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Purchasing new dell on budget, what would be better long run? Some gaming requir

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June 17, 2010 9:33:32 PM

Hello,

I am looking at purchasing a new computer on a budget. What would serve me better--I intend to game in the future, but I doubt it will be anything more than ~12-15hrs/week at most. I would like to be able to run Starcraft II with at least medium graphics when it comes out. However, I also want to have the best overall PC. Here are the specs. of the two options:

Option 1:
• AMD Athlon II X3 425 Processor

• Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium

• 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz

• 640GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache

• 16X DVD+/-RW Drive

• NVIDIA® GeForce® G310 512MB DDR3

• Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio

• Dell 19 in 1 Media Card Reader

• McAfee SecurityCenter with VirusScan, Firewall, Spyware Removal, 15-months

• Dell USB Keyboard & Dell Optical USB Mouse

• 1 Yr In-Home Service, Parts + Labor, 24x7 Phone Support


Option 2:

AMD Athlon II X4 630 Processor

• Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium

• 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz

• 640GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache

• 16X DVD+/-RW Drive

• Integrated ATI Radeon HD4200 Graphics

• Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio

• Dell 19 in 1 Media Card Reader

• McAfee SecurityCenter with VirusScan, Firewall, Spyware Removal, 15-months

• Dell USB Keyboard & Dell Optical USB Mouse

• 1 Yr In-Home Service, Parts + Labor, 24x7 Phone Support

The second one comes with a monitor and is about $100 more. I am guessing the trade off is a X3 processor and better graphics card for a X4 Processor--is this worth it long term (3-5years) Thanks!
June 17, 2010 9:54:46 PM

Tip, never buy dell, really crap to upgrade and cost more then anything else out there!!

Since your american? I dnt really know any good pc shops but buy a pc mag and check the deals in them, MUCH better then dell and probly much cheaper too.
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a b U Graphics card
June 17, 2010 10:40:35 PM

Yeah... on this site, I think you'll find it hard getting a recommendation from someone over a pre-built PC.

One of those might be better, but users will have a hard time recommending either when they see the option of making your own. The extra cost is not worth the effort spent... in fact, most find joy in building. It's a benefit, rather than a burden.

I don't mean to say that pre-built PC's are useless, some just don't have the knowledge... but really, all it takes is to know where what plugs into what.

How much are the computers to begin with?
If it came down to it, depending if you need a monitor, I'd go with the better graphics... which I think is the G310. If you wanted, you could even try unlocking the 4th core also =P
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June 17, 2010 10:41:39 PM

Yeh everything has its own slot these days you cant really go wrong, the hardest part is the CPU and the thermal paste, then the fan then the motherboard inside the case, after that everything slots into place nicely :) 
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a b U Graphics card
June 17, 2010 10:47:54 PM

Why is... a monitor mentioned if they're laptops though? Mobile GPU's? I'm confused. Prices and models are needed... then the recommendations could flow. =]
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a c 125 U Graphics card
June 17, 2010 10:48:51 PM

I think these are laptops...? Might want to mention that lol. I just quickly googled the video cards... and honestly, they both suck. They just might squeeze out SC2 as it's not the most gpu intensive game, but I really can't say I'd ever recommend those. IMO keep looking around...

EDIT: I was getting lots of laptop related hits with those GPUs but I guess they're in desktops too. Either way, they're not good news.
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June 17, 2010 10:51:04 PM

Lol well i hate laptops how ppl can game on them is beyond me, the only good ones cost like £3k+ and then a £900 PC will beat them.

Anways now im no help since i havent got a clue with laptops, there like the girls pc haha.
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a c 125 U Graphics card
June 17, 2010 10:58:26 PM

Yeah I'm confused too... maybe they're desktops... Google fail haha. Anyway, neither GPU is very good that's for sure.
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June 17, 2010 11:19:49 PM

the 310gt will not play any games at all. You need a x50-x95 to play games on it ie 250gt to 285gt are gaming cards.
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a b U Graphics card
June 17, 2010 11:26:50 PM

Of course it will play some games... integrated video does fine for games like starcraft and such. SC2 obviously will be more demanding... but a laptop Graphics card could handle it at low settings probs. Not to mention, dropping below 50-60 for an RTS is not a big deal, you don't miss out on shots like you would a fps.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/blizzard-entertainm...
At 1280x1024, the game runs the exact same on every video card they tested... down to a 5570.
It's a very CPU reliant game, but not much is needed.

