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Pretty big investment decision to make...I need your help...

Last response: in Systems
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March 2, 2007 5:34:34 PM

Hi guys (and girls?),

I'm caught in a quandry right now, and I really need the help of the community. Here's my current setup (don't laugh, haha):

Dell Demension 8100 Powerleaped 2.6 ghz Northwood 400 FSB
Modified Window on the case panel
1 GB PC800 RDRAM
PCP&C 410 Watt Silencer PSU (modified for Dells)
ATI Radeon 9800Pro 128 MB
80 GB Western Digital HD SATA 7200 rpm
Windows XP Pro and Office (not genuine, unfortunately)
CDR
CDR/RW
Floppy
Antec Video Card Fan

I have the following choices:

1.Upgrade the above rig.
2.Build a new rig.
3.Purchase a new/used rig.

Reason being, I want a stable rig in order to surf the net, store data (pictures, music, etc.), and most importantly play MVP 2005 (modded) to the maximum settings.

1.I've pretty much upgraded my Dell as far as it could go. The only thing I think I can upgrade is a probably WD Raptor along with a legit copy of XP Pro.
2.I've considered building a new rig, but it'd be pretty expensive as I'd want a top-of-the-line case, PSU, processor (at least C2D E6300), and memory. Especially for one game (that's really not as graphic-intensive as most of the games you play) and simple tasks.
3.Which leads me to Option 3: I'm strongly considering purchasing this:

http://newyork.craigslist.org/fct/sys/286948406.html

Basically, all I'd be purchasing is the main setup (not the monitor). As you can see from the link, he asks to give him a price.

How much do you think his rig is worth? If it's anywhere near what it would cost to build a new rig, I'll consider building one. If you think I can get this for about $500, then I think I'm going to get it as it's pretty damn solid for my needs.

Let me know. Thanks in advance.

'Lava
March 2, 2007 5:40:57 PM

Don't buy that system!!!! Your current one is better.

If your machine is going to play games, building your own rig is definitely cheaper. You can salvage the hard drive and power supply. Raptors aren't worth it at all, you won't get a performance boost out of it.
March 2, 2007 5:45:47 PM

Quote:
Don't buy that system!!!! Your current one is better.

If your machine is going to play games, building your own rig is definitely cheaper. You can salvage the hard drive and power supply. Raptors aren't worth it at all, you won't get a performance boost out of it.


Jeff, I honestly thank you for the quick reply. Very much appreciated. Seriously. Do you really think my rig is better. His looks a lot better than my Dell, but then again, I don't know computers as well as a lot of people on this forum (I guess that's why I'm here, heh). I think I may just purchase XP and call it a day.

I'm willing to take some more advice, though. Thanks community :D 
Related resources
March 2, 2007 5:52:14 PM

His CPU is a little faster, granted, but his graphics card leaves much to be desired. Your 9800 will drop a deuce on his FX5700.

For example, look at this comparison chart: http://www.tomshardware.com/2004/10/04/vga_charts_iv/pa...

For building your own, you could consider something like this:

CPU: e6300 (~$180)
Board: GA 965P DS3 (~$120)
RAM: 2x1GB DDR2 800 (~$180)
Graphics: 7600GT (~$110)

You could keep your PSU. The above are meant for overclocking because the e6300 really shines with a solid OC. If you don't want to OC though you could get a cheaper board and RAM and more expensive CPU.


EDIT: I don't condone piracy, but I can't see why a legit copy of XP would run any faster than a hacked copy.
March 2, 2007 5:57:23 PM

For surfing the Net and doing mild gaming, don't bother with C2D for his smaller budget.

Go with a cheap AMD X2 3800, 1 gig Value RAM, cheap AM2 motherboard, SATA hard drive (160 gig), cheap DVD burner and the best graphics card you can get for the money left over.

Core2Duo is nice, no question, but for your needs and budget, it's not a viable option, nor necessary really. Better to get a respectable AMD and use the tight budget for other components and a decent graphics card....probably a new CPU too. I'd worry about the shelf life of his current one........
March 2, 2007 6:03:13 PM

Actually I was thinking, if that's really the only game you'd want to play, you could keep your graphics card. You'd need an AGP supporting Core 2 board like the Asrock 775Dual-VSTA, which would also let you upgrade to a PCI-E card later on.

So that board is about ~$60. If you want an overclock on it though you'd better get an e4300, which is about the same stock speed as the e6300 but can be overclocked further on low end boards.

So by keeping your graphics card you'd spend about $400 total, not including case. Going all new would cost more like $600 but would overclock very well and have better graphics.

And unless you have your heart set on a Core 2, there are also low end AMD CPUs that are slower than the e6300 but significantly cheaper.
March 2, 2007 6:04:33 PM

Quote:
For surfing the Net and doing mild gaming, don't bother with C2D for his smaller budget.

Go with a cheap AMD X2 3800, 1 gig Value RAM, cheap AM2 motherboard, SATA hard drive (160 gig), cheap DVD burner and the best graphics card you can get for the money left over.

