T Nation

Review My Computer Choice

Okay, I asked before for suggestions on what to get, and this is what I narrowed it down to. I had to copy and paste because if I post the link you’d have to log in as me to see it:

"My Components
PROCESSOR AMD Athlon? 64 X2 Dual-Core 3800+ edit

OPERATING SYSTEM & TV-TUNERS Genuine Windows? XP Media Center Edition 2005 edit

UPGRADE TO WINDOWS VISTA Express Upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium from XP Media Center Edition edit

MEMORY 1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz- 2DIMMs edit

HARD DRIVE 160GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache? edit

OPTICAL DRIVE Dual Drives: 16X DVD ROM Drive and 48X CD-RW/DVD Combo edit
MONITOR 19 inch E197FP Analog Flat Panel edit

VIDEO CARD 256MB NVIDIA Geforce 7300LE TurboCache edit

SOUND Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio edit

My Accessories
SPEAKERS Dell A525 30 Watt 2.1 Stereo Speakers with Subwoofer edit

KEYBOARD & MOUSE Dell USB Keyboard and Dell 2-button Scroll Mouse edit (can’t choose none)

FLOPPY & MEDIA READER No Floppy Drive Included edit

MODEM No Modem Option edit

My Software
PRODUCTIVITY No productivity suite- Includes Microsoft Works 8. DOES NOT INCLUDE MS WORD edit (I have MS Word on disk)

ANTI-VIRUS & SECURITY No Security Subscription edit

PHOTOS, MUSIC & MORE! No preinstalled software edit

ALSO INCLUDED WITH YOUR SYSTEM
Mouse Mouse included in Wireless, Laser or Bluetooth Package

Adobe Software Adobe? Acrobat? Reader 7.0

Network Interface Integrated 10/100 Ethernet

Future Operating Systems Windows Vista? Capable"

TOTAL PRICE: $719 with free shipping.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions. Cost is a pretty important factor, and I was actually looking to spend less, but really wanted the 19" flat screen, and the speakers.

I know Best Buy, Circuit City etc were selling very similar computers for cheaper than that Fri & Sat around here. I’d check out the newspaper ads today - there prob will be some more deals before Christmas. Otherwise, seems like a fine deal.

I just wanted to add that I’m mostly looking to see if I had any major flaws in what I picked out, or if any of the decisions didn’t match others.

For example, if I were to pick out a high-end video card and not enough processor power to run it right, or something like that.

[quote]HoratioSandoval wrote:
I know Best Buy, Circuit City etc were selling very similar computers for cheaper than that Fri & Sat around here. I’d check out the newspaper ads today - there prob will be some more deals before Christmas. Otherwise, seems like a fine deal.[/quote]

I was thinking about that too and even tried comparing online at Best Buy. With a flat-screen, I couldn’t find anything close to the same specs wise for the same price.

I will also add that I had a computer in my Dell online wish list for $820ish a few weeks ago and it said it expired, and when I made the exact same computer on Dell, it was just under $900 today.

I thought it would have been cheaper after Thanksgiving, but I guess they’re trying to capitalize on the shopping season. :confused:

Is this a package deal right off of dell’s site? cause I just bought something very similar for around the same price. Except I have xp home edition and the core II duo processor. Everything else looks the same including the 19 in monitor, dvd/cd rw drive and hd size. I paid something like 815 shipped. The general consensus I got from IT people I know is that it was a good deal, and I got the link from www.techbargains.com. I dont think what were paying is a steal or anything, but when I tried to build my own setup with the same specs on their site it was over $100 more than I paid shipped if I remember correctly. You will probably find the same thing. good luck with it.

[quote]Frank Castle wrote:
Is this a package deal right off of dell’s site? cause I just bought something very similar for around the same price. Except I have xp home edition and the core II duo processor. Everything else looks the same including the 19 in monitor, dvd/cd rw drive and hd size. I paid something like 815 shipped. The general consensus I got from IT people I know is that it was a good deal, and I got the link from www.techbargains.com. I dont think what were paying is a steal or anything, but when I tried to build my own setup with the same specs on their site it was over $100 more than I paid shipped if I remember correctly. You will probably find the same thing. good luck with it. [/quote]

Yea, I built it on Dell.com, but this time I started with the “E521 Enhanced Multimedia” instead of starting with the E520 series.

It looks like the difference is the processors, AMD instead of Pentium.

Pretty much the same computer on Dell.com using the E520 specs had me paying almost $900.

Make sure you are looking at the weekly ad in-store prices and not the online prices. There’s usually a huge difference, as they are trying to get people into their stores.

Man, don’t you know the “other golden rule”? Never ask for advice on what you bought after you’ve bought it.

