if this isn’t the right place to ask please redirect but am asking opinions on best computer (for me). honestly, trying to wade through the incredible amount of varied advice online is driving me crazy.

this is the first computer i’ve bought specifically for me, not family, so will list what i do on a computer which is fairly limited compared to what i see others into.

i’d like a desktop so i never have to worry about someone (kids) taking it off to their room.

i email,i go on amazon & craigslist, wander the internet to fact check and get news, play plants & zombies (not true gaming), and stream movies/videos (or would like to if i had a computer that didn’t play everything jerky).

i’d like a budget (as budget as can get and have decent speed).

company with a decent track record in service/warrenty issues is a plus.

ideas for specific computer?

any help appreciated. the reason this has no caps is because when i use capitals the k or u keys insert themselves - so it’s really time to retire this old laptop.

If you won’t be doing any “true gaming”, you’re not likely to need anything more fancy than a middle-of-the-road model available at any electronics store.

Don’t go too cheap or else the streaming video might be still choppy and stupid. Again, aim for a midlevel computer and you’ll be fine.

How fast is your internet? Even a low end system should be able to easily handle streaming video.

You’ll probably want something more like this, rather than this or this.

Wal-Mart is actually a good place to get decent medium of the road computers for a good price. Warehouse clubs also have some good deals. They only carry a few models (mostly Dell and HP) but they give good value for the price. The big question is whether you want a bundle with a monitor or just the computer. A decent bundle from Dell or HP that can easily do what you describe is usually between $500 and $800. Just the computer can be less than $500 or about that for a decent one. Don’t spend more than $800 all inclusive and probably less. It would be overkill for your relatively modest needs.

The last regular computer of the type you are after that I bought was AU$400, not including monitor or Windows XP, and I got that from my corner computer store (literally - I carried it a few blocks to my home). That was five years ago, but I’d say that, even in US dollars, and including the monitor, that would be the kind of price you’d expect, and add another $100 for a monitor screen. You might also want separate speakers (anything built-in is usually a bit crappy) and a USB hub to connect everything, but those are optional.

Here’s a bundle for $520 from Newegg. Since you’re using a laptop now, I’m assuming you need a monitor.

Lenovo is a pretty solid brand. It’s the name IBM lines go under now since they were bought by some Chinese firm. The i5 processor is more than sufficent for your needs and has built-in video that’ll easily run your movies and play the style of games you play. Integrated video is getting surprisingly robust these days for anyone who isn’t a “gamer”. 6GB memory is a good amount. Ignore the one poor review – what the person is complaining about is nothing you’d care about.

For what you’re asking about, almost anything out of the box should be able to handle it. I don’t think any reputable company sells a home computer these days that couldn’t run Plants Vs Zombies and stream Netflix. The one linked would give you a good system that you could run just about anything on for the reasonable future and have a good experience barring resource-heavy games or video editing.

I’m going to say that if this is what you want, you don’t need a computer unless you specifically want a sizeable monitor. There is nothing in the list of things you want to do that can’t be accomplished with a tablet. Some time ago, Tycho from Penny Arcade posted this:

I find that to be a reasonable and accurate assessment of the situation when concerning people that want to do the things you just described doing. Nothing you described requires anything more than an iPad or similar tablet. If you don’t like Apple (for understandable reasons), Windows 8 is set to release relatively soon, and Dell, at least, is planning to have tablets that coincide with it.

Great, now I can’t get James Doohan’s voice out of my head. :stuck_out_tongue:

Computer? Computer!?

Really, don’t sweat it. Intel and AMD don’t make processors slow enough to cause you problems. Computers come with enough disk and memory to keep the operating system happy, with some rare exceptions. A Windows 7 computer will be fine. As for service, look on the web, but most of the boards are built in just a few factories, and most of the components come from the same places also.
And if you don’t buy the computer with the least memory and disk, you will definitely be fine.

Will the OP be able to play Plants vs. Zombies on a tablet? What if other games are released that do interest the OP while still staying outside the realm of “true” gaming?

My outlook on tablets is pretty much the exact opposite. I don’t need a portable computer with a screen that’s too damn small to do anything useful on.

EDIT: Nevermind that I don’t like having my internet connection be through a cell phone company that charges based on usage.

I wouldn’t really suggest one of the ones with wireless - just having it connect through wifi at home seems sufficient. It doesn’t sound like the OP needs the wireless data connection. As for plants vs. zombies, it’s currently available on both iPad and android devices, and I presume if it’s playable on a normal computer now, it will be playable on a Windows 8 tablet.

I like computers - for me. For people who do a lot with them like me, much more than tablets and such are capable of, they’re great and necessary. But for people who email, view a few websites, don’t play “real” games (not sure how else to put that, although saying it that way is clearly not accurate) and watch videos, a tablet is amply sufficient and presents advantages like being able to easily take it with you and use one of the ever-increasing number of wifi hotspots found all over, or being able to use it from anywhere in your house instead of having to sit at a computer desk. Other disadvantages can be overcome: keyboards can be attached, external data storage can be employed, etc, to deal with nearly any situation a tablet user would need.

This is a refurbished desktop PC from Newegg. It would more than meet your needs. Comes with a 20-inch widescreen monitor, 4 gigs of the latest RAM (DDR3), 1 terabyte (=1024 gig) hard drive, a decent low level video card (which is fine since you don’t play any intensive games), and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit**. **Cost is $429.

Take a look at this Newegg search for refurbs, if you like the concept but want to spend less than the one I listed.

ETA: Mnemosyne, OP said they would prefer a desktop so the kids won’t try to borrow the computer to their rooms. A tablet (or laptop, netbook etc) would be counterproductive to satisfying that particular requirement. And even if they’d be a little cheaper at the outset, once you add in peripherals like a keyboard, it’s not really all that much better than a budget desktop PC. Tablets are also easier to break because they’re smaller and portabler.

Yes, Plants vs. Zombies plays just fine on a tablet.

The Bro got a low-range one as a combo emailchecker/kiddistracter when The Nephew had surgery last summer, he’s happy as a whole farm of clams. But yeah, the OP is specifically asking for a computer than won’t roam.

A tablet would probably work for the OP but if they’re happy with (or prefer) a desktop, they’ll definitely get more value for the dollar with a desktop over any other option. You’ll get a better system (processor, memory, storage) with a $450 desktop than with a $650 tablet.

You seem like a person who doesn’t want complications, so I’ll recommend an all-in-one computer. However, these tend to be more expensive than tower + monitor systems.



Best Buy

(And then there’s the Apple/Windows debate, but I won’t get into that)

On the Android Plants vs. Zombies, there’s no endless Vasebreaker which to me means it doesn’t play at all.

I’ve gotten some great deals on refurbished devices from Requires some patience, though.