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Old 12-28-2018, 12:01 AM   #781
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Gregg - whatever you do, get Win10 Professional. It provides better control over Windows Updates, especially the twice yearly 'Feature Updates'. I defer them until 60 days after release to enterprise customers - which is normally about 3-5 months after Home users get it thrust upon them.

IMO the Home edition of Windows is MS's way of getting bazillions of consumers to test their software.

As Dennis wrote the main thing with refurbished computers is 'Will it run Windows 10'. My ex-employer had to wait for several thousand laptops and desktops to reach end-of-5yr-lease before they could start migrating to Windows 10.

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Old 12-28-2018, 09:43 AM   #782
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Gregg - whatever you do, get Win10 Professional. It provides better control over Windows Updates, especially the twice yearly 'Feature Updates'. I defer them until 60 days after release to enterprise customers - which is normally about 3-5 months after Home users get it thrust upon them.
I concur. The nice thing about the free upgrade offer was that I was upgrading from Win7 Pro and the free upgrade got me Win10 Pro.

I would not willingly run Win10 Home.

(The good stuff in Pro is in Group Policy Manager, that does not exist in Home.)

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As Dennis wrote the main thing with refurbished computers is 'Will it run Windows 10'. My ex-employer had to wait for several thousand laptops and desktops to reach end-of-5yr-lease before they could start migrating to Windows 10.
A machine running Win7 shoud run Win10, too. The hardware requirements haven't really increased. The question is how well if will run.

My old Dell SFF box came with Win7 Pro and got upgraded to Win10 Pro. Win10 did technically run, and only seeing two of teh four cores in the Dell's Xeon CPU was the most visible limitation.

But I commented back after transitioning that it was New and different Win10 BSODs. Collect the whole set!" because I was. I was able to tweak the config to solve the most pressing issues, but it was still not a happy experience overall.

The HP SFF box I use now has been a lot better. I still see BSODs - DPC Watchdog Violation and Kernel Security check - the usual ones. But overall things are much improved, and and I can only conclude the Dell box simply had inadequate hardware support.

If you do buy one of the NewEgg boxes, your first step is making sure the drivers are all current and you have the current BIOS/UEFI revision.

I would also add more RAM. Win10 will technically run in 4GB, but it's much happier with 6GB or better. As mentioned, I have 8GB expandable to 32GB, but I've seen no current need to expand from what I have.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:29 PM   #783
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My current desktop is a refurb ex-corporate HP SFF box, which came with a an Intel i5-2400 CPU at 3.1-3.4 GHZ, 8GB RAM, and a 500GB SATA HD with Win7 Pro installed.

It was an emergency replacement for a Dell SFF unit that suffered a power supply failure, and the design was such that I needed to get a new machine.

I had gotten a 240GB Crucial SSD and a low profile ATI-AMD video card to replace the built-in Intel graphics in the Dell. I reused both in the HP.

I had upgraded the Dell from Win7 Pro to Win10 Pro with MS's free upgrade offer. MS's free upgrade offer was long over when I got the HP, but I had downloaded the Win10 Pro upgrade media to a thumb drive. As expected, when I plugged in the thumb drive and ran setup from it, it upgraded the Win7 Pro install to Win10 Pro just fine. (I did have to tell it not to look for updates before installing. I did that at first, and it came back and told me it couldn't find a valid Win10 license. I killed the upgrade process and restarted and told it not to check for updates, and it matter of factly installed Win10 Pro and then checked for updates as the last thing it did. )

Once I was up and running on Win10, I wiped the SSD and reset it to factory stock state, then cloned the Win10 install on the SATA drive to the SSD and set it as the boot drive.

As it happened, the onboard Intel HD2000 graphics on the HP motherboard performed better than the AMD-ATI card, so it got pulled and is sitting in a parts drawer.

I do recommend more than 4GB RAM. My HP came with 8GB, but I can go up to 32GB if needed. Thus far, no need, but the headroom is there is I need it.

I also recommend getting an SSD. You get a nice performance boost, with booting and program loads happening much faster. I just got a 120GB SSD from budget vendor at my local Micro Center outlet for $30. It's a mid life kicker for an old netbook. The fact that it's a budget model isn't a concern. SSDs have gotten for more reliable, an online torture test reports have reported petabytes of writes required before any failed.