Core2Duo is nice, no question, but for your needs and budget, it's not a viable option, nor necessary really. Better to get a respectable AMD and use the tight budget for other components and a decent graphics card....probably a new CPU too. I'd worry about the shelf life of his current one........


Thanks for your input--very much appreciated.

Jeff, thanks for your other reply--I appreciate the quick responses from all of you.

To be honest with you, I'm really not strapped for cash. I have enough money to purchase a top-of-the-line rig. I just don't want to get it if I really won't ever utilize it to anywhere near its peak capabilities. I'd rather spend the extra money on a solid rig for my needs(like what SkyGuy stated) or better yet, an XBox 360. Thanks guys.

Anyone else feel free to chime in, but I really do appreciate all of this. You guys are awesome.
March 2, 2007 6:18:21 PM

Quote:
Actually I was thinking, if that's really the only game you'd want to play, you could keep your graphics card. You'd need an AGP supporting Core 2 board like the Asrock 775Dual-VSTA, which would also let you upgrade to a PCI-E card later on.

So that board is about ~$60. If you want an overclock on it though you'd better get an e4300, which is about the same stock speed as the e6300 but can be overclocked further on low end boards.

So by keeping your graphics card you'd spend about $400 total, not including case. Going all new would cost more like $600 but would overclock very well and have better graphics.

And unless you have your heart set on a Core 2, there are also low end AMD CPUs that are slower than the e6300 but significantly cheaper.


Another solid suggestion. I've actually heard of the Asrock but I heard that it wasn't a good performer. As I really am not concerned about OC'ing, the option you just outlined may position me for a few more years of gaming. Thanks again. I'm learning so much from just one question :D 
March 2, 2007 6:25:21 PM

It's true that the Asrock is no enthusiast board, but it'll run stock e6300 speeds or a stock/overclocked e4300 (running at e6400 or e6600 speeds) just fine. This board with a Core 2 would be more expensive than an Athlon 64 system, but would be a bit quicker (or significantly quicker in the case of the overclocked e4300) and allow you to keep your 9800Pro until you have reason to upgrade it.

Although, mpilch has a point too, if that's all you use your system for then I'd think it'd be adequate unless the windows installation is getting old and bogged down, in which case a reinstall of windows would help.
March 2, 2007 6:36:43 PM

Agreed. A fresh install will do wonders for an older rig that's had Windows running forever.

Also, unless your system is absolutely puking on Windows, you can simply keep it and get a newer AGP vid card, which will help with some of the gaming.....the affordable ones draw less power which *should* mean you can keep your current PSU.

The problem with "upgrading" rather than going a building a new machine is that is sets off a complete chain reaction of things anyways.

ie:

-Need a new CPU
-so then need a new mobo
-but should also get more RAM for the new beast to chew on
-but without a decent graphics card you can't do any real gaming, SO new graphics card
-but new graphics cards suck ALOT more power
-so need a new power supply to replace the dinosaur one
-and few new mobos support more than one IDE, so now you need a new SATA hard drive
-and might as well throw in a DVD burner too
-but all this won't fit in a crappy old case, so get a sexy new case.


And THERE YA GO..........NEW SYSTEM ANYWAYS!!

See the point? ;) 
March 3, 2007 3:46:27 AM

I always find it hilarious when I see this word used around computers. How can they consider this something they are "investing in" when it is composed of hardware that losses value every passing minute? Do you consider a car an investment?

The machine that cost you $500 - $2000 to put together will be close to worthless in 4 years or less. While it's not as bad as the loss you incur when you have to purchase a car, it's only a few notches below. No matter what you do, you're going to lose.
March 7, 2007 9:51:39 PM

Update:

I've decided that I'm going to build a new PC, yet keeping my needs in mind. I'm considering the following purchase "template", if you will.

*I'm not planning on overclocking, therefore I'm looking for solid, stable, well-performing hardware*

1.Intel C2D e6300 processor (~$183)
2.Solid, stable, well-performing, relatively cheap Intel-based motherboard--I'm strongly considering an Intel, but I have no clue.
3.Solid, stable, well-performing, relatively cheap memory--I'm strongly considering pc533 memory as it will be in sync with my processor, yet I don't know which is a solid brand.
4.A solid, stable, well-performing video card. Although I'll basically be using this for Office applications, Internet, and MVP 2005, I wanna make sure that MVP 2005 runs and looks friggin' flawless. So I wouldn't mind suggestions for upgrades over my 9800 pro, although I definitely am not planning on paying over $200.
5.A solid case with ample cooling and space...a window and slide out compartments would be nice. I think a mid-tower would suit me, but I have no clue where to go. Perhaps Antec, TT, or Cooler Master.
6.I think I have the PSU covered.

Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Thanks.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 7, 2007 10:10:08 PM

heres some advice when your deciding on your system:

1) Intel Core 2 Duo cpus are top dog in efficency and performance for high end, so if you have the $$$ you cant get anything better atm.

2) Buying an AMD A64 doesnt mean your system is going to burn up or perform like crap or die or any other bs people come up with, there right there in the market now and before the core 2 duo, was the top dog.

3) For low end and mid range and even toward the high end is still AMD's turf because of the pricing.

