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Back-to-School System recommendations

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August 28, 2005 11:26:20 AM

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

So, my niece is starting her junior year in HS. She has an old Dell
that is too slow and obsolete. Like many of you in this group we are a
lightning rod for help and her father asked me for a system
recommendation. I suggested my niece and I could build one from
scratch. I could really use come recommendation from this esteemed
community on which components I should go with. I've been happy with
newegg in the past.

Requirements:
surfing, email, IM, MS office, minor photo editing, possibly writing
some simple VB apps.

Looking to spend $500-600. Keyboard, mice, speakers and monitor will be
reused. Just need the tower.

And if this makes any difference, something simple to assemble since
I'd like to actually have my neice assemble it herself with my counsel.

Recommendations will be greatly appreciated. TIA>
August 28, 2005 2:30:52 PM

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

Ruel,

Thank you very much for the information. Very impressive. I love the
looks of the box and the dual layer DVD

Is there a similar mobo that has onboard video? As you said, video
performance isn't very important. After all the video card is $95.

I'll check on the academic windows.XP. I think you're right

I need to weigh the experience of putting together a PC of her own with
the extra cost. She has expressed interest in a flat screen, which
would add to the cost and does come standard with the HP model.

Any thoughs on HP vs. eMachines if I go the buy route?
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
August 28, 2005 4:39:09 PM

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

"fedude" <fedude@rochester.rr.com> wrote in message
news:1125239180.721559.317110@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> So, my niece is starting her junior year in HS. She has an old Dell
> that is too slow and obsolete. Like many of you in this group we are a
> lightning rod for help and her father asked me for a system
> recommendation. I suggested my niece and I could build one from
> scratch. I could really use come recommendation from this esteemed
> community on which components I should go with. I've been happy with
> newegg in the past.
>
> Requirements:
> surfing, email, IM, MS office, minor photo editing, possibly writing
> some simple VB apps.
>
> Looking to spend $500-600. Keyboard, mice, speakers and monitor will be
> reused. Just need the tower.
>
> And if this makes any difference, something simple to assemble since
> I'd like to actually have my neice assemble it herself with my counsel.

First, let me state that you're at a very low pricepoint. Quite honestly, I
find that getting a bargain eMachines at that price after rebate gives you
more. The more money you spend, the more worthwhile it is to build.

With that said, take a look at these components:

Antec SLK1650B case with 350W SmartPower PSU - $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

MSI K8N Neo4-F - $83
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice core - $146
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Corsair 1GB Dual Channel Value memory - $88
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Albatron GeForce 6600 PCI-e - $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Western Digital SATA 3.0 160GB HDD - $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

LiteOn 1693 16X Dual Layer DVD +-R/RW - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Windows XP Home OEM - $92
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

Grand total: $683

Since she's in school, she might be able to get a copy of one of those
academic/two install-only versions of Windows XP for something like $5.
Likewise for Office, and Visual Studio. That'll save a lot of money.

Now, compare that to say...this:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=pcmprd399000...

$999 and $320 worth of rebates = $669. However, people have pointed out the
difficulty in obtaining Best Buy's rebates, but with a little work keeping
track and contacting them about them, you should see them all.

This computer is _loaded_ with features, including a new keyboard, printer,
monitor, digital card reader, and extra software. It does only include ATi
integrated graphics, but oh well... From your specs, graphics aren't that
high of a priority.
Related resources
August 28, 2005 5:52:00 PM

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

fedude wrote:
> So, my niece is starting her junior year in HS. She has an old Dell
> that is too slow and obsolete. Like many of you in this group we are a
> lightning rod for help and her father asked me for a system
> recommendation. I suggested my niece and I could build one from
> scratch. I could really use come recommendation from this esteemed
> community on which components I should go with. I've been happy with
> newegg in the past.
>
> Requirements:
> surfing, email, IM, MS office, minor photo editing, possibly writing
> some simple VB apps.
>
> Looking to spend $500-600. Keyboard, mice, speakers and monitor will be
> reused. Just need the tower.
>
> And if this makes any difference, something simple to assemble since
> I'd like to actually have my neice assemble it herself with my counsel.
>
> Recommendations will be greatly appreciated. TIA>
>
Although as you say she is entering her junior year in high school I
suggest you look beyond before finalizing any plans.

If she is college bound start by perusing the school websites.
Increasingly the schools are recommending laptops. Makes bringing
things home for the longer breaks much easier. College might be a bit
easier if she is already familiar with the computer she'll be using there.

Price wise the simple machines easily fall into the range you
stipulated. I recently picked up a new Acer for under $600. Only
change I've made to it was setting it to dual boot with Linux. Only
time I boot Windows is to use Streets and Trips.
August 28, 2005 7:14:40 PM

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

So if I was to buy a system which would you pick:

HP?
Compaq?
eMachines?
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
August 28, 2005 9:31:33 PM

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

> Thank you very much for the information. Very impressive. I love the
> looks of the box and the dual layer DVD
>
> Is there a similar mobo that has onboard video? As you said, video
> performance isn't very important. After all the video card is $95.

