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Author Topic: Computer advice?
drwheartcat1286
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Icon 5 posted January 30, 2007 07:27      Profile for drwheartcat1286     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hello, I am searching for a computer and was wondering if I could get some advice and suggestions. At the moment, I have a homebuilt desktop which is slowly dying because it's about 5 years old. I'm ok with a desktop, but it would be nice to have something small and portable, and since I'm trying to study abroad next year, it would be nice to have a laptop. Also, I'm a studio arts major so will sometime have to do graphic design on the computer. I want to spend no more than $900, but the cheaper, the better. I found a Mac that I wanted, because I heard they were the best with art related things, but the sale dissapeared. My dad found an HP Pavilion dv2210us Entertainment Notebook PC at Staples for about $750. This is the link. http://www.staples.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StaplesProductDisplay?ts=1170146685323&prodCatType=1&storeId=10001&productId=164763&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&cmArea=FEATURED:SC3:C G71#desclink
What do you think? Is it a good computer? Will it last long? Is it good for art? Is it worth the price? I would greatly appreciate any input you may have. Thank you!

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Stereo

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Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 07:46      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Always remember: you get what you pay for. A cheap computer at full price is probably not worth the money in the long run.

Look for refurbished Mac portables (on Apple Store site). They're cheaper because they're not new, but rebuilt as if new.

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 07:54      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
1 A computer will not die after five years, it is just outdated. The "problems" would probably go away with a zero fill and a fresh install. And switch the power supply out for good measure.

As for the new computer, many others here can recomend good Macs. I'll stick to the HP side of the recomendations. I just bought a HP laptop for my wife, a HP compaq nx7400. The pavillion is the "home" line of laptops from HP. I bought one from the business line and think it is a better value for what we use it for. It was 1300 CHF so is probably in your price range. I would get the laptop with XP and maybe (like I did) set it up to dual boot a linux distro. I would stay away from a comp running the new vista if you are on a budget because Vista will eat up all your system performance.

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 08:14      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Again laptops are nice and beautifull to have, but remember for the same price as a laptop you can get a lot more performance from a desktop. That being said, a laptop is great tool to have especially if you are travelling. As for brand of laptop i would recommend sticking with top name brands and don't go for the cheapest thing they offer. I say don't go for the cheapest because usually they use cheap cheap parts, for a couple hundred bucks more you can get a way better machine, and unless you are carefull and have some computer knowledge chances are you will severly criple it within the first month (quarenteed).

I myself don't mind the dell laptops as they are in your price range and a well named brand who allows you to customize your laptop to your specifications (if u go for a desptop don't go dell). If you are going for a desktop then you have a lot wider selection and i think if you want a desktop geared towards art design then i would go custom made my someone in your area since they can give you the exact hardware you need.

dell

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 08:31      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
drwheartcat1286_____________________It depends on how you plan to use this box, Painter, Photoshop and other programs haw been ported to both windows & Macintosh. That said windows does not have Colorsync a part of the operating system, that is very important if you are doing color matching and hues are important.

For geometry based design (bridges, tunnels, and buildings) both machines fare well. When colors, shade and hue are important Macs hands down.

Games, Windows just because there is a bigger installed base of customers the games are ported to windows first.

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 09:12            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Computers should last forever, but they don't. By five years old, you need to have serious precautions in place for if the hard drive dies. Every fan in the PC can die, leading to sporadic if not frequent crashes. Components on the board can die: a server at work was experiencing frequent crashes from having numerous dead capacitors (the machine was starting to disintegrate). A failing hard drive reportedly makes the PC go slower and slower. I've also seen a PC where the IDE controller had partially failed, forcing the hard drive into PIO mode, and thus driving the CPU load to maximum to access it: that PC was extremely slow as a result, although otherwise fully functional. A friend was telling me last night of one her friend's PCs that has failing CPU cooling and would crash on longer compiles; she used cpuburn to drive the CPU load up and force a crash, demonstrating that the CPU was overheating. RAM can also start to become flaky, triggering random application or system crashes.

This is not counting the tendency for Windows to run slower and slower over time, getting more and more clogged up with junk. You may well find that reinstalling the operating system does a world of good and makes the system go full speed again.

