Girl Friend Needs New Desktop

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

I am looking for ideas about what to get for my girl friend. She does
E-mail, web surfing, casual photo editing, casual audio, games like
Spider Solitaire, Helicopter and Parachute. In other words, no heavy
lifting. But, she does get frustrated with slow graphics, slow web
page loading, in other words, she wants things to happen fast. Or at
least appear to happen fast.

So, what are your thoughts? Should I build something or just buy
something off the shelf? If build, what motherboard would be a good
start? If buy, what desktop manufacturer would you suggest? I only
have experience with Intel CPUs and I would use WinXP Home.

Thanks and regards, hawk
21 answers Last reply
More about girl friend desktop
  1. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    "hawk" <hawk@spamex.com> wrote in message
    news:10f6645815vo6f3@corp.supernews.com...
    > I am looking for ideas about what to get for my girl friend. She does
    > E-mail, web surfing, casual photo editing, casual audio, games like
    > Spider Solitaire, Helicopter and Parachute. In other words, no heavy
    > lifting. But, she does get frustrated with slow graphics, slow web
    > page loading, in other words, she wants things to happen fast. Or at
    > least appear to happen fast.
    >
    > So, what are your thoughts? Should I build something or just buy
    > something off the shelf? If build, what motherboard would be a good
    > start? If buy, what desktop manufacturer would you suggest? I only
    > have experience with Intel CPUs and I would use WinXP Home.
    >
    > Thanks and regards, hawk

    It sounds like your best solution might not be a new computer at all. Web
    pages loading slow are usually a combination of poor ISP and/or using
    Internet Explorer as a web browser. You want to speed things up, try:

    1) Cable modem or DSL for Internet access
    2) If DSL, buy a broadband sharing router to maintain the PPPOE connection
    for you, as this is faster and more reliable than PPPOE software. If you
    use a cable modem, you might want to buy one anyway, to share the connection
    with other computers.
    3) Import the IE favorites into a faster browser, such as Firefox from
    www.mozilla.org . Not only will the software load web pages faster than IE,
    but it will speed up browsing in other ways, such as tabbed browsing, in
    particular.

    If you've already done all of the above, go to www.broadbandreports.com and
    read up on tweaking your broadband Internet connection. It could just be
    that some settings need some tweaking.

    If you are determined to start with new hardware, it would be better to
    build your own. Just about any P4 or Athlon 64 class system with 512MB or
    more of RAM should do just fine with Windows XP home. The reason you want
    to build your own is that your selection of video cards will be limited if
    you buy from a desktop manufacturer. Even if the desktop manufacturer
    offers the video card you would want to buy, it will be a mucho expensive
    upgrade option, way above what the video card SHOULD cost, compared to the
    standard equipment cheapo video card. As for what video card to get, go for
    a higher mid-range card that is good for gamers. Some would argue that
    something like the Matrox line is better for graphic quality, but that's not
    true. Any good 3D gaming card sold today will offer good 2D picture
    quality, as well as speed. If you really need speedy graphics, talk to the
    gamers and you can't go wrong. If you want more specific recommendation, I
    just grabbed the following from www.mwave.com Add a hard drive, case, power
    supply and DVD drive of some sort (dual layer burner?) -Dave

    MB-BA03127 -BA20231 -BA19698 -BA19624 -BA08603 - (*Free FarCry PC Game
    w/Purchase, While Supply Last! )
    AMD ATHLON 64 3000+ OEM 64-BIT BUNDLE W/ Details (FARCRY PC GAME; EPOX
    8HDA3+-MB; MWAVE COPPER PLATE FAN; KINGSTON 512MB DDR400; NO TESTING)
    $405.50 $405.50

    AA25900 ASUS RADEON 9600XT-VTD 128MB DDR 8XAGP W/TV DVI & VIVO Details
    $179.00 $179.00
    Sub Total $584.50


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  2. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Thanks for your reply. I have cable that consistently gives 2 mbps via
    a router and network. And I have used Broadbandreports and PCPitstop
    to tweak, etc. And I have her set up with Netscape 7.1. I suppose I
    could switch her to Firefox, I use Mozilla 1.7. Do you think there
    would be any significant difference between Netscape 7.1 and Mozilla
    newest?

    I have no experience and no confidence in any chip other than Intel.
    Mwave is where I bought my last personal build. I had some bad
    experience with ATI cards and very good experience with Nvidia, so I
    was thinking maybe a 3 GHz P4 with a good Nvidia video card, not the
    latest and greatest gamer's card, but maybe a "last generation"
    gamer's card.