Onboard video is available with the ATi chipset, which is what the HP uses.
However, they're considered low-end at the moment, and I have no experience
with them. Maybe someone else does and could help you choose one. Otherwise,
you may have to look at an Intel machine. Personally, I'm not big on Intel
as of the moment because their performance is slower and they run hot
compared to AMD.

> I need to weigh the experience of putting together a PC of her own with
> the extra cost. She has expressed interest in a flat screen, which
> would add to the cost and does come standard with the HP model.

Samsung makes some great flat screens for the money, if you decide to build.

> Any thoughs on HP vs. eMachines if I go the buy route?

I think the Compaq line is more equivelent to eMachines, but the HP line is
more equivelent to Gateway, which owns eMachines.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
August 28, 2005 11:46:40 PM

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

"fedude" <fedude@rochester.rr.com> wrote in message
news:1125267280.495494.282920@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> So if I was to buy a system which would you pick:
>
> HP?
> Compaq?
> eMachines?

Of those 3, I'd get an HP if possible. Think of it this way: HP and Compaq
merged, and Compaq Presarios are low end, whereas HP systems are higher end
machines. Now, that in itself doesn't mean much, but one would expect less
cost cutting on the HP system than the Compaq. Naturally, at such a price
point, there will be cost cutting.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
August 29, 2005 2:29:38 AM

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

"fedude" <fedude@rochester.rr.com> wrote in message
news:1125250252.427743.326130@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Ruel,
>
> Thank you very much for the information. Very impressive. I love the
> looks of the box and the dual layer DVD
>
> Is there a similar mobo that has onboard video? As you said, video
> performance isn't very important. After all the video card is $95.
Looks like there aren't any MB's for AMD64 processors and integrated
graphics.
For the needs you've identified, you might look at a Celeron D - there are a
fair number of MB's with integrated graphics.
Here's one a Newegg that looks interesting.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

A 3GHZ Celeron D should do video editing ~ Athlon XP+ 2800/3000. See CPU
charts at Tom's Hardware
http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/20041221/cpu_charts-18.... The fastest
Celeron D shown is the 2.8GHZ Prescott.
You can find Celeron D' 340/345 at Newegg for $102/$120. Looking at the
Video benchmark at Tom's, you'd expect to see ~ 1% difference in video
performance betweent the 340 and 345 Celeron models.

With the above MB [$56], and the Celeron D 340, you'd come in ~ $160 less
than the MSI K8N Neo4-F, Athlon64 Venice and GeForce video card.

Caveats:
The video editing performance of either of the Celeron's is probably ~ 10%
less than the Athlon64 3000. The Biostar MB does not have PCI-express,
which looks like it will become the standard for most MB's in the next year
or so [but, will in no way limit performance in your current pc. There will
be PCI add in cards made for a long time - if you wanted to ]. And, lastly,
the integrated graphics will probably be a 'pig' in the action video games.
At the same time, the Biostar does have an AGP slot - so you can always add
a high/higher performance video card later]
>
> I'll check on the academic windows.XP. I think you're right
>
> I need to weigh the experience of putting together a PC of her own with
> the extra cost. She has expressed interest in a flat screen, which
> would add to the cost and does come standard with the HP model.
>
> Any thoughs on HP vs. eMachines if I go the buy route?
>
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
August 30, 2005 5:04:54 PM

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

"fedude" <fedude@rochester.rr.com> wrote in message
news:1125239180.721559.317110@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> So, my niece is starting her junior year in HS. She has an old Dell
> that is too slow and obsolete. Like many of you in this group we are a
> lightning rod for help and her father asked me for a system
> recommendation. I suggested my niece and I could build one from
> scratch. I could really use come recommendation from this esteemed
> community on which components I should go with. I've been happy with
> newegg in the past.
>
> Requirements:
> surfing, email, IM, MS office, minor photo editing, possibly writing
> some simple VB apps.
>
> Looking to spend $500-600. Keyboard, mice, speakers and monitor will be
> reused. Just need the tower.
>
> And if this makes any difference, something simple to assemble since
> I'd like to actually have my neice assemble it herself with my counsel.
>
> Recommendations will be greatly appreciated. TIA>

If she is going on to college, I would recommend a good laptop with
networking built in (wireless and lan). Desktop systems are really a PITA
for tight quarters in dorms etc. Small printers are also very handy and work
quite well. If you build, you have to also take into consideration the
prices of the OS, MS Office and other apps she may need. It can really add
up, even at student discounts. Laptops usually have a longer useable
lifetime just because of the type of use they get. Doing research and
writing papers (a set of decent speakers for MP3s of course...:-) will be
the main use. Dell, Sony, Hitachi and several others make really decent
laptops that are basically desktop replacements. The prices are coming way
down on these laptops and if you look for sales you can save a bunch.

Ed
>
!