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Old 08-16-2010, 01:21 PM   #1
Mblock66
 
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OT - Need Computer Advice

Calling all computer nerds

I am looking to finally replace my 2001 Dell Pentium 4 based desktop with 512 ram (lol). Up until now I haven't had an issue with this thing. Its only got 30gb of memory but I bought an external 1TB drive and an external DVD burner. But now web pages and applications (itune, phot editing software, and music creation) bog the thing down until it basically can't function.

I can't say I didn't get my money out of it being its 9 years old. But I think it is time to move up.

So I am looking for advice from all you that are more in tune with the computer enhancements. I am by no means computer illiterate but I honestly don't know what can easily handle what I have stated above without being totally overkill on my wallet.

First I have the desktop vs laptop argument. I would love the laptop for obvious reasons but I have a 22" monitor that is sweet and would still like to be able to "dock" if possible and use it. Is it true that laptops aren't as good at handling photo editing and writing music as a desktop (due to them being a little less powerful)

Do I want/need a Core Duo? Dual Core? Quad Core? Intel/AMD? i3 vs i5 vs i7???? Im so confused. I would shoot for at least 4gb ram in either a laptop or desktop. And I never understood the whole dedicated vs integrated sound and graphics cards. I am NOT a gamer on the PC, I have an XBOX for that.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. I just started getting into downloading HD movies too which I put on a flash drive and then plug in the XBOX to watch.

Thanks
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mblock66 View Post
Calling all computer nerds

I am looking to finally replace my 2001 Dell Pentium 4 based desktop with 512 ram (lol). Up until now I haven't had an issue with this thing. Its only got 30gb of memory but I bought an external 1TB drive and an external DVD burner. But now web pages and applications (itune, phot editing software, and music creation) bog the thing down until it basically can't function.

I can't say I didn't get my money out of it being its 9 years old. But I think it is time to move up.

So I am looking for advice from all you that are more in tune with the computer enhancements. I am by no means computer illiterate but I honestly don't know what can easily handle what I have stated above without being totally overkill on my wallet.

First I have the desktop vs laptop argument. I would love the laptop for obvious reasons but I have a 22" monitor that is sweet and would still like to be able to "dock" if possible and use it. Is it true that laptops aren't as good at handling photo editing and writing music as a desktop (due to them being a little less powerful)

Do I want/need a Core Duo? Dual Core? Quad Core? Intel/AMD? i3 vs i5 vs i7???? Im so confused. I would shoot for at least 4gb ram in either a laptop or desktop. And I never understood the whole dedicated vs integrated sound and graphics cards. I am NOT a gamer on the PC, I have an XBOX for that.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. I just started getting into downloading HD movies too which I put on a flash drive and then plug in the XBOX to watch.

Thanks
If you answer these questions I can ask a person I know who does computer building for a living what he recommends, and if you want he'll even order all the parts for you and build it then ship it to you for alittle bit over the total cost (basically the money he makes). He help me in determining the parts for mine, but I wanted to put it together to learn how to put together computers.

1. What do you plan on doing (Gaming, Photoshop, Music, School Work, etc)

2. If gaming what types of games do you play? What kind of detail to you want it to play at and at what resolution?

3. How much do you plan on spending?

BTW you can get a really good computer for under $1000. My computer was $900 at the time, and it can play most new games a mixture of high/medium settings.

If you want to deal directly with him, you can PM your email or something, and I can give it to him and ask him to help you.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:37 PM   #3
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If you answer these questions I can ask a person I know who does computer building for a living what he recommends, and if you want he'll even order all the parts for you and build it then ship it to you for alittle bit over the total cost (basically the money he makes). He help me in determining the parts for mine, but I wanted to put it together to learn how to put together computers.

1. What do you plan on doing (Gaming, Photoshop, Music, School Work, etc)

2. If gaming what types of games do you play? What kind of detail to you want it to play at and at what resolution?

3. How much do you plan on spending?

BTW you can get a really good computer for under $1000. My computer was $900 at the time, and it can play most new games a mixture of high/medium settings.

If you want to deal directly with him, you can PM your email or something, and I can give it to him and ask him to help you.


1) Video Editing with HD files, Itunes, DVD/CD creation and burning, Playback of HD files, and music creation through my guitar and hardware/software.

2) Only game I play on the computer is Warcraft III not even WOW so gaming isn't a concern.

3) I would like to keep it under $700 total which would be a laptop, less for a loaded desktop
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:52 PM   #4
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Just of the top of my head (and my general computer knowledge), you'll probably be looking more for a desktop then for a laptop. Laptops cost more than a comparable desktop, and are usually less power. Also down the line you can easily upgrade a computer to stay current, however you'd have to buy a whole new laptop if you want to upgrade.

