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Would you like to help me make a decision?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 16, 2006 3:08:23 PM

I want a new computer, and I want one now. (Actually, I've wanted one for about a year now. Current system is AMD Athlon XP 2000+, Geforce fx5700LE, 1gig PC2100 RAM.)

There are two options that are looking plausible to me.

System A:

Core 2 Duo E6300
ECS P965T-A (supports neither SLI nor quad core)
Geforce 7600GT 256MB VRAM
1 GB RAM PC6400

System B:
Core 2 Duo E6300
P5N32-SLI Premium (supports both quad core and full x16 x16 SLI)
Geforce 8800GTS 640MB VRAM
1GB PC6400 RAM

The pros and cons:

System A is much cheaper. I can pay off system A in 2 years, system B in 4.

The concept of system A is that it is designed to get me up to snuff on current games, and make near future games playable, up through the two years it will take me to pay for it. Hence it is not designed with upgrading in mind or anything like that. The problem with system A is that in a year or so, DX10 games will be out in full force (I think) and system A will not be able to do the cool stuff DX10 can do. Indeed, there are already games out that are not playable on full graphics options on a 7600GT. (But if I got a 7950GT instead I'd be paying for it for 30-36 months and it seems like in three years the 7950 will be almost useless, esp. if not SLI'ed, esp. in light of DX10.)

The concept of system B is that it is designed to last me a good four years (the amount of time it will take for me to pay for it) assuming I SLI in a second 8800GTS in a couple of years, upgrade the CPU to a (then) cheap quad-core at some point, and add a gig of RAM at some point. The advantage over system A is that I will be able to handle soon upcoming DX10 flashiness right away. The disadvantage is that it is far more expensive and it is a much longer term commitment, meaning if its a mistake to get it, its a mistake I'll be paying for for a long time.

Well, anyway, what would you do and why? What do you think of what I have said here and why?

speusippus

More about : make decision

November 16, 2006 3:28:33 PM

I would get 2GB of memory, what ever you do
I would spend more. you might end up upgrading
things change fast so if you spend less of could just ebay it all in two years and buy new again. can't go wrong ethier way. if you like building computers get the cheaper system. I could not go 4 years without doing a build. go cheaper in 2 years things will awsome and in two years the exspensive build will be outdated anyway
November 16, 2006 3:31:34 PM

Meh. 2 gigs of memory is far from necessary. 1 gig still serves really well.

Memory always gets cheaper, too. You're better off to buy thet second gig when you need it - if you need it - later.
Related resources
November 16, 2006 3:36:13 PM

I would go for system A. And I would try to get 2gb of RAM with it. Not necessary, but good thing to have.

Also, in 4 years, system B will suck, so no point in getting it, and still pay for it when it's losing it's charm.
November 16, 2006 3:48:51 PM

Even though you "want it now", I'd wait a measely 2 months for R600 to come out. That way you won't be paying 4 years for a 2 month mistake.

The way computer systems are, I would never buy a computer on credit for such that length of time. Better off buying a PS3 or 360.

Personally, save your money until you can afford it. Put your money in a short term CD. Come next year, you will have the money to buy your system that will either be better or comparable to what you would buy today.

But, it's your money. If you want to pay off a system that only depreciates while you are paying interest, then by all means it's your decision. All I have to say is just think of what you could've bought with the interest made and computer parts getting cheaper when you finally have the money.

Here's an idea, go to Best Buy or wherever and camp out to buy a PS3. Sell it to some smuck for $2000 and use the money to buy a kick-a$$ computer.
November 16, 2006 4:28:59 PM

Okay, everybody, false alarm, probably.

I think I've decided (in part based on the tenor of advice given in this thread) to wait til May. Why May? Because my birthday is in May, because the school year ends in May, and because my laptop will be (almost) paid off in May making my finances look a little better for buying a new desktop. Also because by May there will be more options for DX10 cards out there. Do you think the 86xx-type cards will be out by then?