But oh boy, there is an awful lot of things in hardware that will cause slowdowns and lock-ups. I don't know whether the odds favour software or hardware failure as being more likely.

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 12:01      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
uilleann _______ lol, u trying to scare 1286 ??? Yes some computers do fail after 5 years (i have a computer right now 5 years old which i've had to replace the mother board on and re-install the operating system a couple dozen times and its still dieying on me). But on the other hand i have a 8 year old computer which is working just fine. And i know a friend who has a 12 year which works fine. Usually to some people 5 year old computers seam to be dying because in comparison the computer beside it looks like a god.

Again if you need the graphic design programs i would recommend talking to a leader in your field and see what he uses and what he believes is the best. We all here have our favorite brands, models, and types and we could all tell you different things.

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 17:39            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
No, just poking some sense into Ashitaka again ;)

I don't need to explain my feelings on "dead" older PCs and software efficiency as I've explained that already. But if you want proof, download JujuEdit (for Windows). Launch Windows Notepad. Launch JujuEdit. Compare the launch times and compare the feature set. Now tell me why all other software is so damn slow?

But anyhow, I still have a home micro from about 1983 or so and aside from what I guess is a faulty capacitor (some component fails on all that range and makes it crash) it's still usable 26 years on. If it's a circuit component that's failed, it would be as good as new with a tiny fix.

What impressed me more is that my 486 has a rechageable motherboard battery that still recharges and functions after all these years. That PC is ... 13 years old or more. My StarMax is giving faithful service at about 10 years old (except the floppy drive is busted); my current PC is about 9 years old and running Windows 2000 just fine too.

So no, I believe that a well-made, well-looked-after computer will run for a long time. But then again, all the ones that aren't well made, won't! And none of my active hard drives are close to that age and, since they run all day and night, I'd not want them to ever reach that age :P Then again, the PC might need a new one soon as it's rapidly filling up. D'oh.

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 17:53      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
yup, its all about how you take care of your machine. This pc (almost 2 years old now, the times have flown by) is in need of a re-format because i've started that bad old habit of downloading little programs to do odd jobs every month or so which really clogs up the computer. Which is why my computer budget this year will be spent on a new external hard drive which will hopefully alow me to re-format the hard drive without loosing anything on a more regular basis.

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted January 30, 2007 19:22            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It is not "all about" that at all. You can take perfect care of it and it still dies -- certain brands *cough* Apple, Dell *cough* have a habit of making dying machines (in Dell's case, disintegrating laptops). Sadly, plenty of parts can and will die, from plenty of brands. Just life ... Like how most Issue 4 BBC Micros have fried video chips (and thus quite wacky video) and start to run for less time each day before they crash, until they finally crash during POST. The longer you leave them without use (in days and weeks) the longer they'll go for without crashing. No idea what component causes this, it's a weird pattern.

My StarMax floppy drive broke through sheer lack of use; I think it got bored and committed suicide.

As for laptop vs desktop -- personally, I still loathe laptop TFTs. They just refuse to give a visually consistent image from top to bottom. With your eye level with the top of the screen, classic TFTs are darker at the bottom due to viewing angle. This is a real pain doing photo retouching. The new ultra-black TFTs, on laptops at least, are jet black at the top and all bright and washed out at the bottom: again, crap.

If desktop TFTs are also this horrible, I'd get a CRT: they just work! A laptop screen is just not ideal for graphics although for anything else, they're fine.

Now, I'm also the type to shove cards in, swap drives over and generally redo all the insides of my case. So, a laptop would worry me a little. But I imagine a modern laptop would leave me little to desire, and new optical drives can be fitted externally if you can't get one that fits your drive bay (or, with Macs, the internal drive cannot be removed)

Desktops have nicer keyboards, and trackpads drive me nuts. I like the convenience of a laptop but I prefer a full-size keyboard, a mouse, a CRT (so I get a decent picture), and a full-size hard drive (I don't trust 2.5" drive long-term reliability, although I'd probably not use a laptop as a permanent server on the Internet the way my PC now hosts an FTP server).

It's a question I've never been able to answer, but modern laptops are pretty sweet. And most now have higher resolution screens than my PC and Mac, just higher DPI (smaller screen but more workspace).

Using a regular keyboard is dumb, since the laptop would get in the way, so maybe a second, desktop screen and a docking station, so that the laptop will run with the lid closed and internal screen off, over on a shelf and just run it via a desktop screen (lower DPI, can sit further back and not have to squint to read it), full-size keyboard (especially as Mac laptop keyboards suck rocks), and a mouse. Sounds good to me :)

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Richard Wolf VI
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Icon 10 posted January 30, 2007 20:44      Profile for Richard Wolf VI   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I did some research and according to your query I'd recommend you the Dell Inspiron E1505. At $999 this laptop worths any penny of it: a Core 2 Duo processor, 1 GB of RAM, 120 GB HDD, ATI Radeon X1300 graphics... so it's a good price/quality offer.

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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted February 04, 2007 05:51      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You can get a refurbished iMac for under a grand.

You should watch out for windows machines right now because of all the VISTA confusion. There are a lot of negative reports on that OS right now, the most alarming of which is that its development may have caused the United States to invade Iraq.

I don't believe that report, but I figure where there is smoke there is fire. And there certainly is a lot of smoke and fire in Iraq.

I hope this helps.

Colonel Panic

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted February 04, 2007 08:49      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Colonel Panic:
You can get a refurbished iMac for under a grand.

You should watch out for windows machines right now because of all the VISTA confusion. There are a lot of negative reports on that OS right now, the most alarming of which is that its development may have caused the United States to invade Iraq.

I don't believe that report, but I figure where there is smoke there is fire. And there certainly is a lot of smoke and fire in Iraq.

I hope this helps.

Colonel Panic

hold on, hold on. you are telling him not to get a windows machine because of the vista confusion ?? I say you have to be carefull right now around the vista os, but there is nothing different with the computer itself then there was a month ago.

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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted February 04, 2007 11:56      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Stevenback,

I understand the computers are the same, but this Vista thing looks like it's shaping up to be a monsterous problem for anybody who owns one.

That should be taken into account by anybody purchasing a computer. I know the switch to intel and the Universal Binary issue has caused me to hold off on an Apple computer purchase.

Now with Adobe CS-3 coming out soon, and the next generation of Macs coming out at the same time, things should be settled down.

I doubt seriously this issue is settled out for the Windows system. This poor individual might find out the new windows box doesn't even work with Vista, or the new licensing scheme Microsoft has adopted has ID'd the computer as a pirate!

I've been reading all of this stuff in reports, and it simply reads like a big scary mess. To make things worse are increased reports that the "cheapy" computers come at the expense of tech support. Who needs to shell out a huge chunk of disposable income for headaches?

It seems a lot easier to buy a computer from a company that makes that computer's operating system.

Colonel Panic

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted February 04, 2007 12:51      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
CP

You mean that same company who removed the word 'computer' from its name ?

Yeah i know people should be carefull around vista and i do recommend that people stick with xp for now until most of the mayor problems are taken care off and that if they do go for vista that they don't get the vista basics because its basically xp with a different name.

But one thing i would recommend for laptops is to get a well tested and used model. Because there are a lot of shit laptops out there and its usually better to get a model even if it costs a hundred bucks extra which has been approved by the tech community. Because at first the laptops might look and work the same but usually one which has been used more by tech people will be the one which lasts the longest.

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 04, 2007 16:30            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Do you have a lot of major problems with your mayors in Canada?
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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted February 04, 2007 16:44      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
Do you have a lot of major problems with your mayors in Canada?

damn you uilleann !!!! stupid grammer nazi

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted February 04, 2007 17:31      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
Do you have a lot of major problems with your mayors in Canada?

damn you uilleann !!!! stupid grammer nazi
I don't think he's criticising your grammar. He's criticising your spelling.

Admit it, it was kinda funny. [Smile]

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 04, 2007 18:28            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It was the third instance of using 'mayor' for 'major' (although the words are etymologically the same) ... ;)
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spungo
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Icon 1 posted February 05, 2007 07:48      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Personally I find such vagrant disregard for language most upsettling. [Wink]

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garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted February 05, 2007 09:56      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Even in the Great Underground Empire flagrancy is a miner thing. [Big Grin]

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I don't know what I was thinking... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted February 05, 2007 15:14      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
now its one of those small mistakes you just make when typing blindly.

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