As for intel vs amd. Intel is useful if you plan on overclocking and I heard they are faster comparable. AMD are cheaper and really good, but aren't as easily overclocked. You'd want to get a good computer with multicores (more probably the better) as most of the encoding can be optimized by all the cores. Gaming you don't need that many cores yet as many haven't been optimized for multicore machines.

Most mobo have an intergrated soundcard and video card. This is so that if you don't buy them you can still use your computer. A dedicated card is a card that can be hooked up to a mobo. If you were to go to a store and see a video card that is a dedicated video card. That video card has no purpose other than to do graphical calculations. An intergrated card I believe will use your processor to do the graphical calculations. This is simliar for sound card. Most people don't need a dedicated sound card, but it seems like you like music therefore that would be a suggestion to go with. You will definitly need a dedicated video card as you seem to want to watch movies and do photoshop. (integrated cards are very crappy compared to a dedicated card)
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:56 PM   #5
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If you get anything with 4GB or more of RAM, be sure you get windows 7 64bit, as the 32bit can't use all 4gigs of ram.

I ordered a ton about $89000 worth of equipment for the Business college here and we got the Dell Latitude E6410 for our standard laptops. Those I believe are I5's

If you want a sweet deal on a Dell, www.delloutlet.com is where I suggest that our faculty go as the scratch dents are often 50% off, and still covered by warranty.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mblock66 View Post
Calling all computer nerds

...Do I want/need a Core Duo? Dual Core? Quad Core? Intel/AMD? i3 vs i5 vs i7???? Im so confused. I would shoot for at least 4gb ram in either a laptop or desktop. And I never understood the whole dedicated vs integrated sound and graphics cards. I am NOT a gamer on the PC, I have an XBOX for that.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. I just started getting into downloading HD movies too which I put on a flash drive and then plug in the XBOX to watch.

Thanks
You would definitely want to go with a Quad Core, which basically means that the computer would "think" that there are 4 processors. Intel processors are pretty good and AMD is comparable, but I don't have much experience with AMD.

Dedicated vs. integrated: if it is integrated, the processing of graphics and sound would be would be shared with all the other processing that the computer needs to do. In this case, you definitely want dedicated sound and graphics cards so that these things are processed independently.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:09 PM   #7
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You would definitely want to go with a Quad Core, which basically means that the computer would "think" that there are 4 processors. Intel processors are pretty good and AMD is comparable, but I don't have much experience with AMD.

Dedicated vs. integrated: if it is integrated, the processing of graphics and sound would be would be shared with all the other processing that the computer needs to do. In this case, you definitely want dedicated sound and graphics cards so that these things are processed independently.
You are overspecing this PC for stuff he will never use. He wants to edit and watch HD video as well as record music from his guitar. An Intel i5 processor will handle all of this with 4gb of ram. The only add-on I would recommend is a good aftermarket sound card to allow you the ability to import your recorded audio. A stock PC will work fine for what you are doing and there is no need to spend any more on additional processing.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:25 PM   #8
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For the extra $100 bucks go with the I7 - you will be very happy. If you are creating music and editing video, I7 all the way. Also, make sure it is at least an I930.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:42 PM   #9
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Mblock66, here is a website you may or may not want to bookmark for future reference to answer any questions about PC hardware, as for CPU`s this may help in your choice. Another thing you should consider is mother boards, there are good ones and crap boards, without a good mother board all the best hardware won`t mean a thing if it connected to an inferior board.
http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=2164
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:57 PM   #10
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Preliminary this is what he sent me:

Quote:
700$ is a decent budget for a gaming PC. I have recently pieced together one for ****** or something for just under 700$. Specs are:

aTI 5770 1GB
2GB of Corsair RAM
2.9GHZ 2x processor
320GB HD

And other parts.

It's a great PC for gaming and solid for day to day shit as well. Getting 4GB of RAM in a <700$ build is pretty difficult without completely destroying graphical power. Luckily alls he has to do is grab another stick of the same RAM a few days, weeks or months down the road when he can afford it to toss into his PC. The difference between 2GB and 4GB is actually fair unnoticeable for most things. He'd notice it bigtime in WoW, but unless he's a heavy multitasker he won't notice it too much before he can afford another stick.

It's just all around the best way to stay future proofed, graphically strong and still solid with everything else. If he could spare another 100$ or so he could bump up to a Tri-Core processor and possibly 4GB of RAM or bump up to a 460GTX.
Trying to see why he went more for a gaming build though.

