Re-entering the PC world after 14 years

retta283

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 8, 2018
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Kingman, AZ
I am looking to get back into the PC world, as I've slowly been growing tired of Apple's direction in the past 8 years. I used Macs almost exclusively from 2006 onward, but the current Mac system is not for me. But I need some kind of modern workstation, so I'm turning back to Windows. I'm looking for both a workstation desktop and laptop. I've been eyeing either a Dell Latitude (used them for years and had no problems) or a Lenovo. On the desktop side, I'm clueless as to what the manufacturers have been doing, so I may build my own. Will need new hardware for the desktop (monitors, keyboard and mouse) as mine are all dated from the early 2000s. Any recommendations/tips would be greatly appreciated.
 

lcseds

macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2006
993
783
NC, USA
Latitudes are nice machines with better software/BIOS support than Inspirons or XPS systems. They are boring, but they are higher grade. In the Lenovo camp, any Thinkpad should give you a solid computer. X1 or X1 Extreme are very nice as well as T480. As far as desktops I can't say. I built my own. I think that's the best route since you can select much higher quality components (like power supply, video card, etc) than you would get on a standard Dell or Lenovo or HP.
 

Altis

macrumors 68030
Sep 10, 2013
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4,421
It would be helpful to know what your needs are or what kinds of things you do so we can give recommendations.
 

retta283

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 8, 2018
983
664
Kingman, AZ
It would be helpful to know what your needs are or what kinds of things you do so we can give recommendations.
Microsoft Office work, using CNC software, some video editing, perhaps a side server system so lots of storage on the desktop end.

Haven't bought new PC games since 2006, and am not really interested in any games, so I don't need gaming specs.
 

Queen6

macrumors 604
Hardly surprising - I was in exactly the same boat; 2016 I switched back to Windows professionally due to Apple's lack of due diligence, went through multiple Windows notebooks. These days I re-role gaming notebooks for engineering purpose. They are extremely performant, have cooling solutions that work, sensible port solutions that are designed for the real-world, are generally very scalable and the price makes for a great deal of sense, versus a portable workstation.

It was just an offshoot from a random conversation. The "penny" literally dropped as these notebooks offer near desktop performance, yet remain reasonably portable so why not try one? MBP has just become an overpriced, glorified Ultrabook with big numbers for "bar talk" only. If I wanted a faster Mac than this notebook I'd need to purchase an iMac Pro even then it would struggle...

Irony is this W10 notebook gets more positive comment than any Mac I've ever owned, especially when you "light it up" as it simply fly's, blasting through simulations. There's a lot about W10 I don't care for, equally credit where credit is due, super stable, massive performance and that's what pays...

ASUS ROG GL703GS - Intel 8750H, 32GB @ 2666, GTX 1070, NVMe SSD & SSHD (soon out for a 2TB Evo 860) Notebook speaks for itself, and there's more to come.
1279CB.jpg

Corona 300K Rays.JPG

Just waiting on 9th Gen CPU's & Nvidia RTX and Apple's excuses why it cant...

Q-6


FWIW over two decades with the Mac, going, going, gone, Apple owns that one...
 
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bgro

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2010
1,090
621
South Florida
I just got a Lenovo X1 Carbon, footprint is grwat and speedy. If u wait for the Lenovo sales u can usually get a very nicet specced machine for around $1400. Costco also has (or had) a nice T480S mode for $1250..512gb/16gb i7 etc. MacBooks have become way too expensive. They used to last not sure if that’s still the case and not sure how a Windows machine compares nowadays either
 

Bodie CI5

macrumors regular
Apr 22, 2014
158
65
Will need new hardware for the desktop (monitors, keyboard and mouse) as mine are all dated from the early 2000s.
Hi retta,

So long as the keyboard and mouse are USB then you should be good to go. The monitor might be a different issue - not sure which of the non-gaming GPUs might have DVI/VGA sockets on them, so you'll either need to find an older model on eBay or just get an adapter (DVI- to HDMI for instance).

Perhaps a Ryzen 2 build with a B450 motherboard, perhaps a Ryzen 2 2600 CPU would provide plenty of performance and good value. The only handicap might be you only get use of 1 NVME m.2 drive (otherwise you'd lose out on bandwidth).

