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 Buying a new Computer

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Reaper
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Well I've convinced my parents to finally buy a new home computer, after replacing our monitor, printer, mouse and keyboard. Laughing The Aussie dollar has been high until this month, so I told them we better buy a new computer before electronics go up again as our dollar is weak against the USD.

I'm looking at Dell because they're usually pretty good, my laptop has survived many crashes off my lap, and I have heard mostly positive reviews from them. So I'm looking at the XPS 630

Long Linky

It has enough specs to play most high powered games these days (my old one can play the old Age of Empires alright, but it struggles with pretty much anything else Laughing )

TBH, I know next to nothing about computer specs so I wouldn't mind a little help. Smile

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:50 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Good thing with dell is the customisation

so set urself a budget and play about with the pc and see what u can get

Depending on what you want to use the pc for will determine what extras you want

like i edit a lot of videos and pictures

So i wanted a load of harddrive space to store videos and piccys but also a load of memory so it was fast when processing

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:31 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Dunno if this works in Aus, but if you do buy Dell, have a look at Quidco (www.Quidco.com) who are currently offering 4% cashback on Dell (won't go into all the details here, but take it from a satisfied user who has recommended Quidco to several workmates that it is a good thing!).
And no Western Union involved at all!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:43 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Good thing about Dell is coupons, they can save you even more. Cool

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:46 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I don't know if they ship outside the U.S., and whether if they did, the cost would eat up the difference, but I've used CyberpowerPC twice now to custom build my PC. You save a lot as you can choose what brand (or no brand) you want for nearly every piece. So, for example, go AMD vs. Intel for your chip and you can save $100 or more right off the bat.

Anyway, if they don't ship to AUS, you may want to consider another similar company.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You could also save a ton of money by either building a pc yourself or having a friend help. It is a lot easier than most people would think, just a metal puzzle Very Happy

For a comparable system that Dell would offer, you could build yourself and save a ton. If you are interested in that route, let me know and we can toss some good specs out for you. But either way you go, I would suggest an Intel Core 2 Duo cpu (not Quad core though unless you intend to do video encoding).

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

OxygenDeprived wrote:
For a comparable system that Dell would offer, you could build yourself and save a ton.


Used to be true in the past .. I think you'd be surprised with the current prices Dell sells their stuff nowadays.

Try and build an XPS630 that Reaper mentioned from separate components. I'm sure you're not going to save much (if any)

The support on their XPS machines is great: 2 years full warranty, next business day: on site. I got a raid error report when booting my new XPS. The next day they were at my door with 2 fresh WD hard drives to replace the Samsung ones, and installed them too. Problem solved, turned out to be a bios bug later, the drives were OK.

I'm not a Dell shareholder, nor do I work there Smile , I'm just a fan for about 10 years. Open a Dell PC casing and you'll see what I mean. Hard to top that way of constructing a PC yourself, they are very well laid out to get optimum cooling airflow inside, and the cable finishing is always neat.

I have made some side steps to other brands and a home built one in the past, but always came back to my favorite brand, and it's unlikely this is going to change any time soon if they keep delivering the way they do.

Plus there are the coupons I mentioned earlier, they're all over the internet. Paste the coupon code in the 'apply coupon ' textbox on check-out, and you save 10% easily. Reaper and I checked that also, it works.

An XPS630 is a great box for gaming, it will run any available new game at a fair framerate. I agree: a dual core processor will do fine for gaming for the time being (most games can address one core only thus far), but that might change in the near future. So if Reapies parents are prepared to pull out some extra dough I'd take the quad core, and upgrade the 500 GB drive to a 1 TB one ..

