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Thread: New PC advice

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    My customized PC, 5 years old, has been pronounced dead by my local support guys. Now, I have to get a new PC. I would appreciate any suggestions or advice w/r/t what I should get. I am considering an Antec NSK 1380 tower for its efficiency. TYIA.

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    [quote name='Torquemada' post='769235' date='05-Apr-2009 02:49']My customized PC, 5 years old, has been pronounced dead by my local support guys. Now, I have to get a new PC. I would appreciate any suggestions or advice w/r/t what I should get. I am considering an Antec NSK 1380 tower for its efficiency. TYIA.[/quote]
    There are lots and lots of variables that could help with this decision, including:
    • What will you be using the PC for?
      • If you need to do 3D gaming you will need a really good graphics card
      • If you want to do Video and Audio editing you will need lots of memory
      • etc.
    • Do you want to buy a pre-built PC or are you looking for advice on what components to buy to build your own?
    • Where will the PC be used
      • Does it need to fit in with your living room decor or will it be in a study area where a beige box is acceptable?
      • Does it need to be very quiet, or is a normal PC noise level acceptable?
    • Do you plan to maintain the PC yourself or do you need a good warranty from an organization that will solve your problems?
    • Do you want a PC that you can add more components to as your needs change in the future, or do you want something that will just work and be left alone for 5 years?
    • ...
    If you give us a bit more information about your needs then I suspect that many loungers will offer their opinions.

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    [quote name='StuartR' post='769314' date='06-Apr-2009 03:42']There are lots and lots of variables that could help with this decision, including:
    • What will you be using the PC for?
      • If you need to do 3D gaming you will need a really good graphics card
      • If you want to do Video and Audio editing you will need lots of memory
      • etc.
    • Do you want to buy a pre-built PC or are you looking for advice on what components to buy to build your own?
    • Where will the PC be used
      • Does it need to fit in with your living room decor or will it be in a study area where a beige box is acceptable?
      • Does it need to be very quiet, or is a normal PC noise level acceptable?
    • Do you plan to maintain the PC yourself or do you need a good warranty from an organization that will solve your problems?
    • Do you want a PC that you can add more components to as your needs change in the future, or do you want something that will just work and be left alone for 5 years?
    • ...
    If you give us a bit more information about your needs then I suspect that many loungers will offer their opinions.[/quote]
    First and foremost, quiet. Primary use in study for Office 2003/7, Quickbooks, iTunes, maybe movies down the line. Sound not critical but picture is. Have a Dell 1720 digital monitor that still works. I will probably get a quote from the local shop for this, rather than Dell, etc. Will need networking, wireless, a good graphics card for possible movie, TV etc streaming. I do grind out some large accounting sheets so lots of computing power would be needed for Excel work. Speed would be good...what kind of chipset (?) would be advisable? Also, what about this 64-bit issue? Worth considering or still too early? Regarding components, I suppose some flexibility in that area would be important. Not too interested in a laptop because I need a full-size keyboard, and I understand laptops are expensive and still constrained in some performance areas. How about these solid-state drives? Should I consider one of those? Any specific manufacturer I should ask for for certain parts, or avoid? What am I forgetting? Thanks for any advice!

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    That is a much more clear set of requirements.

    a good graphics card for possible movie, TV etc streaming.
    You really don't need a "good" graphics card for this. Unless you are planning to run modern 3D games you will be better off with a cheaper, quieter, graphics card. Given that quiet is your highest priority you should try to find the best graphic card you can that is capable of running without a fan, maybe something like this.

    Also, what about this 64-bit issue? Worth considering or still too early?
    In my opinion it is still too early. Unless you have a need for more than 4GBytes of memory (think large database or major video editing) then you won't get any advantage from a 64 bit Operating System, and there are still lots of programmes out there that won't run on 64 bit.

    How about these solid-state drives? Should I consider one of those?
    I am seriously considering getting a solid state system drive for my next PC, but all my data is on a server so I don't need a very big disk in the PC itself. If you need to store significant amounts of data then you won't be able to afford the solid state drives you would need.

    I will let other people respond to your questions about chipsets and components, but hopefully my contribution will help with your decisions. Do have fun with this, I always enjoy it when I have to create a new PC.

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    Here are some speicifics on a quiet pc configuration from endpcnoise, who built my other unit:
    Motherboard: ASUS P5Q (not 3)
    CPU : Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 2.8GHz 3MB CPU
    Memory : 1GB PC-5300 Kingston
    Hard Drive : Western Digital Quiet 160GB 7200RPM 8MB SATA 2
    Power Supply: Nexus 430 Watt 80 Plus PSU\
    Case : Nexus Clodius Quiet High Ventilation Case
    Video Card : ATI Radeon HD 4350 by Asus 512MB FANLESS
    Optical drive : Asus (black) Quiet Light Scribe 22X SATA DVDRW
    CPU Cooler : Zalman CNPS7500-ALCU 755

    Sound Card : None

    OEPRATING SYSTEM: Windows Vista Home Basic Edition DVD 32Bit.. KEY QUESTION: should I opt for XP Pro as my old unit had, or upgrade to a better VISTA?


