Quick comparison request: Old vs "new-ish"

OK I *have* to go out and buy an "interim" system for a new employee today- I don't have the time to order one through the mail and get it set up before her arrival Monday (I'm off Friday). I'm planning on "refreshing" all of the office systems next Spring- in time for the Service Pack One patch for Vista (ha ha!)....

I *don't* want to spend a lot of money (as it is tight here right now) and I *don't* want a super-ultra-fast system that will make everybody with an older system jealous....

What I've found at Staples is a $350 system w/out monitor- (I have a spare) that is AMD Sempron Processor 3200+ (1.8 Ghz), I'll upgrade it to 1GB SDRAM, and Windows Professional, and get a 128 MB video card for about $100 (probably a Nvidia). Pricing the whole thing to about $575.

Does that sound as if it will run comparably to my P4 2.4 Ghz 1GB RAM, GeForce 64 MB card systems?

We just using the systems for browsing, Autocad 2006, Office, and Outlook/email?

Thanks for any advice.

We just using the systems for browsing, Autocad 2006, Office, and Outlook/email?

And you need more than a 2.4GHz pentium? Wow. Must be some power-browsing or somethin'. For office systems, you should be concerned about stability, warranty, and price. Anything being sold in a store will be more than fast enough for your needs.

That sempron should pretty much pwn your current system (the 3200+ refers to the comparable speed to an Intel chip, so it's comparable to a 3.2GHz Pentium). So yeah, you should be fine. Just make sure that $350 system is actually $350 down, and not $350 after a bunch of mail-in rebates. Staples just loves doing that to people.

If you're going to upgrade the graphics card, you might want to compare the Nvidia card you're lookin at to something like a Radeon X1600 (which should run you around $90-$150).

I'm really hoping this isn't the system you were looking at, but it meets the specifications you posted:

Compaq Presario SR1810NX Desktop

I cannot express this enough... if this is the machine, DO NOT BUY IT. See that first word in the name? Compaq = Breaks right after warranty expires.

I know it looks like a steal for $399 ($350 after $50 mail in rebate), but seriously... there's a reason it's cheap. Many others can get into their experiences with Compaq computers, but trust me, I doubt any will be good.

I've heard Acer makes pretty decent computers, and I'm not sure about Cisnet. Maybe someone else can come on here and give some feedback.

Compaq = Breaks right after warranty expires.

You should expect every machine in a buisness environment to break immediatelay after the warranty expires. First of all a warranty is a good indication of how long a machine will last before warranty issues surpass profit on average. Since a longer warranty would sell more machines, I am pretty sure that they have this one nailed down. Second, the manufacturer is no longer required to carry parts for machines out of warranty. This means that even if you have a minor problem, you could be majorly screwed if the part isnt available or is exorbanantly expensive.

You should really shy away from blanket statemnets like this. You may have had a bad experience, you may know others who have as well. However an individuals perspective is obviously very narrow when trying to view the entire situation as a whole. I take this back if you in fact are a major buyer/distributer who deals with these machines by the tens of thousands.

I'm planning on "refreshing" all of the office systems next Spring

As long as the warranty goes till next spring it shouldnt matter how long the thing lasts, and I have architects running autocad 2003 on half that machine. You should be more than fine.

OK, you're right, I'll admit it. I'm biased against Compaq. From my personal experience, you're machine will have about a 6 month life span, and while that's still under the 1yr warranty, you'll have to go through the 7 levels of Hell known as Compaq Customer Service. That is, if it works when you buy it, as Compaq has a reputation for selling DOA systems.

My first post still stands though. Hardware wise, it's way more machine then you'll ever need for the job it'll be doing. Don't waste money upgrading the RAM/Graphics card unless you're plannin' on makin' this a gaming rig.

But if you're already lookin' at spendin' around $600 anyway, I'd say you should look at the CisnetT CA-ST801 Desktop PC at Staples. You'll get 60GB more HDD space, a 16X DVD+/-RW & CDRW Drive , 90 free trial of Norton Anti-virus, Nero 6.0 Express, and it already comes with WinXP Pro. I looked up some benchmarks, and the Sempron 3200+ beat out the Athlon64 3200+ on some tests, but I honestly don't think you'd notice any difference. The only thing I would worry about, is the fact that it only lists "Integrated AGP Graphics, 64 MB shared RAM" as the video, but it'll probably be Radeon X300 integrated graphics, which is a step up from the Compaq (If you consider this computer, definately ask to see the system specs to make sure it's the X300 and not the X200, since I'm not sure, I'm just guessing based on another similar machine).