Buying a budget friendly computer

Have you gotten 5 years out of your current computer?

My intent is not to alarm you or to say that your operating system is going to automatically shut down.  No need to pull your hair out!!

However, I’ve always said that if you’ve gotten 5 years out of it be thankful and invest in a new computer.   I’ve frequently recommended over the years that it’s a good idea to reinstall Windows every 2 years to give your computer a complete refresh.  However, at about the 5 year mark — it really isn’t cost efficient to do that anymore.    Aside from any software flaws — at this point hardware starts to fail and that gets expensive.    It’s time to take pre-emptive action.

If price is the lowest common denominator for you,  J&R Electronics (, a very reputable firm from New York City, has some new desktop towers, with keyboard, mouse and Windows 7 for only $309.99 and $319.99.   They are offering free shipping and do not charge sales tax to Connecticut shoppers.

For better or for worse, the desktop computer has basically become a disposable item.   Think about it —

* IF a $300 computer survived only one year — it’s only costing you $25 per month.

* IF it lasted you 2 years, that computer would only cost you $12.50 per month.

Though these desktops from J&R are only guaranteed for 1 year (like most new computers), I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t last 2 or 3 years and beyond.

When it comes down to it — a $300 computer that lasts 1 year and a super premium $1500 desktop that lasts 5 years — both average out to a monthly cost of $25.   Somewhere, there may be a happy medium, but if PRICE mattered most I would not hold off on buying, hoping a 5 year old computer would make it another year.

I believe that desktops offered by Vision Computer ( and the OptiPlex Desktops offered by Dell ( are also excellent values — typically priced in the $500 to $800 range.

Whether you want a bargain PC or a moderately priced system, I am asking you to think about this now before your computer becomes a nightmare.

Some other things you should consider when you purchase your new system are

1)  Microsoft Office — Home & Student edition can often be found on sale for $129.99, unless you want to use a free Open Office product.

2)  An external hard drive — for automatic backups of your important files.   You need one anyway and even more so if you want to purchase a value priced computer.  Typical cost:  $99.99

3)  A new monitor.  The deals I’ve mentioned from J&R do not include a monitor but there is a chance that your current monitor is just fine.   If you are really looking to buy on a budget — you can pick up a decent flat screen monitor at a retail store for about $100.00.

I do not make money from selling or pushing computers.  I may on rare occasion sell a used system for a customer, but those instances are few and far between.   My specialty is providing computer services:  pre-purchase consultations, installations, troubleshooting, and training for my clients.

Given that prices have really bottomed out and considering the age of your computer — now would be a great time to buy.  I am ready and eager to help get all of your files and settings transferred over.   Typical new computer setups take 3 to 5 hours.