As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/
Options

One Computer

ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
edited November 2006 in Help / Advice Forum
Why yes, it's another computer post! My laptop is slowly dying and getting increasingly frustrating. I'd like a PC that can actually handle having lots of programs open at once, not take three minutes to load up and with a nice large harddrive. That said, could anyone take a look at what I've picked out and comment on it please? I'm moderately proficient, but I still don't understand hardware fully (this is prebuilt btw) so would like advice on the key points.

This is the machine: http://www.meshcomputers.com/Default.aspx?PAGE=PRODUCTCONFIGPAGE&USG=PRODUCT&ENT=PRODUCT&KEY=116818


Processer
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 Dual Core Processor (2.40GHz,4MB Cache,1066MHz)

This was an upgrade of £75 from the E6400, but from what I've read that's worth it; the E6600 is supposed to be the cutoff point, with a jump up to 4MB of cache. Worth the extra money?


Memory
1024MB DDR2 533MHz Memory - (2x512MB)

I'd thought memory had gotton cheaper now, but it's still so damned expensive. What's the difference between this at 533MHz, and the same at 900MHz? It's a mystery to me.. That'd be £50 more.


Graphics Card
512MB DDR2 nVIDIA GeForce 7300GS - TV out- DVI - PCIe (256Mb SMA)

I understand graphics cards not at all. I'm not really looking for a machine to play games, but I'd take it if it came built in. The possible upgrades for that are..

256MB nVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS - DVI,HDTV & TV-Out - PCI-Express[upg £ 30.00]
2x 256MB nVIDIA GeForce 7300 GS - nVIDIA SLI Configuration[upg £ 45.00]

Are either of those worth bothering with?

Thanks. :)

pokes: 1505 8032 8399
Æthelred on

Posts

  • Options
    stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Why yes, it's another computer post! My laptop is slowly dying and getting increasingly frustrating. I'd like a PC that can actually handle having lots of programs open at once, not take three minutes to load up and with a nice large harddrive. That said, could anyone take a look at what I've picked out and comment on it please? I'm moderately proficient, but I still don't understand hardware fully (this is prebuilt btw) so would like advice on the key points.

    This is the machine: http://www.meshcomputers.com/Default.aspx?PAGE=PRODUCTCONFIGPAGE&USG=PRODUCT&ENT=PRODUCT&KEY=116818


    Processer
    Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 Dual Core Processor (2.40GHz,4MB Cache,1066MHz)

    This was an upgrade of £75 from the E6400, but from what I've read that's worth it; the E6600 is supposed to be the cutoff point, with a jump up to 4MB of cache. Worth the extra money?


    Memory
    1024MB DDR2 533MHz Memory - (2x512MB)

    I'd thought memory had gotton cheaper now, but it's still so damned expensive. What's the difference between this at 533MHz, and the same at 900MHz? It's a mystery to me.. That'd be £50 more.


    Graphics Card
    512MB DDR2 nVIDIA GeForce 7300GS - TV out- DVI - PCIe (256Mb SMA)

    I understand graphics cards not at all. I'm not really looking for a machine to play games, but I'd take it if it came built in. The possible upgrades for that are..

    256MB nVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS - DVI,HDTV & TV-Out - PCI-Express[upg £ 30.00]
    2x 256MB nVIDIA GeForce 7300 GS - nVIDIA SLI Configuration[upg £ 45.00]

    Are either of those worth bothering with?

    Thanks. :)

    The 7600 gs is the best bang for the buck out of the list you have there, and it will happily play most games at average quality and resolution.

    stigweard on
  • Options
    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    If you want to handle lots of programs open simultaneously, get more RAM. Go for 2Gb minimum.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • Options
    ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    2GB of RAM would be £100 more. Does it really make that much difference? I'm tempted..

    Æthelred on
    pokes: 1505 8032 8399
  • Options
    headn00bheadn00b Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Personally I have 1GB of RAM and that's good enough for me, but I've never experienced more so maybe I'm missing out and just don't realise it.

    The programs you're actually running will give you an idea of how much RAM to go for. Graphics applications like Photoshop use up a fair bit more.

    headn00b on
    Your sig was too tall.

    -Thinatos
  • Options
    robaalrobaal Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    DDR2-533 RAM might be a bit slow...ish, but DDR2-667 would be fine and should cost ~$200, so ~£140 for the cheaper ones. I don't think DDR2-533 is much cheaper, but DDR2-800 start about 10% higher and doesn't impact Core 2 Duo performance significantly.
    You could always try selling the DDR2-533 memory you get with the system and buying cheaper DDR2-667 modules somwhere else.