4) gaming systems on a budget, spend less $$$ on a cpu like the X2 3800+ (or better) or for Intel the E4300 (you dont want to go single core now) and spend more on the video card since it will be doing most of the work.
March 7, 2007 10:11:25 PM

Quote:
I always find it hilarious when I see this word used around computers. How can they consider this something they are "investing in" when it is composed of hardware that losses value every passing minute? Do you consider a car an investment?

The machine that cost you $500 - $2000 to put together will be close to worthless in 4 years or less. While it's not as bad as the loss you incur when you have to purchase a car, it's only a few notches below. No matter what you do, you're going to lose.


I agree.

If you want a top of the line system like you stated above you going to shell out a ton of money and after a year your system will be woth about 1/2 of what you paid for it. Thats if your lucky. I porb have close to 3000 dollars sitting in my rig but i doubt i could sell it for 750. The P4 is very outdated now and is not condidered top of the line by any means.

The things that you are doing the current setup would be fine if you upgraded that GPU.

If you want to build i new rig and are on a bugets i would suggest a amd x2 like the pervious person above. hope this helps

EDIT: I didnt see that you are building a new rig. FOr a case i suggest this one. It cheap, room, window, and over looked.
case[/list]
a b B Homebuilt system
March 7, 2007 10:14:03 PM

Quote:
Update:

I've decided that I'm going to build a new PC, yet keeping my needs in mind. I'm considering the following purchase "template", if you will.

*I'm not planning on overclocking, therefore I'm looking for solid, stable, well-performing hardware*

1.Intel C2D e6300 processor (~$183)
2.Solid, stable, well-performing, relatively cheap Intel-based motherboard--I'm strongly considering an Intel, but I have no clue.
3.Solid, stable, well-performing, relatively cheap memory--I'm strongly considering pc533 memory as it will be in sync with my processor, yet I don't know which is a solid brand.
4.A solid, stable, well-performing video card. Although I'll basically be using this for Office applications, Internet, and MVP 2005, I wanna make sure that MVP 2005 runs and looks friggin' flawless. So I wouldn't mind suggestions for upgrades over my 9800 pro, although I definitely am not planning on paying over $200.
5.A solid case with ample cooling and space...a window and slide out compartments would be nice. I think a mid-tower would suit me, but I have no clue where to go. Perhaps Antec, TT, or Cooler Master.
6.I think I have the PSU covered.

Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Thanks.


Motherboard - ASUS or Gigabyte are the way to go, and make sure your using an Intel chipset.

Video Card - Nvidia GeForce 7600 series perhaps?

Cases - Thermaltake, Antec, Cooler Master - with those brands you cant go wrong with cooling.
March 7, 2007 10:16:42 PM

Quote:
Update:

1.Intel C2D e6300 processor (~$183)good choice
2.Solid, stable, well-performing, relatively cheap Intel-based motherboard--I'm strongly considering an Intel, but I have no clue.get a Gigabyte s3, good board, can do minor o/c.
3.Solid, stable, well-performing, relatively cheap memory--I'm strongly considering pc533 memory as it will be in sync with my processor, yet I don't know which is a solid brand.for the difference in price I would go PC6400Partiot 1GB x2
4.A solid, stable, well-performing video card. Although I'll basically be using this for Office applications, Internet, and MVP 2005, I wanna make sure that MVP 2005 runs and looks friggin' flawless. So I wouldn't mind suggestions for upgrades over my 9800 pro, although I definitely am not planning on paying over $200.I think this is a screaming deal on a nice cardSapphire X1950GT$125 w/MIR
5.A solid case with ample cooling and space...a window and slide out compartments would be nice. I think a mid-tower would suit me, but I have no clue where to go. Perhaps Antec, TT, or Cooler Master.
6.I think I have the PSU covered.

Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Thanks.

Case is up to you, you started with good brands. The PSU is a nice one, might work in new system. Nice hard drive, might want to add more room in future. Looks like a solid system you thinking about.
March 7, 2007 10:20:12 PM

I wholeheartedly disagree. "Investment" doesn't necessarily mean an increase in value, profit, or capital. It means spending money to do something useful of value. So the computer equipment in 3 years will be virtually worthless, that is correct. But that doesn't mean it's not an investment.......that computer is being used for 3 years and that is actually worth something. It's worth something to the gamer, casual user, and home business person alike.

So if I were to ask you, "If you had to give up your computer for 3 years and NEVER use it once during that time, how much is that worth to you?" You would have a price as a response, and THAT is the "investment" of what your computer usage is, not what the equipment is worth. The productivity, the enjoyment, the learning, whatever.....that is the investment, not the silicon and electronics.

So is a computer an investment? You bet it is. And so is "investing" in learning by purchasing a book for a child that might get ripped to shreds, and so is buying a car that gets you to work so you can make money and not starve to death, and so is buying toilet paper when you're simply gonna flush it into the sewer.....yet I'm willing to bet that toilet paper is worth FAR more than the $2 it costs when you got a bad case of the _____ after a rough burrito night ;) 

Yes, all are "investments". And now we see that not all investments return money.


Class dismissed. ;) 
March 8, 2007 4:16:15 AM

i concur
!