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Railfan Technology > New Desktop


Date: 05/29/21 12:03
New Desktop
Author: scoobydoobydoo

Its Scoobydoobydoo from the Eastern board,Well the Web Master has told us i can no longer use this web site with my 20 year old HP,I need to get a new one So which one,Im not computer smart,But heres what i want at least 12gb mine has 6 i want to be able to watch videos with out it stopping every 3 seconds to up load,i want a cd/dvd drive in the front,also want a htgmi imput to hook to my tv,also wi-fi that would connect to a printer,I only have a$1000 to spend but i want one to last another 20 years,I dont do any gaming,Help with so Ideas.....Thanks in Adavance



Date: 05/29/21 12:40
Re: New Desktop
Author: hoggerdoug

I'm confused as well.  I have an older computer hardware wise with XP. Webmaster in his notice says that XP will have to have service pack 3. If I have service pack 3 will my computer be compatiable end of September for using Trainorders.com. Also I wonder if the new version of Trainorders.com needs a newer version of Windows usch as 7 or 10 as the browser for security etc etc. I don't have computer savy and really don't want to buy a new computer.  Is it just a browser / software issue come September ????
Doug



Date: 05/29/21 13:01
Re: New Desktop
Author: robj

I don't know that he specifically says it will not work.

" If you are using these old devices it would be a good idea to upgrade to something newer for your own protection.  It is a bad idea to be connected to the internet using an unsupported device that is no longer being updated for security patches. "
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Personally I have not used a Desktop since my XP.  The only time I bought a system other from Dell, it crapped out.  I threw out my Dell XP but it was working fine.

A laptop has almost no foot print, can be moved anywhere. can do all the thing you mentioned.  It can be stored easily, taken with on a trip or visit etc etc.
I'd go to Dell online but stay away from Worst Buy.

Using an laptop with infamous Windows 8 and also have a Vista laptop.

Bob Jordan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/29/21 13:03 by robj.



Date: 05/29/21 20:07
Re: New Desktop
Author: ddavies

I think a laptop would be best for you. A USB3 hub will allow you to plug all kinds of things into it, TVs, printers, external hard drives, etc.  Nowdays most computers don't come with a CD or Blueray, but would be simple to add via USB3.

Don't expect any machine to last 20 years.

I have a number of computers that are ued for specific tasks.  Suface pro stays in the car for use while chasing trains because of its long battery life.(under 1000).  PowerMac with 96 Gigs of memory for photoshop (way over 1000).

 



Date: 05/30/21 00:29
Re: New Desktop
Author: cchan006

scoobydoobydoo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I only have a$1000 to spend but i want one to last
> another 20 years,I dont do any gaming,Help with so
> Ideas.....Thanks in Adavance

I've mentioned in the past that I've been buying "outdated" computers (both PCs and Macs) for about 2 decades. You might or might not have the experience to make decisions with confidence, but you should be able to find something in the $200-$300 range if you choose to buy an "upgrade."

The problem with old machines is support for a modern browser to meet Trainorders requirements. That means you need to know which brand and version to install on an XP Service Pack 3, or on an old MacOS X machine. There might be Google Chrome versions new enough to meet the requirements, but Chrome is known to be a memory hog.

Experts here on TO will warn you against security issues on older OS, but if you have good, strict Internet habits, you can minimize that problem. You need to have acquired some technical knowledge to deal with this, and people who ask for help here on TO usually don't have that (nothing personal).

Due to planned obsolescence by the tech industry, there's no guarantee your machine will last the next 20 years, but I suggest a visit to a local computer dealer (not many left) or online shops and start pricing things. I went to Best Buy a couple of months ago hence my mention of a decent machine (laptop or desktop) in the $200-$300 range, Windows 10. I've shopped at Dell Outlet for family and you can get great deals there.

If you want to keep your old peripherals (namely printers), you can risk buying a Windows 7 machine secondhand. Due to Microsoft's end of support last year (2020), even eBay folks are upgrading Windows 7 generation machines to Windows 10 to get their inventories out the door. Besides, many manufacturers have updated drivers for older devices to work with Windows 10, so you might not need to take the risk. Those who "got rid of" devices due to Windows 10 problems when it was new may have acted too early. I avoided that, because I've refused participate in the rat race of "latest and greatest" for many years.



Date: 05/30/21 07:01
Re: New Desktop
Author: NormSchultze

Right now, BH Photo has a HP desktop on sale for under 500 bux.   And their Pay Boo card "repays" you the sales tax.  True, lap tops are very convienent, but the price for desktops is right. 



Date: 05/30/21 08:03
Re: New Desktop
Author: colehour

You might want to check out reviews on sites like Wirecutter and Consumer Reports, although you must subscribe to access everything on the latter. I bought and small desktop (7"X 7" X 2") by Dell a couple of years ago and am very satisfied with it. Of course, it did not have an optical drive and it can't be modified easily as with a tower, but optical drives are cheap enough. I also have a MacBook Air that I like, although I don't use it as much as I thought I would. Apple products are great but rather expensive. They also make a mini desktop device.