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Just get a 256 mg video card & at least 2-3 Gb of Ram or it will be slow.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

OxygenDeprived wrote:
You could also save a ton of money by either building a pc yourself or having a friend help. It is a lot easier than most people would think, just a metal puzzle Very Happy

That's what I do, although I don't think it's much of a saving nowadays. More of a rolling upgrade really, reusing many of the parts of the old machine, so I feel I'm doing my bit for the environment.
If I didn't, there's a small computer shop a mile away that builds ,repairs PCs, and sells parts. Idea for support I would have thought, if you need it.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Building your own isn't as worthwhile as it used to be price wise, unless you can get the parts dirt cheap of ebay. AMD are cheaper then Intel but they also aren't as good anymore so although you'll see a price saving you'll also get slightly weaker performance (which may or may not matter to you). 3GB of RAM is a must and unless you're going to use your machine for high end gaming then a Radeon 3870 or GeForce 8600 is more then good enough.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the tips, lads. Smile

Yeah, I don't have the skill (or patience) to build it up. What about Vista? One of the options on dell is to get the Vista software but you have Windows XP Professional pre-installed. This is just because I haven't heard great stuff about Vista.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Vista is pretty good now, it's quite stable and most programs are compatible

That option is still the one I'd go for because i quite like XP, but ram is dirt cheap these days and vista is quite pretty.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:09 am Reply with quoteBack to top

*ahem*

Ok first thing I recommend is to not buy the XPS. Its components are overpriced. Dell does ship internationally I believe but you might want to check with a customer service rep just in case. For specs, you won't have to worry about that too much. Heres what I recommend:

- 2.0 GHz or higher dual core processor. As for Intel vs. AMD, Intel is light years beyond what AMD could ever hope to be, so choose Intel. they are the more expensive one though. If you want an ATI video card, chances are you have to get AMD which is cheaper.

- 2 GB RAM. Runs Vista comfortably. If you chose to get more, make sure you know what type of OS you will have. 32-bit Operating Systems can't read more than 3 GB, so you need a 64-bit OS for anything above it. 64-bit architectures are still somewhat new, but I have been using one on my new laptop and it runs fine especially with gaming. Just remember finding drivers can be a hassle.

- ATI Radeon 3000 HD Series or Nvidia Geforce 8600 GT or higher video card. These cards allow you to utilize DX10. Also, make sure your video card has 256 MB DEDICATED memory. ATI and NVIDIA have HyperMemory/Turbocache which share the system RAM when you use the GPU, and advertisers will trick you into thinking you have a 256 MB card when instead its a 256 only with the HyperMemory/Turbocache. DO NOT AND I REPEAT DO NOT BUY ANY INTEL VIDEO CARDS OR SELECT INTEGRATED GRAPHICS. YOU WILL REGRET IT.

- At least 320 GB of HDD storage. Plenty of wiggle room for installing games and media projects.

I chose my PC with a 64bit OS because I am a gamer and the Turbocache memory in addition to my 512 mb dedicated video card (NVIDIA 9600M GT) makes playing games in max settings way too easy, so I recommend you try to get as much RAM, VRAM, and HDD space as possible. For gaming the CPU isn't as prominent as it was back in the old days, as its usually only given the task of file operations and such, so you can afford to use the bare mimimum if you wanted to.

As far as Vista, its even better than it was when it was realeased. I have no issues with any programs whatsoever, and you can switch off the infamous UAC with a click and restart of your PC. It also has the DX10 for gaming as well as compatibility for certain games.

EDIT: It is also cheaper and brutally easy to build your own PC nowadays. You just make a shopping list and buy the stuff. Here's what you would normally need:

- Chasis/box (search for barebones; get the proper form factor for the motherboard you plan to buy)
- PSU (600 watts at least for no issues)
- Motherboard. Make sure you know what expansion slots, processor slot, RAM slots, and motherboard speed it has as this is important when buying the rest of your stuff. Standard modern technologies are:
- Processor (Again Intel Core 2s are the best ones; make sure they are compatible)
- USB 2.0 (Self explanatory)
- FireWire (Self explanatory)
- SATA II (Used to connect hard drives and optical drives)
- DDR2 RAM (Type of RAM slot; Make sure the RAM you buy matches the slot)
- Processor Slot Type LGA775 (I believe its the current Intel processor slot; Again make sure your components match)
- Heatsink jelly (Thermal compound used on processing units to help conduct heat between the heatsink and the processor; necessary for proper temperature regulation)
- Heatsink and fan (Heatsink is a metal deivce used to draw heat from the CPU/GPU to the airflow of the PC to help cool it. The fan asissts in cooling as well.
- PCI and PCI-E expansion slots (used for video cards and other motherboard devices; PCI-E is neccesary for most modern video cards and PCI is necessary for most modern components so make sure it has both)
- Optical Drive (your CD drive; they make Blu-Ray ones now and I must say, its quite nifty to have)
- HDD or the Hard Drive Disk (make sure its SATA II; Make it whatever size you feel like paying for.
- DDR2 RAM (Make sure it matches your motherboard speed and the slots)
- Video card (PCI-E with 256 MB dedicated or higher; 512 recommended)
- Sound card (Get one that supports 7.1 surround and EAX 3d hardware effects; make sure you install it properly because sound cards were notorious for causing DMA issues)
- Wireless keyboard and mouse (decreases hazards and allows flexibility in your office space)
- OS (Vista Premium will be the best option, but it you choose XP, then go for Windows Media Center 2005, just remember support for XP has been dropped)