I run tf2 on my laptop with a 360M (decent) and it gets 40-80 fps. Runs hot as hell, but it's a laptop...
Hell my gf plays Sims on her OLD SCHOOL brick of a laptop HP.
Although, i know neither of these GPU's are good... I just think they would run SC2. Barely.
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June 17, 2010 11:33:58 PM

cheaper to build yourself a computer. It's not that hard.
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a c 125 U Graphics card
June 18, 2010 1:42:03 AM

I'd say have a read of this month's $550 gaming PC... pretty good price and building a PC isn't hard. Although I'd say it's a good idea to get at least 4gb ram but otherwise it's fine.
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June 18, 2010 5:16:13 AM

Thank you for your quick responses. Heh, I semi-anticipated some of those comments as you guys seem very knowledgeable about your computers and probably have the capabilities to construct/fix your own things. Regarding some of the questions--These are both desktops, both will be about $650 total counting monitors and everything. I am a student and through the university I get about ~$150-200 discount on some dells, which is why I was looking. More importantly though, I have never built a computer or taken one apart for that matter.

Given my noob status, what steps should I take? Go read a PC magazine and try to order something from there or start gathering resources, which would primarily be guides, for trying to build my own computer. In the event of the latter, what does one have to do for maintaining a self-built computer? Is it reasonable to expect one of those built by a beginner to last some years without pouring money into repairs/new parts semi-regularly?

Also, keep in mind that I would need this PC for more than gaming; mainly some office suite and perhaps some light to moderate data analysis later (though unlikely) as I am a biology major and might have to work with mass genomic information.

Thank you in advance
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a b U Graphics card
June 18, 2010 5:35:45 AM

Hey holy,

That is a nice discount, hmmm. =/ If you are planning on gaming at all though, I'd say get a better graphics card. Even slightly better will help with SC2 if that's all you plan on playing in the future.

Just for reference.. as Wolfram said, here is a build Tom's Hardware did recently for $550.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-gpu-overclock,2...
The video card they use is $150, and would be overkill for your needs, so something very cheap would do just fine and you could put it in almost any computer as long as it has a PCI-E slot and enough power (not much).

If you do decide to build your own, then yeah, just read reviews online and look at pictures to see how things fit generally and what certain components look like. If you know anyone that has built a computer before that would be a very easy way to learn. Once you see it physically, witness how simple it is, and learn the basic components, you'll be fine.
Or, if you have a computer store around (that isn't a chain preferably), you may be able to go there and either watch and learn... or have them do it. There's a few local stores here and the people are much much more knowledgeable and helpful. They'll assemble it right in front of you if you want.

Maintaining a self built PC is no different than a pre-built system, although service/support is different. Most brands offer warranties and support for individual parts though. Depending on what parts you put in the computer, it should make no difference whether you assembled it yourself, or had it built.
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June 18, 2010 5:48:08 AM

I'm guessing your saying get a better graphics card to both of the options?

I'm going to try to call Dell and see if I can have them upgrade the graphics card...those two are the only one they offer. Aside from the graphics card though, are the other specs. good. And in the long run, am I better off going with the 4 core instead of the 3 core?

Just browsing these forums kind of makes me want to learn. I might dig up one of the old desktops that have been collecting dust and take it apart just to see what's going on.
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a b U Graphics card
June 18, 2010 6:53:23 AM

Yeah, I'm just not sure if those would run SC2 or not, the game isn't out yet. The game sounds pretty low-key. I don't think you would regret spending an extra $50-$100.

In the long run, sure a quad core would be more beneficial.. just depends if you think you'll need it and how much time you spend at the PC. More and more programs are using multi-threading, so overall it's a good idea. They aren't too expensive anyways.

And good idea about tearing apart a PC.
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