Author Topic: Need advice on a computer purchase  (Read 20979 times)

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Doombot

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Need advice on a computer purchase
« on: March 05, 2008, 07:14:11 PM »
I think we call all agree that Macintosh is the superior brand. I could go on and on about it's many virtues but I'd just be preaching to the choir.

My question and situation is this.

My computer is very fallout looking right now. It's got an open side and a fan blowing on it to keep it cool.

It died 4 times in a row this morning. =/

So I really NEED a computer. (Right now I'm using the boyfriends Macbook).

So I have this nice feeling of having a MacHome with Mac Computers and it makes me as happy. However... I'm not that familiar with the tiny bits of knowledge that I need to comfortably make the transition. I also need power (uhhhh uhhh uhhhh) to run things like Photoshop.

So here's what I'm thinking.

Get a PC for now because I know it and it's cheaper. I don't want to pay TOO much right now. Use the PC for photoshop work and my writing work.

Then one year from now, make my portable a MacBook.

So if I choose to get a PC, what should I get?

Thinking about spending no more that 1600 or so. I want the ability to have dual monitors. I plan on playing that Orange Box game so that should give you an idea of the capabilities I need. I have a LARGE collection of mp3s, videos and such so I'll need space. 1TB would be nice. 750 Gigs I could live with.

So what PC do you suggest for me.

What Mac do you suggest for under 2000?

ALSO.... I don't seem to do that much Photoshop so I wonder if I should just go with a lower powered Mac but I worry that I'll regret it in the future.

Unsure. Thoughts?
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BlueCross

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2008, 07:38:08 PM »
1600?  Like in $??  That's a veritable fortune for a new PC.  Well, in the BC book of Building PC's, it is...

Here's a place I shop at when building/repairing/upgrading PCs ; note that they do NOT have mail order so you're actually kinda screwed on getting parts from them.  But it provides good benchmarks on what the various components (or entire systems) should cost.

But their web page seems kinda screwed up right now :(  sorry, usually it is 'better'):  www.enuinc.com

Anyway... I can make a fine PC for $1600, you betcha!  And an even better one with $1600 Cdn.

((edit))
ENU page is up/better now.

For example, 1TB drive $265 or $296 depending on brand.
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3.0GHz 4M 1333M 775   $296

You might do a bit better by shopping around but you certainly should not pay much more.

Anyway, ENU is my toy store.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2008, 08:12:56 PM by BlueCross »
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Solwyn

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2008, 07:41:48 PM »


ALSO.... I don't seem to do that much Photoshop so I wonder if I should just go with a lower powered Mac but I worry that I'll regret it in the future.

Unsure. Thoughts?

I read the whole post, I promise, I'm just quoting what I'm responding to specifically. : )

I haven't done research in awhile, but I think you can get a decently cheap PC that meets all of your specifications and needs. Do you plan on buying a retail box or would you like to get something custom? There are places that will assemble and test whatever combination you'd like (tigerdirect.com, newegg.com, etc) and some of them come with a decent warranty- the tradeoff being that your local geek squad or what have you will probably not be willing to dig around in a custom machine to fix problems, at least not without charging you a lot, so if you want to have it fixed you'll have to mail it back and wait for them to fix it and send it back.

I personally had a lot of luck with my local Fry's Electronics. The guy hooked me up with a warranty that would cover the replacement of the motherboard/cpu no matter what I had done to it. He recommended I steadily overclock it bit by bit until it fried and then take it to get replaced and know exactly how far I can overclock without danger... which is wayyyy more hardcore than I wanted to be. But when it wouldn't start one week I took it in and they fixed it for free, no questions asked, since I'd bought it there.

As far as the photoshop thing, I'm currently on an ancient PC. I can't really make out the ancient people who crafted it by reading the hieroglyphics on the side, but I know that it's a pentium 4 2.8 ghz (current retail value about 60-70 bucks), and it runs photoshop without a single glitch. Even when I'm doing massive vector drawings. Illustrator, on the other hand, tends to choke it like a red-headed stepchild who stepped over the line one too many times with his boy band music at three in the morning.

As far as the mac goes... I'll pretend I didn't see the first half of this post and keep on driving. Although I earnestly wish my work computer was a mac, considering all I do on it is use adobe cs3 and chat here and on pidgin.
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Brugdor

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2008, 07:54:06 PM »
Well I can't tell you a good brand for a PC but I can tell you about what you'll want so you know what to look for.

