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A "which computer should I buy" thread.

Indica1Indica1 Registered User regular
Note: my \/ key is broken

I don't really know the difference between the \/arious processors and \/ideo cards that they ha\/e out now, so what makes a $700 computer or an $800 computer is lost on me. My only criteria for picking these is that they don't come with a monitor (I ha\/e one) ha\/e about 4gb ram and that they ha\/e 64 bit \/ista. I was told that 32 bit \/ista can't take ad\/antage of more than 3 gb of RAM.

here's what I ha\/e found so far

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3956792&CatId=114

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4312678&CatId=114

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4308459&CatId=114


If the president had any real power, he'd be able to live wherever the fuck he wanted.
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Posts

  • NatheoNatheo Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    short version: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4308459&CatId=114

    I'm an nvidia fanboy. there's hardly any rationale behind it other then brand recognition. But they've been good to me, and my 2 ATI cards have not. I guess it's more of a superstitious thing to me. Physx is nice as well, take a look at the mirrors edge pc videos with physx enabled.

    There's more advantages to 64bit vista as well, aside from memory. Instead of parroting this and trying to act smart, i'll just link it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit

    Natheo on
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  • SideshowxelaSideshowxela Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Before you go spending money on any of those, are you willing to build your computer yourself? It's really rather simple, especially if you're using one of the many internet guides on the process. For less than the price of any of those listed, you could build a computer with equal or better parts that will run UT3 at above 60 fps on the highest settings. You'll have to buy your own copy of 64-bit Vista Home Premium, but you'll still come in under less than some of those rigs you listed.

    That aside, the best graphics card of the bunch you listed (9600GT, 4850, and 9800GT) is ATi's 4850, but that one was paired with a quad core AMD Processor. As far as I know, the community is still reluctant to embrace quad cores in budget computers because the dual core CPU's have higher speeds and not much is taking advantage of the extra cores (yet), and even then, AMD's quad core's haven't been near the quality of Intel's, which are the ones people generally consider and then forgo.

    In short, I recommend you consider building one yourself with a dual core processor and either a 4850 or better. It's only $50 more for a 4750 or GTX260, and it'll make a difference. Not a big difference, but some GPU intensive games will thank you. But if you want one built for you, the middle option's going to give you the best gaming performance for the money.

    Sideshowxela on
  • Indica1Indica1 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Thanks or posting that guide. I do ha\/e the free time, but the "assembly" section definetly is a bit sparce.

    Indica1 on

    If the president had any real power, he'd be able to live wherever the fuck he wanted.
  • NatheoNatheo Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Assembly is not difficult. It's harder to pick a case that you like than it is to assemble it.

    Natheo on
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  • Indica1Indica1 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    So how much money is it that I'm saving with that build?

    $625 for parts then ~$150 for the OS... I'm paying $775 or a computer that would cost what premade?

    Indica1 on

    If the president had any real power, he'd be able to live wherever the fuck he wanted.
  • SideshowxelaSideshowxela Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I went to ibuypower.com to assemble something most like what Tom's Hardware had built, and it came out to $799. That was with a Core2Duo 7300; their cheapest case with included 420w power supply; a slightly upgraded cpu heatsink; the standard mobo and 4 gigs of standard RAM that I have no idea how well they overclock, probably not as well as the ones Tom's chose specifically for that purpose; a Radeon 4850; 500gb hard drive; no mouse, keyboard, monitor, sound card, speakers, etc; and with a 64 bit Vista Home Premium.

    So you're looking at $800 to have it built for you and shipped to you vs. $750 to have the parts shipped to you, but the parts you order will have more overclocking potential, too (Tom's got an extra 31% performance out of it). I know $50 isn't a lot, but that's the difference between a 4850 and a 4870 or GTX260. (I know those charts don't make much sense at first glance, so know that X2 is the expensive model combining two cards in one package, and CF/SLi are the results of manually combining two cards with a special bridge. Oh, and all the black results are the results of tests done with an inferior cpu, so they're not really a controlled comparing of graphics cards.)

    It's not a big difference on games they can all run without a problem, like Half-Life 2, but if you're running something more trying like Crysis or games yet to be released, you'll be glad you have it. Also, and this wouldn't deter me from picking up an ATi card if it was the best in its price range (the 4850), but I think they've been having some driver and image quality issues as of late, and I've always had good experiences with nvidia cards, so if it were me I'd chose the GTX260 over the 4870. Some (very little) food for thought if you do go that route.

