Please Help Me Buy a New PC


I would like to buy a new pc with the following requirements and there is one advertised witch seems to satisfy most of my needs but I am not a computer wiz and could use some help from pros as to if I am getting the correct specs.

I want to buy a pc to use with stock market applications which is computing intensive (I do not do any gaming), so I am opting for

(1) P4 2.6 or higher processor with Hyper-Threading technology to open up a possibility of up-grading.
(2) A compatible mother board with appropriate FSB and upgradeable to a higher processor speed in future.
(3) Appropriate DDR (Speed wise) and compatible with both CPU and Motherboard. I need 512 MB.

Right now Dell is offering the following configuration within "my Price range"

(1) P4 2.6 GHz with Hyper-Threading technology.

(2) Intel 875P chipset (They have not mentioned the name or specs of motherboard) but Intel site mentions that 875P chipset has 800 MHz FSB

(3)256 MB PC3200 DDR-SDRAM at 400 MHz

(4) 512 KB L2 Cache

(5) 64 M nVidia GeForce4 MX 420 w/TVOut

I have the following questions and concerns.

(1) Is it worth paying quite a bit more for P4 3.0 GHz instead of 2.6 GHz and what FSB would I get with 2.6 and 3.0 and would that make that much difference in computing power. My main concern is, I do want Hyper-Threading Technology because that would help me Upgrade with newer processors. They have mentioned Hyper-Threading in the ad. but I wonder if P4 2.6 comes with Hyper-Threading and give as good a performance as they advertise.

(2) Is Intel 875P chipset good enough for future Upgrading?

(3) Since they have not mentioned the Mother Board name, would P4 3.0 be compatible with their chipset and mother board if I decide to upgrade in future?

(4) Would P4 3.0 be a totally new technology than P4 2.6 GHz? They have mentioned the Hyper-Threading in the ad.

(5) Is their RAM speed good enough and would I be able to upgrade to P4 3.0 or Higher in future with same RAM speed or would I need a totally new kind of RAM?

(6) Their memory price for extra 256 MB is twice that of other places. Could I add extra RAM bought at other place and what should I watch for? Does it have to be PC3200 and 400 MHz or higher speed would be OK?

(7) They are offering only 3 months on site warranty, period. This is what really alarmed me because usually most of the reputable companies offer at least 12 months warranty.

I am including their ( DELL's ) advertisement as follows.

Dell™ Dimension™ 8300


Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor at 2.6GHz- with Hyper-Threading Technology


Intel® 875P Chipset


Mini Tower Chassis


256MB PC3200 DDR-SDRAM at 400MHz


512KB L2 Cache

Hard Drive


Video Card

64M nVidia® GeForce4 MX 420 w/TVOut

Sound Card

Sound Blaster® Live!™ 5.1 Sound Card


17" Colour Monitor (15.9"v.i.s.)







Network Card

Integrated Intel® PRO 10/100 Ethernet

Operating System

Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition


Norton Anti-Virus 2003 - OEM Version


90 days Limited Warranty (Next Business Day On-Site2 Service), varied from Dell's normal terms and conditions


90 days Telephone-based Hardware Support

Would appreciate any feedback.

Thank You,
5 answers Last reply
More about please
  1. When do you want to buy? Intel will release 3.2c on 23 June. 2.4c 2.6c 2.8c 3.0c 3.2c are the new Cpu's from Intel. The all have HT enabled plus 800 FSB. The new Mobos from Intel all support Prescott CPU that Intel will release the end of Oct. They should support 3.6 Prescott. I would stay away from Dell. Do you know anyone who can build you a computer? You will have better componets for less money. What is Dell"s price?
  2. Hi!

    Just a few quick thoughts, according to you there is only 256 ram, do you know if it is one stick of 256 or 2 sticks of 128 each? You see, an important part of the new 875 chipsets features is the dualchannelddr! Which considerably enhances speed. But for it to work you need 2 sticks of ram, one for each channel! And since you want 512mb a problem could arise since there usually only are 3 memory sockets and the ramsticks all need to be of the same size and type and preferably brand.

    2: As far as I know Dell uses original Intel/Fujitsu-Siemens boards.

    3: Only 3 months of warranty? Bah! Check for other alternatives for instance Ofcourse being a respectable person you dont use pirate software so you should also include the OS and a good antivirus software such as Norton when comparing prices.