Optional components

- SLI/Crossfire (These allow you to use two video cards at once)
- Extra fans/alternative cooling system (There are many solutions for keeping your PC cool from extra fans (cheap, but make a lot of noise) to liquid cooling systems (expensive and technical, but works fine))

To put it together make sure you are in a dry area standing over top of something that doesn't conduct electiricty. Static shock (or ESD) can damage PC parts if you aren't properly grounded. Be sure to grab hold of the PC's chassis when messing about on the inside. As for tools all you need is a Phillips, which is something any self respective man has handy in his house. The point I can't stress enough is MAKE SURE YOU STUFF IS COMPATIBLE.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I wouldn't have a clue where to start Ex. Laughing Anyway here are the specs that I have so far though about:

Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad Processor Q9400 (2.66GHz, 1333FSB, 6MB)

Operating System: Pre-Loaded Genuine Windows Vista(R) Home Premium OEM Version(English)

Monitor: Dell 22" Entry (E228WFP) Wide Screen Flat Panel LCD Monitor (Analog & DVI Only)

Memory: 4GB (4X1GB) NECC Dual Channel DDR2 800MHz SDRAM Memory (dell offers a free upgrade from 3GB to 4GB, however is the OS 64bit?) (see, I have no clue about these things Laughing )

Hard Drive: 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive with Native Command Queuing

Floppy & Media Reader: No Floppy Drive or Media Reader

Optical Drives: V16X DVD+/-RW with Dual Layer Write Capabilities

Video Card: Dual NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) 9800GT Graphics 512MB

Sound Card: Integrated 7.1 Audio

Physics Accelerator: None

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:14 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad Processor Q9400 (2.66GHz, 1333FSB, 6MB)

Good choice. I would have gotten one, but I have enough issues with cooling as it is.

Operating System: Pre-Loaded Genuine Windows Vista(R) Home Premium OEM Version(English)

Fine.

Monitor: Dell 22" Entry (E228WFP) Wide Screen Flat Panel LCD Monitor (Analog & DVI Only)

Fine.

Memory: 4GB (4X1GB) NECC Dual Channel DDR2 800MHz SDRAM Memory (dell offers a free upgrade from 3GB to 4GB, however is the OS 64bit?) (see, I have no clue about these things Laughing )

If they offered it to you in the first place it must be 64-bit

Hard Drive: 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive with Native Command Queuing

Right choice there mate

Floppy & Media Reader: No Floppy Drive or Media Reader

BAD CHOICE. Get a Media Reader for SD cards and stuff, makes life easier on you

Optical Drives: V16X DVD+/-RW with Dual Layer Write Capabilities

See if you can opt for Blu-Ray

Video Card: Dual NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) 9800GT Graphics 512MB

Goodness gracious you should be able to run anything on max resolution and anti aliasing in the highest of details. Well done

Sound Card: Integrated 7.1 Audio

Bah. Buy a PCI 24-bit card with EAX 3D support and 7.1 surround. You'll regret if you don't

Physics Accelerator: None

Not necessary. There aren't enough games to warrant the need for this.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Floppy & Media Reader: No Floppy Drive or Media Reader

BAD CHOICE. Get a Media Reader for SD cards and stuff, makes life easier on you

True, most of my family uses SD cards for digital cameras and such, so the only option dell gives is this:

19-in-1 Hi-Speed Media Reader with Bluetooth(R) 2.0


Optical Drives: V16X DVD+/-RW with Dual Layer Write Capabilities

See if you can opt for Blu-Ray

I'll see, that's the expensive thing, if I chose blue ray that's an extra $400 or so, while BD & DVD/CD-RW Combo is an extra $200.