    Sideshowxela on
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    ibuypower has terrible, terrible support, though.

    I bought a laptop from them once, and after nine months or so, the hard drive broke. Hey, fine, these things happen, right? Sent it in for warranty repair, since they wouldn't just take the hard drive. There was a crack in the casing around the screen, and I attached a note to the laptop telling them to repair the crack only if it was covered by the warranty, and to leave it alone otherwise.

    About a month passes and I call them up and ask them what's taking so damn long.

    "Oh, didn't you check your e-mail?"

    "No, you people have my computer."

    "Oh, well, we sent the repair invoice to your e-mail. The laptop panel replacement was a non-warranty repair, and it's going to cost you a thousand dollars."

    Hilarity ensued. Eventually, through a combination of bluffing that I'd photocopied my note and some legal threats, I got my laptop back after another couple months.

    Oh, and their replacement hard drive broke like four months later, after the warranty ended, and the crack in the panel casing came back in the exact same place because it was a design flaw in the laptop (it was right where the panel spring braces against the panel casing.)

    Daedalus on
  • Indica1Indica1 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Either way, If I build the computer myself there is no tech support anyway. Is your concern that the parts they use are of low quality? It seems strange that I would only be saving 50 bucks. Would I be saing more if I went with better components?

    On an unrelated note, my understanding is that you can send in a laptop with a crack and claim that it wasn't cracked when you sent it, and it will get repaired. Not sure if that is true.

    Indica1 on

    If the president had any real power, he'd be able to live wherever the fuck he wanted.
  • SideshowxelaSideshowxela Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    The mobo and ram they use aren't of low quality necessarily, but the computer recommended by Tom's was built with overclocking in mind. For example, they bought the e7300 cpu instead of the e8400 because they're almost the same chip, just Intel set the clock for the 8400 at faster speeds. So if you're going to change the clock speed manually, you might as well grab the cheaper version and save yourself some cash.

    In the case of the mobo and ram, I don't know how well the options given to you by ibuypower overclock. They don't tell you what RAM you're getting, but I doubt the "corsair or equivalent" ones defaulted to you by ibuypower will give you the same OC performance. Same deal with the motherboard. Its possible some of those Asus OC well, I just don't know how well. I'd guess you're probably looking at 130% performance OCing the one you built (that's what Tom's got out of it) vs. ~110-120% performance out of the ibuypower model.

    If you want a more apples to apples comparison, consider that for the same price as the ibuypower model, you could build it yourself with a motherboard and ram you know will give you the overclocking performance you want out of them, plus you'll get a higher end videocard. So maybe we're talking 135-145% performance with a GTX260 machine compared to a 110-120% performance of the computer bought through ibuypower for the same price. Comparing the averages of those spreads (which are just my theoretical estimates and not anything tested), you could expect to see as much as ((140/115)-1=) 21% more performance from the computer you built than from one you bought for the same price. That's the difference between 50 and 60 fps.

    Sideshowxela on
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Indica1 wrote: »
    Either way, If I build the computer myself there is no tech support anyway. Is your concern that the parts they use are of low quality? It seems strange that I would only be saving 50 bucks. Would I be saing more if I went with better components?

    On an unrelated note, my understanding is that you can send in a laptop with a crack and claim that it wasn't cracked when you sent it, and it will get repaired. Not sure if that is true.

    If you build a computer yourself and a part breaks, you can send in just that part for replacement and don't need to worry about the sort of clusterfuck I was involved in.

    Daedalus on
  • SideshowxelaSideshowxela Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    On a related note, my brother was having videocard problems with his ibuypower machine about a year or so after he bought it, and he just sent that part into the manufacturer and they refurbed it for him. It still had problems, so he bought a new one, but that's besides the point. Fact of the matter is you can send in your specifically faulty parts whether or not you go ibuypower.

    Sideshowxela on
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    On a related note, my brother was having videocard problems with his ibuypower machine about a year or so after he bought it, and he just sent that part into the manufacturer and they refurbed it for him. It still had problems, so he bought a new one, but that's besides the point. Fact of the matter is you can send in your specifically faulty parts whether or not you go ibuypower.

    This will depend entirely on the manufacturer of that part; sometimes they require you to go through the reseller (ibuypower, newegg, whatever) and sometimes they do not.

    Daedalus on
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