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Laptop died, need to get a new computer

AnarchiaAnarchia Registered User regular
Bah, my laptop of two years has gone and died, and despite it being under an extended warranty, the weasels are trying to get out of fixing it because it has a rusty spot on it, so they're claiming it must be liquid damage, which isn't covered. The damn rusty spot is where I happen to rest my hands, so it's my own sweat, not any soda or something that caused it, and I doubt my meager amount of sweat managed to fry something important enough inside that the computer won't even boot up or respond to recovery discs.

Anyways, it'll probably be quite a few months before it gets resolved one way or the other, and I'm going back to college in less than a month, so I need a computer to mess around with in the mean time. I'm not content with just getting a piece of crap to tide me over, so I'd like to get a desktop to fill that other niche in computers.

The problem is, I'm not extremely knowledgeable about computers. Pretty much the only things I know how to compare are RAM and the capacity of the hard drive, but even beyond that, I don't know the difference between DDR and DDR2. I also know that a dedicated graphics card is generally better than one that isn't, and to compare megabytes on them, but go past that and I'm clueless.

Any of you guys care to give me a crash course in this stuff? Or do any of you have suggestions on where to buy a decent desktop for cheap? The only sites I really know about are Newegg and Tiger Direct. I'm not looking for something top-of-the-line, but I am looking at the $700 to $1,000 range.

SteamID : LizWiz
Anarchia on

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    FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Really, you don't need more than $1000 to build yourself a really nice computer. My roommate stalks holiday sales and assembled a $700 machine which runs Crysis quite decently.

    I'd recommend the stickied thread up at the top of the forum there. Yeah, this one.

    Frem on
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    AnarchiaAnarchia Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I saw that thread, but I'm not really of the computer-building type. Sure, it's something I'd like to do some day, but I don't really think that a month before going back to school is the best time for this. That thread is out of my league.

    Besides, me cracking open a computer would probably freak my dad out so much that he'd have a heart attack. He's of the research-it-for-ever type that likes to compare and contrast until he gets a good deal, instead of the more proactive make-yourself-a-good-deal type.

    Maybe if, six months or so from now I still have a paperweight for a laptop, I'll start asking questions in there when I decide to cannibalize it and move some stuff over to the desktop, but right now I'm just asking for good sites for buying a finished product and how to properly compare the stuff.

    Anarchia on
    SteamID : LizWiz
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    FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    So, prebuilt stuff?
    My general rule-of-thumb minimums for a desktop PC right now are 2 gigs of ram, a dual core processor, a video card which (bought individually) would cost more than $100, and a 7200rpm hard disk capable of storing a few hundred gigs. Don't pay more than $500 or so for something with those specs. (Though I'm not counting the cost of a monitor or Vista in that price)

    I'm generally a bad source of information on anything relating to gaming machines, though.

    Frem on
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    Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Dont do a pre-built. Do some research and figure out what you want, and build it yourself:

    Motherboard
    CPU
    RAM
    GPU
    Hard Drive
    Peripherals
    Chassis
    Extras

    Those are your categories you need to focus on.

    www.newegg.com
    www.tigerdirect.com

    These sites are you best friends.

    Desert_Eagle25 on
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    SushisourceSushisource Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Building a PC is easy! It's like legos but with more chance of fatal shock!

    Read the OP of that thread (Which is outdated now, but still useful), and then ask us there how you should go about making your first comp. If you give a specific figure we can even pick the parts for you. Piece of cake!

    Sushisource on
    Some drugee on Kavinsky's 1986
    kavinskysig.gif
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    PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Anarchia wrote: »
    I saw that thread, but I'm not really of the computer-building type. Sure, it's something I'd like to do some day, but I don't really think that a month before going back to school is the best time for this. That thread is out of my league.
    As long as you're willing to take things slowly, ask questions, and above all RTFM (and don't plug random shit into random ports) you'll be fine. Like said, building computers is like Lego these days.
    Besides, me cracking open a computer would probably freak my dad out so much that he'd have a heart attack. He's of the research-it-for-ever type that likes to compare and contrast until he gets a good deal, instead of the more proactive make-yourself-a-good-deal type.
    If nothing else, the sheer value of a DIY solution (and the ability to say "Look! Lifetime warranty on parts X, Y, and Z") should be a point in your favour there.
    Maybe if, six months or so from now I still have a paperweight for a laptop, I'll start asking questions in there when I decide to cannibalize it and move some stuff over to the desktop, but right now I'm just asking for good sites for buying a finished product and how to properly compare the stuff.
    Laptop parts don't cannibalize well, if at all. But on another subject - where was it bought, did you use a credit card, and what's the brand of laptop? I'm pretty sure if you cuss out the right people you'll get it repaired, replaced, or worst-case scenario, your money refunded.

