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Old Computer Has Had It


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#1 seaecho

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 09:18 PM

Hi - I just posted on the introductions forum and now would like some feedback on computers you guys have - positive or negative. I need to get a new computer due to ongoing problems that have still not been fixed after four visits to the Geek Squad on my HP. I need a desktop home PC that I'll use for web surfing, email, storing pictures, etc. Very basic, nothing fancy. What PC do you guys consider the most reliable? HP? Dell? Compaq? EMachine? My current HP computer has served me well for two and a half years, so I'm considering staying with HP, but need some expert advice. Be very honest! By the way, my price range is around $700-800. Thank you so much!

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#2 acklan

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 09:50 PM

I like canned computer, inperticular Dell. I think in a short while you will be shock at what our members will help you build. For $800 you can have one kick'n internet computer. This would be the Dell I would recommend if I were looking for a computer with the tasks you have listed.
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#3 Enthusiast

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 09:56 PM

A lot of us here build our own, but if you want to buy one commercially built an example of one that is of better quality than any of the major brands is the following:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/Se...6847&CatId=1875

It really depends what you want the computer's capabilities to be. Gaming is one thing and word processing and emailing is the other end of the spectrum.

Do you want Intel or AMD?

Whatever you choose I suggest Win XP Pro over XP Home, first because it has a far higher level of security, and has many more features such as your being able to access it from any computer running Windows anywhere else on the internet, and because Win XP Pro will be supported by Microsoft far longer than XP home will be - extended support for 5 years after mainstream support ends (two years after Vista is released which is supposed to be this December). XP Home (and Media Center) will not get extended support and their support expires two years after Vista debuts.

Make sure whatever you buy has an AGP slot and a AGP Graphics card with its own RAM and digital output, a good sound card that will meet your wants, that you get a minimum of 512 Megs of RAM, the current state of the art being DDR2, but more is always better (and gaming requires lots more). Make sure it has four RAM slots so you can expand when you find it necessary.

Make sure it has enough expansion capacity for additional hard drive/s - maybe sata and raid capable if you want, a large enough power supply to supply future needs (name brands usually come with the bare minimum needed to run the standard equipment that the PC you buy comes with).

Do some research and get the fastest, newest technology you can afford.

If you do, you may not be looking for another one in 2 1/2 years.

#4 acklan

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 10:36 PM

By the way. Could pose your question about your current computer to the forum? May be we can help where the EEEEK SQAD could not. If nothing else you could get it working as sell it to buy or build a new computer.
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#5 Enthusiast

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:24 AM

Langa Letter: 10 Critical Factors When Buying A New PC

Fred Langa outlines and explains his top decision points when purchasing new desktop hardware.

http://www.informationweek.com/showArticle...cleID=175801892

#6 Herk

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:31 PM

I'd like to add a few pointers of my own here. My own main computer is quite nice, and I spend over $800 building it. The choices I made were based on wanting a computer that would be upgradeable, fast enough without spending a lot, good-looking, etc.

First, I used AMD because they tend to be much cheaper than Pentiums. There are pros and cons here: the Pentiums will automatically shut down in the case of overheating, the AMD's will simply crack. But I monitor the fans and temperatures constantly. I have installed more than the usual number of fans.

I put in a gig of memory. Too many companies scrimp on memory and I always recommend a minimum of 512 mb RAM for Windows XP.

My processor is an AMD 3000+ Athlon 64, not to be confused with lower-end processors such as Sempron.

That said, I've worked on that new Dell computer that Acklan posted a link to. It's the new BTX case, which means that the door is on the opposite side and it cools well. But that's all it's got going for it. The motherboard is starkly plain, with no AGP slot to upgrade the video. There is one empty PCI slot in the event you want to add a wireless card or something, but that's it. If you want a floppy drive, they charge an exhorbitant amount to add it. It does not have any PS2 ports for keyboard and mouse, but relies on USB only. It comes with 512 MB RAM, but has only two slots and both are full. In other words, it's designed to work well out of the box, but what you get is all you're likely to have. You can't upgrade it. From that standpoint, it's not a great deal. (I did like the LCD monitor) The keyboard looks as if they were running out of plastic when they made it. The processor is a 2.8 Pentium, and my personal requirement is a minimum of 3.0 - I noticed the difference in speed. The video is onboard. Audio is onboard. They use (If I understand it correctly) some of the processor power. (Hence the *shared notes in the advertising regarding processor.)

Were I to search for a prebuilt computer, I would look for one that was as close to a shop-built computer as I could find. eMachines comes close, I think. If you want to add a drive, for instance, you should be able to do so without getting it directly from the company you bought the computer from, and at a reasonable price. You shouldn't have to buy a special bezel from the company to get the new drive to fit. (Common with computers like Compaq, for instance, where the offset floppy drive bracket inside the computer is covered with a full-size bezel that must be replaced to keep the thing looking good if you add a floppy.)

I would stay away from Celerons, Semprons, and all the other *ron processors that so much cheaper than the better processors made by both AMD and Intel. In some uses, they work quite well, such as the Celeron D processor, but can't keep up with things like games or other applications.

In reading the Langa article linked in this thread, I noticed reference to XP support being cut off. But I have also read that XP support has been extended by Microsoft to two years following the release of Vista, so that isn't really an issue. That said, it would be nice to have a computer powerful enough to run Vista in the future, should you decide to switch to that operating system when it's released.

#7 loukas30

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 02:18 PM

It depends on what type of computer your looking for such as one that has a high graphic rate (60 fps) for gaming in which case i would recommend alienware intel pentium 4 processor. I have a sony VAIO range which i find all round pleasing.

#8 acklan

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:18 PM

Hi - I just posted on the introductions forum and now would like some feedback on computers you guys have - positive or negative. I need to get a new computer due to ongoing problems that have still not been fixed after four visits to the Geek Squad on my HP. I need a desktop home PC that I'll use for web surfing, email, storing pictures, etc. Very basic, nothing fancy. What PC do you guys consider the most reliable? HP? Dell? Compaq? EMachine? My current HP computer has served me well for two and a half years, so I'm considering staying with HP, but need some expert advice. Be very honest! By the way, my price range is around $700-800. Thank you so much!


That is what I was basing my recommendation on. I do th same thing with a 1999 P-III w/XP Pro. Unless seaecho is going to heavy game or video editing this computer will do what he/she requested.
The recommended Has a PCI-e slot with an upgrade option from 128mb card to a 256mb ATI PCIe card for $40.
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