I'd go with at least an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6850 (that's the 3.0 ghz one)
at least 2 gigs of ram
at least an 8600gt Nvidia card
 
for the core parts of your system
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BlueCross

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2008, 08:19:23 PM »
"for the record, I'm not some kind of psychotic provincialist." - Than (ed: Cit. required)
"I lost my game of NT: Garry's fault. Global warming: Garry's fault. End-of-the-Universe: Garry's fault. See it always fits. Anyway, what is Garry up to? No good I bet." - Laszlo
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Chucara

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2008, 09:48:48 PM »
The Orange box doesn't require that much since it's based on Half-Life 2 (or is Half-Life 2). So you should be able to find a PC within that price range easily.

I can't suggest you a Mac, as I don't know much about them.

For photoshop, I'd suggest plenty of RAM (2 GB or more) - just remember that unless you run on 64-bit Vista or XP, you won't be able to use more than 3.3GB.

I suggest buying two 500 GB discs instead of a single 1 TB. That way you can work with your images on one disc and run Vista/photoshop from the other.

Basically, any Core 2 Duo will do, but I recommend at least the E6600.

I don't know anyone US vendors and therefore can't put together a whole PC for you, but if you have a preference on where to buy it, I'd be glad to give you a more specific suggestion.

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2008, 01:43:54 AM »
Well, since nobody answered my computer question, I'll do it for you. 

The 2 laptops I am looking at is pretty decent right now, and you can use those specs to run mostly what you want(or you can throw another stick in there).  I just can't decide on whether $800 is worth the Dual Graphics card. 
Starseeker, signing off.

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Doombot

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2008, 08:31:38 AM »
1600?  Like in $??  That's a veritable fortune for a new PC.  Well, in the BC book of Building PC's, it is...

Here's a place I shop at when building/repairing/upgrading PCs ; note that they do NOT have mail order so you're actually kinda screwed on getting parts from them. 

OH... pity you aren't here to help me with my equipment!

It's dying faster and faster. When it's not crashing the screen flickers every 30 seconds. Blah. =(
Will I get Night Owl points for quitting but not as much for getting fired?
Will I still be a member of the Owl's Pals? I'd hate to turn in my card. It's got a real owl feather under the lamination and everything.


Night Owl: Oh, indeed. I quit many a job ...better than being fired. You can keep your card... in fact, you get double points for quitting!


Doombot

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2008, 08:40:46 AM »
I haven't done research in awhile, but I think you can get a decently cheap PC that meets all of your specifications and needs. Do you plan on buying a retail box or would you like to get something custom? There are places that will assemble and test whatever combination you'd like (tigerdirect.com, newegg.com, etc) and some of them come with a decent warranty- the tradeoff being that your local geek squad or what have you will probably not be willing to dig around in a custom machine to fix problems, at least not without charging you a lot, so if you want to have it fixed you'll have to mail it back and wait for them to fix it and send it back.

I'll be ok either way. I've never really needed the services of a huge company to help me with my computer. I have the ability to tinker and usually fix things myself. In this case, I'm choosing not to pour money into this computer since it's old... old.... OLD from 2004! It also has Kauai salt air and rust on the outer parts. Hence why I figure it's best to let it die... even if it is rusty.  I would like the convience of having everything in a package but if new egg can put together something then I'll be just fine with that. I take it all combinations that I pick will work? Eg. I won't be able to pick a hard drive that doesn't work with a particular motherboard?

As far as the photoshop thing, I'm currently on an ancient PC. I can't really make out the ancient people who crafted it by reading the hieroglyphics on the side, but I know that it's a pentium 4 2.8 ghz (current retail value about 60-70 bucks), and it runs photoshop without a single glitch. Even when I'm doing massive vector drawings. Illustrator, on the other hand, tends to choke it like a red-headed stepchild who stepped over the line one too many times with his boy band music at three in the morning.

That's what I'm hearing. Anything new and at least 800.00 is going to run Photoshop well so I suppose that worry isn't as major as I thought. I don't really use adobe illustrator so I'm ok with that.
Will I get Night Owl points for quitting but not as much for getting fired?
Will I still be a member of the Owl's Pals? I'd hate to turn in my card. It's got a real owl feather under the lamination and everything.


Night Owl: Oh, indeed. I quit many a job ...better than being fired. You can keep your card... in fact, you get double points for quitting!