And you may want to check that the CPU in the machine you buy is on Win10's supported list. I discovered after the fact that the quad-core Xeon CPU in the Dell was not on the supported list, and the system only saw two of the four cores. The i5-2400 is supported and sees and uses all four cores.

Without a closer look at the three you listed, it's hard to make detailed recommendations beyong checking the CPU is supported by Win10.

One area I'd think hard about is serviceability. The Dell was a PITA to work in when I needed to pop the hood. The HP was designed for easy service, and it was easy to pop the hood and get to what was installed. It was also expandable. I was able to install teh SSD as boot drive, the supplied SATA HD as data drive, and installed the SATA HD from the old Dell as a secondary data drive. (I repurposed the SATA port the onboard DVD player used for that, as I have no need to access DVDs.) More recently, I added a PCI-e USB 3.0 card, as the HP didn't come with it, and a 4 port USB3 hub plugging into it. There was a spare mini-PCI-e slot the card could fit into. Works fine.
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Thanks a lot, Dennis. I didn't even think about computers for sale with Windows 10 that couldn't support them, then I came across a Newegg review where the reviewer said, "Will not support Windows 10. Or 8. Maybe it will run XP." I was like, "Holy Crap! How can they sell stuff like that?" Then I saw a 10-year-old Lenovo on walmart.com with Windows 10 and I was very skeptical it would run it. A friend pointed out that middle machine (in the link I sent) came with an option to get the machine with Windows 10 for an extra $30. I doubt I could pull off what you did with installing it from a flash drive.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:32 PM   #784
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Gregg - whatever you do, get Win10 Professional. It provides better control over Windows Updates, especially the twice yearly 'Feature Updates'. I defer them until 60 days after release to enterprise customers - which is normally about 3-5 months after Home users get it thrust upon them.

IMO the Home edition of Windows is MS's way of getting bazillions of consumers to test their software.

As Dennis wrote the main thing with refurbished computers is 'Will it run Windows 10'. My ex-employer had to wait for several thousand laptops and desktops to reach end-of-5yr-lease before they could start migrating to Windows 10.

BR
Thanks Red. I'm really thinking if I get something, I'll get something with Windows 10 Professional already installed. I just don't have the skills to do the necessary adjustments to make a machine without it work that you guys have.

It's just the $59 price drew me in.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:56 PM   #785
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Thanks a lot, Dennis. I didn't even think about computers for sale with Windows 10 that couldn't support them, then I came across a Newegg review where the reviewer said, "Will not support Windows 10. Or 8. Maybe it will run XP." I was like, "Holy Crap! How can they sell stuff like that?"
Dead easy. It's caveat emptor, and it's on you as the buyer to do your homework and know what you are buying and can expect from it.

As a rule, you get what you are willing to pay for. One question I ask folks is what value they place on their time. A late friend had the habit when buying cars of getting junkers and running them totally into the ground. Yeah, they were cheap, but the time, effort, and money he spent to keep them running added up. I tried to get across that the way to go was buy a quality used car, maintain it as the factory specified, and run it into the ground. It would cost more up front but cost less in time, trouble, and money over the life of the vehicle.

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Then I saw a 10-year-old Lenovo on walmart.com with Windows 10 and I was very skeptical it would run it. A friend pointed out that middle machine (in the link I sent) came with an option to get the machine with Windows 10 for an extra $30. I doubt I could pull off what you did with installing it from a flash drive.
I don't see why you couldn't.

MS is doing its best to make Win10 upgrades painless. Installing from the flash drive here was "Plug the drive into a USB slot, access it, and run Setup."

It will take a while and reboot a couple of time, but shouldn't really require intervention from you while installing. Go make coffee and relax.

Yes, you will want to go in and configure it after installation, but you would do that in any OS install.

The trick the second time around was telling it not to go out and look for updates before installing.

I had to do various fiddling to get Win10 to run on the older Dell SFF box because of what turned out to be inadequate hardware support. Win10 ran, but not well. The HP SSF replacement has been a much smoother experience.

