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HELP ME DECIDE - CONFIGURING MY FIRST COMPUTER

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June 2, 2008 6:11:16 AM

I am looking to buy my first desktop computer system ever. THAT'S RIGHT FOLKS! I AM IN MY FORTIES AND I AM ABOUT TO BUY MY FIRST DESKTOP COMPUTER SO IF YOU HAVE NOTHING CONSTRUCTIVE TO SAY PLEASE DON'T REPLY! IN OTHER WORDS = BE NICE BECAUSE I NEED HELP! I've used computers at work for years but never bought one. Geez it is so confusing! 800 DDDR2 which seems to be quickly becoming outdated or DDR3 1333 which seems outrageously expensive? 4 gigs of memory or 8? I definitely want an Intel chip because AMD ain't gonna be around in ten years (I can tell by following the stock/financials) but do I get a Q series (Q 9550 seems like the way to go for the price), E series, a Xeon? There's no way that I'm paying for a QX9650 or a Skulltrail chip at this price point although they seem awesome. Forget Nehalem when it's released because you have to have a business write off, rich parents, be a sports star or a US senator to afford one. What about the video card? I like to play the occasional video game. What other benefits does a good video card have? Will it help me watch a dvd or improve the quality of pictures or movies that I make/download? How about the hard drive? One hard drive or two and why? 250g, 500g, raptor, or velociraptor? Do I need an asus p5e3 mobo or an nvidia 780 or 790? What would the difference be practically? How much power do I really need? 425 watts, 850 watts, 1000 watts and why? It's very difficult to find this info out. I called Dell the other day and asked some basic questions after building/configuring a few systems on their website. The guy I spoke to was less than helpful. It was like my questions were too simplistic for him. Like I was bothering him. Sorry buddy but before I shell out 2000 - 3000 bucks I'd like to talk to somebody who knows more than I do and can explain things. I've been to cyberpower, ibuypower, falcon northwest (frag box), and a multitude of other sites. The site/manufacturer that I like best is xicomputer.com. Why you say? Because XI seems to have the most/best choices! I'm not saying that xi is not pricey but who isn't pricey these days who is any good? With Dell you don't know what the hell you're paying for! They don't tell you what kind of mobo they use. They seem to have low wattage power. Just seems like they're making way too much money off of crappy components - this is my opinion as a layperson - I have no significant knowledge base to back this up. But after a hellalot of web surfing for a new computer, that's my opinion of Dell. Buy a Dell because we're the biggest and have the most advertising. No thanks. And what of all this talk of solid state drives (cost more than their weight in gold for goodness sake) and fsb being a thing of the past in the near future? I am willing to spend anywhere from $2000 - 3000 (for the computer only - no monitor, printer, etc.) but I want a computer that I can enjoy for the next ten years. Is that possible? Just because I'm willing to spend <3000 of my net, after-tax dollars doesn't make me a rich guy folks. It means that I want a quality piece of long-lasting equipment. I really don't want to wait too much longer because I've been thinking about buying one for about a year now. The computer that I'm using now someone gave me and runs a 366 mhz chip and windows 98 (ouch!). It's getting tired and I'm getting tired of waiting on it. Now I know there's people reading this who are saying to themselves "What are you going to use this computer for?". All I can tell you is that I want to surf the net (doh!), download/create music, pictures and movies (duh), light architectural/enginering stuff, and experience the joys of computing in general. I don't want my system to hold me back regardless of what I want to do within reason. I'll pay the extra $500 if ddr3 1333 will make my computer appreciably faster. I'll pay a bit more for having to wait less. Should I wait a little longer to buy and see what the near future holds as far as major changes go (Nehalem driving down core 2 prices, bye bye fsb, solid state drives, ddr3, etc.) Anyone with anything constructive to say please respond. I could really use the insight. Also, tell me what you think of xi computer. They seem pricey but are they worth it as compared to Dell and HP? Thanks all!
June 2, 2008 6:39:44 AM

Well what's ur budget?