    PeregrineFalcon on
    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
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    FaceballMcDougalFaceballMcDougal Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    When I wanted a new PC I Google'd for "dell coupon" and found a great deal.

    My former gaming rig is now a server, and I have a pretty loaded Inspiron from Dell for a great price... this was about a year ago.

    FaceballMcDougal on
    xbl/psn/steam: jabbertrack
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    AnarchiaAnarchia Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, maybe I might try to make one, but it's going to have to wait until I'm off at college. I'd have to keep it a secret from my parents until it was done (I tend to hardly spend my money, and splurge when I do, so my parents are all over me when I actually purchase anything), and, although I'm not a computer major, I was the absolute darling of one of my computer professors last year. I finished the quizzes early and would write little ramblings and comments on the back and the teacher would write back when he graded them. I think he was more of a software guy than hardware, though; he seemed to really like Linux and opensource stuff.

    Operating system isn't much of a problem either. The college I go to has both XP and Vista as free downloads to students, with no requirements of having had a previous version of Windows. On top of that, I still have the backup discs from my laptop that I made after I finished deleting all of the spammy programs off of it.

    My biggest barrier is just the sheer inability to compare the various pieces to put in it. As I said, I know bigger numbers are generally better, but I don't know how to compare them beyond that. I also don't know which point to stop at. I'd say I'm a little beyond a casual gamer, but sharing a family computer never gave me enough time to really get into PC gaming instead of console. I don't know how much power I really need.
    Laptop parts don't cannibalize well, if at all. But on another subject - where was it bought, did you use a credit card, and what's the brand of laptop? I'm pretty sure if you cuss out the right people you'll get it repaired, replaced, or worst-case scenario, your money refunded.

    Eh, the only thing I was really hoping to get out of it was the hard drive, and maybe the RAM. The thing worked absolutely fine up to the point that it catastrophically failed, and I have a feeling that it would have given me more warning if the hard drive had been going wonky, so I expect it's still intact enough to recover all the data if I move it over to a new computer.

    The laptop was an HP bought at Circuit City a little over two years ago, and the warranty (from Circuit City) was supposed to be good for another two years. It's possible that I might have left it in a humid place and/or brought it in from the cold too soon and built up some condensation inside, both of which are not covered, but they're claiming liquid spill damage, which on the contract is listed as a completely different thing, and I'm pretty mad at them for claiming that the rust spot was a clear indicator of that and not going any further. My dad is pretty good at finding the right people and methods for getting stuff like this taken care of, so I'm going to leave it up to him at getting this resolved. He once spent an entire year fighting a twenty dollar parking ticket that he shouldn't have received, and eventually won, so I doubt he'll give up on this.

    As long as I'm here, do any of you have suggestions as to what might be wrong with my laptop? The power lights come on, but the display remains blank, and yes, I have tried hooking it up to other monitors. I had a bootup password as part of the BIOS, which normally made a little beep when asking me for it, and it doesn't do that either. It makes the sounds of it reading the recovery discs when I put them in the disc drive, but ultimately ends up doing nothing to them. The little lights on the keyboard for capslock and stuff like that don't respond either.

