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Buying a new computer (desktop)
Thread poster: Poisson rouge
Poisson rouge
Germany
Local time: 16:40
German to French
+ ...
Nov 7, 2008

Hello everybody!

I am on the point of buying a new computer (hoping to increase my workload...) and am not quite sure what I need or want. I also seem to have some fixed ideas about computers but not much knowledge, so would need help in the IT-jungle!

All I know is that I want:
- a good desktop that will last a good few years - I find them more comfortable to work with and am convinced they last longer (contradict me if you don't agree with this).
- Windows XP - I don't particularly like Vista, too many knickknacks and not "serious" enough to my liking.
- Word / Excel / PowerPoint, but don't know whether buying the latest version (2007) is a good idea because of compatibility issues with older versions and CAT tools.

Well, I told you I don't know much about computers!

Now, the question is: where should I buy the famous computer? I found offers on the internet (had a look at the Dell web site and liked what I saw) but am debating about buying it in a shop i.e. having it built because all computers I found on the internet come with Vista (which I don't want, which would mean I would have to buy and install XP - is this easy/possible by the way?). Is it safe to buy such things on the internet? I tend to be old fashioned and like having someone in front of me when I buy something that big...

What is considered to be good or necessary for translating (how powerful)? I seem to understand that a dual core processor (whatever this means) and 2 GB would be good (when working with XP). Any other suggestions?

I am grateful for any advice you can provide!

An IT illiterate


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:40
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Apple Nov 7, 2008

Consider switching to Apple - no problems with viruses, no instability, easy to use, etc. I was a PC user for many, many years and just switched last year to a MacBook. I know you want a desktop, but Apple has those, too, so you might want to check their website.

If you really need Windows for certain applications, you can install the Parallels program on an Apple machine and then install Windows.

Good luck!


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Jacek Sierakowski
Belgium
Local time: 16:40
English to French
+ ...
Dell Nov 7, 2008

Hi Fiona,

I have a good experience with Dell. If you ask them (by phone, I don't know why), they can install you good old XP.

I recently upgraded from Office 2003 to 2007, and I regret it. 2007 is slow, a lot of functions I liked disappeared, a lot of the (too many) new ones are useless to me. And I had a compatibility problem with Trados.

Good luck.

Jacek.


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:40
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
No more desktop for me Nov 7, 2008

My PC crashed last year and I immediatly bought another one. I was using my laptop in the interreign period, and believe it or not after 1 year I haven't used my new PC yet. I move a lot, so I'm too lazy to transfer the datas all the time. Besides, I've some programs to install in the new desktop and never find the right time to do it.
So, I decided I'll buy laptops of all sizes, maybe a Mac, but no PC.

Cheers,
Paola


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:40
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Dell Nov 7, 2008

Two weeks ago I fianlly took a step forward and went for it. I got a Dell Inspiron with 4Gb of memory, a very fast processor, a 22-inch monitor, and Windows XP SP2. By the way, there is a known problem with the SP3 patch refusing to install.

I ordered a Dell because my other computer is a Dell I purchased in 2002 and I never had a problem. One thing I made sure was not to order Norton. That was the only thing that caused me headaches and problems on the old PC. I selected McAffee.

Along with the computer I ordered a copy of PC Mover software. I installed the computer and transferred all the applications and documents I selected and that was it. Lastly, I reinstalled Office 2003 and SDL TRADOS.

I've never been happier.


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Poisson rouge
Germany
Local time: 16:40
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wow! Thanks for the quick answers! Nov 7, 2008

Amy, I don't know about Apple... I did consider the option for a second but it is a BIG step for me. I actually like the idea and know that Macs do have a lot of advantages but I have my little habits and I am scared I can't do what I used to do with my XP. What is this thing about installing XP on a Mac? I am not sure I understand... Perhaps I should get rid of my PC obsession!

Right, so Dell does seem to be a good option. And having an "old" version of word. I used Word 2007 today and it is full of useless buttons that fill the screen and just don't help you. Word 2003 rules!

Luisa, thanks for your post. I would have two questions. The first concerns XP SP3: what is the compatibility problem exactly (pardon my ignorance...)? Second question: PC Mover. I had never heard about it and have just done a quick search on the internet. Does this mean I coul move all my documents AND software (like Word, Excel, etc.?) onto my new computer, meaning that I wouldn't have to buy another copy of Word, Excel, etc. or am I asking for too much? Do the programms just disappear from the old computer (no Word left, etc)? If so: wow!

Thanks to all of you for your precious time and advice! I think I will phone Dell and try and negociate a bit...


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Giedrius Ramasauskas  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 17:40
Member (2007)
English to Lithuanian
new computer Nov 7, 2008

I am not sure about new software installed into new computers. I bought new laptop. At the begining I found that my Trados 7 Freelancer is not compatible with Windows Vista, later - that Word 2007 is not compatible too. So I returned to my favourite Windows XP and MS Office 2003.
Just wanna let You know.


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:40
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Dell is good value for money Nov 7, 2008

And I would certainly not chose the cheapest/simpliest one.
What you certainly not need, is a gamer PC, so I would avoid XPS machines, as they are more for gaming, than for us translators. When you chose Vostro, you'll get it delivered with Windows XP and an option for Vista in the future.
As you are running a business, you also might want to take a closer look on Dell's business offers.
But as for Office software, I'm afraid you will not get anything else than Office 2007. You might want to look at eBay - there are still some available.


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:40
Member (2004)
German to English
Dell and XP Nov 7, 2008

The trick with Dell is to look at the "business" rather than the "home" section of the website - under "business" all the computers come with the option to have XP rather than Vista.

