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New Computer Help....

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May 20, 2001 5:15:54 AM

Hey everyone! I am new to the boards.... I just read about the GeForce3 Graphics Board here at Tom's Hardware Guide and took the time to check out and customize a Dell System. Because my current computer is becoming obsolete (and I need a new computer for several purposes), I have decided to get a Dell Dimension 8100 with a 1.7 GHz Pentium4 Processor with 256 RDRAM and a 64MB DDR GeForce3 Graphics Card. I have a few questions to ask of the community before I make this important decision...

1) Will this setup make the most of the GeForce3 (considering the Pentium4 uses RDRAM)?
2) Is the system overall decent for video editing (my website relies on that heavily and my co-website friend is busy working on an independent film)? And is there some kind of video in/video out on the card that would enable me to import/export video?
3) I have heard in the past that RDRAM is not as good as SDRAM, but that may only have been because of the expensiveness of RDRAM as opposed to the inexpensiveness of SDRAM. Can someone please clear this up for me?
4) I currently have an nVidia TNT1 (yes I know how sad that may sound...) and I am sure the GeForce3 will show great improvments. I have owned my current computer for 2 years now with no upgrades. When I look at today's games, I realize that my TNT cannot come close to running any of them. There is also a good chance that this new computer system I am about to purchase will not be upgraded for a similar amount of time. Should I wait for the supposed "GeForce3 Ultra" to be unveiled, or would the GeForce3 be just fine?

I just want to say thanks in advance to anyone who took the time to read this, and extra thanks to anyone who actually helps me out! (I have to make my decision within 2 months, and by then hopefully a faster processor will be out...)

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May 20, 2001 6:10:41 AM

Firstly - that will be a very good system - although to finally comment we'd need to know alittle more of your spec.

1) yes - the system will push the Geforce 3 to it's limits (for high resolution 3D gaming).
2) I would say it would suffice for basic home user video editing. There are others around much more proficient at that than me, however I have tried a few things and have yet to find my happy medium for doing this on a PC. Maybe I do not yet have the right software.
3) RD-RAM, teamed with the P4 will kick SDR-SDRAM in the painful places. At present RD-RAM is the only choice for P4 and soonish (later this year) there will be DDR-SDRAM and even std SDRAM. DDR may make an impression on the P4, but probably will still not live up to the capability of the P4.
4) There is always another card just round the corner. nVidia release a generation every 6 months or so. In 5 months we will see a Geforce3 Ultra or equivalent. 6 months after that a GeForce4 or whatever... Take your chances and get on a train - there will be another one along soon though so don't worry if this one looks wrong for you.


I'd ask you a few questions. What OS and software are you going to use? What disk types and controllers in the Dell?

The Dell is a solid machine, backed by warranty, but you know of course you are paying premium for an OEM built system. The system will also never perform quite as highly as a custom built system, however you have support channels and customer recourse should you not be satisfied with their product.

The jury is still out right now for P4 - current solutions are passable, but there is a new P4 chip release in the next few months that will surpass the current P4, and they are not compatible solutions, requiring a new motherboard.

If you are looking to buy a very expensive Dell type PC I think it is worth waiting to either consolidate the new markets and allow processor price drops to filter through or bag a new architecture shen it comes out. For the money you are talking, I'd also consider a custom built machine. If you do not fancy having a go yourself (probably lots of hassle unless you are experienced, have time on your hands and can afford downtime and data-instability for a week or so whilst you get it settled in) then consider some of the professional workstation system builders out there. You of course pay premium, but I think they will perform better, be better customised to your needs, and possibly give you better support service.

Pete.

-* This Space For Rent *-
email for application details
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
May 20, 2001 6:57:49 AM

well lets see:

1) No, the athlon 1,33 with DDR will be better in 75% of todays applications for a much lower price.

2) Yes, this system is the best system for video editing. Thats the one thing P4 does very well.

3) If you have a UNLIMITED amount of cash RDRAM is fine, especialy for video. However every time you put a new stick of RDRAM in your pc performance will suffer.

