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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    What to look for when buying a new PC




    BEST HARDWARE

    What to look for when buying a new PC

    By Lincoln Spector

    All good things eventually come to an end. Take that aging PC, for instance: it's getting as wheezy, slow, and cantankerous as an old mule.

    Like it or not, it's time for a new system. But what kind? With so many styles and configurations to choose from, picking the right PC can be a challenge.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/best-hardware/what-to-look-for-when-buying-a-new-pc/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Kathleen Atkins; 2014-05-07 at 19:01.

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    Lincoln,
    In this article you recommend SSD's for speed but never mention the most serious problem with SSD's (besides current cost). The problem I'm referring to is longevity. When an SSD writes and overwrites to a the same bits, those bits will eventually fail and it does not take a huge number of writes to the same bits to cause failure. With today's technology, all static RAM has this problem. (Dynamic RAM does not have this problem.)

    Examples:

    In this
    http://techreport.com/review/25559/t...200tb-update/2
    article all seems wonderful, but read one of the sentences near the end that says "The Samsung 840 Series is spitting out an increasing number of bad blocks, though.". It's because of the limited overwrite capability of SSD's.

    This
    http://www.storagesearch.com/ssdmyths-endurance.html
    article gets into a more technical description of the problem and what manufacturers are doing to circumvent the it.

    The bottom line is that I do not believe SSD's are a reliable alternative to HDD's at this time. I'm sure the technology will improve over time, but not yet.

  3. #3
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    Lincoln,
    Great, thorough review of computer considerations.
    I would add one thing that, I believe. should be at the top of the list.
    NON-Glare Screen !!!
    The screen is our main interface with any computer and the glossy screens act like mirrors with any background light.
    When I am using a laptop with a glossy screen, I find myself constantly twisting, tilting and turning it to avoid the reflections.
    Not a problem at all with a matte screen.
    What were they thinking? Non-glare used to be standard. Now they charge more for it.
    I recently installed a non-glare film on a MacBook Pro. Not an easy process and I'm familiar with installing decals.
    Anyway, it baffles me how people can put up with those glossy screens.

  4. #4
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    Two screens utility

    I agree. Non-glare screen.

    For two screens, there is an important utility. Sooner or later a program will mess up your two screens and send icons haywire and if you lose one of the screens, your best icons will be on it. http://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Freeware/DesktopOK

    You can save and restore icon positions.

    You can load a list of what is running from each screen, and move the icon to another screen.

    I would not be without it.

    I also use a USB external screen port. Works a treat, though the initial installation of software was scary -- make sure you have a tested backup of your system because you are playing with something critical to the boot of windows -- your display drivers.

    Ivan Lowe
    Last edited by ILowe; 2014-05-12 at 13:36. Reason: missing extra information

  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I stopped buying desktops some time ago for various reasons. The Two main reasons are;
    1 You can build exactly what you want and nothing you don't.
    2 You're not locked into some stupid OEM modus operandi. Get the genuine software & OS disks/ISOs and keep a degree of control.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2014-05-12 at 16:41.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    I stopped buying desktops some time ago for various reasons. The Two main reasons are;
    1 You can build exactly what you want and nothing you don't.
    2 You're not locked into some stupid OEM modus operandi. Get the genuine software & OS disks and keep a degree of control.
    ^
    What CLiNT said.

    OEM Desktops and notebooks can be BIOS-blocked from using components from the same OEM that are fitted to other units from that maker and run on the same Windows version, even with the same motherboard.

    Windows as installed by an OEM is frequently not the same as Windows installed by Retail/Small Builder -type OEM discs. Sometimes, the easiest 'fix' for a misbehaving OEM Windows is wiping it and installing the Retail version of Windows.

  7. #7
    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    I stopped buying desktops some time ago for various reasons. The Two main reasons are;
    1 You can build exactly what you want and nothing you don't.
    2 You're not locked into some stupid OEM modus operandi. Get the genuine software & OS disks/ISOs and keep a degree of control.
    Is it possible to build a laptop is that a nono? I've never seen anything about this, whereas there's plenty around about building desktops.

  8. #8
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    The components for a laptop have never been standardized or commoditized. For instance, how many battery formfactors are there for laptops? Dozens? For desktop power supplies it's maybe half a dozen, and only one if a traditional tower is built.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Clevo comes close to being the best custom OEM notebook builder, they have a huge range of options available. They're sold under many other brand names, mostly smaller online businesses/builders. http://clevo.com/en/products/index.asp

    It can be tricky to find a reseller that has exactly the combination of hardware that you're looking for, especially when it comes to display types, from what I've seen. This is a randomly grabbed 13.3 with hybrid (Intel HD + nVidia) graphics, 9 CPU choices, 3 displays, 5-6 WLAN options, etc.: http://clevo.com/en/products/prodinf...?productid=524

  10. #10
    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I don't intend to build one, just wondered if it could be done. Maybe others will now think: cor, I'll build myself a laptop!

  11. #11
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    There is very little in terms of market product in place to build your own laptop, even for the enthusiast builder.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I've bought all of two desktops, built the rest. The Dell Inspiron 580 I'm using now was bought in 2010 after a house fire, and I didn't have time available to order all the parts and build another box. The 580 came with Windows 7 Home Premium. I restored drive images of Widows 7 Ultimate Retail from one of my destroyed boxes, updated drivers and such, and it's been rock solid since.

    I currently dual boot Windows 7 Ultimate Retail and Windows 8 Pro Retail Upgrade, with no OEM residuals at all. I've never run Windows 7 OEM, always retail and custom installation, and I've never had any stability issues whatsoever. I've never had a BSOD that was not due to failed/failing hardware in any version of Windows since 95 OSR2, but then I've never run any OEM versions, only retail.

    My next desktop will be DIY. I've used Dell Latitude laptops with good success, but I don't use their OS installations; I make an image of it, then do a custom installation of retail Windows.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  13. #13
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    Clevo comes close to being the best custom OEM notebook builder, they have a huge range of options available. They're sold under many other brand names, mostly smaller online businesses/builders. http://clevo.com/en/products/index.asp

    It can be tricky to find a reseller that has exactly the combination of hardware that you're looking for, especially when it comes to display types, from what I've seen. This is a randomly grabbed 13.3 with hybrid (Intel HD + nVidia) graphics, 9 CPU choices, 3 displays, 5-6 WLAN options, etc.: http://clevo.com/en/products/prodinf...?productid=524
    If you ever want to use Linux, stay away from hybrid graphics. Even with Windows upgrades, the hybrid graphics configuration can cause serious headaches.

    Since my next PC will be an Android Tablet, my only customizing option will be a custom ROM flash. But it's a tablet, what do you expect?
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-06-05 at 22:13.
    -- Bob Primak --

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