Buying desktop

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BarefootLeather
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Buying desktop

Post by BarefootLeather »

I have a suspicion my harddrive is shot after seven years.
Can you buy a new desktop machine without Windows installed so that I can install Linux Mint again?
I'm on a bit of a budget, so am I still correct that an equivalent laptop would be more expensive?
What would be your suggested hardware?
Can I save money by buying components from NewEgg and assembling the desktop myself?

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austin.texas
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by austin.texas »

For a desktop, I always buy my parts from Newegg or tigerdirect, and assemble it myself.
Both of those vendors offer "barebones" kits, as well.
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dcrowder
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by dcrowder »

You can find desktops online without Windows. System76 makes desktops and laptops. I have never owned one, but I have only read good things. Mintbox makes mini PC's, plus Linux Mint gets some revenue from sales.

These machines typically cost a bit more. I usually buy desktop from a mainstream manufacturer with Windows on it, then install Linux over it. You can also dual boot if desired. I find it more economical this way, even paying the "Microsoft Tax".

People usually buy components and build their own PC's more for flexibility than to save money. If you watch for sales you could save a little.
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Spearmint2
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by Spearmint2 »

laptops more expensive. How large was your hard drive? If the desktop you have is OK other than the hard drive, why not instead get a USB3 flashdrive and install Linux to it? I've done that to many of these types, ordered direct from Kingston. Of course that option would require your current computer having the ability to boot from a USB drive.

Or can order one already set up with persistence here. Works very much like installed to a hard drive. Only the ones that are 32GB or larger have persistence set on them.

https://www.osdisc.com/products/linux/linuxmint/usb
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Tomgin5
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by Tomgin5 »

Myself , for a computer ony 7 years old. I will just pick up a new SSD from E-bay and maybe some more RAM if the old one was still serviceable except the drive getting flaky and replace the drive if it is a SATA drive. Just backup critical user files onto a flash drive and reinstall them later. If necessary clean up the fans and heatsink and put new thermal compound between the CPU and the heatsink.
Typically I pick up 160 GIG HDD for $12, and 320 GIG for $25 and 700 GIG for $40. :)
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gold_finger
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by gold_finger »

@BarefootLeather,

If you're satisfied with overall performance of current computer and only problem is the hard drive, simplest and cheapest solution is to just get a new hard drive. Depending on capabilities of computer, you could also improve performance by getting an SSD (Solid State Drive) instead of a regular hard drive and/or by adding more RAM to the system.

Maybe it would be a good idea for you to post the specs of your current system for us to look at and recommend possible upgrades to improve it. Boot into Mint, open a terminal and enter this command to list the specs. Copy/Paste the results here in your next post.

Code: Select all

inxi -Fxz
Also, let us know what you primarily use the computer for. Are there things you do that require higher end graphics cards (eg. gaming) or processors?

What's your general comfort level with computers? Have you built any yourself before? Have you replaced internal components before? Are you familiar with what the major components in a computer are and their purpose?

Building a computer from scratch is really not that hard, but if you're not familiar at all with a least the basics it might not be the best option for you.
BarefootLeather wrote:I'm on a bit of a budget, so am I still correct that an equivalent laptop would be more expensive?
Generally speaking laptops are more expensive than similarly equipped desktops, but keep in mind that most "entry level" laptops ($350-$600 range) built today will probably outperform a desktop from 7 years ago. So, if you're just an average user (as I am) and use the computer mainly for producing documents, browsing the web, playing DVDs, streaming videos online, etc., then you probably don't "need" a top of the line laptop (or desktop) and can probably get away with spending less than $500. If you're into gaming, then you would need computer with higher end processor and powerful graphics which increases price substantially.
BarefootLeather wrote:What would be your suggested hardware?
That depends on what you primarily use the computer for.
BarefootLeather wrote:Can I save money by buying components from NewEgg and assembling the desktop myself?
Yes, you can save money that way. (I've done that myself a few times.) But, as one person pointed out, sometimes sales on pre-built systems with Windows on them are actually the same or less expensive. If you really don't want Windows, just wipe it out during install of Mint. You could also save a little money by re-using some of the components in current computer instead of buying all new components -- eg. DVD player, graphics card, etc.
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BarefootLeather
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by BarefootLeather »

Wow, thanks for the insights gold_finger,
So, my wife got her hands on two older pc that the business next to hers got rid of as they are closing down. I transferred some memory from my old system onto the new motherboard.
I was able to install Mint on the new system now problem and here are the system details:

