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PC Desktop for Excel?


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#1 Confucius

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:27 PM

I'm a mac user and I've been able to get by for the past few years using excel for mac but now I need to be able to run excel on pc. (Excel for mac blows.)

Can someone recommend me a good desktop computer for strictly excel work? Fairly large spreadsheets. No VBA but lots of filtering, lookups, formulas.

I would use this desktop strictly for excel as I wouldn't do anything else with it. So I don't care about gaming, photo work, etc.

I know I have the option of dual-botting my macbook pro but I don't feel like doing that and a cheap desktop might be the ticket even though I don't want to have another computer in the house.

Would like to spend about $500 otherwise I'd just get a new macbook pro with an i7.

thanks

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#2 j-cart

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:08 PM

Any desktop you get will run Excel perfectly fine. Just avoid any PC made by HP.

If you want to save some extra money, the DIY PCs from newegg are a great price.

http://www.newegg.co...t=Combo.1050547

This one comes with a SSD and all for under $400. Might not be as hardware extensive as your mac but this kind of PC will have no problems with excel spreadsheets.

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:29 PM

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#4 burritoman

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:39 PM

If it can run Windows, it can run Excel.

Excel isn't super heavy on resources, so pretty much whatever you get should be fine.

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#5 Confucius

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:48 PM

Perhaps I should have been more clear. I'm not talking about little excel sheets. I'm talking heavy duty excel with tens of thousands of lines. and I have to do a lot of filtering on the fly. Would i need something like an i5 core or will i3 do?

Obviously dual boot on an i7 MBP would be an option but I hate rebooting. :)

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I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#6 Vinny

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:45 PM

Perhaps I should have been more clear. I'm not talking about little excel sheets. I'm talking heavy duty excel with tens of thousands of lines. and I have to do a lot of filtering on the fly. Would i need something like an i5 core or will i3 do?

Obviously dual boot on an i7 MBP would be an option but I hate rebooting. :)


I don't get why people automatically think Excel can't be resource demanding. Some of the spreadsheet I see in accounting are insane. There are even more insane ones that investors use with VBA and Macros and whatnot (that I have no idea on how to use).

My laptop has an older i7 and 8GB of memory and works well enough. Also consider getting a computer with a dedicated graphics card (doesn't need to be high end) if your spreadsheets use any type of visuals (charts, conditional formatting, etc.).

If you have Excel 2010, then you can take advantage of multiple cores. 2003 is limited to single core/CPU... not sure 07. There's also a 64 bit version of Excel 2010, that'll allow you to take advantage of more memory if you need it (though I doubt you'll never need more than 4GB).

On an unrelated note, isn't the Mac version of Excel slower or something?

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#7 j-cart

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:46 PM

Perhaps I should have been more clear. I'm not talking about little excel sheets. I'm talking heavy duty excel with tens of thousands of lines. and I have to do a lot of filtering on the fly. Would i need something like an i5 core or will i3 do?

Obviously dual boot on an i7 MBP would be an option but I hate rebooting. :)



We talking 30mb+ sheets? My sheets at work are usually 10-20mb and my work PC is just some best buy bought PC for $500. My at home gaming PC has some excels working with macros, and my SSD takes up most of initial loading. Having an SSD and the latest Windows Office is what is going to make a difference.

You can snag an i5 with an SSD for under $500. Honestly though, the biggest advantage for me working excel sheets is having two monitors. I always have to have multiple sheet talk to one specific sheet, but when it works, practically do nothing :)

#8 Confucius

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:06 AM

Time is money. But also I am really impatient. If something takes too long to filter, I go nuts.

I am not doing much in terms of charts and stuff so the graphics portion isn't that important to me.

And yeah, excel 2010.

I might have to look into a cheap desktop since I don't do heavy duty work on the road anyway.

@Vinny - I love my mac but for some reason Excel just blows on it. It's completely unintuitive and I am 99% sure that it's partially gimped. I got by on it for the last couple of years but I'm thinking it's worth switching back to the PC version.