Like I said: If you want to cut out the middle man and talk to him directly just pm me your email and I'll send it to him.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:01 PM   #11
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love my new dell studio XPS. I7960 processor with 12GB ram and 1tb hard drive. It's very very fast and works great. My last dell was also 8 years old with no problems. Plan to spend over 3grand though if you add the high end graphics card and sound card like I did ,but it's worth every penny to me.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:18 PM   #12
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Ok thanks for the advice everyone but I am not looking to break the bank on this. Also I am not doing like studio based recording and editing. It is home recording so I don't need to be spending $1000+ on this.

Those computers are so overkill for people that will never even touch its capabilities. My 9 year old Dell Pentium 4 can still do this stuff but barely so I can't imagine I need 12 gb RAM and major graphics/ audio cards.

My recording equipment is USB based through an interface so I don't even need an audio card with "guitar inputs", the M-Audio Fast Track does it for me.

I just need a machine that won't be out of date in 2 years and is configured to get me easily through this stuff with some room to spare
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:26 PM   #13
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Bigger HD, better processor, more RAM, less GPU. I think in order to truly nail a PC like that he needs at least another 100$ to throw at the budget. If he can't I'll see what I can do. Give me a few minutes.
Quote:
ASUS nVidia GT 240
AMD X4 2.6GHZ Processor
4GB of G.SKILL DDR3 1600 RAM
500GB HD

A decent drop in graphical performance but a nice kick to overall system performance.

$683.39
What he sent me.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:29 PM   #14
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Ok thanks for the advice everyone but I am not looking to break the bank on this. Also I am not doing like studio based recording and editing. It is home recording so I don't need to be spending $1000+ on this.

Those computers are so overkill for people that will never even touch its capabilities. My 9 year old Dell Pentium 4 can still do this stuff but barely so I can't imagine I need 12 gb RAM and major graphics/ audio cards.

My recording equipment is USB based through an interface so I don't even need an audio card with "guitar inputs", the M-Audio Fast Track does it for me.

I just need a machine that won't be out of date in 2 years and is configured to get me easily through this stuff with some room to spare
This very statement is why I bought what I did. I figured that's why my last one lasted so long because it wasn't a base unit. I also use mine for a lot of intense graphic based apps for work.
Why not just add some more ram if yours is working okay. You should be able to add at least one more bank of 512mb.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:35 PM   #15
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This very statement is why I bought what I did. I figured that's why my last one lasted so long because it wasn't a base unit. I also use mine for a lot of intense graphic based apps for work.
Why not just add some more ram if yours is working okay. You should be able to add at least one more bank of 512mb.
Its just not worth it anymore. Its 9 years old and everything is slowing down. It wasn't born in the era of HD so it doesn't do it well. I just want an upgrade. This box wasn't base but not the top of the line back then either.

It uses PC2700 RAM which is like $40-50 for a stick, I might as well buy a loaded desktop for $400 then. So I guess the Dual Core and Quad Core is old technology now giving way to the i3 i5 i7 ? Is that a correct statement?

If that is the case what if I went for

i5
4GB Ram
Dedicated Graphics
Integrated Sound
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:38 PM   #16
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Its just not worth it anymore. Its 9 years old and everything is slowing down. It wasn't born in the era of HD so it doesn't do it well. I just want an upgrade. This box wasn't base but not the top of the line back then either.

It uses PC2700 RAM which is like $40-50 for a stick, I might as well buy a loaded desktop for $400 then. So I guess the Dual Core and Quad Core is old technology now giving way to the i3 i5 i7 ? Is that a correct statement?

If that is the case what if I went for

i5
4GB Ram
Dedicated Graphics
Integrated Sound
Dual core is getting old ,but it will be around for awhile yet. Quad Core it the latest and greatest.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:45 PM   #17
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And the i-series are all Quad core right?

Here are two I see from dell now that I am thinking about. Am I way off track?

Intel Core i3-540 Dual-Core @ 3.06GHz; 4GB RAM; 500GB HDD; DVD burner; gigabit; Windows 7 Home Premium; NVIDIA Geforce G310 512MB; card reader; 1yr warranty; Gigabit Ethernet
$469

or

Intel Core i5-750 Quad-Core @ 2.66GHz; 4GB RAM; 1TB HDD; DVD burner; gigabit; Win7; ATI Radeon HD5450 1GB; card reader; 1yr warranty; 15mo McAfee SecurityCenter
$679

So a $200 difference. Both easily in my price range.


Or there is this Laptop too

Dell Inspiron 15R Intel Core i3-330M 2.26GHz 15.6in Laptop (4GB/320GB/Win7) $549.99
15.6" 1366x768 LED; Intel Core i3-330M Dual-Core @ 2.26GHz; 4GB RAM; 320GB HDD; DVD burner; 802.11n; Windows 7 Home Premium; webcam; 6-cell battery; 1yr warranty + 15mo McAfee SecurityCenter
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