Cheap desktop with CD-burner?

I’d like to send a family member a desktop box, with one slightly unconventional twist: he wants a CD burner so he can burn the songs he creates to disk. He doesn’t need a fancy rig; he just wants it for email, browsing, CD-burning, word processing, printing, etc. I’d like to keep it under $400 if possible. Is a “refurbished” system a safe bet? I was looking at something like this, but it doesn’t include a CD burner:

Any advice? Many thanks in advance.

No opinion on specific desktop models, but you’ll probably have an easier time just getting an external usb CD burner than trying to constrain your search to just models that have an internal one.

Yeah, external USB burner is definitely the way to go. I’ve had one gathering dust in my desk drawer ever since I bought it and haven’t looked back. :)

Seriously, it’s a good piece of kit; cheap and a lot easier to replace if it breaks. It might actually even write blu-rays. I think.

Though I do need to ask, in this day and age, why? If it’s a backup thing they’re an exceptionally poor choice as the plastic layer that gets burned degrades within a decade or so… and 15 or so tracks per disc is pretty poor if it’s for listening purposes. Would a dirt cheap mp3 player not be better? Or more resilient backup storage?

Speaking only for myself, I’ve got a bunch of burned copies of CD’s in my car’s CD changer that have been working in some very harsh ND conditions for…Okay I thought it was longer than 10 years, but thinking back, it’s been about 10 years now. But anyway, they still work fine. I don’t want to subject the original CD’s to car conditions, so I just made those cheap copies for the car.

Depends on the brand I guess, not that there’s any way to tell at the time. I had to chuck out a boxful of CDs I burned in the late 90s/early 00s since the top layer had literally begun to flake off on a lot of 'em. Never touched the bloody things again. These weren’t bargain basement cheapo discs either, guess I got unlucky.

Yeah, I don’t know how long I’d trust them for archiving, but they seem to take a fair beating in a car…So far. I suppose there are several variables that come into play, and like you said, there’s no way to spot a good bunch of disks when you buy them. It’s more or less a crap shoot. And I imagine it’s the same kind of crap shoot when it comes to choosing a burner, not to mention burner software, though I think most of the time, the most important variable would be the disks themselves.

Or buy a PC like in the OP and swap out the reader for a burner. Internal CD/DVD burners go for about $20 or so.

I have burned CDs that are 15+ years old and they read fine. Anecdotal obviously.

I would second USB burner, compatability is super high.

Thanks for all your replies OK, I’ll poke around for a USB burner. Yes, he likes to listen to the disks he makes in his old car.

Honestly, I’m not sure why he’s only burning his songs to CD. Shouldn’t he also be saving them on his hard disk so that he can upload them to Spotify or iTunes and make millions? I suppose that’s a topic for a separate thread, heh.

So do you all think a “refurbished” PC is okay? Presumably it has a clean hard disk with a fresh install of Windows. He doesn’t care if the chassis is dinged or ugly.

If it doesn’t have a graphics card, then that won’t have been burned out by crypto mining, so probably no issues with a refurb. $400 seems expensive for your use case, though. You could easily get a new machine or even a laptop for that much, though I suppose the Windows key uses up a chunk.

If it’s good enough that he wants to call it a final version, I suppose the most durable medium is still vinyl, although I suspect that would be cost prohibitive.

So if I were him I’d make several CD copies, keep a copy on the HD, and upload to the cloud. It’s the only way to be sure.

But yeah, anyway, wouldn’t it be freaking cool to receive a vinyl album complete with artwork from a loved one that he created himself? I’d be so stoked to get a gift like that!

I bought 3 refurb lenovo desktops for like $500 around 10 years ago. They were still running. One of them is still on WIndows Vista lol. I did have to replace a video card fan at some point for one. I can’t believe the hard drives are still ticking along.

Thanks for all your replies. I think the machine in the original post is more like $230, which seems more than reasonable to me, as it apparently includes a Windows key. This is to be a budget box, nothing more.

Windows Vista. Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time…

Dell is selling a crap-ton of those refurbished desktops. I was looking at them about a month ago thinking about buying one.

I ordered one for $230 or so. It’s got better basic specs than the machine I bought a decade ago for $2000, lol. It’s got i5-3470 @3.2GHz, 16GB RAM, a 450GB SSD, Windows 10 – and a DVDRW. OK, it’s not a gaming rig; no fancy videocard. Still, it seems almost too good to be true, but the recipient isn’t picky at all. He just needs a basic machine. We’ll see how it works out.

I’m still running the AMD equivalent of an i3, and it works fine as long as I have a lot of RAM and a large monitor.

Likewise. I have an Intel Core i7 930,@2.8GHz, with 12G RAM and a GTX 980, and I run everything I need to run just fine. I just keep upgrading that video card.