System: Host: johan-2017 Kernel: 4.4.0-53-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.4.0)
Desktop: Cinnamon 3.2.6 (Gtk 3.18.9-1ubuntu3.1)
Distro: Linux Mint 18.1 Serena
Machine: System: Dell product: OptiPlex GX620
Mobo: Dell model: 0ND237 Bios: Dell v: A07 date: 03/31/2006
CPU: Single core Intel Pentium 4 (-HT-) cache: 2048 KB
flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3) bmips: 6782
clock speeds: max: 3391 MHz 1: 3391 MHz 2: 3391 MHz
Graphics: Card: Intel 82945G/GZ Integrated Graphics Controller
bus-ID: 00:02.0
Display Server: X.Org 1.18.4 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
Resolution: 1440x900@59.89hz
GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel 945G
GLX Version: 1.4 Mesa 11.2.0 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio: Card-1 Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) AC'97 Audio Controller
driver: snd_intel8x0 ports: ec00 e8c0 bus-ID: 00:1e.2
Card-2 Logitech QuickCam Pro 5000 driver: USB Audio usb-ID: 001-006
Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.4.0-53-generic
Network: Card: Broadcom NetXtreme BCM5751 Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
driver: tg3 v: 3.137 bus-ID: 02:00.0
IF: enp2s0 state: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter>
Drives: HDD Total Size: 1580.3GB (17.0% used)
ID-1: /dev/sda model: HDS728080PLA380 size: 80.0GB
ID-2: /dev/sdb model: ST31000528ASQ size: 1000.2GB
ID-3: USB /dev/sdc model: 5000AAV_External size: 500.1GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 70G used: 6.4G (10%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
ID-2: swap-1 size: 3.75GB used: 0.12GB (3%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda5
RAID: No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors: None detected - is lm-sensors installed and configured?
Info: Processes: 201 Uptime: 18:15 Memory: 2797.9/3502.6MB
Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 5.4.0
Client: Shell (bash 4.3.461) inxi: 2.2.35

Any suggestion for improvements?

I use it to maintain a few websites and admin for my wife's business. So nothing high-demand like gaiming .....

Johan
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Spearmint2
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by Spearmint2 »

First Improvement, update that ancient 2006 BIOS with the latest one from 2014.

http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/ ... 20/drivers
DellOptiplexNewBios2014.png
Considering it's age, get some thermal paste and replace it between the processor and heatsink, since probably not been done in years.
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BarefootLeather
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by BarefootLeather »

Spearmint2 wrote:First Improvement, update that ancient 2006 BIOS with the latest one from 2014.
I'm learning fast! Thanks Spearmint2!

So that is a .exe file - how do I run it on my Mint machine?

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Spearmint2
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by Spearmint2 »

I'm learning fast! Thanks Spearmint2!
So that is a .exe file - how do I run it on my Mint machine?
Johan
It's probably an executable zip file, so open first using Archive Manager, extract the bios file to be flashed. If the computer has inbuilt flash utility in it's BIOS, then use that. If not, then see if Dell has a bootable flash program that will allow it to be updated.
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wf54
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by wf54 »

I need a new desktop computer to replace my ASUS, but I'm finding it hard to find a reliable review of any of the few companies that supply them.
Also noticed the some of the companies are offering the same model PC with lower specifications than the Windows version that doesn't seem to relate to the price.

In fact it appears [as suggested] it may be better to buy a Windows system and then put Linux onto it. I hate the thought of paying Microsoft for nothing while at the same time upping their sales figures.

Looked at Dell, only laptops for sale and my ASUS is falling apart after just short of four years.
Does anyone have any recommendations for a good value UK desktops for around £400.
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by Mattyboy »

wf54 wrote:I need a new desktop computer to replace my ASUS, but I'm finding it hard to find a reliable review of any of the few companies that supply them.
Also noticed the some of the companies are offering the same model PC with lower specifications than the Windows version that doesn't seem to relate to the price.

In fact it appears [as suggested] it may be better to buy a Windows system and then put Linux onto it. I hate the thought of paying Microsoft for nothing while at the same time upping their sales figures.

Looked at Dell, only laptops for sale and my ASUS is falling apart after just short of four years.
Does anyone have any recommendations for a good value UK desktops for around £400.
You probably should have made a new thread for this but no worries.