On the original Dell install, I added a SSD as boot drive, and cloned Win7 Pro to it. Once I was booted off SSD, I upgraded Win7 Pro install on the SSD. The result was a Windows boot menu where I could boot into Win10 from the SSD, or boot into Win7 Pro from the HD, since I hadn't removed it after cloning.

On the HP I didn't bother doing that. I just upgraded the Win7 Pro install on HD to Win10 Pro, then cloned that to SSD and removed the instance on the HD.

Of course, doing what I did requires that you have the upgrade media to install from. Drop me a PM and I can assist.
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Old 12-28-2018, 05:21 PM   #786
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(The good stuff in Pro is in Group Policy Manager, that does not exist in Home.)
That too - Gregg this largely avoids the need to hack the registry directly.

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A machine running Win7 shoud run Win10, too. The hardware requirements haven't really increased. The question is how well if will run.
My ex-e's migration to Win 10 was hampered by incompatibilities with some adapters/printers they used, video cards, and -- you'd better sit down:

Spoiler:
token-ring network adapters, and serial tally-roll printers


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I would also add more RAM. Win10 will technically run in 4GB, but it's much happier with 6GB or better.
I concur


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Thanks a lot, Dennis. I didn't even think about computers for sale with Windows 10 that couldn't support them, then I came across a Newegg review where the reviewer said, "Will not support Windows 10. Or 8. Maybe it will run XP." I was like, "Holy Crap! How can they sell stuff like that?"
Many people buy older 'Windows' computers in order to run Linux, they're cheaper than an older Mac

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A friend pointed out that middle machine (in the link I sent) came with an option to get the machine with Windows 10 for an extra $30. I doubt I could pull off what you did with installing it from a flash drive.
That middle machine's base price is with no disk drive, and it cannot be configured with both an SSD and a harddrive.

You not only need technical skills to do the upgrades yourself, one also needs inclination - I've lost the latter completely.

BR
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:12 PM   #787
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That too - Gregg this largely avoids the need to hack the registry directly.
Yep. Aside from better control over Critical Updates, a win for me was GPE would let me define scripts to run on startup and shutdown. Startup scripts can be handled on Win10 Home, but capturing the shutdown event and doing something because the machine is shutting down/restarting is another matter.

Quote:
My ex-e's migration to Win 10 was hampered by incompatibilities with some adapters/printers they used, video cards, and -- you'd better sit down:

Spoiler:
token-ring network adapters, and serial tally-roll printers
Gack! I can't remember the last time I had to deal with token ring, but no surprise Win10 had issues. Support for legacy hardware is always a pain.

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Many people buy older 'Windows' computers in order to run Linux, they're cheaper than an older Mac
I believe Greg has done precisely that.

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That middle machine's base price is with no disk drive, and it cannot be configured with both an SSD and a harddrive.
That's the sort of thing I was talking about when I mentioned needing more details on the machines Greg was looking at. My first questions involve ease of service and expansion. SFF machines can make those challenging, and my HP was a pleasant surprise.

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You not only need technical skills to do the upgrades yourself, one also needs inclination - I've lost the latter completely.
I haven't lost it, but I've become fussier about whether I do it. I got cured of building my own systems from components, and haven't done all that much on the current desktop besides adding an SSD as boot drive and an additional HD essentially replacing the built in DVD player I don't use. The last add was a USB3 PCI-e cards and an external USB3 drive enclosure. I don't see other major changes, as what I have now does what I normally need to do.

I don't know how comfortable Greg is about opening machines and fiddling with hardware. Offhand, I'd guess adding more RAM might not be a problem but going beyond that gets more complicated.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:59 PM   #788
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As a rule, you get what you are willing to pay for. One question I ask folks is what value they place on their time. A late friend had the habit when buying cars of getting junkers and running them totally into the ground. Yeah, they were cheap, but the time, effort, and money he spent to keep them running added up. I tried to get across that the way to go was buy a quality used car, maintain it as the factory specified, and run it into the ground. It would cost more up front but cost less in time, trouble, and money over the life of the vehicle.
^ This is brilliant, Dennis, thanks. But I think I like the challenge of working with the junkers (in this case computers--my car is a 2004 Chevy). I probably shouldn't but there's something thrilling to me about taking something off the junk heap and making it work. (In this instance taking the $59 computer and turning it into a Windows 10 powerhouse. LOL) The computer I'm on now (my best computer) was getting thrown out at work because it crashed (running Windows). Now I have Xubuntu 16.04LTS on it and it's been uber-reliable for years. Now whether I should be doing this stuff is another question altogether.

