New computer buying advice

We have needed a new computer for ages but lack of use has meant we have been able to put off the purchase.

Working from home now means I can’t put it off any longer. I’m signing in to the work server remotely. Im self employed so will be funding the purchase. The existing Dell is freezing and glitchy even when working remotely. I think it is the computer rather than the wifi broadband causing the glitches.

I may buy a new desktop. That makes sense to a degree as I have a decent Samsung widescreen tv which I’ve always used as a monitor. The Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse are newish and do not need replacing. The speaker set up is decent too.

The alternative is to buy a laptop.

To me, it makes more sense to put a new desktop in the study, rather than buy a laptop.

Apart from working remotely it will really only be used to file tax returns. We do virtually everything else on our smartphones. What processor do I need?

What do you think and please let me have recommendations?

A really long cat5 ethernet cable to hard wire your computer to the router
When glitches stop, pour new pc into better uses

What age/spec r u using at the moment? It may help to understand why remote desktop is a problem, but tbh the local machine needs almost no ability

And I am baffled by the combination of self employment and the server at work…

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If @Gyroscope is still selling his Intel NUC, that sounds perfect for what you need.


I’m a consultant / locum Solicitor, such roles are traditionally self employed. I don’t have to deal with appraisals and such like by being self employed. It’s much nicer.

Existing computer was a top of the range Dell about 15 years ago.

Hard wired cable is tricky as the existing broadband point is on the other side of the house and on another floor.

I saw that and did wonder.

You may or may not want Windows on it depending on your software requirements, but if it’s browser based stuff you’re doing anyway then one of the free Linux options like Mint or Ubuntu would be dandy.

Ok, so you are logging into your client’s system :grin: and it’s a business expense

Remote desktop should be fine from anything, the Intel NUC, a chromebook, a 15 year old pc

If it is glitchy and ethernet is not possible, then a good wifi repeater or mesh would be a good call. I just got a pair of netgear ac2200, one as the access point, the other as extender and it has made a huge improvement to wifi around the place

Thanks. I have upgraded the broadband with Plusnet to their top offering full fibre. It should be kicking in any day.

I asked them about upgrading the router and the bloke said I had their latest router and it was decent. I had seen people on here talking about buying an aftermarket one.

I’d need two of those mesh things?

If you’re a long way from the router and it’s a 15 year old computer your WiFi may not be great. It may be 802.11b, a very old standard. The computer may also be gunked up, either with accumulated Windows crud or dust internally, which can cause problems.

I would suggest getting a couple of Homeplugs to connect to the network via the mains. These work well, and if you choose to go to a mesh system later they will help.

If the PC still glitches then I would bin it and get a reconditioned desktop off eBay. Get something like an i3 or i5, 8GB RAM, 120GB SSD and Win 10. You should be able to get a branded one like a Dell for £150 or so.

This might be overkill for your needs but it’s dirt cheap and will come from a decent seller who churns these out, it works well. It will also have a modern operating system that is secure and up to date.

Here, say

It’s worth noting that a dedicated monitor will be much nicer on the eyes that a TV, and probably higher resolution.


Naturally, today it’s working better than it ever has in living memory.

The routers supplied do a whole range of jobs, one of which is wifi access point.

I use my Virgin box as a modem, then have a separate firewall/router, then dns/dhcp on a server, and wifi access point and extender with the 2 netgear boxes, but that is probably overkill in most instances.

If you can find a wifi extender to play nice with the router, then use that. If not then switch off wifi access on the router, and setup a dedicated wifi access point plus an extender (or even more of them for the whole mesh thing). Or try the homeplugs as suggested by Adam.

His advice on a refurb pc with a new OS and a dedicated monitor is also v good :+1:

I think the home plugs will ruin the sound of my HiFi. :grinning:

similar here - Virgin box in modem mode. Firewall appliance, Netgear router which serves DHCP etc. and an extender in the garage. 24 port hubs in the living room, kitchen and “office”.

I once had a wifi extender and it was fucking awful, I had to have it near to the main AP to work at all, then stuff ended up switching between main AP and extender, with a 30s interval while it tried to work it out. I imagine they have improved since then, but really I think that a mesh system makes much more sense.

ours is wired and now operating as an access point. As an extender it was flakey, but it was right at the far reaches of the extend of my in house WiFi. As an access point it is rock solid

Yeah but has it been tested by an eight year old running about the house and into the garden while on a video call? :wink:

I’ve held off posting an update for fear of upsetting the Dell. I moved my router in the lounge about 2 feet so that it was no longer behind the set top box. The upgraded Plusnet Wi-Fi kicked in and the glitchyness is gone. I’m really pleased. It saves faff of having to switch to a new desktop. It means we can just keep the desktop which historically is rarely used.

I think I’ll get a NAS and a nice laptop in due course which can then be used for music duties.


Decent price for 2TB SSDs


My laptop is buggered.
Worked perfectly yesterday today it doesn’t.
Lenovo T430 which I bought refurbed.

It just won’t power up.
Looking at the amount of YouTube fix videos there are this is not uncommon.
I have tried all the fixes that are relatively easy, my last attempt was to disconnect and reconnect the CMOS battery but after two hours trying to get the case open it is going in the bin.
The hard drive is easily removed and I have a caddy to retrieve any files tat aren’t backed up.

Maybe it is time to buy a new one with Black Friday on the horizon,
It gets a fair amount of use and I do prefer typing on a keyboard rather than a tablet and use Open Office.
Maybe a chrome book or similar would do.
Any suggestions will be at least tolerated but I will not be buying a Raspberry Pi :grinning:

I’ve just bought a new MacBook Air. Looks like it’s going to be seriously potent with the new Apple hardware