    The P5Q comes with network connectins, and integrated 802.11 Wi-Fi. I will be reading reviews myself over the next few days, but would appreciate any suggestions. Most everthing above has alternatives for a few bucks, which I would be glad to have, if deemed necessary. Such as:

    Is that enough Memory? Or shoud I go for 2 or 4GB. Note: will be migrating to Office 7 sometime soon, but plan to reinstall 2003 initially. Will Windows 7 require more?

    Is the processor enough to handle growth such as Windows 7 or Office 2007. The next upgrade would be to an 8400 3.6Ghz 6MB , then 8500 3.16 GHz 6MB. Like everyone else, I like speed. Even for the simple stuff, I like speed.

    Video Card: I have a Dell 1703FP 17" monitor from 2004. I like sharp picutres, of course, but do not do much gaming or 3-d stuff.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas or suggestions, especially on a) what I'm missing or if I want to spend a little extra on it, what part should I uprgade? I don't imagine that comparing stats from my 2004 system's components against this would be useful, since much has changed.

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    From my experience from mine and "various others" I've talked to over the past few months..... 1GB of memory with any version of Vista is not enough...

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    [quote name='jaystarter1' post='770202' date='12-Apr-2009 11:54']From my experience from mine and "various others" I've talked to over the past few months..... 1GB of memory with any version of Vista is not enough...[/quote]
    And fortunately, memory is silent, so adding more should not increase noise.

    (Actually, it may increase the power requirements to some extent, but hopefully not enough to require a beefier fan.)

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    I recommend putting in 4GB of memory. I have never heard anyone complaining about having too much memory.

    To use more than 4GB you need to run a 64 bit operating system (there are complex ways of using more memory with a 32 bit system but not very effectively). There are still too many programs that won't run on 64 bit systems so 4GB is about the limit for now.

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    [quote name='Torquemada' post='770194' date='12-Apr-2009 12:23']OEPRATING SYSTEM: Windows Vista Home Basic Edition DVD 32Bit.. KEY QUESTION: should I opt for XP Pro as my old unit had, or upgrade to a better VISTA?[/quote]

    I'd recommend at least Vista Home Premium. You get much better media capabilities. See Windows Vista: Compare editions for more details.

    I also recommend more RAM. 4GB is a good number these days as it is not very expensive. Be prepared to add more disk shortly after you get into movies.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Thanks for the feedback. No opinions on processor speed or memory? I'll assume more is better and act accordingly. I thought people were dissatisfied with Vista and reverting to XP..should that be a consideration or is more memory, the graphics card, and a better processor enough to offset?

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    [quote name='Torquemada' post='770375' date='13-Apr-2009 23:32']Thanks for the feedback. No opinions on processor speed or memory?[/quote]
    Most modern processors have plenty of power for anything you are likely to want it for. I generally choose something well away from the tip of the performance curve, to get the best price/performance.

    The latest edition of PC Pro magazine in the UK (Issue 175, May 2009) says that the best value for money at the moment is the AMD Phenom X4 9950 (143), and gives its second place to the Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 (58).

    I have never noticed that memory speed makes any real difference to the behaviour of applications, only to benchmarks.

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    Final question: the options offer 3MB or6MB of memory (I guess) for the processors. Is that extra memory useful? Does it enhance performance or is it fluff? Thanks!

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    [quote name='Torquemada' post='771163' date='18-Apr-2009 07:57']Final question: the options offer 3MB or6MB of memory (I guess) for the processors. Is that extra memory useful?[/quote]
    A quote from Stuart's Post 770220 earlier in this thread:

    To use more than 4GB you need to run a 64 bit operating system (there are complex ways of using more memory with a 32 bit system but not very effectively). There are still too many programs that won't run on 64 bit systems so 4GB is about the limit for now.
    I have 3 gig in my three year old Dell desktop and it is quite speedy enough for me. I hardly ever have to "wait" for a task to happen.

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    Right. I was referring to the processor description itself, which refers to memory as3MB or 6MB. I believe it impacts the speed at which memory can deliver data to the processor.
    On a separate topic, what about these "Media center" PCs? endpcnoise.com offers a Media Center pc in the price range of the "regular" pc and I'm wondering if I should consider that. I have a 48" Philips HDTV (So I can enjoy Turnberry this summer) and Verizon FIOS with an HDTV Recorder. I've read some discussions on saving files to pcs and related topics. Any opinions on "Media Center" pcs? Thanks again.

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    [quote name='Torquemada' post='771167' date='18-Apr-2009 09:22']Right. I was referring to the processor description itself, which refers to memory as3MB or 6MB.[/quote]
    Sorry, I misread your post badly. I didn't realize you were talking about processor cache. I don't have the technical background to comment but I've heard a number of people say more cache is good.

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