    Any other thoughts?

    hawk

    Dave C. wrote:

    > "hawk" <hawk@spamex.com> wrote in message
    > news:10f6645815vo6f3@corp.supernews.com...
    >
    >>I am looking for ideas about what to get for my girl friend. She does
    >>E-mail, web surfing, casual photo editing, casual audio, games like
    >>Spider Solitaire, Helicopter and Parachute. In other words, no heavy
    >>lifting. But, she does get frustrated with slow graphics, slow web
    >>page loading, in other words, she wants things to happen fast. Or at
    >>least appear to happen fast.
    >>
    >>So, what are your thoughts? Should I build something or just buy
    >>something off the shelf? If build, what motherboard would be a good
    >>start? If buy, what desktop manufacturer would you suggest? I only
    >>have experience with Intel CPUs and I would use WinXP Home.
    >>
    >>Thanks and regards, hawk
    >
    >
    > It sounds like your best solution might not be a new computer at all. Web
    > pages loading slow are usually a combination of poor ISP and/or using
    > Internet Explorer as a web browser. You want to speed things up, try:
    >
    > 1) Cable modem or DSL for Internet access
    > 2) If DSL, buy a broadband sharing router to maintain the PPPOE connection
    > for you, as this is faster and more reliable than PPPOE software. If you
    > use a cable modem, you might want to buy one anyway, to share the connection
    > with other computers.
    > 3) Import the IE favorites into a faster browser, such as Firefox from
    > www.mozilla.org . Not only will the software load web pages faster than IE,
    > but it will speed up browsing in other ways, such as tabbed browsing, in
    > particular.
    >
    > If you've already done all of the above, go to www.broadbandreports.com and
    > read up on tweaking your broadband Internet connection. It could just be
    > that some settings need some tweaking.
    >
    > If you are determined to start with new hardware, it would be better to
    > build your own. Just about any P4 or Athlon 64 class system with 512MB or
    > more of RAM should do just fine with Windows XP home. The reason you want
    > to build your own is that your selection of video cards will be limited if
    > you buy from a desktop manufacturer. Even if the desktop manufacturer
    > offers the video card you would want to buy, it will be a mucho expensive
    > upgrade option, way above what the video card SHOULD cost, compared to the
    > standard equipment cheapo video card. As for what video card to get, go for
    > a higher mid-range card that is good for gamers. Some would argue that
    > something like the Matrox line is better for graphic quality, but that's not
    > true. Any good 3D gaming card sold today will offer good 2D picture
    > quality, as well as speed. If you really need speedy graphics, talk to the
    > gamers and you can't go wrong. If you want more specific recommendation, I
    > just grabbed the following from www.mwave.com Add a hard drive, case, power
    > supply and DVD drive of some sort (dual layer burner?) -Dave
    >
    > MB-BA03127 -BA20231 -BA19698 -BA19624 -BA08603 - (*Free FarCry PC Game
    > w/Purchase, While Supply Last! )
    > AMD ATHLON 64 3000+ OEM 64-BIT BUNDLE W/ Details (FARCRY PC GAME; EPOX
    > 8HDA3+-MB; MWAVE COPPER PLATE FAN; KINGSTON 512MB DDR400; NO TESTING)
    > $405.50 $405.50
    >
    > AA25900 ASUS RADEON 9600XT-VTD 128MB DDR 8XAGP W/TV DVI & VIVO Details
    > $179.00 $179.00
    > Sub Total $584.50
    >
    >
    >
  3. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    hawk wrote:

    > So, what are your thoughts? Should I build something or just buy
    > something off the shelf?

    Hmm. You post this to alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt, and what kind of
    an answer do you expect?
  4. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    hawk wrote:

    > So, what are your thoughts?

    Build her a nice homebuilt with a Nforce2 mobo (several nice ones
    available with onboard vid and sound), AMD Athlon XP CPU (333 FSB), at
    least 512 MB DDR RAM, a Seagate 7200 RPM EIDE HD, a DVD/CD-RW, FDD, and
    be sure you have at least a 350 W power supply in the case.
  5. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    "hawk" <hawk@spamex.com> wrote...
    > I am looking for ideas about what to get for my girl friend. She does
    > E-mail, web surfing, casual photo editing, casual audio, games like
    > Spider Solitaire, Helicopter and Parachute. In other words, no heavy
    > lifting. But, she does get frustrated with slow graphics, slow web
    > page loading, in other words, she wants things to happen fast. Or at
    > least appear to happen fast.
    >
    > So, what are your thoughts? Should I build something or just buy
    > something off the shelf? If build, what motherboard would be a good
    > start? If buy, what desktop manufacturer would you suggest? I only
    > have experience with Intel CPUs and I would use WinXP Home.

