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A new mid-range computer

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September 9, 2009 6:46:05 PM

:hello:  Hello, everyone! :hello: 
First time poster at this fine site.
I was thinking of getting a new computer next week (september 14th-20th), but I'm torn as to what computer I should get.
I have a 2006 laptop, so it's time to upgrade!

I was browsing through the net (and looking at ads) when I found that a local computer store has a computer with the following stats:
HP Pavilion Elite m9754
Intel Core Duo E7400 dual core 2.8GHz processor
4 GB DDR3 1066MHz
nVidia GeForce GT220 1GB GDDR3 graphix card
500GB SATA 7200rpm hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit with Windows 7 update offer
Comes with wireless mouse and keyboard
Price tag: 698,90€

Just a few moments ago I came up on another site for an electronics store with the following machine:
HP Pavilion P6140
AMD Phenom II X3 720 triple core processor
ATI Radeon HD 4650 1024MB (max 3070MB with shared memory) graphix card
6 Gt DDR3-SDRAM (with 4 DIMM slots)
500GB SATA 3G 7200rpm hard drive
Optical mouse and USB keyboard
Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit
For: 699€

(some information has been omitted by the respective sites, so this isn't a direct one-on-one comparison)

I have explored the house-built option, but that is considerably more expensive (by hundreds of euros) for equivalent stats.

This'll be a long-term investment, as I'll be upgrading the machine every year or so, until it becomes completely obsolete (two to four years at this rate). I'll primarily be using the computer for internet browsing (and related activities), photoshop, some vector graphics, possible school/university-related activities, and -primarily- for games.
I want an adequately efficient gaming computer for a reasonable price.
I already have a 1TB EHD and a good screen.

So which one do you think I should get?

Thank you.

More about : mid range computer

September 9, 2009 9:21:52 PM

Wow, those are crazy expensive for what you are getting. They are over $1,000 USD. You could get an i7 system for what they are charging. You should easily be able to build one for less than that. I'm not that familiar with the European shopping sites, but maybe some of my friends on this site can help with that?

The first build is a mess. There's not much reason to have the DDR3 with the socket 775 CPU. The video card is also dated.

The second build is better, but still has a midrange (good price/performance) video card.
September 10, 2009 7:35:44 AM

Quote:
Wow, those are crazy expensive for what you are getting. They are over $1,000 USD. You could get an i7 system for what they are charging.


We'll this is Finland, so we have bit higher prices than everywhere else. Our VAD is 22% (included in the price).


Quote:
You should easily be able to build one for less than that.


I've searched for good builds, but they only include the mainframe itself without an OS or mouse/keyboard. A computer of about this range is on sale somewhere for 777€ and the operating system (with option to upgrade for windows 7) is 180€. And better ones can cost up to 1500€. Adding mouse, keyboard, speakers and OS, it would cost about 1750€.

Quote:
I'm not that familiar with the European shopping sites, but maybe some of my friends on this site can help with that?


I'd appreciate it. Could you direct me to them, or bring this thread to their attention?

Quote:

The first build is a mess. There's not much reason to have the DDR3 with the socket 775 CPU. The video card is also dated.

The second build is better, but still has a midrange (good price/performance) video card.


The warranty on the first one lasts a year, at which point I intend to upgrade the system piecemeal. And I've researched GT220 vs HD4650, and it appears they're about equal, though I have a better vibe with the GT220. As long as the card can play GTAIV, Mass Effect, Crysis, Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, Dead Space, and other modern games on relatively high settings, I'm happy with it.