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MS is doing its best to make Win10 upgrades painless. Installing from the flash drive here was "Plug the drive into a USB slot, access it, and run Setup."

It will take a while and reboot a couple of time, but shouldn't really require intervention from you while installing. Go make coffee and relax.

Yes, you will want to go in and configure it after installation, but you would do that in any OS install.

The trick the second time around was telling it not to go out and look for updates before installing.
After reading this a second time I think I could do it.

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Of course, doing what I did requires that you have the upgrade media to install from. Drop me a PM and I can assist.
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Thank you. Believe me, if I do this, I will.
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Old 12-28-2018, 11:05 PM   #789
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That too - Gregg this largely avoids the need to hack the registry directly.
Thanks Red. Yeah, the registry makes me nervous anyway. It'll definitely be Pro I'll be looking for from now on.

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That middle machine's base price is with no disk drive, and it cannot be configured with both an SSD and a harddrive.



BR
But it says it has 250GB harddrive.
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Old 12-28-2018, 11:09 PM   #790
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I don't know how comfortable Greg is about opening machines and fiddling with hardware. Offhand, I'd guess adding more RAM might not be a problem but going beyond that gets more complicated.
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I've added RAM and a hard drive and a DVD tray, that sort of stuff. Nothing beyond that, though. But as long as it doesn't involve soldering or something like that, I don't see what's so hard about most things. (Esp. with Youtube videos and helpful people like you and Red.)
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:10 AM   #791
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^ This is brilliant, Dennis, thanks. But I think I like the challenge of working with the junkers (in this case computers--my car is a 2004 Chevy). I probably shouldn't but there's something thrilling to me about taking something off the junk heap and making it work. (In this instance taking the $59 computer and turning it into a Windows 10 powerhouse. LOL) The computer I'm on now (my best computer) was getting thrown out at work because it crashed (running Windows). Now I have Xubuntu 16.04LTS on it and it's been uber-reliable for years. Now whether I should be doing this stuff is another question altogether.
You like the challenge, want to do it, and find it an acceptable use of your time. It's a hobby.

Under the stated circumstances I don't see why you shouldn't do it.

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After reading this a second time I think I could do it.
I do too, assuming the target will acceptably run Win10. That's where I'd do homework, and try to find out whether others have successfully run Win10 on those machines. (My experience with the Dell was that Win10 technically ran, but not very well. The HP has been much better.)

You have a machine with a rock solid Ubuntu installation. There are many Linux distros. What made you choose Ubuntu?

I chose it for ease. Ubuntu did the best job I'd seen in a Linux distro of figuring out what it was installing on, setting itself up, and Just Working, with minimal intervention from me. (Video and networking are particular problem children.) I wanted to use Ubuntu, and not spend my time fiddling to be able to use it.

Along those lines, Win10 tries really hard to have a trouble free installation, and for good reason.

Historically, Windows users generally didn't upgrade Windows in place. They got a new version of Windows when they got a new machine that came with a new version. But hardware has gotten steadily more powerful and cheaper. There will be far less need for users to upgrade to a new machine to get more power. So getting existing users to upgrade to Win10 means making that as easy and friction free as possible. The free upgrade offer was part of it. It could be done online, or you could download the media for later install like I did.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:40 AM   #792
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I've added RAM and a hard drive and a DVD tray, that sort of stuff. Nothing beyond that, though. But as long as it doesn't involve soldering or something like that, I don't see what's so hard about most things. (Esp. with Youtube videos and helpful people like you and Red.)
That's precisely the sort of stuff I've done here.

On the old Dell SFF box, I upgraded RAM to the 8GB that was the max the machine would take, and added an SSD as boot drive and a video card for better 3D performance.

On the HP, I didn't need to add RAM as it came with 8GB, thought I can expand it to 32GB if needed. I didn't reuse the video card from the Dell either, as the Intel HD2000 graphics provided better performance and kept life simpler.