As you mention extra storage perhaps a PCI Express SATA card.
 

retta283

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 8, 2018
983
664
Kingman, AZ
Hi retta,

So long as the keyboard and mouse are USB then you should be good to go. The monitor might be a different issue - not sure which of the non-gaming GPUs might have DVI/VGA sockets on them, so you'll either need to find an older model on eBay or just get an adapter (DVI- to HDMI for instance).

Perhaps a Ryzen 2 build with a B450 motherboard, perhaps a Ryzen 2 2600 CPU would provide plenty of performance and good value. The only handicap might be you only get use of 1 NVME m.2 drive (otherwise you'd lose out on bandwidth).

As you mention extra storage perhaps a PCI Express SATA card.
The keyboard and mouse are both PS/2... The monitor is a 15" from 2002 with VGA, so it's time to upgrade.
 

Bodie CI5

macrumors regular
Apr 22, 2014
158
65
The keyboard and mouse are both PS/2... The monitor is a 15" from 2002 with VGA, so it's time to upgrade.
Argh spewin'!

I mean you can get adapters for the peripherals but you might as well get newer gear. Hassle mightn't be worth it in the end.

If the monitor is a CRT, you should keep on to it for a little while longer. It may increase in value among the retro crowd and you might get some good coin for it ;)

Do keep us informed, especially in terms of the desktop build (or pre-build!) you opt for. :)
 

retta283

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 8, 2018
983
664
Kingman, AZ
Argh spewin'!

I mean you can get adapters for the peripherals but you might as well get newer gear. Hassle mightn't be worth it in the end.

If the monitor is a CRT, you should keep on to it for a little while longer. It may increase in value among the retro crowd and you might get some good coin for it ;)

Do keep us informed, especially in terms of the desktop build (or pre-build!) you opt for. :)
It's an LCD, I haven't used a CRT in a long time. Too big for my desk setup. I did look up the value of the monitor and they are plentiful on eBay with an average price of $15-$30...
 

bphendri

macrumors newbie
Jun 15, 2019
3
9
Dell's for desktop, Lenovo for notebook would be my recommendation. Though Dell's website and customer service can be a bit confusing as they have separate stores for Home, Business, and government and I often couldn't tell which side I accidentally ended up with. I understand your pain as far as the direction Apples hardware has gone in, though after some of the pains I went through with a Surface Pro 3 it would be difficult to go back to Windows. If Adobe would ever pick a Linux distro and release their Apps for it, I think a lot of Professionals would jump ship for Linux.
 
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c0ppo

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2013
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I'm buying an X1 Extreme and doing a custom tower build... I wonder how good the Carbon is in comparison with the Extreme.
MBP 15 vs MBP 13.
X1E vs X1C.

That's the correct comparison. I own both devices, my wife uses X1C.
If you don't need dGPU, go for X1C. You're building a tower, so put your money on that one for power, and X1C for lighweight laptop.

Unless you need more power on the go, well, then X1E is the solution.

P.S.
X1E 2nd gen, and X1C 7th gen are just around the corner. I would wait for those if you can afford the wait.
 

TSE

macrumors 68030
Jun 25, 2007
2,987
574
St. Paul, Minnesota
Also, check out the Dell XPS series.


I'm not a Dell fanboy, but thought I'd offer a second opinion as this section of the forum is very much Pro-Lenovo and for good reason... they do, very broadly, offer the best PC laptops you can get. But Dell occasionally puts out killer coupon codes that make them a better value for the dollar than Lenovo's offerings, in my opinion. I got my XPS 15 with 16 GBs of RAM, a 1050 GTX ti, and 512 GB SSD for $1290 after taxes. I upgraded the warranty through Dell to two years with accidental, no questions coverage for something like $150 - and already used it once for a drop and am more than happy with their service.

If you don't need a discrete GPU, the XPS 13 is as good of an ultrabook as they come. They just released a revamped XPS 13 2-in-1, the first laptop with 10th generation processors. It looks really, really good.... refined design, 16:10 beautiful screen with no bezels, and the maglev keyboard is really, really awesome to type on.