And one question for both would be: Is it easy to upgrade the machine? And thus which one is easier to upgrade? If I can tear out the processor and replace it with little difficulty, then that would be excellent. The same for the graphx card.
Related resources
September 10, 2009 3:56:30 PM

Should the deal with W7 influence my decision in this matter? Will I be alright with Vista for the time being? Meaning I could wait till next year to get W7?
September 10, 2009 9:20:07 PM

HP doesn't make it easy to upgrade thier systems. If you were to pick one of these systems, you'll want to find out the motherboard and look to see what CPUs are supported. That'll determine how much (if any), you can upgrade the CPU. It's not hard to swap out CPUs, the process would be the same on either system. You simply remove the fan, pull the chip, put in the new one, apply some thermal paste, and put the fan back on. For the video card, you simply unscrew the backplate bracket, pull it out of the slot, and put the new one it. Install drivers upon restart.

You can't buy windows 7 until October 22, so you'll just want to use whatever comes with it and then decide if you want to upgrade when it's released.

If this helps at all, this is the 2009 video card chart for far cry 2. Neither of those cards even makes the chart. You probably aren't going to get high settings.
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-card...
same situation here with fallout 3
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-card...
September 10, 2009 9:31:50 PM

Quote:
I've searched for good builds, but they only include the mainframe itself without an OS or mouse/keyboard. A computer of about this range is on sale somewhere for 777€ and the operating system (with option to upgrade for windows 7) is 180€. And better ones can cost up to 1500€. Adding mouse, keyboard, speakers and OS, it would cost about 1750€.

Quote:
I'm not that familiar with the European shopping sites, but maybe some of my friends on this site can help with that?


If you're interested in building one yourself, you can post a thread in the homebuilt section asking for European sites. You should get some good help from some who are more familiar with Euro sites than me. I think ebuyer.com ships to Finland.
September 12, 2009 8:56:57 AM

aford10 said:
HP doesn't make it easy to upgrade thier systems. If you were to pick one of these systems, you'll want to find out the motherboard and look to see what CPUs are supported. That'll determine how much (if any), you can upgrade the CPU. It's not hard to swap out CPUs, the process would be the same on either system. You simply remove the fan, pull the chip, put in the new one, apply some thermal paste, and put the fan back on. For the video card, you simply unscrew the backplate bracket, pull it out of the slot, and put the new one it. Install drivers upon restart.

You can't buy windows 7 until October 22, so you'll just want to use whatever comes with it and then decide if you want to upgrade when it's released.

If this helps at all, this is the 2009 video card chart for far cry 2. Neither of those cards even makes the chart. You probably aren't going to get high settings.
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-card...
same situation here with fallout 3
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-card...


Thanx 4 the charts.
I've checked some vids on the internet (youtube mostly) and they showed gameplay with HD4650 and GT220. I've gotten the impression that those cards are roughly equal in performance, so there won't be much difference there. There was some gameplay footage of GTA4, F3, Crysis, CoD4, Assassins Creed, etc. and they ran smoothly with good settings.
I am not searching for a professional gamer's machine, but a computer that can be used for adequately entertaining and eye-pleasing gaming with a reasonable price. I have no illusions about how much I can invest in games. And graphics aren't everything (though they're still important).

I went yesterday to Kamppi's Musta Pörssi to ask some info about the P6140 (though I couldn't find the thing itself in that particular store), and according to them it is fully upgradeable (though I do believe it will be a bit difficult) and I only need to register the machine at a certain website (windows or HP, IDR) and I can get W7 for only the postal charge. I'm gonna scout out another Musta Pörssi for more info about the P6140.

And I'm sure it will read in the manual, what sort of motherboard the machine sports.

Thanks for the advice thus far. It has influenced my decision already. I just need final confirmations before moving ahead.
September 13, 2009 12:55:10 AM

As long as you realistically know what to expect out of the hardware, and are ok with it, that's all that matters. It's a good deal if they aren't going to charge the upgrade price to windows7 (as long as it's not built into the price of the system).
September 13, 2009 5:36:10 PM

aford10 said:
As long as you realistically know what to expect out of the hardware, and are ok with it, that's all that matters. It's a good deal if they aren't going to charge the upgrade price to windows7 (as long as it's not built into the price of the system).