    Anarchia on
    SteamID : LizWiz
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    PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Anarchia wrote: »
    Well, maybe I might try to make one, but it's going to have to wait until I'm off at college. I'd have to keep it a secret from my parents until it was done (I tend to hardly spend my money, and splurge when I do, so my parents are all over me when I actually purchase anything), and, although I'm not a computer major, I was the absolute darling of one of my computer professors last year. I finished the quizzes early and would write little ramblings and comments on the back and the teacher would write back when he graded them. I think he was more of a software guy than hardware, though; he seemed to really like Linux and opensource stuff.
    Your laptop is dead. You need a computer for college. I fail to see where they can really complain, unless you wanted to buy a $4000 Alienware system or something.
    Operating system isn't much of a problem either. The college I go to has both XP and Vista as free downloads to students, with no requirements of having had a previous version of Windows. On top of that, I still have the backup discs from my laptop that I made after I finished deleting all of the spammy programs off of it.
    Ah, student perks. Get both XP and Vista, and use whichever you prefer. Probably Vista if you're building a gaming box.
    My biggest barrier is just the sheer inability to compare the various pieces to put in it. As I said, I know bigger numbers are generally better, but I don't know how to compare them beyond that. I also don't know which point to stop at. I'd say I'm a little beyond a casual gamer, but sharing a family computer never gave me enough time to really get into PC gaming instead of console. I don't know how much power I really need.
    We can help with that, in terms of giving you a good "casual/mid-range" gaming rig. You won't need the ZOMG Uber WTFPWNAGE lines of everything; I'd say for about $600 or so you can get a more-than-capable setup.
    Eh, the only thing I was really hoping to get out of it was the hard drive, and maybe the RAM. The thing worked absolutely fine up to the point that it catastrophically failed, and I have a feeling that it would have given me more warning if the hard drive had been going wonky, so I expect it's still intact enough to recover all the data if I move it over to a new computer.
    Hard drive you might be able to bring over, but desktop drives are faster, bigger, and cheaper. You can at least get the data off it. RAM isn't compatible between notebooks and desktops - different size/form factor entirely. (With a few very, very small exceptions.)
    The laptop was an HP bought at Circuit City a little over two years ago, and the warranty (from Circuit City) was supposed to be good for another two years. It's possible that I might have left it in a humid place and/or brought it in from the cold too soon and built up some condensation inside, both of which are not covered, but they're claiming liquid spill damage, which on the contract is listed as a completely different thing, and I'm pretty mad at them for claiming that the rust spot was a clear indicator of that and not going any further. My dad is pretty good at finding the right people and methods for getting stuff like this taken care of, so I'm going to leave it up to him at getting this resolved. He once spent an entire year fighting a twenty dollar parking ticket that he shouldn't have received, and eventually won, so I doubt he'll give up on this.
    If it was bought with a credit card, you/your father/cardholder could probably threaten to do a chargeback on it, since CC isn't living up to their end of the bargain on what they sold you. Save that for if all other negotiations fail though.
    As long as I'm here, do any of you have suggestions as to what might be wrong with my laptop? The power lights come on, but the display remains blank, and yes, I have tried hooking it up to other monitors. I had a bootup password as part of the BIOS, which normally made a little beep when asking me for it, and it doesn't do that either. It makes the sounds of it reading the recovery discs when I put them in the disc drive, but ultimately ends up doing nothing to them. The little lights on the keyboard for capslock and stuff like that don't respond either.
    Is it an HP dv2000, dv6000, dv9000, or Compaq v3000, v6000? If so, click here:
    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?lc=en&cc=us&docname=c01087277&dlc=en
    They're having a one-time repair special. Give them a call (1-866-671-7362) and cite that article.

    PeregrineFalcon on
    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
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    Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Do research. Google sf your friend. Come to us or other tech forums about various parts. When you find a computer part, google it with "full review" tagged at the end.

    Desert_Eagle25 on
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    AnarchiaAnarchia Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Well, thanks for the help guys, but I've started to calm down a bit about the laptop thing. I brought it to Circuit City to see if talking directly to some techies would help, and got confirmation that it's dead because of something not covered by the warranty, although it wasn't technically a liquid spill, and should have instead been denied under the environmental clause. I shall from now on heed the manufacturer's warnings about allowing laptops to get to room temperature before using them. Damn condensation/humidity/atmosphere hating me. The top layer of the laptop's guts looked like the whole thing had been carefully spritzed with a squirt bottle, although nothing had leaked down to lower levels. Any real liquid spill that covered that much area would have dribbled down at the very least. Too bad the original guys on the phone had been more vocal about the cosmetic rust damage on the outside than about the guts.

    I am still somewhat tempted to make my own computer, but I think that's something I'll put on the back burner for now. It's something I've sorta-wanted to do for a few years now, but I think I'll wait until I graduate college and get a job that affords me a more disposable income. If I'm going to go through the effort of making one on my own, I'll probably do a cheap one for practice, and then ultra-powerful monster of my dreams.

    Besides, I found something I like on Costco.com <3

    Anarchia on
    SteamID : LizWiz
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    zanetheinsanezanetheinsane Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Keep in mind, Black Friday is getting closer and closer. That means insane computer hardware deals at a lot of Brick and Mortar stores. I always save up three or four months ahead of time and salivate as it draws near, so that might be something you want to plan for.

    zanetheinsane on
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    PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Keep in mind, Black Friday is getting closer and closer. That means insane computer hardware deals at a lot of Brick and Mortar stores. I always save up three or four months ahead of time and salivate as it draws near, so that might be something you want to plan for.

    But keep in mind that unless you are willing to kill a man your chances of actually getting the hot deals on BF are slim.

    PeregrineFalcon on
    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
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    BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Keep in mind, Black Friday is getting closer and closer. That means insane computer hardware deals at a lot of Brick and Mortar stores. I always save up three or four months ahead of time and salivate as it draws near, so that might be something you want to plan for.

    But keep in mind that unless you are willing to kill a man your chances of actually getting the hot deals on BF are slim.

    I believe the standard workaround to that is "the Costanza," where you obtain an early copy of the ad, then hide the items you want somewhere else in the store.

    BubbaT on
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