SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    12
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Help with buying a new computer

    Hey Everyone!

    I'm looking into buying a new computer and while I know quite abit about what I want, I had some questions and figured I could get the best feedback here, so here we go...

    I'm looking to buy a top of the line system and have already priced out ones on Gateway and Dell. I've always gotten Gateways and had few problems, but my other family members have not been so lucky and Dell has gotten great write ups in like PC World and other places for tech support and their computers being good quality.

    So, I'm looking at a 1.7 Pentium 4, 256 MB PC800 RDRAM, 60 Gig Hardrive, Windows ME with the upgrade to XP when it comes out, nice 21" monitor, THX speakers, ect. I figure this is the last computer I'll be able to afford (and have some help paying for) for a while so I might as well go all out . Anyways, now to the things I have questions about.

    Is a combination DVD/CDRW drive a good idea or should I get seperate drives? It's cheaper in combination, but how much quality do I lose that way?

    If the only games I play are EA Sports Games do I need a GeForce3 64 MB graphic card? Will I notice the difference when I'm playing DVD's? Like, I figure this will be my DVD player, so will that make my picture better on the DVD or is a 32 MB GeForce 2 fine and dandy and I'll never know the difference?

    Should I wait for Windows XP to come out or should I get a new CPU and upgrade in November or should I stick with Windows Me?

    And now for the real important one...For a guy who just surfs the internet, plays a few games but not many (Madden, You Don't Know Jack, maybe I'll get into some RPG's or whatever, but probably not), uses Word and Office a lot, and plays DVD movies a lot, will I notice a difference if I get a $1500 CPU instead of a $3000 CPU? I priced out a CPU and I just don't know if I'll ever need or notice all the bells and whistles I added to it. Maybe I should save the money on the CPU (Since I'm just using it for internet and DVD playback) and buy a nice TV and DVD player instead...Will the DVD/TV give me a better picture or will it be the same as on the computer? What are your thoughts?

    I appreciate all of the help, it'll give me some real food for thought. Thanks!

    -Scott

  2. #2
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,438
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    This sounds like a college computer to me.

  3. #3
    Gong!
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
    229
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    What quality? Picture quality when watching movies? Uh?

    GeForce 2/3
    No, you don't. Since GeForce 3 hasn't been too long in the market, there really ain't so many games that it could really benefit. I'm sure that you will make it just fine if you get GF2. But if you want to spend some extra $$$ then go for it.

    ME/XP
    It's up to you. If you want your computer desperately, get it now and install ME/whatever and then upgrade it later to XP. Or get it when XP arrives.

    Difference
    No. You won't. For example, I've got a measily TB700 CPU and even though I'm starting to see those 1,7GB+ things, I've found this fast for my needs - browsing a lot, playing games, watching dvd movies. Memory is usually bigger issue than CPU power.

    DVD
    The picture quality really depends - I've played movies both on software as well as hardware (I've got DXR3 decoder card) and I always find it more nicer to plug the decoder card to television and watch the movie there (since I've got pathetic 17" ). But, on my eyes, it awfully close to quality of a normal DVD player hooked on TV.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Posts
    1,390
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Is a combination DVD/CDRW drive a good idea or should I get seperate drives? It's cheaper in combination, but how much quality do I lose that way?
    What do you mean by quality? You can't burn a CD in poor quality...it either works or it doesn't Do you mean how good is the DVD playback?

    Keep in mind that having seperate drives will be more convienent for disc-to-disc copying.
    If the only games I play are EA Sports Games do I need a GeForce3 64 MB graphic card? Will I notice the difference when I'm playing DVD's?
    A 32MB card is fine for those games. However, 64MB would be nice for the future. I have a 64MB GeForce 2 and it performs amazingly.
    Like, I figure this will be my DVD player, so will that make my picture better on the DVD or is a 32 MB GeForce 2 fine and dandy and I'll never know the difference?
    DVDs don't use 3D accelleration much (if at all) so you shouldn't notice a difference in watching DVDs. If you really want quality, go for a hardware decoder. I am not sure if Dell ships systems with them or not, but my Dell didn't come with one. A hardware decoder gives higher quality, fewer dropped frames, and lets your system do other things in the background (who says you can't play some Q3A while watching the Matrix?)
    Should I wait for Windows XP to come out or should I get a new CPU and upgrade in November or should I stick with Windows Me?
    I am not fond of XP or Me, but XP is definately better. I would wait until XP is out to get it...it isn't too much longer I don't think. An OS upgrade isn't as good as having it preinstalled. If you format, you'll have to install Me and then install XP. Also, you loose some reliability when you upgrade OSes.
    And now for the real important one...For a guy who just surfs the internet, plays a few games but not many (Madden, You Don't Know Jack, maybe I'll get into some RPG's or whatever, but probably not), uses Word and Office a lot, and plays DVD movies a lot, will I notice a difference if I get a $1500 CPU instead of a $3000 CPU?
    Not likely, if you choose your parts wisely. You would notice a difference in intense games and severely multitasking (watching a DVD, burning a CD, playing Quake, Black and White, and something else at the same time you are running SETI@home, copying 10GB of files and have 50 or so programs open). Slight exaduration of course About 800 MHz/256MB of RAM/32MB videocard is pretty good. Spend your money on things that don't evolve so rapidly (monitors, speakers, mouse, keyboard) and save your money for upgrades.