In my opinion, and as the owner of an XPS 15, the X1e is superior to the XPS 15. I knew that when I bought mine, but the value for dollar was so, so, so much better with the XPS 15, and there are some advantages to my laptop, too - the battery life is an honest 9 hours with regular use, 11 with very, very light use. To someone with experience in buying notebooks that claim "15 hours of battery life" - I wasn't expecting it to be anywhere close to their claims. But it's very obvious that Dell puts much more attention into the XPS 13, as they refine the design every year, and that new 2-in-1 that was featured at Computex is evidence of that. It's neck-to-neck with the X1c, perhaps even superior.

Perhaps a build-your-own desktop workstation and portable 13" Ultrabook combination?
 
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a2jack

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Feb 5, 2013
362
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I too am at that crossroad, again, of Apple Vs Windows.

Since 1986 we have had so Many different systems and machines in and out of our household that it's tough to keep track. In a nutshell ,though, here's our conciseness.

Dell: Good mid level machines but loaded with "Dell-ware" that has to be cleaned out before use. LOL

Lenova: Probably the best quality Windows machines we have ever used.

Apple: Went there after being gifted in 2012 with a 27"in iMac. Switched every thing over to Apple Minis, MBP's, iPads, Phones, etc.

But, now need Graphic power (VR stuff). Not to be found at Apple.:(

We played with Linux, but were deterred by fears of not being able to fix command line errors.

Looking now at the used game machine market, and may have to pick one up just to start the VR learning curve... What to do ? LOL. a2
 

zen

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Jun 26, 2003
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For a desktop, I'd get one built rather than go with a brand. Doesn't need to be a gaming rig, doesn't need to be self-built - a reputable computer shop should be able to put a nice business-grade machine together for you, and it will likely be cheaper than, and outperform, an off-the-shelf model from Dell or HP or wherever.

Laptop: Lenovo all the way. ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th gen has just been released!
 
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a2jack

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Feb 5, 2013
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Zen. Good tip. Thanks.

Yes, We have a number of builders in our area, as this is a collage town.
What minimum GPU card do you suggest we start with ? Then move up to what ?
 
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zen

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Jun 26, 2003
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Zen. Good tip. Thanks.

Yes, We have a number of builders in our area, as this is a collage town.
What minimum GPU card do you suggest we start with ? Then move up to what ?
Well... what's your real budget? I built a low-spec gaming rig - mostly for writing/office stuff, so it didn't need much for that, but I play the occasional casual game, so I went with an Nvidia 1070. At the time, it was a mid-range card. I guess the equivalent now is the 2070? It's enough to play all AAA games at full settings, but not enough to push a first-person shooter to insane frames per second.
 
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a2jack

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Feb 5, 2013
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Budget is OK for around 1k. I will be running two new 32, 1080i, TVs to start out with VR, then one 4k TV for streaming movies. I will buy a headset later.

I would also like to occasionally use the machine for general web stuff and some lite photo work.

I saw a post awhile ago that stated the Nv 1070 would work as entry level VR, card ?, that would be fine as long as I could easily upgrade as needed, or should I go right to a 2080 to start ?

Not much into games, going for that other world "Promise Land", as depicted in story and song. LOL

Thanks for your posts, this is giving me a chance to properly brain storm this move. a2
 

zen

macrumors 68000
Jun 26, 2003
1,713
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Budget is OK for around 1k. I will be running two new 32, 1080i, TVs to start out with VR, then one 4k TV for streaming movies. I will buy a headset later.

I would also like to occasionally use the machine for general web stuff and some lite photo work.

I saw a post awhile ago that stated the Nv 1070 would work as entry level VR, card ?, that would be fine as long as I could easily upgrade as needed, or should I go right to a 2080 to start ?

Not much into games, going for that other world "Promise Land", as depicted in story and song. LOL

Thanks for your posts, this is giving me a chance to properly brain storm this move. a2
Yeah, 1070 is entry-level VR. It'll have some issues pushing a 4k display, possibly. I think the 1080 is the minimum card for that.

But you can easily swap cards. If you can afford the 2080, go for it.
 
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a2jack

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Feb 5, 2013
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zen. I restarted this build idea over on the VR thread to keep it in one place.

OK, I will find the extra bucks and try and go for the 1080. What is the difference between it and the 2080 ? a2