In the meanwhile, I'm thinking about getting a "tide me over" card. I'm still stuck in AGP. My power suppy is 300 watts. I think I can stick a 7300GT AGP card in my system. Benchmarks seem to indicate this card (while sad by today's standards) will outperform my current Geforce FX5700LE by a nice bit. And it costs about $100, which is about what I can afford for a "tide me over" card.

Am I right that a 7300GT (AGP) will be better than a 5700LE? (Not actually good of course, but anyway, "better.")

speu
November 16, 2006 5:08:32 PM

Yeah, it'll be better... But seriously, don't throw your money away on an AGP card. Stepping up to the 7300GT AGP now could mean the difference between an 8800 and the 8900 in May. Just play old crap for a few months. If your replacement cycle is going to be once every 4 years, you really don't want to shoot yourself in the foot right out of the starting gate.
November 16, 2006 5:13:56 PM

Quote:

The way computer systems are, I would never buy a computer on credit for such that length of time. Better off buying a PS3 or 360.
...
Here's an idea, go to Best Buy or wherever and camp out to buy a PS3. Sell it to some smuck for $2000 and use the money to buy a kick-a$$ computer.


I don't think I'd recommend a console instead of a computer. Computers have a variety of uses. The difference in price between a gaming machine and whatever you need for school and life is relatively small, and it's far from clear that a console gaming system is going to be a better value.

Plus, buying a PS3 for resale looks like a crappy proposition at the moment. They seem to be moving at right around retail prices on eBay. Plus, I just drove around town this morning, and it looks like it's a little late to start camping out. :'P
November 16, 2006 5:42:45 PM

Quote:
I don't think I'd recommend a console instead of a computer. Computers have a variety of uses. The difference in price between a gaming machine and whatever you need for school and life is relatively small, and it's far from clear that a console gaming system is going to be a better value.


I have to disagree with you here. The difference between an "Internet and word processing" PC and a gaming PC is HUGE. His current PC is more that enough to do basic tasks. A "decent" gaming PC is going to cost at least $1000. I think that the difference between $0 and $1000 is actually quite substantial.

Secondly, I think that from a pure gaming standpoint a console is a vastly cheaper option. An xbox 360 can be bought new for $300, a full $700 less than a gaming PC.

Personally, I would buy the PC, but I like PC games more and I like to build, tweak, and OC my system. I also like to waste my money making small upgrades all the time too (seriously). But if I was buying something ONLY for gaming, it would be a console.
November 16, 2006 5:49:10 PM

I would go for system B, but I'd wait a couple months and see how the R600 gpu performs compared to the 8800. The reasons are threefold.

First, in two, maybe three months, you should have saved up a few extra dollars to spend on the system. That means you might be able to get better hardware or more of it, like ram.

Second, your income will presumably go up in the future so that you should be able to pay it off faster.

Third, system B is more modern and offers a better upgrade path than system A.

That's my opinion of course, and we all know how much opinions will buy at the hardware counter.
November 16, 2006 6:01:05 PM

Stay in school.

Don't do drugs (execpt Caffeine.)

Get a good Job.

Don't buy on credit unless you can pay it off at the end of the month.

Endure the hardship of not having everything you want right now.


Just my advice.


Cheers.
November 16, 2006 6:35:54 PM

Quote:

Endure the hardship of not having everything you want right now.


Hard to take that seriously from a guy with an E6600...


jk, I'm sure you paid your dues. :) 
November 16, 2006 6:37:00 PM

Quote:
Stay in school.


Done. Since graduating High School, I've been in school full time for 7 1/2 years, and will continue to be in school for at least another 2 1/2, probably 3 or 4 1/2.

Quote:
Don't do drugs (execpt Caffeine.)


Done.

Quote:
Get a good Job.


Working on it.

Quote:
Don't buy on credit unless you can pay it off at the end of the month.


I agree in general but not in all cases. Controlled debt is okay debt. Debt is controlled when you have a concrete plan for payoff which includes explicitly all the numbers involved each month over the course of the payoff period. If you can prove that you have the resources to pay the debt, the debt is okay. Emergencies should be planned for, of course, but emergencies cause problems whether you have some debt or not.

Quote:
Endure the hardship of not having everything you want right now.


