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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Feb 2011

    Default Need Advice for A New Computer

    My fifteen-year-old Dell is finally on its last legs, and I could use advice on something to replace it.

    I already have a newer machine, which is a Mac, but I have a lot of old files on external HDDs which are formatted for the PC. My interest is in something inexpensive and reliable which I can use to view and organize the contents of those drives before eventually transferring them to Mac-compatible backup media.

    I havenít really paid attention to PCs in years, and Iím not even sure what version of Windows weíre on these days. So I could use some advice about what would be best for my needs. I donít need a monster gaming rig or anything along those lines; something basic, reliable and less pricey is what Iím looking for. Any suggestions along these lines?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Erloas's Avatar

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    Default Re: Need Advice for A New Computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    My fifteen-year-old Dell is finally on its last legs, and I could use advice on something to replace it.

    I already have a newer machine, which is a Mac, but I have a lot of old files on external HDDs which are formatted for the PC. My interest is in something inexpensive and reliable which I can use to view and organize the contents of those drives before eventually transferring them to Mac-compatible backup media.

    I havenít really paid attention to PCs in years, and Iím not even sure what version of Windows weíre on these days. So I could use some advice about what would be best for my needs. I donít need a monster gaming rig or anything along those lines; something basic, reliable and less pricey is what Iím looking for. Any suggestions along these lines?
    If all you want is a "PC" to manage old drives you can do that with an $80 AIO (all in one) thumb drive PC, as long as you've already got cases for the drives and can hook them up to USB. You could even use a Linux based one if you choose, though the price is essentially the same. The fact that you can't just do it with a Mac directly is one of the reasons I hate Apple...

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OracleofWuffing's Avatar

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    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Need Advice for A New Computer

    MacOS has native read-only support for NTFS drives built in, I'm using that right now. There's MacFUSE for free open source write support, or Paragon NTFS or Tuxera's Microsoft NTFS for Mac if you needed write support, either of which are probably much cheaper than getting a new computer.

    Otherwise, the latest Windows is Windows 10. You can download install media for it from Microsoft's Website for free, but it won't have a registration license. You won't be able to configure certain personalization options on your computer without registration, but so far it will run programs just fine. Microsoft is free to change the terms of an unregistered version of Windows at-will, but so far they haven't and it has been a long time since Windows 10 has been out. The general understanding is that Microsoft is turning Windows into more of a "service" that you continuously update than a one-and-done upgrade you do every 4-8 years. You can dual-boot Windows on your Mac if you don't mind restarting your computer every time you want to switch OSes.

    Without knowing what kinds of files, specifically, you're storing, I am going out on a limb and guessing you're just talking about pictures, videos, and music files. In which case, that narrows nothing down. All the budget computers from all the major brands can do that, and are effectively the same. The general advice I'd have is to expect to pay at least 600 USD for something you want to use for five years, but if you're just using it to check drives? Eh, you're good with any brand's budget-branded items in the 450 USD range.

    If this is a Desktop you're replacing, make sure it uses the same video cable that you're using with your monitor. DisplayPort and HDMI are pretty standard right now, but VGA and DVI were on older monitors, so you may need to get a new cable or a new monitor in your budget as well.
    "Okay, so I'm going to quick draw and dual wield these one-pound caltrops as improvised weapons..."
    ---
    "Oh, hey, look! Blue Eyes Black Lotus!" "Wait what, do you sacrifice a mana to the... Does it like, summon a... What would that card even do!?" "Oh, it's got a four-energy attack. Completely unviable in actual play, so don't worry about it."

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Need Advice for A New Computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Erloas View Post
    The fact that you can't just do it with a Mac directly is one of the reasons I hate Apple...
    I may be wrong, but a Mac can *read* NTFS formatted drives just fine, it just can't write to them? So if all you want to do is see what's on there and maybe copy it over to a Mac-formatted external drive then you're good to go. For that matter, I'm pretty sure apps are available that can be installed on a Mac that will allow both reading and writing NTFS drives, and if literally the only reason Palanan is considering getting this PC is to access his external drives, seems to me it would be simpler and cheaper to just get one of those apps.

    [EDIT] Ninja'd by OracleofWuffing, read what he said!
    Last edited by factotum; 2021-02-14 at 03:03 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OracleofWuffing's Avatar

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    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Need Advice for A New Computer

    It's been a while, but I think there's a catch that the NTFS drive needs to have the GUID Partition Table (GPT) partition scheme, so you might need to look up how to convert MBR to GPT.
    "Okay, so I'm going to quick draw and dual wield these one-pound caltrops as improvised weapons..."
    ---
    "Oh, hey, look! Blue Eyes Black Lotus!" "Wait what, do you sacrifice a mana to the... Does it like, summon a... What would that card even do!?" "Oh, it's got a four-energy attack. Completely unviable in actual play, so don't worry about it."

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Erloas's Avatar

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    Default Re: Need Advice for A New Computer

    A few links to the kind of systems I mentioned above:
    Amazon.com: GUZILA Fanless Mini PC,Intel x5-Z8350 HD Graphics Mini Computer,Windows 10 64-bit,DDR3L 2GB/32GB eMMC/4K/2.4G/5G WiFi/BT 4.2: Computers & Accessories
    Amazon.com: Mini PC Stick,Windows 10 Pro(64-bit) Intel Atom Z8350 Fanless Mini Computer 4GB DDR 64GB eMMC Support 4K HD,2.4G/5G WiFi,BT 4.2: Computers & Accessories

    I can't vouge for either specific link, but these types of systems are common and would do what you need. You could also just leave them hooked up and on the network to function essentially as a network drive/media host so you could always access the drives on your network. As well as a leaving it connected to a TV to work as a smart TV as well, just watching netflix or youtube, etc.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Need Advice for A New Computer

    It's worth noting that for similar money you could get an old refurbished office PC, which might be preferable to one of those purely in terms of connectivity (you'll have a lot more USB ports on one). This is all assuming that the aforementioned products that allow you to use your NTFS drives directly on the Mac don't work, of course.

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