Build your own mate, seriously don't buy a desktop, its a monumental waste of money, you're not paying the microsoft tax either. Its not hard to build one, you really can't go wrong these days, just need a Phillips. Go on youtube and watch a few how to videos.

You'll probably be able to save a few quid by using parts you already have, like the hard drive and/or case, mouse, keyboard...monitor...

No I don't work for these guys but I've brought many parts from them for years the service is excellent and they know their stuff.. quick delivery too.

https://www.aria.co.uk/

Give their guys a call, tell them your budget and what you want you use it for. Only advise is go for intel NOT AMD if you plan on going Linux. Sorted.

Here's a good super cheap one... you won't be playing any games or rendering videos fast but as a good day to day machine recommended. You'll run Linux just fine. https://www.aria.co.uk/Systems/Home+and ... ctId=67237
wf54
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by wf54 »

Thanks for the GOOD advice,
Unfortunately building my own is not an option for me. Putting in a new hard drive was a major task.

I haven't looked at Aria before now, so thanks for the link.
Gaming isn't a must, just after something that will be value for money that lasts more than a year per £100 spent.
I also may have to up the budget.

ASUS's help is tied into their own retailers, any questions regarding replacement bits are usually top dollar and they don't support Linux.

I placed this here thinking that my question fell foul of the duplicate rule if posted elsewhere, and it seemed to be a newbie question.
Mattyboy
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by Mattyboy »

wf54 wrote:Thanks for the GOOD advice,
Unfortunately building my own is not an option for me. Putting in a new hard drive was a major task.

I haven't looked at Aria before now, so thanks for the link.
Gaming isn't a must, just after something that will be value for money that lasts more than a year per £100 spent.
I also may have to up the budget.

ASUS's help is tied into their own retailers, any questions regarding replacement bits are usually top dollar and they don't support Linux.

I placed this here thinking that my question fell foul of the duplicate rule if posted elsewhere, and it seemed to be a newbie question.
Yeah, give these guys a call, they'll put it together for you based on spec choices if you prefer... plus they always have deals on. excellent company.
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by Tomgin5 »

My typical desktop rejuvination is from desktops or laptops that are 7-10 years old. If they were a scrapped laptop the cost with 2 GB ram and functioning keyboard, display, WIFI and ethernet but no HD or accessories (rodent). is $20 with $5-20 for a functional Wallwart. Recycled HDDis $12 or a new SSD from $42-170. ((for a 500GB+ SSD.
Recycling Desktops are usually pretty easy if they were lass than 10 years old and have a SATA HDD. Pop out the Fan/heatsink, blow it out, They are full of dust and sometimes bugs. Clean the surfaces with an alcohol swab. The alcohol is safe vor most all of the nearby plastics used in computers. Put in new heatsink compound on the mating surface ( a blob will do as it moves when compressed ).remove the HD holder and replace the HDD with a new one or an SSD. Old 4.5 inch drives can be replaced with the 2-1/2 inch SSD Sata drive with an adapter that run from $4-10. Give the rest of the desktop a quick dusting with the blower end of a vacuum or compressor nozzle (without being full of water). Let the desktop sit for a few minutes to make sure it is dry. Reseat any cards and put the cover on. Reconnect the accessories and load in a live flash drive or DVD.
I have had no failures doing this with more than 30 desktops. Of course I do not retain any fancy video cards sticking with functional bare bones.
Most of the same procedures are the same with the recycled laptops I have done (over 100) If they do not work with 64 bit live (those over 9 years old) then they work with 32 bit. I do have circa 2006 netbooks running single core with 1 GB ram built in running LM 18.2 and 18.3 Cinnamon 32.
Jeremy Mendes
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by Jeremy Mendes »

I've read that a good laptop for Linux distro"s are Lenovo T420 machines. Apparently,Linux distro's work well with Intel i5 processors that are stock in Lenovo T420. Some come with 8GB RAM and 320GB writable disk space. I've never priced a used/refurbished Lenovo T420. In the community I live in,there's a program run by The Working Centre that acquires donated computers from corporations and sells them dirt cheap.Volunteers at The Working Centre refurbish the machines on site and either install an OS,or not,depending on purchasers choice.
Thank You,
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Spearmint2
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Re: Buying desktop

Post by Spearmint2 »

I would be very careful with Lenovo computers. They run a RAID BIOS that is often difficult to get Linux running on. Even Windows users have problems doing reinstallations on them from scratch.
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