T Nation

New Computer Recommendations


I need to purchase a new computer, and with so many options and price points out there (not to mention the fact that I don't keep up with all the new developments), I am more than a little confused.

I have about $1,000 (give or take) to spend on a new setup (incl. box, monitor, printer, and whatever else I need to turn it on and go). Where can I get the best bang for the buck, so to speak? I am not a gamer, but I do want high-quality video and audio.

Thanks for any help!


Here's a link to a decent system for your price range. You can add higher quaility audio and video system to it if you want.


No, don't go for dell. Build yourself a good one for about $500.


ArsTechica have a nice system guide:

Your budget places you somewhere between the Budget Box and the HotRod... read both guides and pick and choose whatever suits your needs the best.


I would have always said build it yourself but these days its becoming more and more feasible to buy from someone like Dell. Look into both options is my advice now.


Here you go.....

Just add whatever monitor and printer you want.....



If you're not going to build it yourself, i'd say buy a Dell. They have some fairly cheap and decent systems.


OK, been researching all morning (last week on the job...not like I'm gonna get fired or anything), and here is what I came up with.

Among others, I looked at the Dell and the HP, both of which were mentioned in posts above. I also looked at some by eMachines and CISNET (sp?), but am not familiar with these brands. I am leaning toward the Dell (primarily out of appearance, since it and the HP seem to be comparable in terms of capability).

For $1,278, I would get the following:

Dimension E310 - P4
Intel Pentium 4 Processor 521 w/HT Technology (2.8GHz, 800FSB), Genuine Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition

MS Office Basic and Adobe Acrobat 6.0

Memory 256MB DDR2 SDRAM at 400MHz -1 DIMM (whatever the hell that means)

15 inch E156FP Analog Flat Panel

DataSafe 80GB (Includes main hard drive plus a hidden reserve hard drive)

APC Back-UPS ES 725 - Battery Backup
(probably useful for hurricane season)

Dell All In One Inkjet 944

PC-cillin Internet Security: AntiVirus, Firewall, Spyware removal 24-months

Dell A525 30 Watt 2.1 Stereo Speakers with Subwoofer

All this will be shipped by next Wednesday (assuming I order it). Critiques? Anyone see any potential buyer's remorse?


256MB of RAM seems a bit tight. You can probably get 512, or even 1GB for not much more money.

You can also add it in later, though.


256mb of RAM and no video card? Wouldn't he need both more RAM and a decent video card for the high quality video he wants? Doesn't Windows XP use most of the 256mb of RAM itself, anyway?


Check! See? This is why I am doing this; I know jack. I also forgot to include the vido card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 is included.

I will go back and reconfigure with additional RAM and see what that does to the cost. ~ Thanks gents! ~


You could build that same system from parts for about a third of what they're charging. Its hard to screw up, as every wire and connector is labeled, and most are different sizes and pin configurations. Take that price list to newegg.com and price it out; you'll have a lower total price, with quality components (who you know the manufacturer of!).

Just swap over your old hardrive, add a new one, buy a beast of a vid card (Radeon X1800 series are quite good for the asking price) up the RAM, and you'll have a computer that will last you years and years with no need for upgrades.


I wouldn't change anything just yet if I were you, I know jack about computers. I was actually asking that question because I didn't know the answer.


OK, now for memory we have:

1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 400MHz -2DIMMs

and for the hard drive we have:

DataSafe 160GB (Includes main hard drive plus a hidden reserve hard drive) -- this is instead of the 80GB drive I had before.

We are now up to $1,519, which I can live with. Will this get me by for a while?


I will look into this.


HA! Well, I did it anyway. It's OK, I am still in the research phase of the project, and I can always go back and reconfigure it. I was interested in how changing the memory around would impact the price.



The price seems quite high for what you are getting. I echo those who say go for a full gig of RAM. You may want to upgrade the OS from XP to Vista when it is released and you will probably need the horsepower. If it were me, I wouldn't want anything less than a 17" monitor either.

Are there any shops locally that build PC's to spec.?

Also don't waste your money on an antivirus subscription. AVG offers a single home user licence for free. We use the enterprise edition at work and it has proven very good. Their website is http://www.grisoft.com



PC Builders in Florida





The choice comes down to what your next purchase is going to be. If you want "a computer" and the next time around you want "a new computer" you will get more bang for your buck with something like a dell.

If you spend a little more now, or get a little less, you can make it upgradeable. You'll end up with free RAM slots you can fill, processor upgradability, space in the case for another hard drive, etc.
Besides newegg, I'd look at