 



Date: 05/31/21 19:35
Re: New Desktop
Author: walstib

Check out the just-refreshed line of new Apple iMacs.

They have nice screens for viewing videos, they’re elegant, and you’ll never again have to worry about things like “service pack 3.”

They come loaded with much of the software casual users will need, they’re not all that expensive, and they just work.

My best recommendation is to go to an Apple Store and talk to one of the specialists. Try the machines out for yourself, and get all your questions answered.

They come in different colors, too.

Prices for the 24-inch model start at $1,299. I know that’s a little more than $1,000, but it includes a great monitor built into the computer.

Check one out at an Apple Store.



Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/31/21 19:38 by walstib.



Date: 06/02/21 05:57
Re: New Desktop
Author: cchan006

walstib Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> They have nice screens for viewing videos,
> they’re elegant, and you’ll never again have
> to worry about things like “service pack 3.”

Windows XP was released in 2001. Since then, there have been 6 versions of Windows, XP Pro, Vista, Windows 7, 8, 8,1, and 10.

I'll give Mac OS X a nice 3 year handicap and start with Tiger, 10.4 in 2004. Since then, there have been 12 versions of Mac OS X, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, and Big Sur. Quicker pace of obsolescence!

Microsoft has allowed users to keep their Windows versions longer, and "Service Packs" are free updates to the operating system. Apple? Forcing people to upgrade more often, and while it was nice of them to allow users to do "skip upgrades" from Snow Leopard (10.6), Apple users are busier updating their machines. in reality, their Service Packs are disguised as new versions - Jobs' Reality Distortion Field Lives!

This isn't a Microsoft vs. Apple debate. I'm posting this reply with a Mac. "Service Pack 3" isn't a reason to avoid Windows.

I recommend people buy older versions of Mac, and do a research on the newest version of Mac OS X the machine supports, to make sure you don't get obsoleted too quickly. Found several models in the $400 range when I was pricing things couple of months ago.



Date: 06/03/21 15:00
Re: New Desktop
Author: rrhistorian

If you are still operating with Windows XP, the easiest and lowest cost solution to using an up-to-date browser is to install a Linux-based operating system as a second operating system on your hard drive. (You can still keep Windows XP and boot to it when you need to.) There are two particular distributions (distribution is the Linux term-of-art for an operating system version) that are widely used with older hardware: Lubuntu and Linux Mint. Lubuntu is optimized for working on older computers with limited RAM. Linux Mint does better with more RAM and a faster processor, but I have found that it has acceptable performance for basic tasks (like web browsing) on older machines.

The best way to test this is to create a bootable thumb drive with the operating system of your choice. This will give you a feel for how the operating system works and how it performs on your hardware.

If anyone is interested, I can share links to helpful websites and youtube videos that will give a step-by-step walk through.

Both Lubuntu and Linux Mint are free, open source software. They also use a graphically-oriented interface that is very similar in its functionality to Windows. They also support the Firefox and Brave browsers that are capable of supporting the scripts that Todd will require in future updates to Trainorders.



Date: 06/03/21 17:55
Re: New Desktop
Author: colehour

rrhistorian Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you are still operating with Windows XP, the
> easiest and lowest cost solution to using an
> up-to-date browser is to install a Linux-based
> operating system as a second operating system on
> your hard drive. (You can still keep Windows XP
> and boot to it when you need to.)

I did this a number of years ago with an older laptop that had been running XP.  I installed the Mint distribution of Linux. 

I thought that it worked well, although I did not use the laptop much at the time since I had bought a new desktop to replace it. The dual boot feature is handy since there are times when one might want to use XP.



Date: 06/03/21 18:39
Re: New Desktop
Author: BRAtkinson

Perhaps the most overwhelming reason to simply buy a new or used Windows 10 computer is processor speed and drive capacity as both increase dramatically every couple of years.  Software and online apps similarly 'grow' in their requirements just as fast.

In particular, I was quite happy with the 3.0ghz single processor 3GB Ram and its two 30GB hard drives that I built more than 15 years ago.  I still have it up and running on my network as there's a couple of expensive software products I sometimes use that went out of business 8-10 years ago.  There's also a couple of game programs I like that I tricked to run under Win 7, but haven't successfully done so in Win 10 pro 64-bit, so they now reside the XP box, too.

But more importantly, whether it's keeping a Win XP box or Win 7 box 'alive', the problem of ever evolving software and websites requires bigger and faster computers.  There is absolutely no way the single processor 3.0ghz in my XP computer (a true 'screamer' in its day) could keep up with most streaming services from Youtube to Netflix.  The video card is similarly speed limited.  The higher resolutions that most sites provide require more 'horsepower' than the XP box can provide.  

