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Low end Vista machine under $400


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#1
Doug

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I've been wanting to become familiar with Vista, to be better able to field Vista related questions.
A family member has discovered my interested and offered to purchase a basic machine.
I am not able to add to the budgeted amounts.

These are two options that are within their budget offer amount.
Recertified: HP Pavilion A6114X
Refurbished Gateway GT5418E

Comment/critique is welcome.
Other suggestions are welcome.

Thanks
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#2
dsenette

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both of your links are dead doug
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#3
Doug

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Thanks Dsenette.
Fixt
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#4
dsenette

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personal opinion: stay away from the gateway....it's been my experience that gateway's suffer from the "hyundai" syndrome (hyundai dealers don't take hyundai's for trade ins).....i've NEVER met anyone who's had a trouble free gateway..and the fact that it's a refurb doesn't help that situation

the HP doesn't look too bad though it's a recert

this acer http://www.tigerdire...e...&CatId=2619 on tiger actually has a slightly faster processor for the same price and it's actually new...just an open box type deal...
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#5
Troy

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That Acer doesn't look too bad, but when I look at these ready-made systems I always wonder "what parts have they used inside?" However, it could very well serve your purposes (and it has a keyboard/mouse/speakers combo).

I was thinking you could make your own, although it is a very tight budget.

Cooler Master Case $44.99 ($15 Rebate brings it to $29.99)
Cooler Master PSU $59.99 ($40 Rebate brings it to $19.99)
Abit Motherboard $69.99 ($20 Rebate brings it to $49.99)
Intel Processor $95
A-DATA RAM $40.99
Seagate HDD $43.99
LG DVD Burner $28.99
Vista Home Premium $109.99

Comes to a grand total of $493.93, then once rebates are back it's $418.93

That's not too bad an effort
*troy gives himself a pat on the back...

I wonder how it would go with an AMD processor? Or you could downgrade the Intel to a cheaper Celeron. And of course, it smacks that Vista is the most expensive item :)
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#6
Doug

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Thanks Dsenette and Troy.

I am in the very happy position of having a loving Sister who presently has an "itchy" mouse clicking finger.
She wants to do this for me as a "done deal".
So that kinda rules out the component purchase/assembly route, even though I have wanted to do that.

Troy:
Thanks for putting that list together so promptly.
Nicely laid out and makes sense to me.
Maybe I'll be able to do something similar in the future and benefit from your consultation at that time. :)

Desenette:
Thanks. I have a similar reluctance with regard to Gateway.
I was "leaning" toward the HP, but uncertain because it is "recertified".
The Acer removes both the above concerns. However, I have no experience with Acer, except some hassles with power setting features in their Laptops. So I have not been totally positive about Acer.

Any additional recommendations, before my own "itchy finger syndrome" gets the best of me?
I'll want to send her my request "very" soon.

Doug
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#7
dsenette

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well..i've only had a FEW issues with the acer LTs that i have but that's mainly the massive amount of startup junk they put in there...never had one of their desktops though
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#8
keithr128

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Hi Doug,
Your sister may have to go to the store for this but I found THIS.

Plus a 10% off coupon HERE.

I am not sure that the coupon can be applied to laptops though.
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#9
Doug

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Thanks keithr128,

My Sister has already exercised her clicking finger by ordering the Acer mentioned by Dsenette above.

Thank you one and all, for your time, energy, thoughtfulness and recommendations.

I hope that someone is being as kind to all of you, as my Sister has just been once again for me. :)

Happy Holidays
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#10
Troy

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Good luck with it, let us know how the system goes :)

In all seriousness, system building - who wouldn't want to do it? :)
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#11
dsenette

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I'M THE WINNER!

now Doug i'll need you to sign this document that indemnifies me from all blame if it's a lemon :)
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#12
Doug

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Yes, indeed !

Dsenette may already be a: Posted Image

Thanks all, for your help.
My Sister is Happy to have been able to do a good thing for her aging brother. (She always insists upon the "aging" reference)

And I am happy to wait and see.

Sorry, I don't sign things that protect others from due criticism.

My actions/purchase is my own responsibility, but I reserve the right to grumble later if necessary. :)
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#13
Doug

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Adding a follow-up...

I received the Acer and connected it up last night.
Bummer.... It was DOA.

No fans, no indicator lights, no HD sounds, no screen,.... nothing.

Dreading the possibility of voiding any RMA or any Warranty, I still ventured to open the case.
Everything looked to be in place, except I noticed that the power connector to the mobo was not fully inserted.
I pulled it. Noticed a pin bent. Straightened it. Plugged the power connector back in until it was fully seated and tried to boot again.

This time I got fans, indicator lights, drive noises and the initial screen indications of booting.
Unhappily, the boot cycle did not complete and the screen went blank and unresponsive. (out-of-scan-range)
So I looked in BIOS, all of which seemed to be Default and sensible.
I then attempted to boot into SAFE Mode.
I got the cascade of basic drivers and then SAFE Mode booted with a black background screen (not a desktop, and a notification screen reported:
"Windows cannot complete the installation in SAFE Mode. Reboot the machine in Normal Mode to complete installation of Windows."
That's all...
Booting again into normal mode got the same partial sequence as stated above.
ctrl-alt-del moved the screen along to an ACER flag screen with options DEL:Enter Setup(BIOS) or F12: Boot Menu.

The machine is set to boot first from CD, then IDE HD.
It doesn't.

Of note: The hard drive is SATA, is indicated as ENABLED in BIOS, but does not appear as SATA in the Boot Menu. <-- Shouldn't there be a SATA HD indicated in the Boot Menu?
Optical Drive and IDE HD appear in Boot Menu. (but there is no IDE HD installed)

The machine specifics indicate that Vista Home Premium will come pre-installed.
Of course there is no Vista Installation media included.
There is the usual Vista Upgrade Experience CD included.

I've decided that due to there being (2) two major indicators of problems in the out-of-the-box experience that I will RMA the machine and consider other options.

I'm disappointed and will consider options other than TigerDirect and probably other than "refurbished" and/or open box returned.

While I didn't sign any documentation to protect from whining and blaming, I have no complaints.
I received plenty of cautions from you good folks, but suffered the "itchy-mouse-click-finger" at the time.


Thanks,
Doug

Any comments will be welcomed.
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#14
Troy

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Of note: The hard drive is SATA, is indicated as ENABLED in BIOS, but does not appear as SATA in the Boot Menu. <-- Shouldn't there be a SATA HD indicated in the Boot Menu?
Optical Drive and IDE HD appear in Boot Menu. (but there is no IDE HD installed)

My system says the same thing, and yet my hard drive is also SATA. I don't think this is anything to worry about.

Nonetheless, I'm sorry to hear you got a lemon. I'm guessing TigerDirect will be happy to honour the warranty, but this is all the monkey's fault :)
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#15
Doug

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Thanks Troy,

For the information and for the sympathy.

But I can't believe that you would try to load this on the Monkey!
Yikes. I'll be sending him virtual banana daiquiris for months, just to calm him down!

For the record.... I did it to myself. :)

footnote: TigerDirect has already allowed the return and has sent RMA authorization.

Now I get to go shopping again.
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