You do not have to tell me this. The condescension is inappropriate, unlicensed, unnecessary, and has many other negative traits besides.

speu
November 16, 2006 6:54:01 PM

hard one... Honestly, maybe a Xbox 360. Its no mega SLI gamming rig, but the insides still make it a good choice at 300-400 USD. Especialy with the (rumored) price drops soon. Use the 360 for gamming, save money, and in a year maybe(give or take mattering o how much you want to spend) and buy a new PC.

From A to B, maybe you should wait for a 83** level.

You already have a good screen, right?
November 16, 2006 6:55:05 PM

Quote:
Don't buy on credit unless you can pay it off at the end of the month.


I'd like to see you buy a house and pay it off by the end of the month :wink:
November 16, 2006 7:02:47 PM

Quote:

Don't buy on credit unless you can pay it off at the end of the month.


Try telling that to my wife.

EDIT:o ops
November 16, 2006 7:07:15 PM

Quote:

I have to disagree with you here. The difference between an "Internet and word processing" PC and a gaming PC is HUGE. His current PC is more that enough to do basic tasks. A "decent" gaming PC is going to cost at least $1000. I think that the difference between $0 and $1000 is actually quite substantial.

Secondly, I think that from a pure gaming standpoint a console is a vastly cheaper option. An xbox 360 can be bought new for $300, a full $700 less than a gaming PC.

Personally, I would buy the PC, but I like PC games more and I like to build, tweak, and OC my system. I also like to waste my money making small upgrades all the time too (seriously). But if I was buying something ONLY for gaming, it would be a console.


Internet and word processing are not the only non-gaming uses for a PC. A good PC can replace a stereo, DVD player, and save hundreds upon hundreds of dollars if one is an unscrupulous sort. And these sorts of uses can be helped along by a new computer now and then. I have a P4 here that I'm replacing next week, and do you have any idea how long it takes just to open up a PDF? Man, to hell with that. And when Vista comes along and soaks up even more RAM and processor cycles for no reason, the problem will only be amplified.

Plus, depending on what you're interested in playing (I always assume Oblivion, because I hate FPS and RTS games to the very core of my being), there is simply no comparison between PCs, with mods and Consoles, with jack squat.

So, if you're getting a new computer anyway for non-gaming reasons, it's very economical to replace your non-gaming video card with a gaming one, with a price difference at about the price of an xbox 360, and it's a better value, too, depending on what you play.
November 16, 2006 7:25:49 PM

Quote:

Don't buy on credit unless you can pay it off at the end of the month.


Try telling that to my wife.

EDIT:o ops

Sounds like one of the reason I don't have a wife.
November 16, 2006 8:14:53 PM

If i were in your position, I'd probably just buy a 7600gt agp card for your current system. Not to be mean or anything, but i don't think something like a computer is worth going into debt for. The 7600gt card would cost you about $150 where as the whole new system A you listed would probably cost between $750 and $1000 depending on the kind of deals you get.

Just my 2 cents.
November 16, 2006 8:15:23 PM

For many of us, it's inevitable.
November 16, 2006 10:17:10 PM

Controled debt is understandable - but no debt is even more so. That is how I live with the exeption of a 30 year mortgage (due to be paid off by year 10 in 2 more years.)

I did not intend to be condesending - and I appoligize. We live in a society where people make bad decisions just to have the next rush of technology, fashion, whaterver....many folks just can't get enough.

You are looking at purchasing a computer that you will pay for in two years? My build cost about $1600 - if purchased on a 2 year plan you would likely pay a fair amount of extra cash - consider that by the end of 2 years you will likely have paid almost $2000 for something that you now own that is currently out of date.

All I am really trying to imply is that you should save up your cash and buy it outright to avoid the above scenario.

BTW - that is a whole bunch of schooling - I couldn't imagine attending university for that long. I got my bachelors degree in Computer Science and Physics - and I have made a very good go at things. I walked out with only $3000 in student loans too. I am under 40, generally debt free and make a six figure income. Hard work does pay off. :) 

Cheers.
November 16, 2006 10:32:24 PM

Quote:

You are looking at purchasing a computer that you will pay for in two years? My build cost about $1600 - if purchased on a 2 year plan you would likely pay a fair amount of extra cash - consider that by the end of 2 years you will likely have paid almost $2000 for something that you now own that is currently out of date.


