A question for you computer gurus

Rennie Heuer

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My 10 year old laptop is beginning to give me the warning signs that it will be giving up the digital ghost. In addition, it is rather slow and the video card is not compatible with newer versions of Sketchup (I'm stuck in 2016 and that has issues too, but it kinda runs). I've been thinking for a while about replacing it with a desk top unit with an NVIDIA card. There seems to be a good number of machines out there that will meet my meager needs for under $500 - especially if I go the refurbished route.

I'm in need of guidance in two areas. First, choice of machine. I'm looking for a reliable workhorse. I use it for browsing, email, designs, social media - little more. It does not have to have blazing speed for video games or processing power to design skyscrapers in AutoCad. I have no plans of getting into CNC. It needs to drive 2 monitors.

Second, moving data from one machine to the other. I've done this before and its a pain. In the past I used my internet connection and my subscription to Carbonite to restore all data. That's not an option using my current, very slow, DSL connection. I think Carbonite still offers to send all my data to me via CD or thumb drive. I'll need to check into that. I was just wondering if there was another way. Connect the two machines together? Via cable or WiFi? Let the guys at Best Buy do it? What are my options?
 

Rennie Heuer

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I should have added - I have a network drive that (designated as SCSS DLNA Server: Seagate-41958A), supposedly, is backing up my hard drive. I've never quite understood the instructions to set it up (Using Acronis) and I really have little faith in its being current. Perhaps there is a better app available and I can reformat the network drive, move all my data, and reinstall it on the new machine?
 

Don Baer

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well I am certainly NOT a computer guru but I did stay at a Holiday Inn so here's my 2 cents worth. a year and a half ago I was in the market and settled on the Lenovo All in one with a 23 inch touch screen quad processor running win 10. been very very happy with the choice. 1 terra byte internal hard drive as well as a 256 mb solid state drive. wireless key board and mouse. If your not in a hurry you can get a similar machine for under $500 although most adds show them at $799. As for data transfer I just set up both machines on my home network and transferred files that way. I am sure you will get a lot of other input but for my purposes this ones been a winner. I like the all in one setup because the only cord on my desk is the power cord. I use it for CADD and CAM running both Sketchup and fusion 360 as well as spread sheet, word processing and e mail.

p.s. I don't work for Lenovo but I am a happy user.

p.p.s. The old lap top, an HP Compac with win 7 is running my CNC now.
 

Rennie Heuer

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Lenovo All in one with a 23 inch touch screen quad processor running win 10.
I had not considered the all in one option but that certainly cleans up desk space and eliminates having to find room for the box. So far the ones I looked at have a single HDMI output. I would assume that means I can hook up a second monitor?

Any problems running the newest Sketchup? I remember from a conversation with Dave Richards that SU can be rather picky regarding video cards.
 

Don Baer

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I had not considered the all in one option but that certainly cleans up desk space and eliminates having to find room for the box. So far the ones I looked at have a single HDMI output. I would assume that means I can hook up a second monitor?

Any problems running the newest Sketchup? I remember from a conversation with Dave Richards that SU can be rather picky regarding video cards.
Mine has 2 HDMI port as well as 4 or 5 SSD ports. Sketchup runs fine on the machine. I do like the 23 inch screen, I can open 2 word documents on the same screen side by side.
 

Darren Wright

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I've been buying refurbished dell optiplex pcs from my work, but see they have the same models on amazon. They have an i5 intel processor, 16gb ram, 2tb drive, and come loaded with windows 10 pro (https://smile.amazon.com/Dell-Optiplex-9020-Processor-Bluetooth/dp/B07QQZZNXH). They typically have two display ports, you'll need this adapter cable to run to hdmi, but there is also an vga port. I don't recall if it will run display port and vga or if it's one or the other.

I've been running sketchup and other design apps on them just fine. There are a couple of additional PCIe slots and a spot for another hard drive, but probably could just plug in a external usb for saving data to.
 