    About the picture quality thing...I just love watching movies on my 19" Sony. It is very clear. If you have a nice home theater, you can always play DVDs through your computer using the TV, speakers, etc.

    If you are inviting friends over a lot, having them sit around a 19" screen just isn't the same as watching it on a big screen

    Hope this helps you

  5. #5
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    5,891
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Help with buying a new computer

    Originally posted by WestWingSW
    Hey Everyone!

    I'm looking into buying a new computer and while I know quite abit about what I want, I had some questions and figured I could get the best feedback here, so here we go...

    I'm looking to buy a top of the line system and have already priced out ones on Gateway and Dell. I've always gotten Gateways and had few problems, but my other family members have not been so lucky and Dell has gotten great write ups in like PC World and other places for tech support and their computers being good quality.

    So, I'm looking at a 1.7 Pentium 4, 256 MB PC800 RDRAM, 60 Gig Hardrive, Windows ME with the upgrade to XP when it comes out, nice 21" monitor, THX speakers, ect. I figure this is the last computer I'll be able to afford (and have some help paying for) for a while so I might as well go all out . Anyways, now to the things I have questions about.

    Is a combination DVD/CDRW drive a good idea or should I get seperate drives? It's cheaper in combination, but how much quality do I lose that way?

    If the only games I play are EA Sports Games do I need a GeForce3 64 MB graphic card? Will I notice the difference when I'm playing DVD's? Like, I figure this will be my DVD player, so will that make my picture better on the DVD or is a 32 MB GeForce 2 fine and dandy and I'll never know the difference?

    Should I wait for Windows XP to come out or should I get a new CPU and upgrade in November or should I stick with Windows Me?
    Hi,

    I'm in the same boat as you. I'm going to be purchasing a new computer (Dell) in the next few weeks and what we want are suprisingly similar. Only difference is I am going for the 15" Digital Flat Screen monitor over a 21" CRT.

    Are you sure you want ME? I have heard so many bad things about it that I wouldn't even consider getting it. I'm going to be getting Win2K Professional and then consider upgrading to XP if needed later in the year. Good luck!

  6. #6
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Location
    East Lansing, MI USA
    Posts
    12,937
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    save yourself $1000 and build it yourself.

    And don't mess around with ME, get Win2k
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
    Featured Article: Free Comprehensive SEO Guide
    My Guide to Building a Successful Website
    My Blog|My Webmaster Forums

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast Brucie G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    51
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've got to agree with Aspen. I built mine myself and I saved around 450 on a price of about 1700.

    Win2K is much better than ME as well. I had ME running on my brother's computer and because it was so rubbish I took it off and put windows 98 SE back on.

    Building it also gives you good experience about hardware and whats actually happening inside the big white box

    Good luck in whatever you choose.
    Bruce

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast Forsteen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Okinawa, Japan
    Posts
    35
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yep, building your own puter, I think is a very benificial way of learning about puters. It just like learning HTML and creating Websites with Dreamweaver. You can create a site, but if something is wrong you don't know how to fix it especially if the HTML is messed up.

    Learn the ins and outs. I built mine for about $950 USD. Also when you want to upgrade, you don't void the warranty by opening up the case. The one thing that is over rated is the turn your puter in to get it upgraded free. Well that is all fine and dandy, but I'm not gonna wait forever to get it back.

    The biggest thing I found was modem problems. With Compaq, they use a cheap modem by my standards. I am a 3Com, U.S. Robotics fan and I have never heard of any problems with them or have any problems with mine.

    When using a DVD decoder like the Hollywood Plus (hardware) it puts a lot of the work into the Decoder Card instead of the Processor. Proc working harder = hotter proc = less performance.

    I also suggest, if you are going to create your own is, if your case doesn't, is to put a fan which pushes air in, a good fan for you proc and the one that comes with the case. Keep are going through the system. You have to set it up so you get the most benifit from it. If possible bundle up the wires so you can get a better air flow.

    Well there is a ton of things you could do, but won't try to burn too much space here.

    This is what I have on my puter. And I think it works well for what I want it to do.

    A7V 133 ASUS Mobo
    750 Duron Proc
    56K U.S. Robotics Modem
    128 MB RAM
    4x Mitsumi CD Burner
    4x Toshiba DVD ROM
    Hollywood Plus DVD Decoder
    Voodoo 3 2000
    Aureal Vortex Soundcard AU8830
    10 Gig Hardrive
    30 Gig Hardrive

    I will be upgrading my burner, but it works perfectly fine. I just need a slightly faster speed.
    Last edited by Forsteen; Jun 8, 2001 at 01:29.
    Forsteen
    Law of Probable Dispersal
    Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot micmar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    188
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Originally posted by aspen
    save yourself $1000 and build it yourself.