There is always some idiot who will only be too happy to point out how badly you messed up, how you should have asked before because he can get it for half price and twice as good, anything to turn your source of joy into perpetual sourness.

Your systems looks awesome; now stop second guessing things and load some games onto that bad boy!!!

Oops, the title and specs made me think it was already a done deal?

[quote]vroom wrote:
Man, don’t you know the “other golden rule”? Never ask for advice on what you bought after you’ve bought it.

There is always some idiot who will only be too happy to point out how badly you messed up, how you should have asked before because he can get it for half price and twice as good, anything to turn your source of joy into perpetual sourness.

Your systems looks awesome; now stop second guessing things and load some games onto that bad boy!!![/quote]

Hehehe, you’re right, but I didn’t buy it yet. I have it in my checkout cart at Dell.com, but I’m still open to buying from somewhere else.

I pretty much always find the thing I bought, cheaper, a month later. I am a bit of a compulsive buyer, but I’m trying to change that by shopping for a few minutes and asking other people’s oppinion for a half a day or so. :wink:

[quote]vroom wrote:
Oops, the title and specs made me think it was already a done deal?[/quote]

I just saw this post when I sent my last one, but you still made a good point.

To be blunt: the major flaw is that this machine is a Dell. Shit parts, terrible customer service and notorious for their problems.

It may seem daunting, but in the long run you could build something yourself (which isn’t has hard has you might think) for cheap and the parts will be quality.

things you need:

-case w/ fans and powersupply
-processor
-motherboard
-video card
-monitor
-harddrive
-dvd burner if youre into that

I forgot to check if youre from canada before I started writing this, if so - google tigerdirect and ncix for parts and don’t be afraid to check out a local store for parts.

if you’re going to pay 700 bucks with a major corporation, I’m sure you can do the math and realize that there is a reason that you’re getting such a ‘deal’. It may seem appealing because you’re on a budget but you’re going to pay for it in the long run with shitty performance and hardware problems.

just an opinion.

Hard to say if what you’re getting is matching your needs…but i have a few recommendations:
1- get a dvd writer not a cd writer, it doesn’t cost much more, if at all, and you’ll be able to burn dvd’s which is nice.

2- The video card is turbocache, so what this means is it has about 32 or 64 meg Ram and uses system memory to get to 256 meg…which means it steals some 192 meg of Ram from the system. When I bought a computer from best buy it was advertised has having 512 meg of ram but because of the vid card only 324 is available which makes it sluggish in XP (had to upgrade it)

The processor and everything else is ok. DO you know what motherboard, power supply you have on there…might help for future upgrades. That’s where they usually skimp to give a good deal so watch out.

But if you’re not too fussy of performance and don’t play games too much it’ll work fine.

[quote]GuyIncognito wrote:
Hard to say if what you’re getting is matching your needs…but i have a few recommendations:
1- get a dvd writer not a cd writer, it doesn’t cost much more, if at all, and you’ll be able to burn dvd’s which is nice.

2- The video card is turbocache, so what this means is it has about 32 or 64 meg Ram and uses system memory to get to 256 meg…which means it steals some 192 meg of Ram from the system. When I bought a computer from best buy it was advertised has having 512 meg of ram but because of the vid card only 324 is available which makes it sluggish in XP (had to upgrade it)

The processor and everything else is ok. DO you know what motherboard, power supply you have on there…might help for future upgrades. That’s where they usually skimp to give a good deal so watch out.

But if you’re not too fussy of performance and don’t play games too much it’ll work fine.[/quote]

Thanks for the info. I had no idea what turbocache meant. That makes sense to upgrade (IMO). It’s $50 more for a “256MB ATI Radeon X1300 Pro” video card.

That is one of the biggest problems I have with my current computer. Whenever I run any video, the fan speeds way up, and the % of the processor goes way up, and the video usually stopps for a minute. Very frustrating.

I don’t think I’ll use the DVD burner much anyway. I think I’d only burn data files if anything, and I’ll use a regular cd for it.

Thanks again!

What are you going to use this system for?

I would not buy it. You have a semi-decent cpu and a terrible gfx card. vista requires a LOT of computer power to even run semi-smoothly which your computer does not have. If you do get this system, just stick with XP.

I would get stick with that cpu, at least 1gb of ram and at least an nvidia 7600gt gfx card. This is a decent system however will chug with any games approaching recent. For internet surfing and watching movies however it will be fine. It’s much better than the one you’re currently considering and I still wouldn’t think of running vista on it.

[quote]Sxio wrote:
What are you going to use this system for?

I would not buy it. You have a semi-decent cpu and a terrible gfx card. vista requires a LOT of computer power to even run semi-smoothly which your computer does not have. If you do get this system, just stick with XP.

