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Small dilemma

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by nugget, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    I've been asked to fix/setup/upgrade a friend of a friend's PC. This lady is 70 + (and still sprightly too) and uses her Pc on a daily basis but it is rather old (the PC that is). I think she bought it in 2001 or so.

    The problem here is that it only has 256MB of RAM and would definately enjoy a lot more, but, the damn thing runs with RAMBUS which is not only quite rare here but also quite expensive too. I could find it, but the question is would it be better to upgrade the whole system (mobo, cpu, ram) as it's getting on a bit (you couldn't see the fins of the cpu cooler for the dust and fluff) or to get the RAM and do a very good clean out of the PC.

    The HDD (so I'm told) is also a bit noisier than it was too so this might need to be replaced too.

    Some other points are that she's on the pension but also has extra income from her little business so she's not short of money (she'd rather pay more for quality components than save a bit on cheaper stuff).

    I also need to get her a 19" monitor to replace her 15" one, set up a backup system that she can use and also set up syncronisation to her laptop.

    Any advice would be welcomed as this is my first getting paid job.:oops:

    I know what I'd do for me personally but I want to do the right thing for her, not me. Just because it's not my money I'll be spending doesn't mean I can go crazy.
     
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  2. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    It can be quite tricky getting such memory here in the UK as well.

    Your best bet is to go to Kingston armed with the full details of the machine and see what they say.

    A customer at the computer fairs managed to upgrade via this route and is quite happy.

    Harry.
     
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  3. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    Personaly I think that I'd be looking to build a new PC from scratch for her. Upgrading is ok, but you wil only need to upgrade again in the future, so why not make the investment now and get something reasonable by todays standards.

    8)
     
  4. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    I'm totally with Simon here - if you build a new, quality machine from scratch, and she is impressed with your work, then she will come back to you for future jobs. And when that happens, you will know the system inside out, as you put it together.
     
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  5. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Perhaps I had better say why I took the add memory route. :biggrin

    As some of you will know, I man a help desk at a computer fair, and we get a wide variety of customers.

    My experience is that the very elderly *hate* having things changed. They have got used to the way things work, and having to learn 'all this new stuff' often doesn't go down well.

    In addition, many times I have been told that they can afford stuff, only to find that they have a wildly unrealistic idea of the cost. As they depend on a pension there isn't any flexibility!

    Now obviously there can be exceptions. A friend of mine who has been retired for years lucked out on his pension and always has lots of cash to splash on toys. But he *is* an exception!

    Just a few thoughts.

    Harry.
     
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  6. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    Just a though though Harry, this person has a laptop and synchronises data between the two, so she *might* be en exception to the rule! 8)
     
  7. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    Again, what Si said, Harry. I think Nugg has a game old stick on his hands here, who is not too scared from a bit of IT learning.

    Of course we could all be wrong :biggrin
     
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  8. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    I reckon the easiest thing to do with backups is get her an external HDD and schedule backups over night so she doesn't even have to worry about it. She's not likely to want to sit in front of her PC for a couple of hours at a time while she backs up to DVD. I suppose windows Backup could even mange that, although I've never even bothered looking at it for the simple fact it doesn't support optical drives.

    If you want a 19" monitor (I assume you mean LCD) Mesh are doing a new system with 19" monitor for £500 at the mo (link). Bloody bargain if you ask me.
     
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  9. Ogg

    Ogg New Member

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    Hi guy's
    Dont shoot the new guy but if you explaned the pros of upgrading to her, give her a general quote of how much it would cost you to upgrade the bare system, and then explaned how hard it is to get hold of RDRAM she might go in favour of it.
    On that note if she wants to sync her laptop to her main system I agree with Jakamoko she knows at leist a bit about computers and might see it from your point of view. Plus at leist both of you will be happy because

    1) you would not have taken money from her that she could not afford with out her consent as she can always say no and opt for the ram upgrade

    2)She will see that you are informing her of her options and not trying to bully her in to parting with money she can't spare, She is more likley to come back to you for future services as you will be remembered for explaning things to her that others might not of. :confused3

    I have always found people alot more receptive it I explane to them in laymans terms what I can do about their problems and how it can benifit them :biggrin
     
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  10. twizzle

    twizzle Gigabyte Poster

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    I have to agree with Ogg about making sure she know her options...

    When i worked in a local PC retail shop (a small 2 amn band job) I made sure all customers knew their options about whether to upgrade or buy new.. Always made em feel they had a choice and were getting good advice. If they thought i wasnt after a sale but was trying to help i was more likely to sell somthing rather than nothing.

    Problem is, as you said, RAMBUS is old and hard to get. ALso what happens if you get the memory but the harddrive fails a week later? or the cpu burns out?? She would have spent money on a small item that was expensive just to end up having to pay out for almost a new system in the end anyway. AS the system is so old, if something like the memory went you'd have to source an older mobo to fit.. (isnt RAMBUS used in old P3 systems only??) it wouldnt be compatible with newer mobos using DDR... same with the CPU,it only fits older mobos.

    My advice is always to find out what she wants to use it for and quote a base spec for a machine to do just that... No need for fantastic graphics cards and high end CPUs if all you do is word procsessing..... It will keep the cost down that way.

    As for a backup method.... an external harddrive is a good option, tho i dont know how cheap they are, but i'd sat for home use tapes drives are out.If the backups are set ona aschedule so she would know when they are being done.. she could just get on with using the pc and let it do its backups unassisted.

    Hope it all helps. and let us know what she decides in the end...
     
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  11. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    I would go for a new PC, you have listed three areas (RAM, monitor and HD) that need upgraded so why not just get a whole new system? 8)
     
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  12. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    I agree with those that think it's time for a new system. I know Dell had a fleeting romance with Rambus RAM which is very expensive and not as good as modern RAM anyway. If the system is 2001, well there will be other bottlenecks as well to consider. USB2 would be needed for decent data transfer rates to an external USB HDD. There are known issues with large drives (over 80 Gig) in USB2 cradles. I have been trying to get my 120GB drive to work reliably with XP for hours recently. So if you go for this route, get an 80GB drive or less otherwise you might just find yourself in the same boat as many other people.
     
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