Advice on buying a desktop...or fixing my USB Wi-Fi Adapter

I have a really old hp win10 desktop. Quite a few months ago the internet stopped working on it (connected directly to the modem), so I bought an ASUS Dual-band AC1200 USB Network Adapter, plugged it into a USB port, and away I went.

Fast forward to now. I just moved houses. Now, I cannot get the internet to work. It doesn’t show any of the available networks. Perhaps, the network adapter is kaput & just needs to be replaced. Perhaps, I should just upgrade to a better computer.

If I go the upgrade route, I’d love your advice. I don’t want to spend a lot on this muffler. I pretty much only use it for keeping track of finances, light internet, & connecting to my work computer. I don’t do gaming.

I’ve randomly picked these two:

Am I going to regret going so cheap on the $500 computer even though it’s already way better than my current computer, which, performs well enough?
Is it silly to spend $1k on a computer that’s going to be the $500 computer by Christmas?

The specs are meaningless to me.

I’ll take your advice & suggestions on those two or anything else you’d like to opine on.

Let me see if I understand the situation correctly:

  1. You want better access to the internet
  2. Current computer doesn’t provide this
  3. You want to make some sort of change but not sure what
  4. . . .
  5. :farmer:t4:

highly suggest MS Surface

Some assorted thoughts:

  • Generally, if your device doesn’t move, it’s best to do a wired network connection if the device supports it, due to the various vagaries of wireless networking.
  • Have you checked to see if other wireless devices can connect to your network from your PC’s location? Could it be a problem with the network rather than the PC?
  • If you don’t feel a burning desire to replace the PC, if you don’t want to switch to wired networking, and if checking with another device indicates that a decent WiFi signal is available at the PCs location, then simply replacing the network adapter seems like the no-brainer move.

If you do want to get a new PC, I recommend the following specs given your stated use:

  • i5 or better processor (I don’t remember what that translates to in AMD names), speed doesn’t really matter
  • 8GB RAM minimum, 16GB RAM preferred.
  • 256GB hard drive minimum, 512+ preferred (more if you are going to be storing pictures and video); SSD or M2 drives will make the system feel fast, but aren’t strictly necessary

If there’s a chance you will decide you want to play games, then more RAM and a discrete video card start to become critical.

Surfaces are nice PCs (I’ve had a couple), especially if you want portability, but they do come with a premium price tag.

My last PC purchase (December 2021) was this:

…acquired for an automation project of mine. It’s not as beefy as my main personal PC, but it’d be very acceptable for the kind of use you’re describing. I was leery of buying it due to unfamiliarity with the name, small size, invocation of “games” as a use, etc., but at that price point I was willing to gamble. It’s met my needs, although I could have just been lucky.

I would expect there to be some discounts on low-to-mid-grade PCs come Black Friday. Whether it’s worth it to you to wait until then is something that only you can answer. There will always be better specs and/or lower prices if you wait a bit longer.

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I want access to the internet.
Otherwise, your post is spot on.

Modem/router may very well need to be upgraded. I think most modems that are over 4 years old are very likely going to not work with new protocols that most ISP’s are now using (and deprecating support for older protocols).

Also agree with Maphistos to also upgrade your computer to also take advantage of connection protocols and processing power, including doing a hard-wire connection to a router if the computer isn’t “mobile”.

Based on your stated usage, a modem/router combination could be a cost-effective option. If you also want wi-fi capabilities, consider getting a MESH system.

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I’ll add a few more details…

I’m able to connect wirelessly via my laptop and iPhone no problem. The laptop is newer than the desktop but is no spring chicken, either.

The router is probably from 2018…it connnects directly to the internet tubes. I don’t need to use a modem at this location. I’ve got “Broadband Internet service 100Mbps download and 50Mbps upload.”

Because of the layout of this house it’s going to be difficult to hard wire the desktop to the internet. Never mind that the current computer didn’t work that way anymore…hence the usb network adapter.

I think I’m going pick up another network adapter from BB on the way home tonight and see if that’s the problem. If not, buy a new machine.

I’d get a new router.

I had to “upgrade” (IIRC, it was in 2019) because my ISP was moving to the newer protocols. I had to check the routers because not all of the ones available to buy (especially the cheaper ones) didn’t include the newer protocols.

I think anything you buy now will likely have the newer protocols; but you might check with your ISP for what they’re expecting and buy accordingly.

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I figure, if you’re gonna buy a computer just get the nicer one. I doubt it’s a huge expense relative to your salary and it will last you longer, probably by 2-3 years at a wild guess.

Being cheap, and already knowing the router is working, I’d spend the $7 and try a cheap new USB wifi adapter - even if I was thinking of buying a new machine. That might let you shop at year leisure.

Oh, btw, did you check whether the USB port is working?

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Yes…yes, I did, and yes…yes, it is.

Yeah, the old USB Wi-Fi Adapter must have died during the move. I bought a new one from BB and am again cruising the information highway. :guitarwo:

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Alright, so a new desktop isn’t imminent, but if you guys see something on super-sale (from amazon, costco, best buy, target, circuit city, radio shack, whatever) post about it in this thread, will ya’?

This. And what it will amount to is like $1,000 less you leave your kids.


The desktop pc in the OP is too old to accept the latest Windows updates. Hence, the bump.

I started with Costco…figuring, my membership will get me the best price…and randomly picked a computer based pretty much on price point.

Then, I took that computer & searched for it. I think I’m comparing apples to apples here & that, dude, if I buy straight from Dell, I’ll be best off.

Costco $750
Amazon $709
BB $700
Dell $620

Am I completely messing up here?

Wife also wants a huge monitor (that can be connected wirelessly) & that will probably necessitate a wireless keyboard & mouse, so if you have advice on that, let’s hear it.

I think I see three different hard drive configurations among those four links, producing a bit of fruit salad for comparison.

I can’t comment about wireless monitors, other than noting that my bias is for wired connections between things that don’t move, since wireless connections share frequently congested spectrum.


I didn’t even realize there were wireless monitors, but I’d wonder about lag. Monitors need a lot of data.

Also, what does she want the monitor for? I bought a really cheap one on a whim, because i needed it for work. I basically bought as many pixels as i could in the size that fit on my desk. And it worked great for work, but i struggled playing video games, because it was too hard to see when the scene was dark. The issue wasn’t just assisting the brightness (i tried) it didn’t have enough steps of brightness, or something like that. I’ve since bought a new monitor with good stats for gaming, and it makes a huge difference.

Just for work…she’s an MDS nurse, so it’s just looking at a lot of information on the screen at the same time, so she wants a big screen (that won’t necessarily fit on our desk where the desktop computer is) that will most likely be placed onto a very large table.

Alternatively, if I got a long enough cord (10-20’) I could plug it in directly.

I have several 10 foot DP cables running around the crude mockup of the Starship Enterprise that is my office. I’m not certain that 20 foot DP cables are sufficient.

If “need a big monitor, and it’s not suitable to have a desktop in that location” is a deciding factor, the non-name mini PC I mentioned earlier in the thread has been updated:

Despite claims to the contrary, it’s not a gaming PC, but it’ll handle normal “work” tasks, and it’s small enough (slightly larger than my two hands held together in a praying position) to fit most places…including potentially mounted to the back of a monitor.

I don’t know that I’d want to run a full model from my job on the one running in my living room…but I wouldn’t want to run one of those models on my work laptop either. :slight_smile:

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Beelink SEi12 order placed. Thanks for all of the advice.