On another note, I really miss excel 2003.

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I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#9 shrike4242

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:31 PM

Any reason not to run Parallels and just put Windows inside of a VM, then run Excel?

If you just need something to do Excel 2010, then a mid-range i5 system with 6-8GB of RAM would be more than OK.

There's numerous options at Best Buy under $500, and if you luck out coupon-wise, you usually can find some reasonable Dell systems for under that price. TechBargains.com is a place you could check out deals on systems, as well as SD, FW and the like. Dell's Outlet is another place to hunt for some options on cheap desktop hardware.

#10 Confucius

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:37 PM

Any reason not to run Parallels and just put Windows inside of a VM, then run Excel?


an extra step means extra slow. Not really noticeable for web surfing but I suspect it'd bog down with large excel files.

Since Best Buy is now my favorite store, I picked up a lenovo p580 today. Apparently it's the same thing as the z580 but w/o bluetooth. On sale this week for $499 and I've got 60 days to test it out. Man I love silver status. And I wanted to "reward" BB for all their great game sales lately.

I'm currently researching whether it can support dual external monitors. Probably not though.

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I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#11 shrike4242

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:02 PM

an extra step means extra slow. Not really noticeable for web surfing but I suspect it'd bog down with large excel files.

Since Best Buy is now my favorite store, I picked up a lenovo p580 today. Apparently it's the same thing as the z580 but w/o bluetooth. On sale this week for $499 and I've got 60 days to test it out. Man I love silver status. And I wanted to "reward" BB for all their great game sales lately.

I'm currently researching whether it can support dual external monitors. Probably not though.

Any laptop should support one external monitor, though two gets a bit tricky. Your laptop, according to the user manual, has a HDMI port and a VGA port on it. I'd guess that it should be able to do two external monitors, at least on most laptops, it should.

#12 Confucius

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:35 PM

Yeah, it has both. Did the manual mention anything about resolution on the external display? It's hard as hell to google this info cause it's a Best Buy specific model.

In the AWD thread, I just realized that the apple 13" mbp is only ~1000. I'm wondering if I should just get one of those and dual boot. (Yes, it's a $500 difference but...)

One of my (many) problems is that I have buyers remorse all the time. for no good reason. I want to be frugal but then I got nuts when I do.

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I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#13 shrike4242

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:40 PM

Yeah, it has both. Did the manual mention anything about resolution on the external display? It's hard as hell to google this info cause it's a Best Buy specific model.

In the AWD thread, I just realized that the apple 13" mbp is only ~1000. I'm wondering if I should just get one of those and dual boot. (Yes, it's a $500 difference but...)

One of my (many) problems is that I have buyers remorse all the time. for no good reason. I want to be frugal but then I got nuts when I do.

I would think that you should be able to do 1920 x 1200 via VGA and 1920 x 1080p via HDMI.

I know my HP Envy 17 can do two external monitors at 1920 x 1080 without any issue off its HD4000 built-in video card, so I'd expect something like that from your Lenovo.

Dual boot on a new MBP would give you a single-system option, yes, though how much faster would that system be over the current Mac you have now?

#14 Confucius

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:49 PM

It wouldn't be faster but here's the thing. I bought the lenovo for a specific project that should take 3-6 months. Afterward, I was going to give it to my mom.

However, I was thinking that if I got the 13" MBP, I could dual boot install that one, give it to my mom when I'm done and then when I go over there, I wouldn't have to use windows.

I seriously hate windows because nothing makes sense to me on it. Except excel.

One issue is I'd have to buy a copy of windows 7 as well, adding about $175?

Dual monitoring out of the lenovo might be the game changer. I think mine has HD 4000 built in too. Obviously, you're not mirroring your dual monitors right?

To do dual monitor off of the 13" MBP, you'd have to connect it to a thunderbolt display ($1000), then to a thunderbolt hard drive, then to a DVI monitor. It's ridiculous. I'm not buying 2 thunderbolt displays since I already have a dvi monitor.