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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:40
Portuguese to English
+ ...
It was hard for me, too... Nov 7, 2008

Fiona wrote:

Amy, I don't know about Apple... I did consider the option for a second but it is a BIG step for me. I actually like the idea and know that Macs do have a lot of advantages but I have my little habits and I am scared I can't do what I used to do with my XP. What is this thing about installing XP on a Mac? I am not sure I understand... Perhaps I should get rid of my PC obsession!


I was just like you, and it took me quite a few years to decide to switch...in my case I'd been using PCs since the 1970s, so you can imagine! To install XP on a Mac, you first must install a program called Parallels. Once it's installed, you can install XP, and you can alternate between that and your regular Mac screen. It's cool.

Right, so Dell does seem to be a good option.


I think it depends on where you buy it. The ones bought in the US seem good, but I bought one in Brazil that broke down in less than a year.


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:40
Member (2004)
German to English
Dell? Nov 8, 2008

My sony laptop went down and the engineer came round to fix it. He said he'd only repaired 3 sonys in two years and spends most of his time repairing Dells

Enough said...
Gillian


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 16:40
English to Hungarian
+ ...
- Nov 8, 2008

Gillian Searl wrote:

My sony laptop went down and the engineer came round to fix it. He said he'd only repaired 3 sonys in two years and spends most of his time repairing Dells

Enough said...
Gillian


That might be because there are a million Dells around and much fewer sonys. For starters, I don't think sony even makes a desktop. Dell sells a gazillion desktops to companies.


As to the original propostion, getting a desktop is a good idea. If you don't need to use the computer away from home, definitely go desktop. I might get one myself and use that for work insted of my laptop, for the sake of faster HDDs.

Also, if you will use windows forget apple. You'd be paying through the nose for the privilege of using an OS... that you won't be using. Not my idea of a smart purchasing decision. If you feel like learning the ins and outs of a new operating system (while still doing your work in the old one, I imagine), go right ahead.


I would get a Dell desktop, XP and Office 2003. Well, actually, I myself would get whatever decent machine I can get for a good price whith a RAID1 HDD setup to speed up data reads.


[Edited at 2008-11-08 08:20]


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:40
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
RAID0 should it be then Nov 9, 2008

FarkasAndras wrote:
...
I would get a Dell desktop, XP and Office 2003. Well, actually, I myself would get whatever decent machine I can get for a good price whith a RAID1 HDD setup to speed up data reads.[Edited at 2008-11-08 08:20]


RAID0 are stripped volumes, where you get a performance upgrade of nearly two times, but it is connected with much less security. In a RAID0, when one HDD fails, all data is lost.
The RAID1 is mirrored volumes - if one HDD fails, the data is safe on the second one.
So if you wanna performance and security, use RAID10 - but then you need 4 HDDs least.
Or you can ue RAID5 - it an amorph combination.
More about RAID see Wikipedia.

Sony does offer desktops, but they are really rare and I do not see any reason for paying so much.
And if your really plan to use it only at home, desktop is the right solution. Or better - for mobility the laptop and for home a desktop. This is the best solution I can think off.
Regarding Apple - in my eyes no, relly no single advantage to a PC. Mac OS X is by far not so intuitive and easy to use as Windows. Stories about Mac and Mac software not crashing are fairytales. If you wish to stay compatible with the most companies out there, you need Windows and Office - so why paying the tribute to having a system you don't really need. No viruses for Mac - fairytale. For the same reason Sonys are not often at service and Dells are. But there will be more and more virues. And on top - if you run Mac with Windows, so you are exactly as vulnerable as would you run a PC.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Check what you HAVE Nov 9, 2008

A friend of mine consulted me about changing his computer for a new one, because his was getting too slow. It was always issuing messages about "low virtual memory".

He is a very "light" user, though he weighs close to 300 lb, if you get what I mean. So I told him to bring the CPU for me to have a look.

Okay, it was 4 years old, an Athlon 2400 processor, Windows XP, but... it had only 256 MB RAM!!! What idiot could have assembled a machine that way, even four years ago?

I suggested putting at least 1 GB RAM, but he got so enthusiastic about the low cost of memory (compared to buying a whole new computer) that he had me put 2 GB there. In a matter of minutes, his old computer was whizzing faster than he could believe.


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Poisson rouge
Germany
Local time: 16:40
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Saving? Why not... But is it possible? Nov 9, 2008

Thanks again for all your contributions, ideas and support! I see what you mean José, as it is better to save what you have than waist money and contribute to producing waste. I had a look at my system window and it says I've got a Celeron(R) CPU 2,4 GHz, 2,39 GHz, 496 Mo RAM... I am not quite sure what all this means but my computer is REALLY slow and I can hardly work with it. I've had the RAM increased twice already and didn't think anything more could be done to make it usable, especially as it's a laptop (Toshiba). Do you think it could be possible?

To continue the discussion about Dell: I've had another look at their web site and I really find their concept of "downgrading" from Vista to XP hilarious. Whereas you normally want to upgrade your software, thanks to Windows, you now want to have the possibility to downgrade back to XP. Hilarious. I'm going to phone them tomorrow to find out whether you can "downgrade" the non-professional desktops as well (which doesn't seem to be the case but you don't know until you ask...), as I am hesitating between a good Inspiron 530 (home desktop) and one of their Vistop ones (professional range) and am not quite sure what the difference is. I've definitely decided against Apple, I really don't think I will ever need that much power and want to spend that much money on a computer if I can get something corresponding to my needs for so much cheaper (sorry Apple...).

I really don't know how to thank you for your support! This is a rather big decision and it's just great to have advice from experienced professionals who care about their (much younger) collegues. Thanks thanks thanks!!


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