Friday, August 04, 2006

Old Computer Blues

Last night our main comp finally died, five and a half weeks shy of its fifth 'birthday'. So, we need to buy a new computer pronto. We need to be able to run MicroSoft Office on the new machine, and would like to save some of our old games, all Wintel programs.

So, does anyone have any advice they would like to give?

UPDATE: Okay, I should have really put more about specifics up, but I was in a hurry this morning. In a new machine there are certain requirements that just have to be met, program-wise:

1) MicroSoft Office (at least Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and probably Access and Outlook
2) Must be able to run certain chess programs, namely Chess Assistant or ChessBase
3) Hopefully play old games dating back to 2000
4) Must be capable of handling online poker clients (a sometimes hobby)
5) Must be compatible with our HP printer

Additionally, being Citrix compatible would be nice, although I don't think that is an issue for anything newer than a Commodore 64.

So, points (1), (2) and (4) and probably (5) mean that I need a Windows machine.

In the past, my wife and I have adopted the strategy of buying the most powerful widely available home computer (meaning, we haven't done the quad Xeon processor type thing) and using it for five years. Actually, that's worked fairly well for use, as I'm typing this on a ten year old Pentium Pro machine.

We will keep using this strategy, more or less. I still need to check Bill's suggestions about the Mac that does Windows machine, but I'm wondering what's the point in buying an Apple clone of a WIntel machine. At the moment, we're leaning towards buying a Dell. (Another point: my wife and I are end-user types, not interested in building our own hotrod.)

Hopefully this better defines the problem, and we do appreciate the comments. (And thanks Reader for the email.) But one way or another we will be making a purchase by tomorrow evening.

13 comments:

bill said...

The new Macs let you run Windows. The Mac version of Office is, I think, completely compatible with the Window version. At least Word is, which I have the most experience with, and I've also found it to be more stable.

No, there's nothing in the Kool-Aid, why do you ask? Just drink it, you'll feel better.

Icepick said...

Word is one needed program, but I also need Excel and Powerpoint. Access (db) would potentially be helpful as well, although I keep managing to avoid learning how to do anthing other than manipulate the dbs I use at work.

As for the Kool-Aid, does it help if one already uses an iPod?

Icepick said...

I need to check on the new Macs that run Windows. Do they use Intel chips, or do they still use the Apple architechture?

bill said...

Running Intel chips: http://www.apple.com/intel/

Also read about bootcamp: http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/

I don't think you can dual boot. You can run either OS X or Windows and if you want to switch you have to reboot. Someone should have a fix for this soon.

I don't have a new one, so can't speak from experience.

bill said...

also search Gruber for info:
http://daringfireball.net/search?q=boot+camp

Icepick said...

Thanks, Bill. I'll check those out later.

bill said...

Here's my take on the Mac/Win argument:

I'm sure the Apple-phobics get tired of hearing "get a Mac," but unless someone has a specific business or usage case for being Windows only the Mac is worth taking a look at.

I'm not saying it's always the best solution. I'm not arguing one is better than the other--what's best for you is whatever works. Just saying, as long as you're looking, check it out.

Pooh said...

For me, neither online poker, nor Civ IV works for Mac, ergo, easy choice.

Sorry about the computer 'Pick, my little laptop that could is approaching 5 as well, and she's in bad shape (for some reasons the hinges on the Inspiron I have are about as well made as a Ford's cruise-control.)

Icepick said...

Pooh, thanks for the comment about online poker. I haven't played the Civ games (not yet anyway) but I am hoping to play ROME: TOTAL WAR really soon.

Icepick said...

Okay, we went to an Apple store, test drove a Mac, and found the experience...disturbing....

More later.

Pooh said...

Heh, sorry to threadjack. The Total War games are pretty cool, IMO.

Icepick said...

Hey, thread-jacking is fine as long as the subject is entertaining/interesting. I am very excited about playing the Total War games. I really like this kind of game. I've been tempted lately to dig out my Sega Genesis and play Centurion again. There's nothing like creating panic in the elephant corps!

Pooh said...

If you've ever played table top games, the TW series is for my money the best translation to computer (especially RTS rather than Turn-based) I've seen.