4)There will allways be something faster around the corner. But this system would do fine for the next 2 years and more.
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May 20, 2001 7:05:29 AM

Quote:
<b>3) If you have a UNLIMITED amount of cash RDRAM is fine, especialy for video. However every time you put a new stick of RDRAM in your pc performance will suffer. </b>

RDRAM isn't that expensive right now. and just to tick off Rayston, neither is DDRAM...
just buy Crucial memory.

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why, oh WHY, is the world run by morons?
May 20, 2001 11:24:03 AM

All I can say Dell is from Hell Crappy systems and put cheap parts in the computer. And there Tech Support sucks. Can anyone Say Dell Pickle. LOL. Price for a dell $3,000 And a price of a AMD 1,300.
May 20, 2001 12:07:48 PM

I've got to disagree, there are two computer companies I'd buy from right now, Dell and Howard PC.
Gateway is *almost* on that list, just don't like their laptops...
we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-70 Dells at work, aside from Mcafee AV screwing stuff up, they work nicely.
I've got a Dell Inspiron 8000 I'm typing on, the only complaint is the pointing stick has to be disabled, but I have a touchpad and mouse... although they'd better come up with a fix soon...

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why, oh WHY, is the world run by morons?
May 20, 2001 12:18:24 PM

In fact, this Dell Dimension WAS customized by myself... The OS that I am running is going to be Windows ME (with which I have no experience. I personally don't know how thats going to work... is it possible to switch back to my ususal Windows 98 SE? (would I even want to?) Of course, with a GeForce3, I won't only be editing video, I'll have to take advantage of that power and play a few games and watch a few DVDs as well. In any case, here are the rest of the specs on the system (though you may have been refurring to other specs like the motherboard or something, but they didn't have that information...) that Dell stated at the Customize Printable Summary:

Date: Sunday, May 20, 2001 6:45:27 AM CDT
Catalog Number: 29 19
Dell Dimension 8100 Series: Dimension® 8100 Series,Pentium® 4 Processor at 1.7Ghz
Memory: 256MB PC800 RDRAM
Keyboard: New Dell® Enhanced Quiet Key Keyboard
Monitor: 17 in (16.0 in viewable,.24-.25AG)P780 FD Trinitron® Monitor,
Video Card: 64MB DDR NVIDIA GeForce3 4X AGP Graphics
Hard Drive: 60GB Ultra ATA/100 Hard Drive
Floppy Drive: 3.5 in Floppy Drive
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® Millennium Edition (Windows Me)
Mouse: MS IntelliMouse®
Network Card: Integrated 3Com® EtherLink® 10/100 Ethernet Controller
Modem: 56K Telephone Modem for Windows ME-Sound Option
DVD-ROM or CD-ROM Drive: 16X DVD ROM Drive for 64MB NVIDIA Geforce3 4X AGP Graphics Card
Sound Card: SB Live! Value Digital (but I might choose the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz DSP)
Speakers: Harman Kardon HK-695 Surround Sound Speakers with Subwoofer
Bundled Software: Microsoft® Office XP Small Business with Money 2001 Standard
Norton Antivirus® at No Additional Charge: Norton Antivirus® 2001
Digital Music: Dell Jukebox powered by MusicMatch 6.0
Digital Imaging Software: Image Expert® 2000, Dell Edition ($0)
Limited Warranty, Services and Support Options
Internet Access Service at no additional charge: 1-Year DellNet™ by MSN® Internet Access Service[add$0]
Resolution Assistant: Resolution Assistant
CD-RW or CD-RW/DVD Combination Drive for 2nd Bay: New 12X/8X/32X CD-RW Drive
a b à CPUs
May 20, 2001 12:29:26 PM

Good machines can be had from Dell, GAteway, and even Hewlet Packard (Ugh)! I sell refurbished units from Dell and Gateway, the units I get are of fairly high quality, but these are their HIGH END machines. When you buy a HIGH END machine from Dell or Gateway, you get better parts, and everything except the video card is high quality. When you buy a low end home pc, you get some crappy integrated chipset. So you get what you pay for. Even the CASES are better on their high-end machines.
As for Hewlett Packard, their machines use Asus motherboards. So you get the best quality motherboard for the chipset, but with HP Bios, and all overclocking features removed. You can get an HP with a GOOD Intel 850 mobo right now, or, on the mid-range, an 815 motherboard with AGP slot. Any of these choices will come with lower-end graphics, such as a TNT2M64 graphics card, but those are replaceable, and work fine for nearly everyone except GAMERS and cad-programers.
So if a person doesn't realy have a good source for a custom built PC and doesn't know how to do it themselves, or have the time to learn, these can all be good choices, as long as they can get good information from a third party source, such as us, about the quality of their components.

