Computer Help forum

General discussion

Buying a computer - a question of graphics cards

by iced327 / July 16, 2010 1:34 AM PDT

I'm thinking of buying a new desktop to run CAD and a friend recommended not buying an integrated graphics card. I did some research, found out what that means and why, and I've narrowed myself down to two options - so I'd like some input from people who understand this stuff.

First option is a Dell i580, 8MB ram, intel core i5-650, and a dedicated NVIDIA geforce gt 220. price: 800$

Second option is an HP 6540y, 8MB ram, AMD Phenom II, and an integrated ati radeon HD 4200. price: 730$

The HP is cheaper than the Dell by 70$, and I'm a college student so every penny counts.

First - I don't play any computer games and I can guarantee that CAD and Matlab are the most graphics/data intensive programs that I'll be running. Could the HP handle it? The CAD program is Pro/Engineer if that helps.

Second - is it worth it to buy the HP and make up the difference in cost by purchasing a graphics card to install myself? I'm eyeing up either the card that's in the dell, or this ati radeon hd 5450, but the price ranges from 50-100$ based on the company that manufactures it. visiontek = 100$, sapphire = 50$. I don't know either company, but clearly a 50$ says something about them.

Keep in mind that I have little money so functional but cheap is key.

Any thoughts and feedback is appreciated!!

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Buying a computer - a question of graphics cards
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Buying a computer - a question of graphics cards
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
by Jimmy Greystone / July 16, 2010 10:11 AM PDT

Personally, and I'll preface this as being my opinion only... HP systems are generally garbage. I like the fact that they're one of the few big name companies that will use AMD chips in some of their higher end stuff, since Intel needs a little competition to keep things rolling, but HP's build quality is usually garbage.

I'm in no way saying Dell is the best OEM out there, but IMO, they offer the best balance between cost, quality, and features. And a dedicated card is going to beat integrated any day of the week.

And if you're looking to figure out why one card is cheaper than the other, you usually need to look at some of the details. One card may use DDR3 RAM while the other uses DDR2, and one card may have a 128-bit memory bus instead of 64-bit on the cheaper one. Little things that can have a pretty profound impact on the overall performance.

If it were me, I'd go with the Dell, and see how things work out with the supplied card. I'm betting it'll be more than sufficient for your needs. And if not, you can look into replacements.

And I know what it's like to be on a budget, but if price out the door is your driving factor, it doesn't matter what brand you go with, it'll be a crap system that'll bring you nothing but grief. It will absolutely be worth it to go over your budget a little if what you end up with is going to be a significantly better system overall.

Collapse -
by DJRemix666 / July 16, 2010 11:29 AM PDT

hi there, well first i have to show you the list of the world top 10 laptop brands there :

4Sony Vaio

yeah dell is on the third place and the hp 6 but i dont really trust dell. and apple and alienware is too much expensive so i would suggest you an good sony its a popular brand in laptop with the vaio and its trustable. gateway, acer, toshiba and lenovo are trustable too i dont know why they are 8 and 9 on the list but i have an acer and a gateway and they have good stuff never had problem with it its better then HP or dell for me but if you buy a sony vaio you cant go wrong with it and if your budget is around 700$ you can have a sony vaio there for 720$ :
and you have 4GB of RAM 500GB HDD with windows 7 64-bit an AMD processor and about the video card i know its integrated but i have one integrated in my laptop not good like the one in this sony vaio and i can play games on it anyways its just a suggestion its your choice hope i helped you a little with that thanks

Collapse -
Your list needs pruning
by Jimmy Greystone / July 16, 2010 2:09 PM PDT
In reply to: hi

Your list needs pruning, or updating.

Dell owns Alienware, so you can remove Alienware from the list and just bump Dell up one.

Acer owns Gateway and eMachines, which weren't on your list, but it's worth noting. And Acer and HP have been duking it out for the toilet bowl crown ever since the battle between HP and Compaq ended in something of a draw when they merged. Somehow, even though Compaq was the bigger company at the time, HP is the company that came out on top in that one. That's when Acer jumped into the fray with cheap POS systems that keeps the hair club for men in business. So, I would say not to touch HP, Compaq, Acer, Gateway, or eMachines systems with a stolen 20ft pole.