Doombot

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2008, 08:42:51 AM »
Well I can't tell you a good brand for a PC but I can tell you about what you'll want so you know what to look for.

I'd go with at least an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6850 (that's the 3.0 ghz one)
at least 2 gigs of ram
at least an 8600gt Nvidia card
 
for the core parts of your system

So definately go with the Intel Core 2 and not that one that starts with an 'A'? Athlon?

For the 8600 gt Nvidia card will 256 be the number to get or is there a fairly pressing need for the 512 model?
Will I get Night Owl points for quitting but not as much for getting fired?
Will I still be a member of the Owl's Pals? I'd hate to turn in my card. It's got a real owl feather under the lamination and everything.


Night Owl: Oh, indeed. I quit many a job ...better than being fired. You can keep your card... in fact, you get double points for quitting!


Doombot

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2008, 08:47:23 AM »
The Orange box doesn't require that much since it's based on Half-Life 2 (or is Half-Life 2). So you should be able to find a PC within that price range easily.

I can't suggest you a Mac, as I don't know much about them.

For photoshop, I'd suggest plenty of RAM (2 GB or more) - just remember that unless you run on 64-bit Vista or XP, you won't be able to use more than 3.3GB.

I suggest buying two 500 GB discs instead of a single 1 TB. That way you can work with your images on one disc and run Vista/photoshop from the other.

Basically, any Core 2 Duo will do, but I recommend at least the E6600.

I don't know anyone US vendors and therefore can't put together a whole PC for you, but if you have a preference on where to buy it, I'd be glad to give you a more specific suggestion.

Oh yes. I heard getting two discs is better to help with searches and such. If you know your por... psd files are on your D drive then you can just search there instead of searching the whole drive. I heard Vista is horrible. I think I should just stay with xp. Does that sound reasonble?

Thanks.
Will I get Night Owl points for quitting but not as much for getting fired?
Will I still be a member of the Owl's Pals? I'd hate to turn in my card. It's got a real owl feather under the lamination and everything.


Night Owl: Oh, indeed. I quit many a job ...better than being fired. You can keep your card... in fact, you get double points for quitting!


Chucara

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2008, 09:39:33 AM »
I don't think you'll have any problems with Vista if you buy recent hardware, I use Photoshop CS3 on Vista on my machines, and it works just as well as it did on XP.

256 MB should be enough to run the Orange box, but many new game require more. Like I said before, Half-Life 2 is a pretty old game (but still great looking). I could even run it on my old Pentium M 1.8Ghz laptop with onboard graphics. Of course not on the highest settings, but still..

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2008, 11:38:38 AM »
256mb should be enough depending on your monitor resolution, anything at or above 1280x1024 and the frame buffer really starts having an effect on performance so you ideally want to have 512mb. 

Look out for the new 9600 range of cards, they don't have a massive price premium over the 8600GTS but they are much quicker.  A core 2 duo, as much memory as you can afford and can be addressed to by your os and two hard drives are what you should be looking for along with either a 9600GT or an 8800GT.

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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2008, 02:19:20 PM »
I take it all combinations that I pick will work? Eg. I won't be able to pick a hard drive that doesn't work with a particular motherboard?
Yeah, you can have it compatibility-tested before they send it to you. I've heard (and I'm like 98% sure) that newegg does that fairly well. I've done it with Tigerdirect for my wife's computer, since I was out of town and couldn't be there to fiddle with the thing.

Newegg is pretty cool because they sell pretty much everything, including apple products (the ones that apple allows third-party retailers/wholesalers to sell anyway). I recently got my thumb drive from them for really cheap and it's worked out really well. Just pulled it out of my jeans after a wash, still works. (phew).

But yeah, a lot of these places will provide support for their setups. And you have plenty of Villagers willing to help you choose, so just let any of us know and we can rig up a system for you based on the site of your choice.
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Re: Need advice on a computer purchase
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2008, 02:31:57 PM »
Pretty much what the others said- and definitely get at least two HDD's. I'm currently running three- one for games, one for the operating system and core programs and one for movies, series, everything else basically.

When it comes to processors, Pentium >> Athlon these days, and the Core2Duo series is exceedingly stable (got a 2.66GHz running stable on no extra heat when overclocked to 3.2 A friend has his 2.4 overclocked to 4.2 o.O

GFX wise, get a Geforce 8800Gt if possible. These things are some amazing bang for your buck and will last you a fair few years before needing to be replaced.


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