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What Spec for a new Home PC

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by wannabeav, May 10, 2005.

  1. wannabeav

    wannabeav
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    Hi all,

    I'm looking to replace my 6 year old pc with one for general use including photo / video editing and maybe home cinema options. Dont tend to use the PC for games

    Looking at Dell due to ease and friends recommendation and have come up with the following specs. I appreciate that these are basic questions but would like to order tonight so any thoughts or comments would be gratefully received.

    Dell 5000, P4 3.0GHz (1MB Cache) (£684)
    1024 Memory
    160 Gb HDD
    128 ATI X300SE Graphics Card
    17" Digital LCD
    twin DVD drives (1 RW)

    OR

    Dell 8400 P4 3.2GHz (2MB Cache) (£835)
    1024 Memory
    250 Gb HDD
    128 ATI X300SE Graphics Card
    17" Digital LCD
    twin DVD drives (1 RW).

    Questions are, is the extra £151 worth it for the 8400 with 90GB extra HDD, slightly faster cpu with bigger cache (also has nicer speakers) or should i go for the 5000 and put the £150 towards another 1GB memory and another drive in a years time?

    Thanks in advance :smashin:
     
  2. stripe

    stripe
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    Probably better with the cheaper one for the reason you gave, I imagine £150 will get you a lot of hard disk space in a years time and a fair bit of memory too.

    That is unless you are planning to do alot of complicated high end video editing and photochopping, then you'd be better off with the more memory and better cpu.

    But if you were really into doing serious editing then you would be beter building your own around the type input card you are getting.
     
  3. Skunkpipe

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    1GB is about all you need unless you're doing lots of encoding/image manipulation.
    You won't notice that much difference between teh 3.2 and 3.0 CPUs.
    I don't know what you'll be using it for, but personally I'd save teh £150 and put it towards a decent gfx card (6600GT or similar)
     
  4. wannabeav

    wannabeav
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    Thanks both for the swift reply! kind of confirmed my thoughts. Not sure if you could answer this, I've had conflicting views on the benefit of a graphics card for photo / video editing - does it make a difference or is this just useful for gaming?
     
  5. Skunkpipe

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    There will be 2D performance differences... but as long as you're not running PCI/AGP architectured on board Gfx and have a decent amount of RAM (128MB+) you'll be fine.
    Spend money on the bottlenecks in your system (HDD performance and get the fastest RAM you can - DDR2 if poss on a PCI-Express machine) and all will be well

    If you want to compare CPUs performance wih different tasks have a look at

    http://www23.tomshardware.com/index.html?modelx=33&model1=63&model2=13&chart=18
     
  6. wannabeav

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    Nice one, think I might just buy the 8400 and in a year I'll have more dosh to upgrade bits anyway. The 8400 has faster RAM and a bigger cache so should shift the bottleneck elsewhere (to address further down the line). I can see this is going to open up an expensive upgrade route :thumbsup: Anyone want to buy a top of the range P3 500MHz - it's great as a clock! :D
     
  7. Kamakazie

    Kamakazie
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    Id have something like this
    http://www.meshcomputers.com/updated/spec_mat3500sale.htm

    any day of the week. Dell are over priced and from what i have heard, use non-standard mobo's and PSU's..... (someone might be able to confirm this, but having never owned a Dell i cant myself)
    either way... this is a better specced system for less money.

    If you can really spend £900 without pushing it then theres this:
    http://www.meshcomputers.com/updated/spec_mat3800sale.htm
    Which is MILES better than the Dell.

    This is also good for £800
    http://www.meshcomputers.com/updated/matrix_1_4.htm

    all are still better than the Dell. Mesh actually use standard components and have a fair customer service record from what i've heard.
     
  8. stripe

    stripe
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    Don't knock your PIII 500, my kids have a great time surfing away on my old machine. Ive stuck in an old TV card and DVD kit so it's now a full singing and dancing CBeebies machine.
     
  9. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    Dell do use custom components - so if your mobo needs fixing a wek out of warranty get your wallet out !!! IMO they don't have much 'shelf life' either. They want you to buy new PCs not fix/upgrade/ the old one.
    I always spec every component myself but if thats not your bag then buy from a manufacturer who only uses standard parts that way you have options in the future.
    I wouldn't go anywhere near Dell - or any machine that uses 'special parts' - but thats just my opinion.
     
