My Computer Died - Good Bye Dear Friend
Goodbye Dear Friend
By Hewie Poplock
I lost a good friend this week. My only desktop computer, who has faithfully worked for me since 2007, has passed away after a brief illness. On Saturday, I could sense that she was not herself, so I ran a complete image of the hard drive. I knew the end was near, as it took 36 hours to complete the backup of 600 gigabytes.
Once the backup was complete, I removed the hard drive and installed a new one. When I went to restore from the backup, some of the USB ports disappeared. Then she started to encounter other hardware failures that indicated that it was a motherboard failure and the inevitable end was near. After 1 last gasp, it powered up, but there was no post to the screen, and she was gone.
After a brief ceremony and mourning, I had to adapt and decide what to do to fill that position. With the help of my friend Mike, we began to isolate my needs and my budget. I have a high powered notebook computer, so I was looking for a good system, but not for a top of the line, state of the art system.
After comparing the various CPU models and speeds by using http://cpubenchmark.netand deciding which items were priorities, I narrowed my search to several items:
- Intel i3 or i5 with a CPU Mark of 4800 or higher
- Minimum of 6GB of Memory
- Ability to expand memory to 16GB (but 8 would be acceptable)
- USB ports: at least 4, 6 better, more than that, best
- USB 3.0 port is a plus but not required
- Ability to support 2 monitors (usually 1 VGA & 1 DVI)
- I have a new 1TB hard drive, so size of hard drive could be less than 1TB, but minimum of 500MB required.
- I have Windows 7 license that can be used.
- There were some other items that would be nice, but not required.
- Other items not mentioned here, which were on all of the systems that I looked at.
After a flurry of emails of links back and forth, we found 5 that I was considering. I looked at new, refurbished, and used systems. I came across http://cowboom.com, part of Best Buy, which sells used systems.
I narrowed down my choices to 5 at first, and after deciding that a refurbished HP did not meet my wants and 2 systems would not support 2 monitors, got down to 2. One was a refurbished house brand from CompUSA/Tiger Direct, and the other was a Dell from CowBoom.com.
Their CPU Marks were close (5835 vs 6085) and neither comes with the operating system. However, the Dell has more USB ports and can be upgraded to 16GB of memory vs 8 in the other. However the Dell only comes with 6GB of memory and the other is maxed out at 8GB. One of the deciding factors, though, was the difference in the video graphics adapter. The Dell has a Radion card with 1GB of dedicated video memory, and the other has the Intel video 2000 on the motherboard, with shared memory. Both do support 2 monitors.
I ordered the Dell Studio XPS 8300 Desktop Core i5 3GHz 6GB 1TB DVDRW using a $20 coupon from http://retailmenot.com, so the computer was $400, less $20, plus I sprung for a1 year maintenance agreement for $35, and sales tax, for a total to my door of $439.88.
CowBoom indicates 7 to 10 business days for delivery. I will report soon on how good it is. Oh, I have restored some of my data files (177GB) from the backup to an external USB drive using True Image Home 2012, so I did get a good backup last week.