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  #1  
Old 08-31-2011, 06:30 AM
SecondJudith SecondJudith is offline
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Acer vs Lenovo for a desktop?

I'm looking to buy a new desktop PC for 500-700 in the next year or so. My previous two computers have been Dell, and while I've been happy with their products I've had consistently horrible experiences with their UK customer service, to the point where I'm not willing to deal with them again no matter how well their computers fit my needs.

I currently use my computer, which is a laptop, to:

- browse the internet with 25+ tabs open in Firefox
- run Firefox simultaneously with writing software such as Scrivener and Write or Die
- watch (stream) TV shows on BBC iPlayer (I tend to close most windows while doing this)
- watch DVDs (ditto)
- store my iTunes music library and run iTunes

I don't need shedloads of storage (currently I have 70GB and am using 40GB of that) but I would like something I can be running lots of different programs on simultaneously that won't slow down or freeze up too much. My current computer is three years old and is still plugging along, and I'd like something that will last at least as long.

I've heard good things about both Acer and Lenovo (HP, not so much ), and would like to hear people's experiences with their products, especially long-time users and desktop owners.
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2011, 12:21 PM
Chopper9760 Chopper9760 is offline
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I'd go Lenovo, I've drooled over Thinkpads for years. My buddy had a horrible lemon of an Acer and it's really put me off the brand. I've never owned either one personally though.

It sounds like we have similar PC habits; I bought an ASUS K52JK-A1 about 18 months ago and I love it.

Happy shopping, new computers are fun.
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:40 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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my only experience with Acer was motherboards long ago.

have a Lenovo desktop that has been solid for a couple years, very quiet machine too.
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:45 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Lenovo is just a rebadged IBM. I have a Lenovo Thinkpad laptop, which I bought because they were highly rated by both reviewers and consumers alike, and I like it. No problems going on three years now.
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:31 PM
appleciders appleciders is offline
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I'm writing this on an Acer Aspire laptop. It's a big 18.4" one, and is a little bulky for frequent transport, but I mostly just keep it on my desk anyway. Two years old and no problems.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:22 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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I use a Lenovo desktop at work. It doesn't exactly have the world's greatest graphics card so it's not a good game computer, but I don't game on it and you don't mention gaming in your list of requirements either. I use it for work e-mail, firefox, software and hardware development, and I tend to run at least one virtual machine on it at all times. It gets a bit slow when I have three virtual machines and a software compiler all going at once, but other than that it runs pretty well.

The case is kinda cheap and flimsy. Part if the case bent when I opened it up to shove an extra ethernet card into the machine. It also has one of those plastic buttons that goes through the case and pushes the real button on the DVD drive to eject it, and that whole assembly is cheap and flimsy. I would have preferred it if they would have just cut the hole out for the DVD drive larger so that I could press the real eject button to open the drive.

It's a small machine with a very limited number of expansion slots in the back. It has plenty of USB ports and they are all on their own separate USB root hub (better for performance than ports that share a common root/controller).

I find the Lenovo care software that came with it to be a bit naggy and annoying. If this was my home machine I would have uninstalled that.

My only real complaint about the machine is the Microsoft Forefront security stuff that our IT department put onto it. That has nothing to do with IBM or Lenovo and if you got a machine it wouldn't have it on there.
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:58 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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Here is what I know, FWIW. When I wanted a new laptop and wanted to spend the last dregs of a research grant, I asked our sysop and he recommended Lenovo. He also suggested getting one with no hard drive, but 128 GB of flash memory. The thing boots nearly instantly. I still have 42 GB unused but I don't download videos or stuff like that. It wasn't cheap, but I wasn't trying to save money. My only complaints are getting used to Win-7 (I have not found out how to turn Aero completely off, although my windows are nearly opaque now).

I know someone who used to a sysop at another university. This was before IBM sold its PC division. He told me that IBM desktops were a constant headache; don't go near them, but IBM laptops were great. Has Lenovo changed that? I don't know.

It's funny, but while IBM really set off the PC explosion (I know they weren't first, but PCs were a niche market until the first IBM PC) they could never compete in it. I think this was because the corporate managers were afraid it would damage their minicomputer business. So when the Intel 386 chip, the first really usable processor, came out, IBM saw rightly that it would render their minis obsolete and refused to use them. It didn't stop Compaq from using them and it did hurt IBM. When IBM came out with their 386 machine, they were a year behind and could never catch up. They also ran the chips below their rated speed. Then came the PS-2, which was supposedly clone-proof. It was, but it was also sales-proof. OS/2 was another failed attempt to recreate their monopoly position.

But this is getting too far off topic.
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:04 AM
SecondJudith SecondJudith is offline
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Sounds like things are tilting towards Lenovo - thanks for the posts everyone.

Hari Seldon, what's the difference between a hard drive and flash memory?

I'm looking at computers like Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z and Lenovo IdeaCentre B320. I always thought having a "tower" or physical box separate from the monitor meant a computer could do more than one that was just the monitor (I don't know the exact terms, but I hope I can be understood), but it seems most of the desktops I'm seeing are all-in-one with no separate box. Is that just Technology Moving On?
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Old 09-02-2011, 10:50 AM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondJudith View Post
Sounds like things are tilting towards Lenovo - thanks for the posts everyone.
I've got a Thinkpad that I'm extremely happy with (it's survived a few hard falls that would probably destroy a flimsier laptop) but I don't think their desktops are that much better than any other decent manufacturer.

Quote:
Hari Seldon, what's the difference between a hard drive and flash memory?
A flash drive (or SSD for solid state drive) is astonishingly faster than a spinning disk hard drive. That makes a big difference whenever your computer is flogging the hard drive. In particular, a SSD will boot up your computer in less than 20 seconds, versus a minute or two with an ordinary hard drive. Programs will launch much faster, and your computer won't slow to a crawl when multiple programs are all trying to access the hard drive at the same time. That'll help speed up switching between all 25 of your tabs.

However, they're expensive, and they won't be as big as a normal hard drive. A 64 gb hard drive costs around $90. You might be ok with that little space for now, but you might also fill it faster than you think. In comparison, you can get a 2 tb normal hard drive for $80 -- that's 15 times as much space. And if you're buying a computer at retail, you'll only find SSDs on the very high-end computers.

Quote:
I'm looking at computers like Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z and Lenovo IdeaCentre B320. I always thought having a "tower" or physical box separate from the monitor meant a computer could do more than one that was just the monitor (I don't know the exact terms, but I hope I can be understood), but it seems most of the desktops I'm seeing are all-in-one with no separate box. Is that just Technology Moving On?
A tower is more upgradable and expandable than an all-in-one, but for your purposes it might not matter much. The primary advantage of towers these days is that you can upgrade the graphics card, which is necessary to play the latest and greatest PC games. You can also add lots of hard drives as needed.

But all-in-ones are More Than Good Enough for most people, and it sounds like they're just fine for your uses. They used to be substantially more expensive than tower desktops but these days the price difference isn't that big. From the computers you linked to, I'd suggest the IdeaCentre, since the ThinkCentre uses somewhat slower last-gen hardware. Really, anything in that price segment would serve your purposes.
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