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Buying a new computer


Cyberwoo
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Hey guys. I'm in the market for a new computer and I'd like to get some suggestions from you all. Keep in mind my main interests are strictly music, photo/movie editing, and maybe an occasional game or two. Basically I need everything except computer speakers. :) I'd like to keep the total price under $2000 but that is not a set in stone limit. I just cant justify spending much more unless convinced otherwise. Any suggestions? What is a good base to start with (mobo/cpu/case combo)? Is AMD still a better price/performance cpu? I haven't bought anything PC related in about 4 or 5 years. Ya I'm way out of the loop. :) Any help is greatly appriciated. I haven't researched anything yet so I'm hoping you guys can help me narrow down my search. Thanks in advance.

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I like dell. :tu: And for what it sounds like you're looking for, 2g's seems like a lot more money then you'll need. :wtf: I'm pretty sure you can snag yourself a mid to high level desktop for under $1500, if you wanted to be cheap you could probably find something adequate for under a grand. If your computer equipment is 5 years old, even the $499 models they advertise on tv are going to blow your current pc away. :D

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Well the only reason I said $2000 is because I know a good chunk of that $ will be used on a good monitor so I was giving myself some room to play with.

 

As for the Dell suggestion I wont buy one based on my experience with the one I bought for my parents. I bought them one of those $499 deals a few months ago because they want to be able to edit and burn home movies and photos to dvd. Well burning dvd's takes friggin forever on their system. I remember burning a home movie onto a dvd for my mom and it took in excess of an hour to do so. Thats rediculous. Also there are other times when their pc just doesn't seem very fast. I got them one with 512 megs of ram so that shouldn't be the issue. When I called Dell to ask them why the computer wasn't recognizing some of the cd's I was puting into the computer they said it could be a software issue and that they dont offer support on software unless you pay extra for it. That really pissed me off. These are cd's that are recognized in my computer at home and they are ones I burned myself. I know there is data on them yet her computer was not showing it. I know enough about computers to know better than that. The guy I was talking to treated me like I didn't know anything and from what my Mom told me the lady she talked to the day before treated my Mom like crap (no patience, monotone voice, no help whatsoever). Knowing that (hey man you dont upset my Momma!) I pretty much chewed this guy up and spit him back out. I told him that Dell would never see my parents business or my own business ever again and hung up the phone. The end. :)

 

So basically I'll probably wind up just building my own. I was looking for suggestions on actual hardware and not so much where to order from. Guess I should have been more specific. :) The search continues...

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I'll recommend to you the same thing I recommend to all my friends when buying a PC.

 

Buy the best you can possibly buy, within whatever budget you've set for yourself. Don't skimp to save a few bucks.

 

Buy an OEM CPU and a GOOD Heatsink/Fan combination. I recommend heatsinks by Thermalright ( http://www.thermalright.com ) and a decent 80MM fan.

 

I'm currently building a P4 3.4GHz Extreme Edition PC, 2 x WD Raptor 75GB S-ATA HDDs, 2GB or PC3200 DDR memory, Audigy 2 ZS Gamer & an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro.

 

The sound card and video card are carry overs from my "old" PC, and while I'll be keeping the Audigy, I'm looking to replace the 9800 Pro with either a GeForce 6800 Ultra, or a Radeon x800XT. I'm not sure which yet.

 

If you go the route of building your own PC, I'd recommend the following e-tailers:

 

http://www.newegg.com

http://www.sidewindercomputers.com

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That really pissed me off. These are cd's that are recognized in my computer at home and they are ones I burned myself. I know there is data on them yet her computer was not showing it. I know enough about computers to know better than that.

 

If you knew enough, you'd know that CDR incompatibility does happen between different computers/CDROMs.

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Well burning dvd's takes friggin forever on their system. I remember burning a home movie onto a dvd for my mom and it took in excess of an hour to do so. Thats rediculous.

 

EDIT: MISREAD POST. DISREGARD.

 

Also there are other times when their pc just doesn't seem very fast. I got them one with 512 megs of ram so that shouldn't be the issue.