Throw in the lack of Microsoft support, and similar outdated OS support endings of various software products, including most internet security/Anti virus programs makes using those computers on the web 'dangerous' at a minimum.  These days, various virus programs can 'cross over' on your network from one computer to another, so 'catching something' from the internet (if I went there) on my XP box would likely infect my WIn 10 computer as well.

Perhaps the easiest solution, in my opinion, is to buy a Windows 10 64-bit (not 32 bit) quad processor laptop that has, or is capable of 8GB of RAM.  Then upgrade the computer to 8GB and replace the hard drive with a 256GB SSD (solid state drive) for lightning fast response.  That's what I did to the used WIn 10 laptop I purchased about 2 years ago.  It came with a 1TB hard drive.  But unless one stores 1000s and 1000s of videos and/pictures on it, few users EVER exceed using 50GB of drive space.  Why do I have such a big and speedy laptop?  Because 10 years from now, it should STILL be capable of running current programs and videos as long as I keep Win 10 up to date.  Will there every be a Win 11 or Win 12?  Perhaps.  And though they will likely support all sorts of new features and have larger 'minimum requirements' than Win 10, I think the laptop should be able to update to Win 11, or whatever with minimal effort.  If not, then it's time to replace that laptop with something considerably more than what I currently need like I did 2 years ago.

Ooops...forgot to mention:  I upgraded my desktop computer from WIn 7 to WIn 10 18 months ago, a month before Microsoft officially dropped support for WIn 7.  The 8-processor speedster with 16GB ram and SSD drives I built for Win 7 5-6 years ago still meets my needs, especially for CPU- and RAM-hungry Photoshop and Lightroom!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/03/21 18:42 by BRAtkinson.



Date: 06/07/21 05:33
Re: New Desktop
Author: Arved

rrhistorian Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> Both Lubuntu and Linux Mint are free, open source
> software. They also use a graphically-oriented
> interface that is very similar in its
> functionality to Windows. They also support the
> Firefox and Brave browsers that are capable of
> supporting the scripts that Todd will require in
> future updates to Trainorders.

Zorin OS is a relatively obscure Linux distribution that is geared toward Windows and MAC users. There are several custom desktops available that give Linux the look and feel of the Windows and MAC OSs.

While  Linux might put a little spring in the step of your old PC, there's only so much it can do. Try a "Live CD" (on USB stick, of course!) of the OS and see if it speeds up your video playback. You may also want to run Speedtest to see if your internet connection is up to the task. I'm on ADSL, and the performance is marginal, even with newer PCs. Modern network connection is via fiber optic, but AT&T doesn't offer that to my home, and Comcast can't tell me if my 25+ year old cable TV feed is compatible with their system, or how much it would cost to install it. So I suffer. But I digress. Point is, faster computer may not help if your internet connection is the bottleneck.

At work, we "refresh" (get new PCs) every 2-3 years, and that's without using high-demand software. 20 years on a computer - you've more than got your money out of the poor thing, and the way technology changes, expecting a new computer to be sustainable for the next 20 years is simply unrealistic.

Good luck - all the best!

Arved Grass
Fleming Island, FL
Arved Grass



Date: 06/17/21 19:11
Re: New Desktop
Author: SLORailfanning

Ubuntu Linux could also technically work, in theory.



Date: 06/20/21 08:19
Re: New Desktop
Author: cchan006

SLORailfanning Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Ubuntu Linux could also technically work, in
> theory.

I normally don't encourage Linux here on TO. To make Linux (or other Unix-like OS like BSD) perform reasonably well on older machines, one needs to have experience as an "Operating Systems Geek" to pick and choose what components to install. There have been good advices posted here on TO regarding Linux, but the "advisors" forget that some people are not looking to become Operating System Geeks.

And some don't care about the "which one is best" arguments. Linux gets thrown into wreck the tired old Microsoft vs. Apple debates, but people need to get past that.
 
A good way to get into Linux is when you have an old machine that is seemingly obsolete. Instead of getting rid of it, use it as a Linux learning toy. That's the fundamental reason behind the Linux advice here on TO, but I wanted to say it explicitly. Furthermore, if you buy smart (buy used, buy clearance), then there's no economic need to have one machine with multiple OS to "save money." Just own multiple machines with each one dedicated to Linux, Windows, and/or Mac. No compatibility surprises.

Some will BECOME Operating System Geeks, and find ways to optimize Linux on their own. Some may find it a hassle and not deal with Linux anymore, but the cost of trial is tiny - you already have the machine, and Linux distributions are not expensive, if not free.

Some of the developers who publish apps for Windows and Macs often do it on Linux and other Unix-like operating systems first, then once refined, they migrate their work to make money on Windows and Macs. Many Microsoft developers I've met do this. Reason? Many colleges train their students to develop in Unix. Keep in mind that Mac OS X is actually a BSD-based (Unix) OS, which allowed the Mac OS X developer community to grow and thrive, especially the last decade or two. Reduce the learning curve, since the new hires already knew Unix.



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