I discussed the situation with my friends, and got a bit of flak. Their point is "get the best or nothing." I want to rid myself of this nuisance of a laptop, so I'm not expecting the best. Why get the best computer, if it'll be obsolete in less than five years? If I get a system I can upgrade, I can easily have an adequate machine for that 5-year period.

Basically I only need to register the machine, and I'm pre-ordering W7. The only money I need to use on it is the postal charge.
September 13, 2009 6:17:37 PM

Tounushi said:
"get the best or nothing."
Get the best you can easily afford is a MUCH better strategy. PCs and Laptops aren't investments. They don't increase in value over time.

September 13, 2009 6:23:46 PM

All sounds good.

Just a note of caution. The HP salesman may have told you that it's 'fully upgradeable,' but that's a sales line to sell their PC. Nothing HP makes is fully upgradeable. There's only 1 PCIe slot, so you can't SLI or xfire later. Their BIOSs are also limited, so the CPU upgrade options will be limited.

That quad core should keep the PC at adequate standards for the 5 year period you're looking at. But beyond pulling a video card and adding a new one (which likely will require a PSU upgrade), you won't be able to upgrade much.
September 14, 2009 7:55:33 AM

WR2 said:
Get the best you can easily afford is a MUCH better strategy. PCs and Laptops aren't investments. They don't increase in value over time.


They don't. However they're stuff you don't buy often. Almost the same as TVs back in the day. And the less often you need to buy new ones, the better.
Get a powerful computer, you don't need to upgrade it or replace it for years.
September 14, 2009 8:12:44 AM

aford10 said:
All sounds good.

Just a note of caution. The HP salesman may have told you that it's 'fully upgradeable,' but that's a sales line to sell their PC. Nothing HP makes is fully upgradeable. There's only 1 PCIe slot, so you can't SLI or xfire later. Their BIOSs are also limited, so the CPU upgrade options will be limited.

That quad core should keep the PC at adequate standards for the 5 year period you're looking at. But beyond pulling a video card and adding a new one (which likely will require a PSU upgrade), you won't be able to upgrade much.


Unless the motherboard is welded, bolted and magically bonded into the frame, I should be able to upgrade the computer with some instructions. Graphics card replacement is the most common form of upgrades, so that'll be the easiest. And they did mention that there's room for more memory, so that won't require too many hours of surgery. However, replacing that triple core would be tricky as it stands. But, that'll be a later worry, by the time which I'll probably know more about computer hardware.

And I don't know what xfire is. And I've heard SLI doesn't work as desired. That it'll be cheaper to get a powerful GPU instead of coupling two medium GPUs.

And it wasn't an HP salesman. The store also sells Dells and Fujitsus (and probably others).

I think cloud computing will start to become mainstream when my new machine becomes obsolete.
September 14, 2009 11:21:02 AM

xfire (crossfire) is the ATI version of SLI. If a mobo can support it, it's a cheap way to upgrade the graphics instead of having to completely replace the video card.

The mobo will be bolted to the frame (probably a mobo tray). It can be removed, but replacing the guts is costly enough to almost warrant a completely new PC.

I'm not trying to sway your decision, just trying to make sure you know what you're getting.
September 14, 2009 3:09:34 PM

OK, got a surprise contender this morning.

An HP Pavilion P6120sc

Phenom X4 9650
4gb DDR3
HD 4650 with 1gb discrete memory
500gb hdd

for 499€. or some $720. With tax. w/o it might be $590.

Slightly less memory and a less powerful processor, and it's a 200€ shave off the price. gotta think of the big picture.

Sure, it might not be as powerful, but two hundred euros are two hundred euros. And hey, I can upgrade this thing eventually. Can't I...?

I might be kicking myself later for it, but upgrades are part of my future plans for this thing.
September 14, 2009 4:29:06 PM

AMDs CPU socket's are much friendlier when it comes to upgrades.

It's the same case as above though. You'd need to get the model of the mobo and check out the CPU support list to know how much, if any, you could upgrade it.
!