Sound Card: Integrated 7.1 Audio

Bah. Buy a PCI 24-bit card with EAX 3D support and 7.1 surround. You'll regret if you don't

This is the only other option: Sound Blaster(R) X-Fi(TM) XtremeGamer

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:50 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Reaper wrote:
Floppy & Media Reader: No Floppy Drive or Media Reader

BAD CHOICE. Get a Media Reader for SD cards and stuff, makes life easier on you

True, most of my family uses SD cards for digital cameras and such, so the only option dell gives is this:

19-in-1 Hi-Speed Media Reader with Bluetooth(R) 2.0


Optical Drives: V16X DVD+/-RW with Dual Layer Write Capabilities

See if you can opt for Blu-Ray

I'll see, that's the expensive thing, if I chose blue ray that's an extra $400 or so, while BD & DVD/CD-RW Combo is an extra $200.

Sound Card: Integrated 7.1 Audio

Bah. Buy a PCI 24-bit card with EAX 3D support and 7.1 surround. You'll regret if you don't

This is the only other option: Sound Blaster(R) X-Fi(TM) XtremeGamer


All the alternate options are good. As far as Blu-Ray, its not really a necessitiy, but I have been watching them on my laptop and I must say they pwn very much so. I would get the cheapest Blu-Ray solution seeing as how you won't be burning them or ripping them, just doing whats legal. Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:54 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Yes, I'll just stick to DVD's for now. Laughing

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:57 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Understood, if you have any more questions, feel free to hit me up in Skype.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:19 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Dang it, reaper...stop rubbing it in Laughing I was just telling Ima yesterday how I have been putting off buying a new PC for a while now.

I have been buying from Dell for a number of years now. I have always been happy. What you have picked out above is similar to what I want. Pretty pricey though. I usually choose the gaming PC then max out (for the most part) everything. I remember when this would cost under $3,500.00 now you're lucky if you can stay under $6,000.00. That's a lot considering it will have to be replaced in about three to four years.

OxygenDeprived wrote:
I would suggest an Intel Core 2 Duo cpu (not Quad core though unless you intend to do video encoding)


Why? Doesn't quad mean four verses two? Isn't that better or is there something I am missing or don't understand? Won't games eventually recommend if not require a quad core processor? It's not the first time I heard someone say not to buy a quad but the duo instead. Since I am going to buy I figured I'd ask.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Sorry, Ghost. Just making the most of not having to pay anything. Laughing

Well my total comes to $2,331 AUS (thanks to Dutch's 10% coupon)

I think that's pretty good as my parents paid about the same amount for our old PC. Which has a grand total of 512MB of RAM and an amazing 37.7GB Hard drive Laughing It did last 7 or so years.

I'm going for Quad because that's the lowest option Dell gives anyway, the next is Extreme Processor something-or-rather.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:14 am Reply with quoteBack to top

So quad is the low option? I haven't been to Dell's site in a few months. How do I get this coupon?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:07 am Reply with quoteBack to top

This is where Dutch found a few: http://www.retailmenot.com/view/dell.com.au

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:23 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks reap and Dutch Very Happy

For me it's http://www.retailmenot.com/view/dell.com

I am suprised I figured that out all by myself Smile

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:40 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Reaper wrote:


Well my total comes to $2,331 AUS (thanks to Dutch's 10% coupon)



That's a good price for a very nifty gaming box ..

The only thing I would also upgrade is the 500 GB hard drive, either to a 2x500 GB raid 0 (which makes disk I/O twice as fast (well: theoretically) and makes loading your games faster) or one 1 TB (or 1000GB) disk. You'll find out 500GB is easy to fill these days if you intend to start some serious gaming.

Edit to add: I saw the 1 TB HD is quite overpriced. Maybe better to go for an upgrade to the 750GB one

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