    I suggest you consider some other place to buy your computer from - a small local computer shop might have better prices and you get to choose whatever components you want and I doubt they'll charge much for assembly.
    I assume here that you already own a copy of XP or don't mind running Ubuntu until Vista comes out ;)

    I estimate (based on US prices /1,5) that you could get a E6600 with 2GB of DDR2-667 RAM and a 7600GT and some resonable LCD for <£850.

    robaal on
    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra when suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath.
    At night, the ice weasels come."

  • Options
    itylusitylus Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    If you're about to give up on it anyway, you could try wiping the laptop and installing Linux. You might be surprised by how much faster it starts up/runs.

    itylus on
  • Options
    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Yeah, RAM and HDD speed affect opening and using multiple programs at once. If you have a lot of RAM you can run tons of shit together and your computer generally won't care.

    Is 1 gig RAM enough? Yeah, it's enough. But you could get more and give your computer a lot more breathing room. 512 is the "minimum" nowadays, and 1g is a good start. In other words, it's kind of silly to have a souped up CPU and a fancy GPU but only 1 step above the "minimum" for RAM.

    As for overall speed and opening programs, a lot of that will come from a faster HDD. Most laptops have a 4200rpm HDD, although some newer ones come with 5400 stock. Desktops almost always use 7200, which means faster seek times and more bandwidth.

    anecdote time: My girlfriend has a souped up first gen Mac Mini, which comes with a 5400 RPM laptop drive. It's not bad, but starting up apps takes a while. What we did was boot it off of a FW-connected 7200 desktop HDD, and it's a WORLD of difference. Saving, opening, doing multiple things at once, etc.

    The good thing about RAM is that it's easy to buy more later. What I would recommend is making sure you get plenty of fast HDD space, preferrably 2 drives, and go with what you have. If you feel that you need more RAM (check the system monitors to see how much you're using when you feel stuff "going slow"), then you simply buy some more.

    EggyToast on
    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • Options
    ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    With 2GB of RAM and the suggested graphics card, it's basically coming out at around £1000. That's not too bad, but a little more than I intended to spend. That's with a 19" TFT monitor at least. Thanks for the help though - with parts in mind I can shop around better now.

    Heh, Linux isn't for me afraid. I'm too attached to Windows' programs and not having to worry about configurations; it's a fine OS if you just protect it. That computer dealer (Mesh) actually have a deal on at the moment where you get a free upgrade to Vista when it comes out (if you buy their computer, including this one), so that's pretty good.


    edit: Okay, good advice. Might plump for the 2x250GB HDD, I do like to keep a lot of stuff lying around. With the money in mind.. would it be worth staying down with the 6400 and getting bigger RAM with that; or, having the 6600 with just 1GB of RAM? I suspect the former is best.

    I've never actually seen my laptop not on 100% CPU usage. :( The factors against keeping it are physical too; the power-connector (inside) is broken and requires keep the lead pulled to the left. The ethernet port is just starting to break too; the consequences of heavy usage for 4 years I guess.

    Æthelred on
    pokes: 1505 8032 8399
  • Options
    stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    1GB is fine if you aren't a heavy photoshop or video editing user, or a gamer who like the latest games. You can get by with 1GB with games like Half Life 2, Quake 4, Oblivion, and various mmorpgs, but when you quit out after play a while you will notice things are slow for the first couple of minutes while everything else you had open swaps back into ram. With 2GB, you have more breathing room, and this problem disappears.

    stigweard on
  • Options
    vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    stigweard wrote:
    1GB is fine if you aren't a heavy photoshop or video editing user, or a gamer who like the latest games. You can get by with 1GB with games like Half Life 2, Quake 4, Oblivion, and various mmorpgs, but when you quit out after play a while you will notice things are slow for the first couple of minutes while everything else you had open swaps back into ram. With 2GB, you have more breathing room, and this problem disappears.
    If you're playing any recent games, I would seriously, seriously recommend 2GB of RAM. And it's not just for slowdowns after you quit, I noticed a very substantial difference in terms of playability at higher settings after I moved up to 2GB. Windows normally splits the total memory pool into kernel mode and user mode memory. Most applications can only allocate user mode memory, kernel mode memory is reserved for the OS and device drivers. Exactly how Windows splits memory is not something they publish, as far as I can tell, but I can tell you that the /3GB boot switch changes Windows memory allocation when you have 4GB of RAM, from a 50/50 split, to a 75/25 split in favor of user mode memory. Assuming that 50/50 split is how they do it at lower memory totals, that would mean only 512MB is available for your apps when you're running with 1GB of RAM. For a lot of modern games, that's not enough to keep everything in memory, which means paging out to the pagefile, and that's usually a huge performance hit depending on how well-tuned the app is. I used to say "1GB is fine", but based on my personal experiences, 2GB is the new 1GB for gaming systems as far as I'm concerned.

    vonPoonBurGer on
    Xbox Live:vonPoon | PSN: vonPoon | Steam: vonPoonBurGer
  • Options
    robaalrobaal Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    That computer dealer (Mesh) actually have a deal on at the moment where you get a free upgrade to Vista when it comes out (if you buy their computer, including this one), so that's pretty good.