    And don't mess around with ME, get Win2k
    Aspen, you are wise. Building it yourself is much better for all the reasons that have been mentioned already (price, experience etc) plus the fact you feel a great deal of pride knowing that you did it yourself. I upgraded my first PC from a 286 to a 386 DX many moons ago and have never looked back. I will never buy a pre built PC from the likes of Dell or gateway.

    As for the software, go with Win2k or a full version of XP when it arrives, WinMe is a joke in comparison - take it from someone who has experienced all three first hand.
    http://www.avgallery.com.au/ - Your ticket to high-end audio!

  10. #10
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Melbourne Australia
    Posts
    6,282
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I would also agree with the above.

    I would seriously recommend going the AMD route. Although Intel's 1.7 Gig looks very nice, it is not as significant a performance gain as the 3-fold increase in price would suggest.

    Thunderbirds (the latest AMD Athlon with full speed onchip cache) are excellent performers, and very robust. They go way up to 1.5 Ghz or more now, and for half the price of a P4, they kick some serious behind.

    To watch DVD movies you'll need a DVD-rom drive, 400Mhz or greater CPU, and a decent AGP graphics card, and DVD software. That's all. A DVD software player, in some circumstances is capable of higher quality than a hardware decoder.

    What sound system do you have or are you willing to buy? hehe, what do you mean by "THX" speakers lol! For optimum DVD performance, an external Dolby Digital receiver / speaker set is optimal. You'd need a sound card such as SB Live Player with digital out. There are cheap trashy 5.1-speaker packages from Cambridge Soundworks that can do decode this DD signal without a separate amp, and they would be reasonably good quality unless you intend to use your PC as you primary DVD player.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Bit Depth Blog Twitter Contact me
    Neon Javascript Framework Jokes Android stuff

  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot micmar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    188
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Originally posted by mmj

    I would seriously recommend going the AMD route. Although Intel's 1.7 Gig looks very nice, it is not as significant a performance gain as the 3-fold increase in price would suggest.

    Thunderbirds (the latest AMD Athlon with full speed onchip cache) are excellent performers, and very robust. They go way up to 1.5 Ghz or more now, and for half the price of a P4, they kick some serious behind.

    AMD Athlons rock. At the moment they scale upto 1.4Ghz and will soon be at 1.5Ghz with a new core (codenamed: Palamino). Infact the palamino core is already out for notebooks and servers and is called the Athlon 4 mobile and Athlon MP respectively. The desktop version of the chip will be called Athlon 4 and it will smoke the P4. The current Athlon based on the thunderbird core beats the P4 in many benchmarks already and costs A LOT less, not to mention the cost of the motherboards and RAM. Just think what the new enhanced core of the palamino will do to the P4!

    Intel should be quaking in there boots
    http://www.avgallery.com.au/ - Your ticket to high-end audio!

  12. #12
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    5,891
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Originally posted by aspen
    save yourself $1000 and build it yourself.

    And don't mess around with ME, get Win2k
    You make a good point, but this isn't for everyone. I am lack the patience and desire to build a computer. I'd assume just buy it from Dell customized to my liking. Will I consider building my own in the future? No doubt, but not in this stage.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Apple Valley, MN
    Posts
    96
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Originally posted by mjames

    You make a good point, but this isn't for everyone. I am lack the patience and desire to build a computer. I'd assume just buy it from Dell customized to my liking. Will I consider building my own in the future? No doubt, but not in this stage.
    Don't get the 1.7Ghz Pentium 4.

    It's $338 and not worth the performance.

    the 1.4ghz AMD Thunderbird is $216, and is worth the performance.

    Go to PCNut.com (as they build REAL) custom computer's and don't charge you and arm and a leg like Alienware.
    Fiber
    fiber@liquid2k.com
    73218345
    "Prepare yourself, it's da human beatbox"

  14. #14
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,438
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Also, get a good DDR motherboard and 256mb DDR ram, then setup a nice raid 0 array with two 30gb HDD's. That's what I'll be doing this summer for my computer upgrade before I head off to college.

  15. #15
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    5,891
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Originally posted by Fiber


    Don't get the 1.7Ghz Pentium 4.

    It's $338 and not worth the performance.

    the 1.4ghz AMD Thunderbird is $216, and is worth the performance.

    Go to PCNut.com (as they build REAL) custom computer's and don't charge you and arm and a leg like Alienware.
    I'm not getting a 1.7 Ghz. Since I want a good amount of RAM and the much more expensive Digital Flat Screen monitor, I can't afford to get the 1.7 Ghz processor with it, so I'm sacrificing that part and getting a 1.3 Ghz PIV.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Apple Valley, MN
    Posts
    96
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Originally posted by mjames

    I'm not getting a 1.7 Ghz. Since I want a good amount of RAM and the much more expensive Digital Flat Screen monitor, I can't afford to get the 1.7 Ghz processor with it, so I'm sacrificing that part and getting a 1.3 Ghz PIV.
    You made it sound like you were.
    Fiber
    fiber@liquid2k.com
    73218345
    "Prepare yourself, it's da human beatbox"


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •