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Author Topic: Advice Would be Appreciated; Buying a New computer
LAW G4
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Icon 5 posted April 13, 2011 18:36      Profile for LAW G4     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am going to buy a new computer in the near future and was hoping for some advice as I am pretty much a computer illiterate.

Main Info:
Need the pc for gaming
Have a budget of $2000 ($1500 would be better)

Other Info:
I would like to get a good motherboard so that upgrading will be easier in the future
Getting Windows 7 is not part of the budget

Current Specs:
Asus P5KR Motherboard
2 x 1GB Ram (DDR2 I believe)
NVidia GeForce 8800GT (512Mb, and possibly broken)
Intel Core Two Duo 2.66GHz,2.67GHz
Windows XP

Just tell me if I forgot anything in the specs.

All advice is appreciated as I am really lost as to what types of hardware I should get.

Also, I was wondering if any of my current hardware could be used in the new computer (not to replace the new hardware, just add to it) such as ram, processor and hard drive.

EDIT: Windows 7 as not part of the budget means that I will be getting it for free from a friend. I will be using Windows 7 of my new computer.

Posts: 7 | From: Western Australia | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted April 14, 2011 00:40      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ There may be some gamers on this board, however boards dedicated to building gaming machines and modifying hardware may be a better place to ask. That said Welcome to GeekCulture!!

____ If you bookmark- "freshest fifteen posts" or "freshest fifteen topics." It is easier to check on replies, however then the board owners don't get to show you the ads.

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LAW G4
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Icon 1 posted April 14, 2011 01:18      Profile for LAW G4     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the advice
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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted April 14, 2011 02:03      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oops, in my orig. reply I totally misunderstood what you were asking.

If you have $1.5k to spend, you should replace everything except for maybe your computer's case.

DDR2 is outdated, and LGA775 is too, I think.

Worrying about future upgradability is silly, imho. By the time you're ready to upgrade again your board will be outdated again!

Find a quad-, sexto-, or octo- core processor and shove 4GB of DDR3 into your new board. Using WinXP means that you're stuck to a 4GB RAM ceiling and any 64-bit processor is pretty much pointless. It won't hurt if you have more than 4GB RAM and a 64-bit processor, but you won't be using either to their full potential with XP.

--------------------
"Buy low, sell high
get rich and you still die"


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Stibbons
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Icon 1 posted April 14, 2011 04:41      Profile for Stibbons   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MacManKrisK:
It won't hurt if you have more than 4GB RAM and a 64-bit processor, but you won't be using either to their full potential with XP.

XP 64 bit, of course! Actually, that's a joke - I installed it on a spare partition because I had no other licenses left over from my MSDN days, purely to sync my iPhone. Turns out iTunes, like most things, doesn't work with XP64 (you can hack it so it installs, but it bricked two phones trying to update iOS)
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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted April 14, 2011 08:03      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I got a new PC a couple of months ago, Acer, core i7 (2.8 GHz, quad core with hyperthreading) 8GB DDR3 RAM, Radeon HD 5500 video card, 2 x 1TB hard disks, Windows 7

$A 1330.

The video card's not what I'd recommend for a serious gamer, but the rest of the system pretty much kicks arse, and I'm hugely impressed with what you can buy for 'small change' these days.

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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LAW G4
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Icon 1 posted April 14, 2011 23:54      Profile for LAW G4     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
I got a new PC a couple of months ago, Acer, core i7 (2.8 GHz, quad core with hyperthreading) 8GB DDR3 RAM, Radeon HD 5500 video card, 2 x 1TB hard disks, Windows 7

$A 1330.

The video card's not what I'd recommend for a serious gamer, but the rest of the system pretty much kicks arse, and I'm hugely impressed with what you can buy for 'small change' these days.

Wow... I am just in awe of what you got for that amount of money...
I am aiming for pretty much the same thing but I could probably go for just one 1TB hard disk and maybe get a "solid state" hard drive (not entirely sure what it is, just heard that it is good) as well.

Btw, whats hyperthreading? and overclocking (I know it is meant to speed up the computer just what damage does it do and how do you use it)?

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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted April 15, 2011 03:46      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you don't know what a solid state hard drive is, you probably don't need one, by the next time you want to upgrade they'll be more suited for "mainstream" use.

Hyperthreading is something awesome that new processors do. Some of the more low-level-hardware-savvy geeks around here understand it more fully. Basically, any new processor you buy will be hyperthreaded.

Overclocking is something you do to your system. Your processor and RAM are designed to run at a certain speed, for instance, your processor runs at 3.2GHz and your RAM runs at 800MHz. Overclocking is the process by which you push those components to speeds that are faster than they are designed to go, for example you could push the above processor to 3.8GHz and RAM to 1000MHz (1GHz). Overclocking is achieved by either flipping DIP switches or moving jumpers on the motherboard, or by tweaking settings in your computer's BIOS setup. The danger is that when you push these components over their designed specifications they create more heat; heat is BAD for components, it causes more wear. If you push things too far you can burn things out instantly. There are MANY good tutorials on overclocking, just search google for "overclocking how-to." Bottom line though: if you don't know what you're doing, don't overclock!

--------------------
"Buy low, sell high
get rich and you still die"


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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted April 15, 2011 04:04      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Why don't you get a laptop instead? You can get a 17" Dell with i7, 1080p LCD, 8GB RAM and a semi-decent gaming video card for under $1300 - just customize one here to get it over $1500, then apply coupon codes 8GHR80Q1PLLCF7, QFSNKXG0P1S1BK and HLSKSR06S9ZG0F for $350 off and free shipping. Not as glamorous as a MBP, obviously, but you'd pay twice as much for one with similar specs.

EDIT: Never mind, didn't realize you were in Australia.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted April 15, 2011 06:09      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A simplified and kinda right/kinda wrong explanation of hyperthreading:

First, let's consider a non-hyperthreaded processor.

A thread starts and it loads commands to the CPU which are executed, causing data to be loaded into registers, modified, then written back out to memory. This continues without interruption.

When multiple threads are being executed, however, the processor has to switche back and forth between them. The first thread runs for a while and then a new thread starts. The processor suspends the first thread, takes the contents of the registers and stores them, then switches to the new thread. The new thread runs for a while until the processor suspends it and takes the contents of the registers and stores them. The processor then loads the values that were stored from the first thread and restarts that thread. It continues in this way, switching back and forth between threads.

Doing this allows the processor to run multiple programs at once without the programs having been written to cooperate with one another (nobody misses Windows 3.1's multitasking). The downside is that a lot of processor cycles are used loading and storing registers (and other related things).

Hyper-Threading allows a CPU to emulate multiple CPUs. This is done by duplicating the parts of the CPU that store data, but not the parts that actually execute commands. By doing this multiple threads can be executed in a way that allows the processor to switch back and forth between them without having to waste time swapping register contents. This can improve performance significantly if the OS is designed to take advantage of it.

All that having been said, I see that LAW G4 said that Windows 7 was not in the budget. It's worth pointing out that hyperthreading is enabled in XP Pro but disabled in XP Home (he didn't mention which he had).

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted April 15, 2011 08:38      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LAW G4:
Wow... I am just in awe of what you got for that amount of money...

I got lucky. JB HiFi was selling it reduced in price "display stock" - but still qualifying for the Acer "Cash Back" offer that was going. The combination of the two discounts made for a pretty keen price.

That said, Dell has something even better for $A1699 at the moment, so it's not too hard to get a kick-arse system for less than $2K

quote:
Originally posted by MacManKrisK:
Basically, any new processor you buy will be hyperthreaded.

Many Core i5's don't, it's Intels way of encouraging you to get a Core i7.

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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LAW G4
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Icon 1 posted April 15, 2011 16:43      Profile for LAW G4     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
That said, Dell has something even better for $A1699 at the moment, so it's not too hard to get a kick-arse system for less than $2K

Is it a good idea getting a pre-built system (buying one from JB hi fi where you do not choose what goes in it). Isn't it better (better computer) and more cost effective to choose your own parts?
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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted April 15, 2011 17:17      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LAW G4:
Isn't it better (better computer) and more cost effective to choose your own parts?

Depends.

Haven't done a comparison recently, but I doubt if the retail price of the case, MB, RAM, Power Supply, Blu-ray drive, Windows, misc cables, etc would be much less than the price of a complete system, and it could easily turn out to be more. Dell buys in bulk.

Besides, if you have 10 thumbs like I do, building your own system's not that appealing a prospect.

(edit: Just noticed, the price of that system's dropped $200 since I first linked to it)

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted April 16, 2011 04:18      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LAW G4:

I am aiming for pretty much the same thing but I could probably go for just one 1TB hard disk and maybe get a "solid state" hard drive (not entirely sure what it is, just heard that it is good) as well.

Heh. About six months ago I looked into solid states to use as a back-up disk - spending a week burning all my data to DVDs just wasn't appealing (been there, done that, gave the binderful to my former boss and told him to have fun) and I've seem too many standard (magnets and plates) HDs fail because someone decided to pick it up and move it before it had fully spun down, or fail because some HDs just seem born to do that. Anyway, I didn't do it. I could find a 1 TB external HD for $99 USD and I was probably getting screwed in that deal but it wasn't my money anyway. A solid state that size costs around $3K USD. For $99 USD, I couldn't find a solid state HD that more than 100 GB. In fact, I'm not sure I found anything with more than 50. So I bought a 1TB standard external HD, put it in an out of the way corner of a shelf near my desk, and put a "Touch and die" label on it.
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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted April 16, 2011 10:55      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
About six months ago I looked into solid states to use as a back-up disk - spending a week burning all my data to DVDs just wasn't appealing (been there, done that, gave the binderful to my former boss and told him to have fun) and I've seem too many standard (magnets and plates) HDs fail because someone decided to pick it up and move it before it had fully spun down, or fail because some HDs just seem born to do that.

Yeah, I've had too many HDs fail to trust them, but I don't trust DVDs either (they're getting less and less reliable) and I've even seen solid state drives (i.e. USB sticks) fail. Put the file on, read it back to be sure everything is ok, and then when I really wanted the file - read errors all over the place. Solid State is not a guarantee.

The only safe solution is to have multiple backups.

For the backups I make at work I have 2 2TB external drives, one hooked up to the server in the office, the other sitting in a drawer in Casa Del Druid. Every Monday I swap them over. Any disaster bad enough to destroy the server HD, the backup at work, and the backup at home - well, I'll have far more important things to worry about then.

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted April 16, 2011 12:40      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Speaking with my networking hat on, I'd also recommend backing up to a SAN/NAS (the latter being /much/ cheaper). Obviously, this is most applicable at work, but one can pick up a NAS for home (sometimes sans drives) for not a lot, and then you can back up from multiple computers with little effort.

Of course, like the barefoot cobbler, I recommend this route to others far more than I implement it. Personally, I gave up on DVDs around about the time that 500 GB drives could be had for less than $100. For secure backup of not insignificant amounts of data, a laptop-style HD fits great in a safe deposit box. Also, for lesser quantities of really important data, SD cards are *fantastic* - they take the 'touch and die' factor out of things. [Wink]

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted April 16, 2011 17:17      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My lab actually has a NAS that's tended to by the department IT dudes. It is cranky and has been known to fail. It also gets full. All of these are reasons we don't use it to back things up.

It's great for transferring and sharing stuff around, though. And for temporary back ups...but we always dump what must never be lost or deleted onto DVDs and HDs.

At home I use a 1 TB HD. Time Machine is a wonderfully mindless way to keep your data backed up.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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LAW G4
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Icon 1 posted April 19, 2011 02:46      Profile for LAW G4     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Could someone please recommend a good motherboard (Intel and reasonably priced please) as I am starting to understand how to order all the parts and what I want but I need a starting point to base it all around.
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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted April 19, 2011 15:21      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pick a LGA1366 board from: tiger direct or NewEgg.

OR for a slightly more cost-effective choice, LGA1156: tiger direct or NewEgg

--------------------
"Buy low, sell high
get rich and you still die"


Posts: 2331 | From: Southwest Michigan, USA | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged


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