Rennie Heuer

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I've been buying refurbished dell optiplex pcs from my work, but see they have the same models on amazon. They have an i5 intel processor, 16gb ram, 2tb drive, and come loaded with windows 10 pro (https://smile.amazon.com/Dell-Optiplex-9020-Processor-Bluetooth/dp/B07QQZZNXH). They typically have two display ports, you'll need this adapter cable to run to hdmi, but there is also an vga port. I don't recall if it will run display port and vga or if it's one or the other.

I've been running sketchup and other design apps on them just fine. There are a couple of additional PCIe slots and a spot for another hard drive, but probably could just plug in a external usb for saving data to.
I had no idea there were so many computers under $500 available on amazon! So much to look at. My curret monitor had a display port input, I have an HDMI to display port cable so not having HDMI is not a big issue.
 

Ryan Mooney

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Our last computer was a refurbished lenovo business class micro desktop we got at newegg.com, it was under $100. At that price it was a bit light on ram and cpu for a sketchup and browser desktop (we wanted it for a media back end). I'm very not brand specific as they all have stinkers and winners depending on the line. In general we've had better luck with the business class machines on refurbs as they tend to be a bit better built, they usually do have slightly lower end video cards though so that may be a trade off. Most are coming with at least 2xHDMI or display port interfaces now even with the built on video cards.
 

glenn bradley

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A computer is a tool. Buy one suited to your use. I use SketchUp for design work so I have a pretty decent video card with a reasonable amount of on board (the video card) memory. This avoids the stair-stepping or vanishing elements routine when doing drawings with a fair number of parts. I have run it on an i5 and an i7. The i5 (a small form factor Acer) was a bit sluggish before the Nvidia video card upgrade. The i7 (an HP Z230) came with an older Nvidia 4200 which is still my main SU machine.

The point is to scale your machine to your use. My wife does everything online so storage is a non-issue, minimal memory serves her well enough. I store quite a bit but, my access speeds are not demanding. Inexpensive USB connected drives at about $40 a terabyte are fine. The OS resides on a solid state drive for fast boots and I have an internal drive that incrementally updates a backup (I also do weekly backups to an external drive as I developed that habit back when Fred Flintstone was a major stockholder at IBM). I do load a few things at once so I have more memory; I think this machine is running on 24gig; yep, just checked, 24 it is.

I cannot imagine trying to use SU on a laptop or a tablet but, that again could be my age. I like a large display with smooth mouse control, good resolution so I can get a detailed image and a lot of tools on the screen. There are so many right answers to this ;-)
 

fred hargis

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Regarding the transfer of files. I'm not a Windows user but the Mac has a computer to computer routine (connect them together with USB cable) that's fairly seamless and easy. I suspect there is something similar for Windows, even if it's an outside app you need.
 

Frank Fusco

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I had no idea there were so many computers under $500 available on amazon! So much to look at. My curret monitor had a display port input, I have an HDMI to display port cable so not having HDMI is not a big issue.
Yep. I buy most of my electronics from Amazon refurbished choices. I just browse them until I find the most powerful one available in my budget. Have had excellent luck with all. Using a computer now I got from the big-A. You should have no problem finding a powerhouse for $500.00.
 

Rennie Heuer

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Yep. I buy most of my electronics from Amazon refurbished choices. I just browse them until I find the most powerful one available in my budget. Have had excellent luck with all. Using a computer now I got from the big-A. You should have no problem finding a powerhouse for $500.00.
Frankly (no pun intended) I was amazed at the selection. I think you are right, I'll just have to scroll for a few hours to find what I want.
 

Darren Wright

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When you can splurge for a second usb drive, I'd get one. You can then run some software to sync data from one usb to the other and backup any system files. I used to do this and keep the backup one at the shop and primary one at the house (or visa versa). I think key to using a secondary drive like this is to be consistent in saving to that drive. It helps to set your default locations, which you can do in windows 10.


Now that I've got the NAS I just save there, but I have a backup drive that gets pulled out/swapped with another for safe keeping. This explanation of my NAS is probably way over simplified, but we'll leave it at that. ;)
 
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