 

Programs starting with and running in the background (firewalls, anti-virus, spyware, general apps). If its Windows XP you could have a myriad of services running that have no business being on (XP by default runs a SHITLOAD of services that are just not needed. ) Not too mention Dell installs a large amount of apps that are simply not necessary. Out of the box a Dell will usually run like molasses. Nothing a wipe and reinstall of XP can't fix. My point? I've used Dell computers for 3 years now and have never had a problem with slowness after some initial tweaking etc.. I've done 2 reinstalls of my OS in that time if that tells you anything.

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Originally posted by FutureVoid@Jul 5 2004, 02:37 PM

Well burning dvd's takes friggin forever on their system. I remember burning a home movie onto a dvd for my mom and it took in excess of an hour to do so. Thats rediculous.

 

Burning a full CD on my Dell takes less than 3 and half minutes, never had a problem (using a 48X drive). Perhaps a software or OS issue? Hate to tell you but they are more than right in advising you that its a possible software problem. I do technical support and I'd tell you the same thing after doing everything in my power to make sure the hardware was functioning as intended.

 

Also there are other times when their pc just doesn't seem very fast. I got them one with 512 megs of ram so that shouldn't be the issue.

 

I think he was complaining about DVD burn times -not CD burn times. These are very different in terms of speed.

 

Cyberwoo,

 

I think your expectations are a bit off too. DVD burning does take a while even with the fastest systems (especially if you count rendering time). Depending upon the project one hour may not be very bad at all. I've had jobs that took 3+ hours (including rendering).

 

Also at issue is the fact that the system you're experiencing problems with is one of Dell's $499 value systems. These are generally integrated systems intended more for web surfing and MS Office -not intense jobs like video editing. With the budget you're working with you can expect much better performance -even from a Dell. ;)

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I recently built one of these for a workstation (and 64-bit testbed of sorts), and I'm pretty pleased with the speed:

 

ANTEC Black Performance Series II Mini Tower Case with 350W Power Supply, Model "SX635BII" -RETAIL - $75

ZALMAN CNPS7000A-AlCu Aluminum + Copper CPU Cooler for AMD XP Socket 462/ 754 and Intel Socket 478 -RETAIL - $35.99

Western Digital Raptor 74GB 10,000RPM SATA Hard Drive, Model WD740GD, OEM Drive Only - $188

2x Crucial 184 Pin 512MB ECC DDR PC-3200 (1GB total)- OEM - $260

ASUS "K8V SE Deluxe" K8T800 Chipset Motherboard for AMD Socket 754 CPU -RETAIL - $118

AMD Athlon 64 3200+, 1 MB L2 Cache - OEM - $270

MSI nVIDIA GeForce4 MX440-8X Video Card, 64MB DDR, TV-Out, 8X AGP, Model "MX440-T8X" -RETAIL - $41.50

Total: $988.49

 

Even I was surprised at how cheap it came out total. Obviously, you'd want to kick the graphics card up a notch for a gaming rig. ;)

 

Some notes and various ramblings:

-I really like the Zalman HSF, keeps the processor cool and the PC is almost silent. It is one massive mofo though. Additionally, if you're using a K8V motherboard like I did, you have to remove the stickied-on backplate and used the supplied backplate from Zalman.

-Never skimp on the Power Supply by going with a shitty cheap no-name one. Never.

-The WD Raptor SATA drives are the best non-SCSI drives around right now, but you'll pay a premium for them. They are however, damn fast, and worth it (can you say 5 year warranty?).

-The NEC ND-2500A or 2510A is an absolute steal for an outstanding DVD+/-RW drive right now.

-I know I'm essentially completely avoiding your question here, but in all seriousness both AMD and Intel have great chips for the money out right now. One or the other can take the lead in the price/performance arena, depending on what you're using it for, so look at the benchmarks. For example, I'm probably going to build a P4 3.2 or 3.4GHz system for myself sometime soon, simply because the P4's edge out AMD's offerings for doing video work.