Cast not thine pearls before the swine
May 20, 2001 1:15:29 PM

Hi,

Sorry, firstly I should clarify. When I said custom build, I meant built by specialised PC workstation integrators, not by Dell and component customised by you. There is a world of difference.

The cusom built system would be tailored to you by people who understand what you are trying to do, and will offer full service based on that. I won't recommend any specifically - but there are some around on this board if you search.

Customising an OEM solution is okay - to a point, but it is not going to live up to the potential. I look at your specs and there are a few compromises there that may not work ideally.

17" monitor - that's pretty small by today's standards - it is very little real estate to do office apps in (unless you have excellent eyesight) :smile: I'd look at 19" or bigger since you'll be gaming, video playing etc.

256Mb memory is okay for now, but in the life of the PC for the apps you'll run (dv editing for instance) you'll have to upgrade later if not now.

Windows ME is probably the last OS you'll want to use (unless someone offers you a copy 3.11). Get Win2K Pro and or 98SE. The 2K Pro will be your work platform, the 98SE your play platform. I play happily in Pro to, but some people find it does not support all games.

Hrad drive - for serious video editing you really would benefit from fast disk access. The single 60GB disk is a limiting factor here. I'd look at a striped IDE raid solution or better yet SCSI array of 2 or more disks. The single disk is limited to around 33MB/s (if it is an excellent disk) although the bus support 100MB/s for faster cache transfer. Also, did you know that DV takes approx. 12GB/hour of capture in raw AVI format? That might affect the size of disk you take...

Everything is a trade off - the Dell you list is a good base system, but I do not think it offers the best available for the money, nor the best compromise to service or reliability. If you want a solid, quality workstation with little effort from you (apart from earning all that ca$h) - this is it, but if you want to be back in here in 6 months time looking for a little extra horsepower, you'll be looking at big $$ for any upgrade.

-* This Space For Rent *-
email for application details
May 20, 2001 1:19:53 PM

the question is if you need it right know becuase in 4 months the the nextgenartion p4 will be out and it should be much beeter than the crippled one out right know

you might want to look in to more memory brcuase the more the better up to 512 in the home os's since you are doing video editing this one of the major reasons i'm saying this
May 20, 2001 4:48:39 PM

Hopefully by the time I have to buy the new computer (2 months or so) Matt will be done with his films and the usefulness of the P4 will increase... 512MB RDRAM on the Dell would add $600 to the price. From other posts that I have asked questions about usefulness of the P4, it seems as thought the main use of it is Video Editing. While that would be one of the main uses of it, it would also be juggled with word processing and lots of game playing. If the P4 can't deliver as much for gaming as it does for the video editing, I might have to wait a bit more for a better version of the P4... Is such a thing actually coming out soon? Is the overall editing and gaming more dependent on the Graphics Card or the CPU?
May 20, 2001 7:45:53 PM

unless its been updated since last week, I've already got the most up to date...
I'll check your links...
anyways, I have a feeling I'm a lucky one that got an early release 8000 that will probably have to swap a few parts out on... oh well.


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why, oh WHY, is the world run by morons?
May 20, 2001 8:58:17 PM

the northwood in a q3. it is the p4 with ,13 micron etching and a full fpu. atleast that is what is rummored
May 20, 2001 10:38:41 PM

The memory cost is a feature of using the Dell path unfortunately. You could go out and pivately buy (not upgrade to) 512MB RD-RAM for under $400....

Graphics card has practically nothing to do with video editing, the primary impact on vid editing is from,

Application, disk access, cpu, memory speed.

I seriously recommend to hand on until the Northwood comes out in the second half of this year. It will be a much better system. You could also monitor this forum, discover the key to successfully build your own machine and save yourself $1000 into the deal.

-* This Space For Rent *-
email for application details
!