    Buy her a cable Internet connection!

    Speed of web page loading will be restricted by the download speed; any
    computer will be able to keep up with a dial-up or home-grade DSL connection
    (<1 Mbps), and I can't think of a modern computer that wouldn't keep up with
    a cable connection (<5Mbps). Just ensure it has enough RAM (512 MB) to
    preclude swapping to the pagefile on large graphics.
  6. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    for $ vs punch I go with AMD everytime.
    never had a problem
  7. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Tell me more. What do you suggest for CPU? What do you suggest for
    motherboard? What do you suggest for video adapter?

    hawk

    -Alby Hewlet wrote:

    > for $ vs punch I go with AMD everytime.
    > never had a problem
    >
    >
  8. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    "hawk" <hawk@spamex.com> wrote...
    > I have cable that consistently gives 2 mbps via
    > a router and network. And I have used Broadbandreports and PCPitstop
    > to tweak, etc. And I have her set up with Netscape 7.1. I suppose I
    > could switch her to Firefox, I use Mozilla 1.7. Do you think there
    > would be any significant difference between Netscape 7.1 and Mozilla
    > newest?

    What are the specs for her current computer?

    Netscape 7.1 could be the culprit; IIRC it is based on the Mozilla 1.02
    engine, and Mozilla 1.1+ has significant improvements.


    > I have no experience and no confidence in any chip other than Intel.
    > Mwave is where I bought my last personal build. I had some bad
    > experience with ATI cards and very good experience with Nvidia, so I
    > was thinking maybe a 3 GHz P4 with a good Nvidia video card, not the
    > latest and greatest gamer's card, but maybe a "last generation"
    > gamer's card.

    If she's not into 3D games, find a card that's tuned for 2D; Matrox has a
    couple that are regarded as among the best for "business apps" (i.e., 2D
    performance). Otherwise, your idea of a previous-gen 3D card is good.
  9. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Yes, her current computer is a Sony Laptop PCG-GRT150. It is 2.8 GHz
    P4 with an Nvidia video adaper and 60 GB hard drive. She uses it when
    we travel and as her main home computer. She needs a "main computer"
    at her desktop.

    Regards, hawk

    John R Weiss wrote:

    > "hawk" <hawk@spamex.com> wrote...
    >
    >> I have cable that consistently gives 2 mbps via
    >>a router and network. And I have used Broadbandreports and PCPitstop
    >>to tweak, etc. And I have her set up with Netscape 7.1. I suppose I
    >>could switch her to Firefox, I use Mozilla 1.7. Do you think there
    >>would be any significant difference between Netscape 7.1 and Mozilla
    >>newest?
    >
    >
    > What are the specs for her current computer?
    >
    > Netscape 7.1 could be the culprit; IIRC it is based on the Mozilla 1.02
    > engine, and Mozilla 1.1+ has significant improvements.
    >
    >
    >
    >>I have no experience and no confidence in any chip other than Intel.
    >>Mwave is where I bought my last personal build. I had some bad
    >>experience with ATI cards and very good experience with Nvidia, so I
    >>was thinking maybe a 3 GHz P4 with a good Nvidia video card, not the
    >>latest and greatest gamer's card, but maybe a "last generation"
    >>gamer's card.
    >
    >
    > If she's not into 3D games, find a card that's tuned for 2D; Matrox has a
    > couple that are regarded as among the best for "business apps" (i.e., 2D
    > performance). Otherwise, your idea of a previous-gen 3D card is good.
    >
    >
  10. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    hawk <hawk@spamex.com> said:

    > so I
    > was thinking maybe a 3 GHz P4 with a good Nvidia video card

    Sounds like overkill for her computing needs. Mwave has a good deal on a
    2.4Ghz and you get some kind of free bunny man to give your girlfriend or
    drag behind your car ;)
    --
    Mac Cool
  11. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    "hawk" <hawk@spamex.com> wrote in message
    news:10f69gm53auue56@corp.supernews.com...
    > Thanks for your reply. I have cable that consistently gives 2 mbps via
    > a router and network. And I have used Broadbandreports and PCPitstop
    > to tweak, etc. And I have her set up with Netscape 7.1. I suppose I
    > could switch her to Firefox, I use Mozilla 1.7. Do you think there
    > would be any significant difference between Netscape 7.1 and Mozilla
    > newest?
    >
    > I have no experience and no confidence in any chip other than Intel.
    > Mwave is where I bought my last personal build. I had some bad
    > experience with ATI cards and very good experience with Nvidia, so I
    > was thinking maybe a 3 GHz P4 with a good Nvidia video card, not the
    > latest and greatest gamer's card, but maybe a "last generation"
    > gamer's card.
    >
    > Any other thoughts?
    >
    > hawk
    >

    Yes! Mozilla's latest release will be better than Netscape. The only
    significant difference between Intel and AMD microprocessors is price. Even
    that is negligible at the high end. For a mid-range system, AMD will be
    faster and cheaper. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with building
    with an Intel CPU. It will just cost you more. If you like nvidia, try
    finding a 5900XT for around $150. If you go that route, you could build a
    total nvidia system by going nforce3/Athlon64/5900XT. But then you'd have
    to use an AMD processor. -Dave
  12. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Well, I don't know where to ask for advice on off the shelf stuff that
    won't be biased toward Dell, Gateway, etc. Any suggestions regarding
    off the shelf would be welcome.

    hawk

    ToolPackinMama wrote:

    > hawk wrote:
    >
    >
    >>So, what are your thoughts? Should I build something or just buy
    >>something off the shelf?
    >
    >
    > Hmm. You post this to alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt, and what kind of
    > an answer do you expect?
  13. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    hawk wrote:
    >
    > Well, I don't know where to ask for advice on off the shelf stuff that
    > won't be biased toward Dell, Gateway, etc. Any suggestions regarding
    > off the shelf would be welcome.

    Well, my ~totally unbiased~ opinion about all "off-the-shelf" PCs is
    that they are overpriced garbage that are overstuffed with shoddy
    software.

    This may explain why I prefer homebuilts.
  14. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    "hawk" <hawk@spamex.com> wrote...
    > Well, I don't know where to ask for advice on off the shelf stuff that
    > won't be biased toward Dell, Gateway, etc. Any suggestions regarding
    > off the shelf would be welcome.

    Gateway has been going downhill for a couple years. Dell still appears OK
    for low-end machines.

    How about compromising, and get a "custom built" machine from a local shop?
  15. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Yes maybe. I have purchased from Multiwave before. They usually have a
    few prebuilt systems available. I live in a small town, not much
    choice locally and sales tax usually costs more than shipping.

    hawk

    John R Weiss wrote:
    > "hawk" <hawk@spamex.com> wrote...
    >
    >>Well, I don't know where to ask for advice on off the shelf stuff that
    >>won't be biased toward Dell, Gateway, etc. Any suggestions regarding
    >>off the shelf would be welcome.
    >
    >
    > Gateway has been going downhill for a couple years. Dell still appears OK
    > for low-end machines.
    >
    > How about compromising, and get a "custom built" machine from a local shop?
    >
    >
  16. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    hawk wrote:
    >
    > Yes maybe. I have purchased from Multiwave before. They usually have a
    > few prebuilt systems available. I live in a small town, not much
    > choice locally and sales tax usually costs more than shipping.

    Not to mention the retail markup. I buy most of my stuff from
    newegg.com, and I often get free shipping on many items.

    There are some vendors that might be a bit cheaper than New Egg, but I
    trust New Egg. They have always been very good to me.
  17. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    hawk wrote:

    > I am looking for ideas about what to get for my girl friend. She does
    > E-mail, web surfing, casual photo editing, casual audio, games like
    > Spider Solitaire, Helicopter and Parachute. In other words, no heavy
    > lifting. But, she does get frustrated with slow graphics, slow web
    > page loading, in other words, she wants things to happen fast. Or at
    > least appear to happen fast.
    >
    > So, what are your thoughts? Should I build something or just buy
    > something off the shelf? If build, what motherboard would be a good
    > start? If buy, what desktop manufacturer would you suggest? I only
    > have experience with Intel CPUs and I would use WinXP Home.
    >
    > Thanks and regards, hawk

    A good site for build recommendations is www.pcmech.com/

    I recommend something like a build:

    Antec SLK3700BQE Case w/350watt Power supply
    Asus A7N8X Ultra 400 Motherboard
    AMD XP2800
    512Meg DDR3200 RAM
    Floppy
    CDRW/DVDROM drive Lite-On brand
    80 Gig WD Hard Drive
    Maybe a Flash Card Reader.
    Sapphire 9600 Video Card.
  18. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    hawk wrote:

    > I am looking for ideas about what to get for my girl friend. She does
    > E-mail, web surfing, casual photo editing, casual audio, games like
    > Spider Solitaire, Helicopter and Parachute. In other words, no heavy
    > lifting. But, she does get frustrated with slow graphics, slow web
    > page loading, in other words, she wants things to happen fast. Or at
    > least appear to happen fast.
    >
    > So, what are your thoughts? Should I build something or just buy
    > something off the shelf? If build, what motherboard would be a good
    > start? If buy, what desktop manufacturer would you suggest? I only
    > have experience with Intel CPUs and I would use WinXP Home.
    >
    > Thanks and regards, hawk
    Anandtech has a nice guide for an entry level system.

    http://www.anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=2110
  19. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    hawk wrote:

    > Yes, her current computer is a Sony Laptop PCG-GRT150. It is 2.8 GHz
    > P4 with an Nvidia video adaper and 60 GB hard drive. She uses it when
    > we travel and as her main home computer. She needs a "main computer"
    > at her desktop.
    >
    > Regards, hawk
    >
    > John R Weiss wrote:
    >
    >> "hawk" <hawk@spamex.com> wrote...
    >>
    >>> I have cable that consistently gives 2 mbps via
    >>>a router and network. And I have used Broadbandreports and PCPitstop
    >>>to tweak, etc. And I have her set up with Netscape 7.1. I suppose I
    >>>could switch her to Firefox, I use Mozilla 1.7. Do you think there
    >>>would be any significant difference between Netscape 7.1 and Mozilla
    >>>newest?
    >>
    >>
    >> What are the specs for her current computer?
    >>
    >> Netscape 7.1 could be the culprit; IIRC it is based on the Mozilla 1.02
    >> engine, and Mozilla 1.1+ has significant improvements.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>>I have no experience and no confidence in any chip other than Intel.
    >>>Mwave is where I bought my last personal build. I had some bad
    >>>experience with ATI cards and very good experience with Nvidia, so I
    >>>was thinking maybe a 3 GHz P4 with a good Nvidia video card, not the
    >>>latest and greatest gamer's card, but maybe a "last generation"
    >>>gamer's card.
    >>
    >>
    >> If she's not into 3D games, find a card that's tuned for 2D; Matrox has a
    >> couple that are regarded as among the best for "business apps" (i.e., 2D
    >> performance). Otherwise, your idea of a previous-gen 3D card is good.
    >>
    >>
    Intel is trying very hard to make a better processor than AMD but they are
    having lots of trouble. Their Prescott processors are running Hot, so dont
    get a Prescott core P4, get a top end 800Mhz FSB like 3.0 Gig P4C. I
    disagree that the ATI video cards are not as good as Nvidia. ATI is making
    the better video card. However if you have $450 buy a 6800 nvidia Card it
    runs just as great. Get a 450watt power supply.
  20. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    hawk wrote:
    >
    > Hey Mama, you sound like my kind of gal.

    :)
  21. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    you have 3 options:

    1. go to a computer show and buy a bare bones or system there.
    It will be less than the cost of the parts you can buy, and you'll
    know it boots before you bring it home.

    2. If you have to build it yourself to to pricewatch.com and look at
    the barebones systems, and the mobo/cpu combos. Pick a price point
    and buy the cheapest one.

    3. Buy one from a screwdrive shop or a mass marketer. You get
    what you pay for here, after a mark-up, of course.

    As for the other parts, watch the Sunday papers and bite the bullet
    with the rebates and get the parts where the best rebates are. It takes
    a little longer but you that way you'll maximise what you get for what
    you pay.

    Sometimes I do it the otherway round, and buy the memory first.
    Whatever is cheapest at bestbuy, staples, office max, circuit city,
    etc., and then buy the cheapest mobo/cpu combo that runs that memory.

    Any integrated video/audio/nic board is more than sufficient
    these days for general computing. I think you can get a
    80 gig hard drive at best buy for $40 after rebates this week.

    A duron 1.1 gig cpu/mobo combo at pricewatch is going for $70.

    So, $70 + $40 + opticals, + ram should do it. Oh yeah, and a
    case.

    Good luck
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