$2000 if you're lucky.
November 17, 2006 11:35:42 AM

So, your Plan A costs $506 minus $50 in mail in rebates. You'll need another $150 or so for accessories, storage, etc. It's going to take you two years to pay off $600? Have you thought about getting a job? Instead of sitting in front of a computer playing games, you could get a part time job at McDonalds, or start mowing lawns, or panhandle, and have enough to buy Plan A in a few weeks.

I would definitely go for plan A. It is more value-conscious and you don't have to worry about the direction of technology over the next 4 years. Also, I find that buying hardware planning to upgrade it can be very frustrating and usually costs more in the end.
November 17, 2006 1:42:25 PM

The price I had for plan A was in the 700s. I have available to me the option to take out a loan for a new computer at an interest rate of 3.9% for a period of 2 years. (My credit union offers special "computer loans.") The payments come out to (if I recall correcty) around $33.

I have a personal discretionary budget I alot to myself of 75 dollars every two weeks. It is small but adequate. I already spend 15 of those dollars on something else I am in the... "process"... of purchasing. I lay aside another twenty of those dollars, for books, games, and other things that cost multiples of $20. The rest ($40) I've been using, basically, for random bouts of eating food other than food bought at the grocery store. But that is not a necessity, or even something I particularly enjoy the idea of spending my money on. Given the choice between eating unnecessary fast food and restaurant food, on the one hand, and having a better computer system on the other, I've decided my choice is that I would prefer the better computer system. The rewards are more... rewarding. However, I can't spend all that $40 on this--I do need a margin in my budget for at least the occasional "forgot my lunch" type snack at work and things like that, or little impulse buys of cheap books or whatever. (Actually, I've recently discovered what a money-saver the library can be. :)  Why buy? Sad that I'm only really catching on to this now, considering I've been living right next door to libraries for the past 8 years or so of my life...)

Anyway, you can do the math from there.

Some reading this post are thinking "Wow, you only get give yourself $75 every two weeks and you think you can be thinking about buying a computer? You've got other problems..." Well, read it the other way. "Wow, you've got only $75 to spend every two weeks on extra, 'unnecessary' stuff, and you choose to give up a whole lot of it so you can have an up-to-date computer and games to go along with it? This must be really important to you." Exactly. The things I get the most joy and relaxation out of are going places with my family and forgetting everything else (taken care of out of a different section of our budget,) and playing beautiful computer games (beautiful visually and otherwise) and forgetting everything else. It is one of the chief ways I am able to enjoy myself and relax when I'm not working on academic matters. So I am indeed willing to spend a large portion of my personal budget on it and I am indeed willing to take a while to do it if necessary.

I am happy to justify my financial decisions to you, though I recognize that to have such a justification implicitly asked for was not quite appropriate for a few reasons. Still, I do wonder whether you are satisfied with my explanation?

-FrL-
November 17, 2006 1:54:16 PM

Quote:
Controled debt is understandable - but no debt is even more so. That is how I live with the exeption of a 30 year mortgage (due to be paid off by year 10 in 2 more years.)


Hey, that's what I am planning on doing when I buy a house in a couple of years, too! Good to know someone certifiably good with money has the same idea. I figured I'd do a 30 year mortgage, but pay a whole lot more each month to get it paid in 10 or 15 years instead--but have the security of knowing that if something goes wrong I can drop down to the smaller payments for a while. This is good thinking, don't you think?

Quote:
I did not intend to be condesending - and I appoligize. We live in a society where people make bad decisions just to have the next rush of technology, fashion, whaterver....many folks just can't get enough.


'Saright. I see that my initial post could easily give the impression that I am one of those people. I'm not really--though in my darkest moments I must confess that one of those people lies just beneath the surface of my skin. :oops:  :lol: 



Quote:
You are looking at purchasing a computer that you will pay for in two years? My build cost about $1600 - if purchased on a 2 year plan you would likely pay a fair amount of extra cash - consider that by the end of 2 years you will likely have paid almost $2000 for something that you now own that is currently out of date.