I would get stick with that cpu, at least 1gb of ram and at least an nvidia 7600gt gfx card. This is a decent system however will chug with any games approaching recent. For internet surfing and watching movies however it will be fine. It’s much better than the one you’re currently considering and I still wouldn’t think of running vista on it. [/quote]

This is pretty much what I was going to say. The graphics card is “meh”, that particular processor was the best deal before INTEL’s latest chips came out, but it it looks like a decent deal. Dell has terrible tech support, just so you know. :stuck_out_tongue: I probably wouldn’t take those speakers though, and you might want to look for a good deal on another hard drive to put in there. You can get 300GB for around $50, which makes it well worth it. Good luck on it!

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
GuyIncognito wrote:
Hard to say if what you’re getting is matching your needs…but i have a few recommendations:
1- get a dvd writer not a cd writer, it doesn’t cost much more, if at all, and you’ll be able to burn dvd’s which is nice.

2- The video card is turbocache, so what this means is it has about 32 or 64 meg Ram and uses system memory to get to 256 meg…which means it steals some 192 meg of Ram from the system. When I bought a computer from best buy it was advertised has having 512 meg of ram but because of the vid card only 324 is available which makes it sluggish in XP (had to upgrade it)

The processor and everything else is ok. DO you know what motherboard, power supply you have on there…might help for future upgrades. That’s where they usually skimp to give a good deal so watch out.

But if you’re not too fussy of performance and don’t play games too much it’ll work fine.

Thanks for the info. I had no idea what turbocache meant. That makes sense to upgrade (IMO). It’s $50 more for a “256MB ATI Radeon X1300 Pro” video card.

That is one of the biggest problems I have with my current computer. Whenever I run any video, the fan speeds way up, and the % of the processor goes way up, and the video usually stopps for a minute. Very frustrating.

I don’t think I’ll use the DVD burner much anyway. I think I’d only burn data files if anything, and I’ll use a regular cd for it.

Thanks again![/quote]

X1300 series are wank. Direct X 10 is coming soon, but in the mean time get a 7600GS they are cheap and pretty powerful or if you have more cash get the 7600Gt as he said.

A monitor with DVI socket is useful as you can go straight from the gfx card to the monitor without any analogue conversion, but you need a card with an output socket too. The video quality is loads better.

I bought a new Dell about year ago that was on the higher end of what they offered at the time (3.2ghz Pentium 4, 1GB DDR Ram, GeForce 6800 video card). I replaced one I had built for myself in '03 that wasn’t bleeding edge (AMD 2100XP, 512MB Dual Channel DDR Ram, top of the line Asus motherboard, and a good video card - can’t remember which, Radeon 9600XT I think).

All I can say is my old one, which is about 50% of the power specs-wise can actually keep up with my new one, except for a few things here and there that would not be an issue if I updated the 9600XT vid card.

The big name companies (Dell, Compaq, etc) just don’t seem to perform as well as they should. The numbers look good but they are deceiving. Dell especially rapes you on the video cards. For example, my Dell came with a GeForce 6800 GTO, which you’d assume would be comparable with the GeForce 6800 GT that was out at the time and all around considered a great card. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The GTO’s were GT’s that were unstable when tested at full speeds. So Dell bought these failed cards, shut down some of the pipelines (effectively making it a much much weaker card) and then sold them as GTO’s. Any normal person would never realize this. They might do a google search on 6800’s, turn up good reviews, and then buy the Dell computer.

I got pretty lucky because the demand for GTO’s turned out to be greater than the number of failed GT cards, so video card manufacturer gimped thousands of perfectly good GT’s to be sold as GTO’s. The process was reversible, so I was unable to unlock the true power of my vid card, but 99% of Dell’s customers are using either cards that failed quality control or good cards that were intentionally made weaker.

I guess my ultimate point here is I would look into building your own or else try to find someone who can assemble one using high quality components.

On the hard drive, I picked the lowest one I could. I already have an external hard drive and won’t use a quarter of what I already have.

With the video card, thanks for the heads’ up. I can’t pick anything better than the X1300, and I also can’t choose none. The lowest I could pick would be $100 cheaper than the X1300, but if I’m going to replace it anyway, it would suck to get one just to throw it out.

I really wish it was more customizable.

So maybe I won’t go with Dell, unless I still can’t find anything around $700ish.

I just love how people advertise “complete system for only $500!”. Yea, complete for word processing only.

Oh, and I won’t be using it for any games. I don’t really buy any computer games, and hardly ever play my PSII games. I will use it to watch and upload videos, upload and edit pictures, and for surfing the internet.

I flashed my 6800GT to a 6800 Ultra rom, all you do before you flash it, is check it’ll run at 410/1120 you can clock it using coolbits. Free performance…cool. Since change mobo to PCI-E though and a 7900GT but…

I just got an 8800GTX, good for Oblivion.