Desktops forum: Lenovo v. Gateway or other?

by: gmunno July 13, 2011 7:10 AM PDT

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Lenovo v. Gateway or other?

by gmunno - 7/13/11 7:10 AM

Hi all and thanks in advance for your help.

Basics: I am in the market for a new desktop and need to get the most performance I can for the buck.

Budget: Ideally, I'd like to get something for under $600. I'd like to buy Office 2010, pay all the taxes, get the system optimized, have all the trial software taken off, and have our current files transferred over, and still be comfortably under $1,000, if this is possible. (I could obviously do some of that labor myself, but I am an amateur at best and really want this thing humming when I take it home.)

Uses: Heavy users of Word and Excel. Quicken. Lots of Web work, including research, blog posting, etc. Find myself multi-tasking a lot, with several tabs, a Word document, a spreed sheet all open at once. This is a system for work, not play. We don't game at all and never will. Having said that, we do store our iTunes library on the machine, and we run a jack from the machine to our stereo. We don't currently watch or edit video on the machine. However, we increasingly use our laptop to stream netflix, and its not impossible that we'd use the desktop for a similar purpose. Additionally, our blogging duties will eventually require more multimedia work, and, increasingly, we encounter multimedia content on Web sites that we want/need to access. So, gaming is a zero priority, but some ability to handle video and graphics is needed.

Priorities: Stability and dependability. Speed. Multitasking. Durability. That's pretty much it. Size, shape, color - none of those things matter to us. We already have a decent monitor, so we don't need or want an all-in-one system.

Choices Identified: Gateway SX2851-41 (http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/gateway-sx2851-41/4505-3118_7-34469036.html) and Lenovo H320 40411FU (http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/lenovo-h320-40411fu/4505-3118_7-34205544.html)

Searching through CNET, I've ID'd these as two decent choices. I am leaning toward the Lenovo because it seems to have a better chip (i5 vs. i3) and more RAM. The Gateway has a bigger hard drive, but we're currently well short of filling the smaller drive we have now, and I figure adding external storage would be easier/cheaper than upgrading the chip or RAM.

Questions: (1) Given my situation, which of these machines would you buy? (2) What else would you consider? (3) I noticed that both these machines are slim towers, but space isn't an issue for us. Is there something similar in a clunkier box that might save us additional dollars?

Once again, thanks so much for your help!

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