I did have to do a little fiddling. I only had a few SATA drive ports, so I stole the one used by the onboard DVD and used it for the SSD. That required getting a Y-adapter for the power lead because the power connector for the DVD wouldn't work with the SSD, but splitting an HD power line into two would. There was enough room in the SFF case to fit stuff.

The other recent upgrade was adding USB3, because the HP came with USB2 on the motherboard. I found a USB3 PCI-e card that wuld plug into an unused mini-PCI-e slot that provided two rear USB3 slots. (It could have an optional lead that could connect to front slots to make them USB3 too, but I didn't bother. An external USB3 drive enclosure plugs into onew read USB3 slot, and a 4 port USB3 hub plugs into the other. Works fine. I am seeing USB3 flash drives at the price I was paying for USB2 versions, and am slowly converting. (I have an assortment of flash drives that are used for archival storage where raw speed of access isn't a major concern, so no hurry.)

I still have an empty slot where I can plug in a better video card, but I'm not a gamer and don't really need the capability.

No soldering has been required by anything I've done on these or earlier machines, but some ingenuity in realizing some things could be done has proven useful.
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Old 12-29-2018, 10:17 PM   #793
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You like the challenge, want to do it, and find it an acceptable use of your time. It's a hobby. Under the stated circumstances I don't see why you shouldn't do it.
Thanks Dennis. The only thing is I don't have time for a hobby. I should be working (writing). I can really use Windows but sometimes I think this 'fix up the junk heap' sort of stuff is my poverty mentality saying 'well, I may be poor but I sure can get good deals.'

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I do too, assuming the target will acceptably run Win10. That's where I'd do homework, and try to find out whether others have successfully run Win10 on those machines.
Some of the reviewers of the $59 dollar computer had great luck with running Windows 10.

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You have a machine with a rock solid Ubuntu installation. There are many Linux distros. What made you choose Ubuntu?
I started out with a very small computer (40GB harddrive) and a friend told me it could handle Xubuntu. So that's what I started out with. As my computers got more powerful I stuck with Xubuntu because I love its simplicity.

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I chose it for ease. Ubuntu did the best job I'd seen in a Linux distro of figuring out what it was installing on, setting itself up, and Just Working, with minimal intervention from me. (Video and networking are particular problem children.) I wanted to use Ubuntu, and not spend my time fiddling to be able to use it.
I have Bodhi on one computer. Love the concept: put on only what you want.


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Historically, Windows users generally didn't upgrade Windows in place. They got a new version of Windows when they got a new machine that came with a new version. But hardware has gotten steadily more powerful and cheaper. There will be far less need for users to upgrade to a new machine to get more power. So getting existing users to upgrade to Win10 means making that as easy and friction free as possible. The free upgrade offer was part of it. It could be done online, or you could download the media for later install like I did.
______
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That's very cool, however look what I found. Rather than tinkering with the $59 computer, I found this Lenovo desktop. It's got 8GB RAM Windows 10 pro already installed. I really should be working, not tinkering. I almost bought it but I wanted to ask your opinion before I did.

Here's the comparison between the two.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...9SIA5HA6JT0248

And here's the Lenovo alone.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...1VK-0003-00C87

For $24 dollars more this seemed like a no-brainer. What do you think? Thanks.

P.S. The only thing that bothered me was no reviews.

Last edited by Gregg Bell; 12-29-2018 at 10:22 PM. Reason: comment about reviews
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:01 PM   #794
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Thanks Dennis. The only thing is I don't have time for a hobby. I should be working (writing). I can really use Windows but sometimes I think this 'fix up the junk heap' sort of stuff is my poverty mentality saying 'well, I may be poor but I sure can get good deals.'
Like I said, you get what you pay for. How good a deal it is is another matter. It's not a good deal if it doesn't work, no matter how cheap it was,

Our gay neighbor down the hall likes to shop, and comes back with stuff he doesn't need simply because it was a really good deal. It's his hobby, and he can afford it.

Quote:
Some of the reviewers of the $59 dollar computer had great luck with running Windows 10.
Good.