If u want bang for the buck, I suggest taking a look at the following,

Motherbaord: Gigabyte/ASUS P35 Chipset
CPU: Intel Quad Core Q6600
RAM: 4GB DDR2 800
VGA: 8800GTS 512
HD: Seagate 7200.11 SATA II

U'll need about a 500W power supply to run these on stock speeds.

I have not been very specific on some components coz I don't know ur range. :) 
June 2, 2008 7:22:39 AM

Should get me eyes checked. Saw ur range now :p 

A complete build with the components I listed should be in the range of 1500-2000$ and should last two - three years.

U can spend more on a better motherboard, power supply and/or a cooling solution which will give u some room for over-clocking and getting more performance out of ur rig.
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September 24, 2008 3:35:35 PM

Like you, I had the same concerns, read 1000's of webpages perused pc sales lists and became more confused then I had been before I started. Every manufacturer and computer "expert" had a different opinion about what I should get. Finally I decided to go it on my own and not be swayed by "fanboys" of one or other camp (Intel or AMD). I have just completed my second built, and although it will set some peoples's hair on end (If you believe all the hype), I now find it a wothwhile and rewarding experience. To address some of your concerns we have to assume that no computer component will last for more then about 3 to 5 years. With a few exceptions, but you need all the components and not just some of them.
The trick for me has been to look beyond the adverts and opions of others and follow my instincts.I am not an computer expert nor know all there is to know about all the new technologies that exist today.This is what I did: Firstly decided on what kind of processor I would like , and then shop for a motherboard that supports it. I opted for an Intel q6600 quad core to run every task I could think of without coming to a vrtual standstill. Operating system Windows XP because I know it better then Vista, and I did not feel like learning yet another OS. It is like a old pair of shoes that fit well and are comfortable. Once I selected the processor, it became easier to select the motherboard and I opted for an ASUS P5K.
The advantage this had was to remove my concerns of DDR2 or DDR3 as it will support either one. The memory I chose was Corsair XMS DDR3 8500 because the price difference between the DDR2 and DDR3 was very small and I could still look for future upgrades if I wanted to do so. Graphic cards are a different story, but I chose a nvidea gts8800 which for me does the job well. Hard drives can and will let you down at the most inoppertune moment, so I looked for the longest warranty I could find. Enter the Seagate Barracuda 500gb 7200.1. The case is a coolermaster wavemaster because I like a solid aluminium construction that can take a bash every now and then. This then became the basis of my second built. Previously built an AMD 64 system that also served me well, but was in dire need of an upgrade. I do not believe in overclocking or buying a component that is £5 less expensive. There are a lot of well meaning and knowlegably people out there that will gladly give their advice based on their own experiences and will not be swayed by how fast or well overclocked a computer chip can be made to perform. I hope this can be of use to you and alay some of your concerns.
Finally, the reward of building a system for yourself, that does what you want it to do, will overshadow all the expert advice you can get from "computer experts". Read a few forums like this one, and it will become more obvious what road you can take.
Happy building
September 24, 2008 3:46:34 PM

<quote>...eone gave me and runs a 366 mhz chip and windows 98 (ouch!). It's getting tired and I'm getting tired of waiting on it. Now I know there's people reading this who are saying to themselves "What are you going to use this computer for?". All I can tell you is that I want to surf the net (doh!), download/create music, pictures and movies (duh), light architectural/enginering stuff, and experience the joys of computing in general.</quote>

So... here is my 2 cents. You're currently using an ancient computer not even running at 1ghz. and you will be doing pretty basic tasks with this computer.

If you're just going to be on the internet and what not... I see nothing wrong w\ just buying a Dell. I don't know what questions you were asking the dell guy ( and i know they have some not so helpful people) but... they have a website with easy to use interface and great prices for people who don't want to build their own system.

http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx/hot_...

Dell usually runs $450-550 on decent vostro and optiplex systems that come w\ a 19-22'' lcd. And really, if you've been using a 350mhz system for years... anything is going to be a drastic improvement.

If you're going to build your own and are on a budget I would look at an AMD build, you can easily get away with $500-600 in parts for a good system... I doubt you need a hulking 8800 video card for checking your email... newer onboard ati graphics will be more then enough.

This being said there is no reason to go beyond $1000.
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