    4: Have you considered the AMD opteron solution?

    5: You can use 3.0 CPUS with the 875 chipset. As a matter of fact I think that you can even go as high as 3.6Ghz CPUs. (not sure on this but as far as I know Intel will then switch to the upcomming Prescot CPUs but according to themselves the Prescot should work with the 875 chipset.)

    6: Incase you like to have some suggestions for a rig from, for instance, newegg please feel free to ask us/me.


  3. I think I speak for everyone here when I say, "Dude don't get a Dell!"

    (or Gateway, Compaq/HP, iMac, or any other brand that has been advertised on TV or is carried at BestBuy/CircuitCity/etc)

    Obviously this limits your options considerably. My suggestion would be to post what you want here in the classifieds section and I bet there is someone here that can build you a better PC for 2/3 what that Dell costs. Also there are many sites online that will build you a PC or a "gaming" PC although I can't reccomend any of them I would still go with them before Dell.

    Honestly I'm suprised you found this site if your considering Dell. You should know better.

    Now to answer your questions:
    1) 3.0 is not worth it over the 2.6 if you value your money. All 800fsb CPUs support hyperthreading, the Intel 875/865 chipsets support hyperthreading. If you want to know what hyperthreading will really do there is good information on this site, Anandtech, and a few others. It's not the end all but it is good and I would not buy a Intel based computer w/o it.

    2)The 875P chipset is the best there is for upgrading right now.

    3)They probably use Intel motherboards. The 3.0 will work as well as a few upcoming processors.

    4)The 3.0c is the same technology as the 2.6c the only difference is they use different multipliers.

    5)PC3200 operates at the same speed as Intels latest chips. It will be good until Intel uses higher FSB chips.

    6)Mixing RAM that will run in Dualchannel is a bad idea, it can be done but I wouldn't reccomend it. There is a lot of extremely cheap RAM online that is terrible and will put a lot of frustration into your life. There are good deals to be sure but the absolute cheapest RAM with the right numbers is definately not a good deal. You could get higher (because DDR can "underclock" to slower speeds) but running in duel channel I would try to get the exact same type.

    7)They're probably just trying to get you to buy some sort of extended warrenty.
  4. The only major things I note are that you should get at least 2 sticks of the pc3200 ram so that you can use the ram in dual ddr mode, it does boost performance a noticeable ammount. Also you should definetly get the longest onsite warrenty you can reasonably afford if you are going to buy a 'off the shelf' pc.

  5. Like someone else said, I think you should stay away from Dell, and purchase a computer with seperate parts instead, that way it's easier to upgrade in the future, and you will probably get away with less price as well.

    Now to your questions:

    1) My recommendation is the P4 2.6C or the 2.8C, as those will give the most for your money. The 3.0C is a bit overpriced as the fastest CPU always is. (I just ordered a 2.8C myself.)

    2) The i875P chipset is very upgradable, and should last well into next year when Intel will introduce a new socket for the Prescott CPU. However, the Canterwood (and Springdale chipset for that matter), will both be compatible with the Prescott that Intel will release this year though. The next-gen Prescott should be released around the Spring/summer next year if my mind serves me.

    3) All Canterwood/Springdale chips should be compatible with the 3.0 (with the exception of 865E)

    4) The P4 3.0 and 2.6C are, like someone else pointed out, identical with the only difference being the MHz. The 2.6C with 800 FSB comes with enabled Hyperthreading.

    5) If the specs are correct (400 MHz), then this memory should be good enough until DDR2 comes out, or when Intel releases 1066 FSB, which won't happen until sometime next year at the earliest.

    6) I'm not sure about this, but I *think* that Dell won't allow you to insert extra memory from other places, because that would void your warranty. But this is a plain guess. I really don't know.
    It doesn't have to be PC3200, PC3500/3700 etc., could work fine, but I'd advise you to choose PC3200 memory.

    7) 3 month warranty is very little indeed.

    My system: AMD Athlon XP 3000+ / TwinMOS 1Gb DDR400 / Soltek 75FRN-RL /
    Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro / Antec True Power 550W / Western Digital Raptor / Hercules GTXP SC /
    Samsung DVD / Lite-On CDRW
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