 

$2000 should buy a pretty damn solid machine right now, even if you figure in $500 carved out for a 22" CRT. :tu:

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Yes prices have come down quite a bit since the last time I bought a computer. I was clearly overshooting on some of my estimates. I went to a local reputable computer store and here is what I'm thinking of getting:

 

Kingston 1GB PC3200

P4 3.0 800MHz 512k retail

ASUS P4800SE

WD 120GB 8MB SATA

Liteon SOHW-1213S +-rw 12x OEM

Antec Sonata Piano Black TUE380W

SB Audigy 2 OEM

 

 

That runs $860 total and the guy said he could cut me an even better deal. Everyone th I still haven't decided what video card and monitor I want. Those ATI 9800Pro 128M 256Bit cards look nice and at $200 thats about what I had in mind for a vid card. I'm not going to be playing many games on this pc so maybe I dont even need that much of a card. *shrug* Also monitor prices seem to have come down a bit. Can get a decent 19-21" flat screen CRT for 2-500 bucks. I've all but ruled LCD out of the equation. They are still pretty spendy and from what it sounds like you have to spend at least $800-1200 to get a good one. The rest are crap. Anywho in case you are wondering I'm probably going to order from here:

 

http://www.enuinc.com/

 

Again its local and thats a big plus for when/if things go wrong. I'm sure I could save a few bucks here and there if I bought things on the net scouting out all the killer deals but to me time and conveniance is money so getting everything at one place ranks high on my list. :)

 

 

Originally posted by Ryan FB

I'm probably going to build a P4 3.2 or 3.4GHz system for myself sometime soon, simply because the P4's edge out AMD's offerings for doing video work.

 

Yup thats exactlly why I'm getting one. I'll be doing music and video editing mainly. Everyone I talked to said Intel is the way to go for that.

 

 

Thanks for everyones input. I'm getting close to making a decision. Wouldn't be surprised if in a few weeks I'll have all my stuff.

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That runs $860 total

 

They must order everything through new egg and then resell it to you. Because that costs exactly $861 through newegg.com, but no tax.

 

Supposedly on Aug 22nd Intel CPU prices are going to get another drop. I'm hoping to hold out till then but I may cave in earlier for my new machine.

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cyber -

 

That sounds like a real solid choice and having a local person you can actually talk to for problems can't be underestimated. Only suggestion I have for you is to maybe upgrade that 120 GB HDD to 200 or 250 GBs. It won't cost that much more ($70?) and if you are doing a lot of audio/video storage you can never have too much space. You could always add a second HDD later, but why not just get what you need right now?

 

Slighty OT - Wife and I just got done slugging it out with Dell. Bought a $1200 laptop for her business that wouldn't work right despite 3 trips back to their service center. So finally they build us a new one and send it out. It fails to recognize the DVD drive within 48 hours of power on and refuses to boot at all. Our third laptop works like a charm, it's an IBM Thinkpad we found on eBay :green: Took us 2 months, 3 service repairs, and 2 laptops to dump Dell, they have really gone downhill lately. I will not buy another Dell.

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Only suggestion I have for you is to maybe upgrade that 120 GB HDD to 200 or 250 GBs. It won't cost that much more ($70?) and if you are doing a lot of audio/video storage you can never have too much space. You could always add a second HDD later, but why not just get what you need right now?

 

 

Ya I've got an 80gig WD in my computer right now that I plan on puting in there as well. I might just get 2 120gb Seagates instead. I hear they idle quieter than the WD's.

 

 

Took us 2 months, 3 service repairs, and 2 laptops to dump Dell, they have really gone downhill lately. I will not buy another Dell.

 

 

Ya the way I was treated when I spoke with them was horrible. They were so unhelpful in trying to diagnose the problem. The guy I was talkin with kept talking like a damn robot.