Quote:
I started out with a very small computer (40GB harddrive) and a friend told me it could handle Xubuntu. So that's what I started out with. As my computers got more powerful I stuck with Xubuntu because I love its simplicity.
I got Xubuntu because the mother of a friend passed along an ancient Fujitsu netbook she has upgraded from, but didn't just want to throw it out.

30GB IDE4 HD, onboard ATI graphics, a Transmeta Crusoe CPU (an early attempt at power saving - Linus Torvald's first US job was working for Transmeta), and a whopping 256 MB of RAM, of which the CPU grabbed 16MB off the top for code morphing. It came to me with WinXP Pro SP2 installed, and took 8 minutes to simply boot. Actually doing anything took a lot longer.

I swapped in a 40GB IDE drive from a failed laptop and began hacking. I wiped the drive, repartitioned, and set it up to multi-boot, installing Win2K Pro SP4 (which would actually run in it more or less acceptably), Xubuntu 12.04, Puppy Linux, and FreeDOS.

Xubuntu had problems. It installed fine, but was snail slow. Posters on teh Ubuntu forums thought too much Gnome had crept in, and recommended what I did - install from the Minimal CD to get a working CLI installation, then use apt-get to add only what was needed. I installed Lxde as the lightest weight GUI that would behave as desired (Think XFCE with one panel.) That brought along Xorg as a dependency.

Installed on a Ext4 file system, performance was bearable. Puppy Linux, also on Ext4, flew, but Puppy was intended for low end hardware. I set both Linuxes up to see each other's filesystems, and spent time setting things up so that there was one copy of really large apps shared between them.

The fundamental limit was disk I/O, and IDE4 was a motherboard limitation. Really large apps loaded slowly. I didn't even try to run a current Firefox.

It was mostly an exercise to see what performance I could wring out of ancient hardware without throwing money at it. I haven't even booted it in months at this point.

Quote:
I have Bodhi on one computer. Love the concept: put on only what you want.
I haven't looked at Bodhi, but as mentioned, you can do similar things with Ubuntu.

[quote]That's very cool, however look what I found. Rather than tinkering with the $59 computer, I found this Lenovo desktop. It's got 8GB RAM Windows 10 pro already installed. I really should be working, not tinkering. I almost bought it but I wanted to ask your opinion before I did.

Quote:
Here's the comparison between the two.
<...>

No comparison. Assuming it works as claimed, you get a working Win10 Pro installation with adequate RAM and decent CPU. I'd still want to put an SSD in the mix, but you don't have to to use it.

Quote:
For $24 dollars more this seemed like a no-brainer. What do you think? Thanks.

P.S. The only thing that bothered me was no reviews.
Lack of reviews are an issue. I'd likely go for it, but I've had more practice dealing with hardware.

Agreed, though - you should be writing. Writers I know talk about "vacuuming the cat", which refers to things done to avoid writing. You don't want fiddling with old hardware to be your excuse for not writing.
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Old 12-30-2018, 02:45 PM   #795
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Like I said, you get what you pay for. How good a deal it is is another matter. It's not a good deal if it doesn't work, no matter how cheap it was.
Hey Dennis. Great minds think alike?

Quote:
"Never buy anything just because it is cheap."
--Thomas Jefferson


Yeah, I have the same sort of thinking as you did with the Fujitsu notebook. It seems impossible to make it use-able but somehow you do.

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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post


No comparison. Assuming it works as claimed, you get a working Win10 Pro installation with adequate RAM and decent CPU. I'd still want to put an SSD in the mix, but you don't have to to use it.


Lack of reviews are an issue. I'd likely go for it, but I've had more practice dealing with hardware.
It's gone. (attachment) Honestly, something was fishy with that. That computer was listed with computers with 2GB RAM for the same price. And the no reviews made me very nervous. But I was going to buy it. Now I'm glad I didn't.

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Agreed, though - you should be writing. Writers I know talk about "vacuuming the cat", which refers to things done to avoid writing. You don't want fiddling with old hardware to be your excuse for not writing.
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Vacuuming the cat! Perfect! Yeah. Thanks.

Anyway, now Newegg is going to target me with endless refurbished ads, so I'll keep my eyes open for something with Windows 7 Pro (whenever I take breaks from vacuuming the cat). Thanks for all the feedback (and the sanity). Gregg
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