We used to use it on the road with a GPS program, but now have Magellan and another laptop for travel. And, of course, the iPhone fills most needs anyway.

Anyway, other than surfing and email, the primary use is her "hobby:" Endlessly redesigning our kitchen with 3D Home Architect. The laptop really doesn't quite have enough horsepower to drive this thing, there are slowdowns, freeze-ups, etc. And I plan to get her a fancier W7 capable program anyway (probably one of the Chief Architects if I can figure out the differences in their offerings). So a PC makes more sense than another laptop.

I told her it would be a shame if we ever actually redid the kitchen, because then she'd no longer have her fun redesigning it. (Don't do that.)

So it will be a W7 machine, probably 32 bit, and even though I'm running out of time, with other needs pressing, I'm inclined to build one. I could near duplicate my new machine for her, an ASUS P6T with a Radeon HD4670. But I wonder if that is an appropriate video card for the use. There will be no gaming. Last game she played was Myst.

And then, which widescreen would you recommend, bang for the buck wise? I'd probably buy 2 identical ones, one for each machine. I bought an ASUS LCD at work, it seems fine. I want a good monitor, but no need for a super expensive one. These things seem to change every month.

Any suggestions?
 

mike123abc

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Does she always use the laptop at a desk? It might be hard to go from a laptop to a desktop. Maybe a large laptop like 17" still portable but closes up and can hide it and the wires.

For big monitors I go with the Dell 24" The Dell UltraSharp? U2410 Monitor with PremierColor technology

They are a bit pricy but they have the real IPS viewing angles. I like the built in USB hub to connect in keyboard/mouse/ipod/etc and not have to run a ton of wires down below the desk.

They have an optional sound bar if you are going for basic sound.

A basic Dell Vostro tower is what I grab when I need basic computing. You can put in a graphics card if you decide to do so.

The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

They are under 500, and if you are not doing gaming, you could probably just get by with the x4500 chipset.

The thing I like about the Vostro is that they are standard, you can upgrade yourself pretty easy. You can order the big monitor with the system, you will get about $50 credit for the monitor that is included.
 

navychop

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She has a regular keyboard and trackball attached to the laptop. It's 17" widescreen. With the newer laptop, there is no need for her to have a laptop, as she will not be taking it anywhere, and there's more bang for the buck (& reliability & expandability) in a PC.

I've bought Dell before, mostly for work, and am reasonably happy. But I believe I can do better custom built. Anyway, it is rather unlikely that Dell could ship it to me in time for Xmas. Although previous Dell orders have given EDDs in terms of weeks, yet delivered in days.

I'll look at the monitors, though. Maybe they can ship immediately. I like the USB ports on the monitor idea.

The design program actually needs some horsepower. Lot's of 3D rendering, and not lot's of patience.
 

navychop

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Then again, MicroCenter nearby has the Inspiron 545 on sale for a really good price. Maybe I should look at that. Cheaper, quicker, but would it have enough horsepower?
 

mike123abc

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It is hard to beat the price of a low cost Dell building it yourself. On the high end I usually build since I can pretty much match the price, but I get exactly the components I want.
 

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