I am able to get a loan for a new computer through my credit union at a 3.9% interest rate. (Actually, it's something like 3.65% come to think of it.) On a $1150 (including tax) system I hope to buy in May (did I say in this thread I've decided to put it off after all?) my payments will be something like $50 a month. Not that much extra cash at all. :)  (Those numbers are from memory, though.)


Quote:
All I am really trying to imply is that you should save up your cash and buy it outright to avoid the above scenario.
I try to do this for most things, but I am really bothered by the possibility of waiting another whole year or two to buy a new system. Did you see what I've got right now? :)  (I mentioned it in my OP). Things are getting desperate.

Quote:
BTW - that is a whole bunch of schooling - I couldn't imagine attending university for that long. I got my bachelors degree in Computer Science and Physics - and I have made a very good go at things. I walked out with only $3000 in student loans too. I am under 40, generally debt free and make a six figure income. Hard work does pay off. :) 
Unfortunately, I (and certain other people I could name in my household) made some bad decisions a few years ago and we have substantial student debt in our name, and are working on paying off a sizeable credit card debt as well. Hence the frugal living I described in a post I've written just previous to this one. But we're on the right track now, and even in the worst case scenario (I don't end up getting a job in my field, we both have to work full time at $30,000 jobs--I do not see this happening but I think of it as a "worst case scenario") we will be able to pay off our loans and buy a home at the same time once I graduate.

Sorry, that was all TMI, but I've been put in the mood to be a little confessional.

-FrL-
November 17, 2006 2:35:53 PM

Woa, I must have registered with this place twice at two different computers. I did not realize that...

Hmm, I'll have a chat with the mods.

speu/kris/
November 17, 2006 4:12:53 PM

When I buy my systems, I usually map it out and start buying the universal parts. As I can only buy 1 part every 1-2 months. This way you are building the computer for a long period of time and you get your PC build fix under control. Each month buy the next part, by the time you get the CASE, PSU, CD-Rom, HD together, the next series of Motherboards and CPU should be out. Yeah it takes me 9 months to build a new PC, but look once you are done you can start all over again...
November 17, 2006 4:26:22 PM

Quote:
Hey, that's what I am planning on doing when I buy a house in a couple of years, too! Good to know someone certifiably good with money has the same idea. I figured I'd do a 30 year mortgage, but pay a whole lot more each month to get it paid in 10 or 15 years instead--but have the security of knowing that if something goes wrong I can drop down to the smaller payments for a while. This is good thinking, don't you think?



Just realize that you will pay a higher interest rate on a 30 yr. mortgage than you would on a 10 or 15 yr. mortgage. You must weigh whether that security to make a lower payment if necessary is worth the added interest expense. Of course the 30 yr. mortgage would have to be free of any prepayment penalties for the plan to be viable in the first place.
November 17, 2006 6:21:11 PM

I've never bought a home (or car for that matter), but if you pay off a 30yr mortgage in 10 years, do you have to pay the full 30 years worth of interest or just the 10 it took you to pay?
November 17, 2006 7:07:09 PM

A good loan will allow you to pay against the principle (principal?), and this lets you pay the loan off early without paying all 30 years worth of interest. It's still more interest paid overall, though, than it would have been on a straight 10 year lease, because the interest rate is still going to be higher in the case of an officially 30 year lease.

-Kris
November 17, 2006 8:00:33 PM

Sounds good. I would probably go for the 30 year then (assuming the interest difference wasn't that much) and pay it off early. The added flexibility seems worth it. Now I just need to save up a down payment for the "cheap" 500k houses in my area....
November 17, 2006 8:38:08 PM

me persoanly wouldnt go for the 8800, its new technology+in half a year u will regret buying it...

and u should go for 2gb of ram whatever u do.

and btw e6300 would most liky bottleneck the 8800, if u are going for the 8800 u would proberly go for E6600/6700.

or u could wait for a wee while eg to next year and get a quad-core and a better directx10
!