  10. Cable Monkey

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    Lots of speculation about Dell, non of it founded on anyones personal experience of the latest models. Their motherboards are OEM variants of existing boards with differences like temp monitor sensors disabled and overclocking features disabled in bios. They tend to use cooling solutions that cannot be transferred from the case. One bugbear in the past has been proprietry PSU's but these have been standard in most cases I have been aware of recently. Dells are cheap to buy as a basic package. It is upgrading to better graphics, adding TFT's etc that make the difference. One issue with Dell is you are stuck with Intel, but they are recovering from the Prescott issues with their usual aplomb and I personally don't see it as a problem any more, just a question of preference. If you don't game, it is certainly not an issue. Right now the major issues with Dell surround the fact they are assembled in a 3rd world country on the far side of the world and that provides plenty of scope for missing pc's and problems if the incorrect spec has been delivered. If you can avoid those type of issues, you should be ok and have a pc with 100% legal software and support which on the whole is not bad. Some have had problems with Dell support, but no one I know.

    One thing to note is their packages are highly customiseable if done over the phone. The web ordering service ties you in to certain things but if you phone your order in, specifying 'box only' i.e no screen or peripherals, it can be done with a subsequent reduction in cost.
     
  11. Skunkpipe

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    Personal experience of my Dell laptop - now on my 3rd motherboard in less than 3 months.
    Support is a pain in the ar5e, although when they eventually do agree to take it back for repair it's turned around quickly - getting them to agree to take it back for repair is not a speedy process though... Personally I wouldn't buy another.....
     
  12. lisag

    lisag
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    I've been helping out in a local computer shop and whenever a dell machine comes in for repair it is never straightforward. They do seem to use non-standard components, not sure if this is true for every machine though.

    There are lots of places online to buy PC's from, how about building your own, or buying a barebones system (case, psu, mobo, memory, processor) and adding the rest yourself?

    lisa
     
  13. Cable Monkey

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    Now a laptop is a different matter! :D If the question was about them my answer would have been very different and no where as polite. A couple of companies I know are still living with the legacy of exclusive supply contracts with Dell, and while their desktops and towers seem pretty robust (PII/PIII era) their laptops are anything but!
     
  14. Skunkpipe

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    infact I've literally just recieved a mail acouple of minutes ago about my current laptop issue.
    No matter how detailed a report into the issues (and I do know what I'm doiing, BIOS engineer for Pheonix 7 years, worked with HP, Seimens, Apricot and others on PCs, PC building business now etc etc) they keep coming back with the same bl00dy question via email cut and pasted straight out of their troubleshooting guide even though I've answered them several times already.
    There's no ****er to take my call and will 'call me back'. Although I did speak v briefly to some foreign gent who didn't understand a word I said

    Oh and my warranty expired on the 3/5/05 - the problem was from before then; what's the betting they won't honour it....

    The rage is strong :mad: :mad: :mad:
     
  15. wannabeav

    wannabeav
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    Cheers all for the advice. I may live to regret it (hopefully not) but just ordered the 8400. Wasn't planning on this one but I phoned them up and they seemed very happy to do a deal (thanks for that tip Cable Monkey). Ended up spending £890 but got the following:

    Dell 8400
    P4 (640) 3.2 GHZ, 2MB Cache
    1024 MB 533 MHZ DDR2 memory
    3.5" Floppy drive
    320 GB Hard disk Drive 7200RPM Serial ATA (2 x 160 in RAID 0 configuration)
    16 x DVD Dual layer DVD RW
    16 x DVD ROM
    17" Digital Monitor with DVI support
    128 MB ATI Graphics Card PCI Express
    5.1 Surround Sound Speakers
    Keyboard & Mouse

    More than I intended but what are credit cards for? I'll probbaly be back soon asking bout sound card and graphic card upgrades and hopefully not cursing the service and parts. I think I'll also start messing around with the old PC on the cheap, might encourage me to build the next system.

    Thanks again.
     

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