Sony makes nice enough systems, but their support policies leave pretty much everything to be desired. Turning the thing on is practically enough for them to refuse to support it.

Toshiba's nice enough, but only do laptops. I got the distinct impression the person was interested in a desktop.

Lenovo I really did want to believe would carry on what IBM started, but every Lenovo system I've ever looked at has been a nightmare. I remember one laptop had the wifi antenna cable literally taped to the CPU heatsink. And for some reason the keyboard was secured by a couple of screws from the UNDER side of the system. I always tell people that, they always ask why, and I respond with, "Exactly!"

Asus is still kind of new to the complete system game. They have a good rep on individual components, still probably a little early to be putting them in a top 10 list.

Never heard of Sahara. Sounds like a regional brand like Packard Bell. Only sold in England, and maybe other parts of Europe after retreating from US markets a decade or so ago at least. For that matter, Toshiba's main interest is in Asian markets. They'll sell to people in the US and Europe, but it's not their focus.

And of course Apple makes some great systems, you just have to know what you're getting into ahead of time. I can also say from experience, that servicing them can sometimes be a real pain. The Mac Pro is a joy to work on. Almost everything else is designed to look pretty, not be easy for those of us who fix them for a living.

Collapse -
by DJRemix666 / July 17, 2010 11:38 AM PDT

yup i know the list is not really updated i found it on google anyways and yes apple make pretty good stuff and with a good security too and durability but like you said when its come to tech support its a real pain and the price too for a computer is a real pain for your money XD and your not wrong when you say acer and toshiba and hp and gateway is not really good well any brands have a bad thing you know but i have 2 acer desktop and never had problem with and i have a gateway laptop never had problem too with it im more comfiant in those brand then asus , hp and dell dont ask me why im not comfiant in dell they have good stuff now but in the past i had bad experience with them computers im an IT and repaired too much dell and its was a pain anyways but after dell i would really suggest a sony vaio what do you think ?

Collapse -
The i5-650 vs. PhenomII and dedicated vs. shared.
by LucJPatenaude / July 18, 2010 4:41 PM PDT

The i5-650 is an aging Intel processor; Not a good choice.
It also tells me that both mainboard and graphics chipset/card is not a good choice also. Mainboard is quite slow/sluggish and graphics chipset/card's might not have a GPU and a good reserve RAM capability for your intense CAD work. Intel, has now, on the market, i7 processors. Intel and Nvidia are not the same companies of computer components' making/producing.

The PhenomII is the state-of-the-art/latest quad-core processor type from AMD. Very good choice.
It also tells me that both mainboard and integrated/shared RAM based graphics chipset is quite new and current as being High Definition in quality of video and graphics decoding/rendering. Not saying in the ad that it is only integrated instead of being dedicated is, quite honest. AMD and ATI merged a few years back and, now, are the same exact company. Compatibility of both chipsets are, now, assured.

Dedicated is, always, a must. Has an independent GPU for all of the graphics/video processing and will serve itself in RAM at the RAM cards up-to its limit of reserve capacity(ie: 1GB card) of its chipset's design.

Shared is an old computer making procedure that involves the all-in-one thinking. Therefore, never refreshing its uses of RAM and will eventually, use all of the available RAM to an application past the O.S.'s need in that specific machine. In the case of this analysis, both machines have 8 Gb of RAM.

Personally, I really do not like both of these computer companies. But, HP for a change, let AMD-ATI get the best of them. Just make sure that, the Power Supply Unit(PSU) is big enough for such a powerful machine. The rest of its internal hardware will be of computer industry's standard(good) level of general market needs.

Good computer hunting! Wink

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Help, my PC with Windows 10 won't shut down properly

Since upgrading to Windows 10 my computer won't shut down properly. I use the menu button shutdown and the screen goes blank, but the system does not fully shut down. The only way to get it to shut down is to hold the physical power button down till it shuts down. Any suggestions?