If I could do dual monitors on the lenovo, I'm keeping it. These spreadsheets are huge and a pain in the ass with only 1 external monitor.

Edited by confoosious, 02 October 2012 - 12:00 AM.

Ees7Y.jpg


I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#15 Confucius

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 03:53 AM

what do you guys think of this laptop vs the p580?

http://www.officemax...rm=ZWRnZSBlNTMw

same price.

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I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#16 shrike4242

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 04:54 PM

It wouldn't be faster but here's the thing. I bought the lenovo for a specific project that should take 3-6 months. Afterward, I was going to give it to my mom.

However, I was thinking that if I got the 13" MBP, I could dual boot install that one, give it to my mom when I'm done and then when I go over there, I wouldn't have to use windows.

I seriously hate windows because nothing makes sense to me on it. Except excel.

One issue is I'd have to buy a copy of windows 7 as well, adding about $175?

Dual monitoring out of the lenovo might be the game changer. I think mine has HD 4000 built in too. Obviously, you're not mirroring your dual monitors right?

To do dual monitor off of the 13" MBP, you'd have to connect it to a thunderbolt display ($1000), then to a thunderbolt hard drive, then to a DVI monitor. It's ridiculous. I'm not buying 2 thunderbolt displays since I already have a dvi monitor.

If I could do dual monitors on the lenovo, I'm keeping it. These spreadsheets are huge and a pain in the ass with only 1 external monitor.

If you'd do dual-boot, then yes, you'd need to buy a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium into the mix. With that issue and the dual-monitor issue, stick to the separate Windows system for this work.

what do you guys think of this laptop vs the p580?

http://www.officemax...rm=ZWRnZSBlNTMw

same price.

Looks like spec-wise, it's about the same system as the p580, so if you're happy with the current Lenovo, stick with it. If the p580 doesn't work for your purposes with the dual-monitor support, this unit won't be any different than the p580.

#17 Confucius

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 04:59 PM

just ordered the office max one. It has bluetooth and is a little more "business-y"

Plus a faster HD. I might throw a cheap SSD in there though.

I'll test it out and hope for the best.

Ees7Y.jpg


I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#18 shrike4242

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:58 PM

just ordered the office max one. It has bluetooth and is a little more "business-y"

Plus a faster HD. I might throw a cheap SSD in there though.

I'll test it out and hope for the best.

Bluetooth is a nice add-on if you can get it for the same price as the other one. The 7200RPM hard drive is nice if you don't replace it with a SSD, though if you want a SSD in there, 128GB should be more than sufficient and you should be able to find one these days for around $100.

Crucial m4 or Samsung PM830 would be my preferences on SSDs, as I have a mSATA m4 and a 2.5" PM830 in my system and they both work great.

If you can get it for the same price and get a 7200RPM drive + Bluetooth, I'd go that way without question.

#19 Nightstalker710

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 06:05 PM

Windows 7 is nice. I think multi monitor setup is easier. You can also turn the monitors sideways so more of the spreadsheet shows.

#20 Confucius

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 06:05 PM

I missed out on a super cheap 120GB kingston SSDNow and HyperX on staples but might just suck it up and get the 90 GB for $65. Throw in some filler and user a $25 off $75. Staples is sneakily a great place for tech deals.

If all I'm using it for is Windows 7 + office install + random spreadsheets, I should be fine. I figure windows + office is 10GB at most?

Ees7Y.jpg


I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#21 shrike4242

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:39 PM

I missed out on a super cheap 120GB kingston SSDNow and HyperX on staples but might just suck it up and get the 90 GB for $65. Throw in some filler and user a $25 off $75. Staples is sneakily a great place for tech deals.

If all I'm using it for is Windows 7 + office install + random spreadsheets, I should be fine. I figure windows + office is 10GB at most?

