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Buy or build new desktop for teen son

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Dear Folks,

I thought I would post this here as well as in hardware because the anwer to my questions may be here...

We recently took my son's HP into be repaired. We had re-installed windows as a last resort to try and save it, but even with that we couldn't open files, could get on-line. According to the folks that have looked at it, it seems to have been loaded with viruses so that it went into preservation mode (whoever said computers are not human ). Anyway it has been looked at by the HP folks as well. I am thinking we are going to have to replace it, and here in lies my dilemma. We already have 3 really good computers if he wants to do anything fancy. I don't want to open an expensive computer up to the viruses he downloaded before, so we are looking for inexpensive but with what he needs. I am thinking this might be a build it ourselves, but frankly, I'd like someone else to build it and send it to us.

I have seen recommendations on this website and others for various build your own sites, but not thrilled about many of their no refund policy. Also we have discovered with another new computer that if we get vista (and I am not sure how or if we should avoid getting it), our Microsoft Office package we purchased for this son's computer less than a year ago does not work and we have to upgrade to Office 2007. this looks to be an additional $100-$200. SO if we get Vista we have to add this to the cost, if we go with Windows XP we don't...
Also I am not sure what, if anything we can salvage from the last one, but what I think we can is: Wireless Internet card, graphics and sound card, cd/DVD rom

Here are what he uses a computer for:
digital production - Photos & Music

I would appreciate your suggestions as to how to best proceed in getting a new computer.

Buy At a store or build on line?

As with many things I have a little knowledge so this is quite dangerous

in terms of CPU - Intel? AMD? something else?

Do I need to worry about FSB?


Ram? 128? 256? or 512? I know more is ALWAYS better here but $$$

Hard Drive size?

Operating system? Do we stick with Windows? if so Vista or XP? given the problems and cost of upgrading office each time... But as only an end user and not a techie in any way, should we even think about Linux?

I'd really appreciate your input. If suggesting putting together our own do you have suggestions of places to shop? Are there places where these shopping places are rated?

Thanks in advance!!!

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Im not a genius in these parts but Id suggest 1 GB of memory would be enough. Operating System : Windows XP Pro SP2

Hard Driver Size 100-200 GB would suffice i guess.
Intel 3.0 GHz

That would be pretty good.
You should also throw in a 256 VGA card. Or if you want to save on the $$$ a 128 would be enough. That is if your VGA in ur screwed comp is less than 128. Otherwise use that one.

Hope this helps you a bit.

Im not sure where to shop because i dont live in the US.
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If you still believe the computer is infected please let our staff fix it in our malware forum.
If your computer is still infected with malware we can fix it and would be more then happy to do so. The thing is, if you did infact reformat all the virus should be gone, in all fairness you shouldn't need to buy a new computer because of virus'.

Unless you willing to build this computer yourself your pretty much stuck with vista, unless you want to buy something refurbished or a computer directly from dell with no operating system and install your own.

Your office program will work on vista.

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Yes, James is right - our malware forum will help you clean up the nasties for free (just a bit of your time). Any system with Windows is going to be open for infection, a brand new computer won't make a difference to that.

Here's what you need to look out for:
Operating System Updates: Visit the Microsoft Update site to download the latest service packs, patches and updates, this is critical to a secure system.
Anti-virus: Your computer will need a program that has real-time monitoring. There are some good free ones available for download that will help to do the job properly. In my signature, you can find a link to AVG, this one is pretty good, along with avast! as another good one. Make sure you only have one anti-virus program installed. Two will conflict and cause less protection.
Firewall: Windows XP came without a firewall, but the SP2 update included a basic one-way version that is no good. Again, some free ones are available to download. You can try Comodo in my signature, or ZoneAlarm, or Sunbelt (formerly Kerio) as some examples. Also, you only need one firewall. Two will conflict and cause less protection. Please, take the time to learn how the firewall works and bear with it through the "training phase" - it will keep asking you "allow or disallow" and you need to know what it is that is trying to access the internet. I personally recommend ZoneAlarm to beginners.
Other malware programs: Download Spybot: S&D, Ad-Aware 2007, AVG Anti-spyware from my signature. You can have all of these installed on your computer at the same time, they work fine together. I find that if you update them and run scans once a week (twice if you are online a lot) it helps to keep your system clean.

Finally, do a little bit of reading with your son to keep yourselves informed. Here are two links I would like you to take a peek at: "Malware FAQ" and "How did I get infected in the first place?". If you still want us to help you build a new computer, though, we can do that too!!!
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