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Well I took the plunge (finally). Here is what I eventually decided on and ordered today:

 

CPU = P4 3Gig 800MHz 1MB Retail

Motherboard = ASUS P4P800SE

Ram = Kingston 1GB PC3200 (2x512)

Hard drive = WD 120G 8MB SATA

DVD burner = Liteon SOHW-1213S +-rw 12x OEM

Case = Antec Sonata Piano Black TRUE380W

Sound card = Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum Retail

Video card = Sapphire 9800pro 128M OEM

 

 

Its probably more than I need but what the heck. I figure the computer is one of my main hobbies so I may as well get something I'm going to enjoy for a while. The only problem now is waiting for it to get here. They didn't have the video card (after telling me they did but forgot it was pre-sold) so I gotta wait a few days/week/whatever for that to come in. It will be nice to have a nice fast computer again. For the record I'm still using an old Celeron 300a (oc'd @ 450) and 128megs of ram. Keep the laughter to yourselves. :)

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Originally posted by Cyberwoo@Jul 12 2004, 06:14 PM

Well I took the plunge (finally). Here is what I eventually decided on and ordered today:

 

CPU = P4 3Gig 800MHz 1MB Retail

Motherboard = ASUS P4P800SE

Ram = Kingston 1GB PC3200 (2x512)

Hard drive = WD 120G 8MB SATA

DVD burner = Liteon SOHW-1213S +-rw 12x OEM

Case = Antec Sonata Piano Black TRUE380W

Sound card = Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum Retail

Video card = Sapphire 9800pro 128M OEM

 

 

Its probably more than I need but what the heck. I figure the computer is one of my main hobbies so I may as well get something I'm going to enjoy for a while. The only problem now is waiting for it to get here. They didn't have the video card (after telling me they did but forgot it was pre-sold) so I gotta wait a few days/week/whatever for that to come in. It will be nice to have a nice fast computer again. For the record I'm still using an old Celeron 300a (oc'd @ 450) and 128megs of ram. Keep the laughter to yourselves. :)

Where'd you order from, and how much did you pay for each item? Total w/ shipping?

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Where'd you order from, and how much did you pay for each item? Total w/ shipping?

 

 

Its a local computer shop called ENU (http://www.enuinc.com). Go there for the prices. Sorry I'm too lazy to hunt down the invoice and type in the prices. :) Obviously no shipping will be involved since its a local shop.

 

 

Make sure you get a few extra fans for that prescott core P4. They're reported to put off quite a bit more heat than the previous models.

 

 

Ya I was worried about that almost to the point of ordering the Northwood core 512k model instead but after talking to the guy at the shop I decided otherwise. He said the retail fan works fine and I'll probably just throw on an additional heatsink/fan later on if heat becomes an issue. I wont be overclocking it or anything so I dont think it will be. Worst case scenerio is I find that its getting too hot, take it over to the shop and get what I need to keep it cool. No biggie.

 

 

Can't wait to get this thing home and test it out. I'm sure I will be blown away considering what I'm working with now.

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Well I got my new computer today. Loving it so far. Things that caught my attention right off the bat:

 

1) Hey that case is nice looking. I basically bought it on a recommendation without looking at it. Pretty piano black Antec Sanata with blue LED on front. Not only is it cool looking but its very functional.

 

2) Wow this thing is quiet! I'm not kidding when I say I wasn't sure if it was running or not when my monitor was off. Can hear a pin drop. Very cool.

 

3) Hey this is fast. :) Everything I do is so quick to respond its almost like its reasing my mind. Granted I've been running with an old system for a few years now but still I know speed when I see it and this is nice.

 

 

Going to go buy Farcry today and check it out. Looks like a cool game. Oh ya and Doom 3 in 2 weeks! Can't wait for that. :) Anywho I'll take a picture later once everything is in place. Thanks for the recommendations. Now I need some game recommendations. What have I missed out on in the last 4 years or so? ;)

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Well color me impressed. I just played a little Farcry with all the details maxed out and it runs flawless and looks absolutely gorgeous. Game is alot of fun so far. Great mix of stealth and action with killer AI. Going to buy the full game tomarrow. Downloading Painkiller and UT2k4 demos at the moment and will soon be checking those out as well.

 

I never intended on becoming a pc gamer when purchasing this pc but now I'm hooked and with Doom 3 just a couple weeks away its only going to get worse. My social life is screwed.

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