    I'm not sure if it's the case with this retailer, but from what I've read usually the upgrade is to the Home Basic version, which doesn't have Aero, most noticeably.

    robaal on
    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra when suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath.
    At night, the ice weasels come."

  • Options
    FibretipFibretip Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I know this probably won't influence you in any way.... but my mum bought a pc from mesh a couple of years ago (despite the fact i could have built it for her for nearly half the price) but anyway... she bought this pc, and within a month it was flipping out and crashing continuously so i opened it up and lo and behold, one tiny straining fan on the cpu, one 80mm fan on the psu, and no case fan... and also, they hadn't plugged the long psu connector into the mobo properly, the last two pins weren't plugged in, they'd burned the plastic, and the connectors on the board... it never did work properly again...

    i know this kind of thing is rare, but it's just my experience of mesh.

    oh and also.. if you are paying all that for graphics cards, ram etc... do make sure it has at least one case fan... or you might find it runs slower than it could... shop bought pc's ALWAYS fuck you on the fans... i've now fixed up 4 or 5 for family members and none of them had any way of removing hot air except the psu, which is normally pretty busy shedding it's own heat.

    Fibretip on
    I believe in angels, not the kind with wings, no...not the kind with halos, the kind who bring you home
  • Options
    AikanaroAikanaro Registered User new member
    edited November 2006
    robaal wrote:
    I'm not sure if it's the case with this retailer, but from what I've read usually the upgrade is to the Home Basic version, which doesn't have Aero, most noticeably.

    In this case, Mesh Computers do offer Vista Premium. However, as the proud owner of a Mesh system I'd rather have my teeth pulled out with a pair of rusty pliers than buy from them again. If you don't have a hardware problem, they're okay. If you need technical support, they suck.

    Also, to the original poster specifically: the 7300 is really not what you want to use for playing games. Getting that card wouldn't be a trade-off in price and power, it would literally mean not being able to play most new games at all.

    I myself am planning to buy a new PC soon, and I'm looking into this for my next:

    http://www.eclipse-computers.com/systemview.aspx?id=96

    It appears to be a good price for good components, though I might be missing something obvious.

    Aikanaro on
  • Options
    FibretipFibretip Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    lo and behold, i opened my new copy of PC Zone this morning to be greeted by an article specifically on Mesh messing up orders.... sending the wrong parts, computer not running properly (was delivered dead, took ages to get even a partial fix done), not giving people backup drivers and software etc.... just thought i'd bring that up too.

    Fibretip on
    I believe in angels, not the kind with wings, no...not the kind with halos, the kind who bring you home
  • Options
    Locust76Locust76 Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    itylus wrote:
    If you're about to give up on it anyway, you could try wiping the laptop and installing Linux. You might be surprised by how much faster it starts up/runs.

    He'd also be suprised how fast it runs the programs that he doesn't have! He said he's "moderately proficient" and doesn't understand graphics cards. How would Linux help him?

    Anyways, dual-core is definitely the way to go and if you can get it, get 2gb of ram and the 7600 GS. 2gb of memory will make a lot of difference with multitasking.

    Locust76 on
  • Options
    ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Quite so; Linux isn't for all.

    It doesn't actually mention fans at all on the page. :? I'll bear the graphics card thing in mind though. I'm not sure what to think of customer support really; whenever I go on any consumer satisfaction site, every company has negative stuff on it. I'm going to go away and build this same bundle at various other manufacturers though, to check the price.

    Æthelred on
    pokes: 1505 8032 8399
  • Options
    crakecrake Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Firstly, I want to add my vote to the "it's always worth the money for more ram" Hands down.

    I did want to mention that I feel that computer is pretty pricy considering it's specs. Now I hardly know anything about your economy, but I'm paying less in canada for more machine. I'd just like to encourage you to look around a bit more to make sure you're getting the best deal you can.

    crake on
  • Options
    stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    The consensus I am seeing is to buy form someone else. If you Google mesh computers, they have mediocre ratings at best. They are nicknamed mess computers. The third or fourth most popular link refers to their poor service and poor build quality.

    stigweard on
  • Options
    ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I've put the same thing together at http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk for £200 cheaper. Seem to have good reviews.

    Æthelred on
    pokes: 1505 8032 8399
Sign In or Register to comment.