My personal preference would be non-Sandforce drives, as there's been a history of issues with drives that use Sandforce controllers with data corruption. For the most part, it's been resolved with most vendors, though I wouldn't touch one with a 10 foot pole.

Crucial m4 uses a Crucial-modified Marvell controller and the Samsung uses their own in-house controller.

Windows 7 + Office 2010 + swap file + other bits would be in excess of 10GB. I personally wouldn't want a drive smaller than 64GB for any reason, especially in this case. 120GB/128GB would be good options to choose from for long-term use. 64GB would suffice, yes, though in between 64GB and 120GB would be better options.

Plextor M5S 128GB drive @ $80 after rebate:
http://www.tigerdire...&srkey=P67-7022

It's a good solid drive using a modified Marvell controller. $50 instant rebate, $10 mail-in rebate, free shipping.

#22 Confucius

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:48 PM

hmmm thanks. I use both a crucial m4 and a samsung 830 for my "real" computers.

I figured I could cheap out on this one. Maybe I'll wait for a crucial sale and check out that plextor.

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I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#23 shrike4242

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:37 PM

It's your money on working to an SSD upgrade, though if I was in your shoes and looking for an SSD on the cheap, I'd get that Plextor for its price. Beyond that, there's numerous options around that price, including m4 and PM830s around the $100 mark.

#24 Kerouac

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 02:29 AM

hmmm thanks. I use both a crucial m4 and a samsung 830 for my "real" computers.

I figured I could cheap out on this one. Maybe I'll wait for a crucial sale and check out that plextor.


I agree with Strike. I had an OCZ w/ Sandforce & my Access & Excel files became corrupted. Railroad tracks were everywhere #######. I always backup my files so it was merely a nuisance, but it is a nuisance you can avoid. I, like you, utilize very large files (up to 40 - 50K line items (rows)). I have had no problems with the Crucial M4 that replaced the faulty OCZ. The Crucial is fast and reliable. In my dedicated work system I use W7 64 bit with an i5 & 16 GB of RAM.

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#25 JJSP

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 07:23 AM

I presume using Apple's Numbers program isn't an option?

#26 Confucius

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 01:06 PM

Never even tried Numbers but doubt it'd suffice. Plus, I'm too much of an excel expert to try to learn Numbers.

Btw, Office Max is damn fast. Ordered my laptop yesterday, arrived this morning.

Ees7Y.jpg


I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#27 Confucius

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:32 PM

ok pc folks, need a little help and I don't feel like registering for a pc forum.

I took off a boatload of bloatware and my windows installation is still 42GB. (including office)

Now, there's also a Lenovo Recovery volume. If I want to install a SSD into the laptop, do I care about that recovery volume? What does it do? I thought perhaps it was just to restore everything to factory specifications.



2nd Q: How does Windows 7's built in backup work? Does it clone the entire OS + files or does it just backup files incrementally like time machine?

And if so, say I put in a 128GB SSD Could I just clone it to an external hard drive as a backup solution? Or actually back to the original HDD in an enclosure?

I don't have any recovery disks of course.

thanks

Ees7Y.jpg


I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#28 Confucius

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:00 PM

anyone?

Ees7Y.jpg


I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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#29 shrike4242

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 08:51 PM

Recovery volume is needed to restore everything to factory specs, yes.

You could clone the internal HDD to a SSD, though sometimes Windows gets funny with doing it that way. I'm surprised you don't have recovery discs included in the system via a creation utility. They're not normally packed in the box these days, though you have to be able to make them on the system with an installed utility.

#30 Confucius

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 08:55 PM

I think there's a utility included.

How would you do the SSD install if not by cloning? (I am assuming by your response that I don't need the recovery volume on my SSD?)

Ees7Y.jpg


I'm 100% shocked that books still exist in today's day and age. I thought they'd be out by now. They make up like 1% of today's entertainment and unless you're 60 or older, stray away from books and start emersing yourself with real entertainment.

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