Work computer for....cheap?
December 17, 2017 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me find a inexpensive computer for work?

I work at a small non-profit that has no money. Well, very little. We need to upgrade some computers, and in the past we've gone with some variation of this Dell. The price is right, and it takes care of all of our basic needs, such as Microsoft office, running a fairly large fundraising database on Access and doing basic interneting.

Cons are that it arrives with so many junk applications on it, I spend an entire day scrubbing it (candy crush, anyone?). Pros are, once it is scrubbed it works just fine and can function for our needs. BUT! Could you help me find something even cheaper and/or better for the price?

Additional details:
It has to be a desktop.
We can't build from scratch, so it has to come complete.
And we are looking for something under ~$400.
It has to run with and come with Windows.
posted by Toddles to Technology (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
If Dells are cheapest, just get that and do not waste time removing software one-by-one especially if you're wasting your employer's money to spend time to do so. Just use a tool like Decrap to remove it all at once.
posted by floam at 8:48 PM on December 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


I have purchased a series of bloatware-free "Signature Edition" PCs from the Microsoft store in the past and really liked them. I found this machine at the MS store that is close to your requirements but, after chatting online with an MS Store rep, it turns out that it is not a signature edition and, consequently, has bloatware. I chided him as I think all their offerings should be free of bloatware.

This little refurbished HP machine looks promising and the price is right.
posted by bz at 9:09 PM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Look into techsoup - it's an org that among other tech support stuff sells electronics to nonprofits - cheap refurbs, as well as getting you access to tell corporate discounts for cheap. They may be able to help you out.
posted by brainmouse at 9:40 PM on December 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


I've gotten some cheap refurbs off of Tech for Less before. Might still have to decrapify but most of them come with Windows.
posted by Aleyn at 10:12 PM on December 17, 2017


Get this. It's a refurbished i5 with 8 GB of RAM. It has Windows 10 Pro. It's so much faster than what you have you'll think you've entered a new millennium. I swear, you'll love it. It's $240.

Newegg is my go-to for cheap computers.
posted by irisclara at 10:56 PM on December 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Office Depot has some excellent deals on Lenovos right now, especially in store. I just picked up an Idea Center from last year's line for next to nothing and it's very well specc'ed out. Also I've had bad luck with low end Dells and good luck with low end Lenovos so there's that.
posted by fshgrl at 11:35 PM on December 17, 2017


it arrives with so many junk applications on it, I spend an entire day scrubbing it

The Windows 10 installer is good enough, and Windows 10's bundled selection of drivers comprehensive enough, that it should now take you a lot less than a day to blow a typical foistware-riddled OEM image away and do your own vanilla Windows installation from scratch starting with a standard Windows 10 installer disc.

If you're working with a machine that already has a Windows 10 product key embedded in the ROM ACPI tables (clue is the complete lack of any product key label on the case), your new installation should activate automatically. But just in case it doesn't, it's a good idea to extract the existing installation's product keys using the Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder or NirSoft ProduKey before you go the nuke and pave.
posted by flabdablet at 1:03 AM on December 18, 2017


I would also recommend refurbs instead of new. The issue is making sure you get a copy of Windows 10 with them. Windows 8 is unusable, and Windows 7 is out of security updates in a few years. Look at Dell Outlet, Dell Refurbished (especially) and eBay. You can extend the warranty on the Dell Refurbished computers to a year right when you buy them. Look at Dell Outlet's Twitter feed for frequent coupons.
posted by cnc at 9:20 AM on December 18, 2017


Are you in the US? I've bought a few refurbished desktops and laptops from my local Goodwill. They often have a glut of whatever was the approved machine at our bigger area corporations 2-4 years previously and that tends to work just fine for basic use. They tend to come with the latest version of Windows and a warranty.
posted by notquitemaryann at 3:24 PM on December 18, 2017


Forgot to mention, they usually run around $2-300.
posted by notquitemaryann at 3:26 PM on December 18, 2017


We just picked up half a dozen refurb/recertified HP Elite 8300 SFF's with 4GB RAM and a 250GB HDD for $125/each. We ordered them with Win7 because you can still upgrade them to 10 - save an image of the Win7Pro, update to Win10Pro to lock in an electronic entitlement, then go with whichever is more useful today.

The Elite 8300's are a business PC class unit that is very good for many applications. It will expand up to 32GB (~$100 per 16GB) and has good serviceability. It does, however, use custom HP parts instead of a generic ATX mainboard and PSU.

Since the goal was to stick some small SSD's in them that we already had, this worked out very nicely.
posted by jgreco at 4:46 PM on December 18, 2017


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