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Help as I need to purchase a new computer

by mamajenn / January 22, 2006 8:34 PM PST

I have a 1995 Gateway which is still ticking at the lake house. Of course it is not used alot. I also have a Dell 8300 at home which had a power surge even though it is attached to an APC power surge protector and the red in the monitor is gone. Bill and I felt like I should look into purchasing a new system and taking the Dell CPU to the lake and using it with the Gateway monitor.
In doing my research, I am getting quite confused.
1. There are Pentium D and Pentium 4's with hyper thread or dual core - which one
2. There are also Athlon processors - which is better Pentium or Athlon?
3. Which graphics card is the best?
4. Hard drive- Do you want SATA OR SATA II?
5. What type of DVD do you need? DVD+/- with CDRW or something different?
6. How much GHz do you need?
7. Seems like a lot of stuff is integrated on the motherboard, is this good or bad?
8. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated as I need to make a decision soon.

Thanks in advance for all your expert advice as I have learned to come to this site before purchasing any electronic. MamaJen

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by damasta55r / January 23, 2006 12:13 PM PST

1. Pentium 4-Single Core Pentium D-DUal-core
2. Athlon Grin
3. Nvidia, for you, i suggest x1600pro 128MB GDDR3
4. SATA and SATA II are backwards compatible
5. I suggest Dual-layer DVD+_RW for around $40.
6. Ghz is unimportant. I suggest dual-core x2 3800+
7. Sound, it doesn't really matter if you're not gaming, but i think sound blaster audigy makes sound sound better, especially with my headphones...
8. I suggest getting a Gateway X2 4400+ model that was on sale in the ad for circuit city or bestbuy. Its $899.99 with 17"LCD, 1GB Ram, 250GB Hard Drive, DVD+_RW, DVD-ROM, Windows media center edition. Just upgrade the psu, and gfx card.


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by mamajenn / January 23, 2006 7:55 PM PST
In reply to: RE:

Thanks for your timely response to this message.

With the smiley face beside the Athlon, did you mean that it is better than the Pentium 4 Single and the Pentium D Dual? The SATA and SATA 11, I assume are the same, so it does not matter which I choose?
#6: Is the dual core x2 3800+ is that referencing the Pentium D since it is dual core?
What is the psu and gfx card?

I apologize for all the questions, but a lot of this terminology is greek to me. I am trying to become more knowledgeable about computers so I do not come across quite as old as I am. Again thank you for your response. MamaJen

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X2 3800 is dual core
by scottinindy / January 23, 2006 11:48 PM PST
In reply to: Roger,

It is one of Athlons version of a dual core processor, Very nice processors and a good suggestion in regard to future proofing your computer.
Sata II is a newer standard in mainly hard drive interface, While it is a tad faster, IMO it isn't a make or break need in regard to buying a computer, It is something that the average user will simply not notice.
You can go to Ati or Nvidia's website to do some reading on their product lines in regard to video cards. As mentioned, Keep in mind that if you are going to go for a top of the line video card, They are power hungry and will really require a high quality power supply, You will want to make sure you can indeed upgrade the power supply in whatever computer you end up purchasing.
The power supply is an often overlooked but vitally important component in any computer, It supplies the power to drive all the components in your computer. The more components you add, The more power your computer will use. Most of the OEM computers are not known for having quality power supplies installed. They will run your base system fine, However when adding additional components, They have a good chance of not being able to deliver the goods.

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by mamajenn / January 24, 2006 4:39 AM PST
In reply to: X2 3800 is dual core

Thank you for your timely response to all my questions. I have looked at the Gateway FX 400S and FX 400X as well as the Dell Optiplex GX 620. I was not able to find the system that you mentioned in your earlier post on the Gateway site. I have an ole Gateway as well as a Dell. I went with Dell simply because of everything that I heard about their tech support but I have found them to be far behind Gateway. I can call Gateway today about my 1995 233 MHz computer and get help from good ole Americans living in the good ole USA. That really impresses me. With that said, I am leaning to a Gateway. Of course, I realize that they will not give that type of tech support on new systems which is a shame. They no longer offer life time tech support and from what I understand, neither do any of the other computer companies. Cost prohibitive I quess. I was unable to find a system with the Athlon processor that is the reason I was looking at the Pentium D. Is the Pentium D to new to touch or should I stay with the ole reliable P4? Thanks again, MamaJen

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Depends on your budget..
by georgekn3mp / January 24, 2006 2:12 PM PST
In reply to: Roger

HP has dual-core PC's (Athlon 64X2 and P4 D's) starting around $800 at Best Buy or direct...The Athlon X2 is well worth the money compared to P4 D.
Gateway's FX 400S would be ok for the price, but you can do better for not much more (more memory...512 MB is today's minimum on new PC's), DEFINITELY more Hard Drive space (pics and music alone eat up a lot of space, and better to get as big as you can when you buy it so you dont' have migration issues later).

I would configure it with 1GB memory and 250 GB hard drive, and you should consider a DVD writer (more capacity for burning), CERTAINLY a better video card than that Geforce 6200 (the Gefore 6660 they offer is a bare minimum..and either would be a huge bottleneck on your whole PC)..but I wouldn't pay 500 more for that geforce 7800! You can get good video cards later on for less than 200 that only take 10 minutes to put in.
BUT all those additions unfortunately raise it to $1600 which you can do MUCH MUCH better.

That takes it to the same configuration as the FX400X for $300 less...depending on options.

A good model to look at are HP A1350N ($800 for Athlon 64X2 4200+, 1GB memory, 250 GB hard drive, unfortunately integrated Radeon 200..)

If you configure the Dell GX620 a business-class desktop) similatly with P4 D 820, that puts it up around $1284.

A lot depends on if you want a Media Center PC, a reasonably fast PC, or budget PC. You can find lots for $1000, with some compromises (smaller HD, less memory, INTEGRATED video>>bad stuff Wink )
It comes down to your budget and expected usage.
I personally bought the HP A1250N for xmas for $900, with Athlon 64X2 3800+. Great price and the HP A1350N is even better for LESS.

A "regular" P4 is ok for home/casual use, but the dual-cores are more "future-ready". The would be OK for at least 2-3 years..which is FOREVER in computer time!

Rating best to slower:
Athlon 64X2 3800+ and higher (NEW A64 X2's 5000+ coming soon)
Pentium 4 D 930 or higher
Athlon 64 (single-core)3500+ or higher (3700+, 4000+)
Pentium 4 D 830/840
Pentium 4 D 820
All other Pentium 4 (600, 500 series)
Athlon 64 3200+ or lower

NOT including Athlon 64 FX series or P4 Extreme Edition..which are somewhere above $700 for just the processor!

Some people recommend Opteron 2-series in place of Athlon 64X2's..

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Both nice at CC
by georgekn3mp / January 24, 2006 2:35 PM PST

Also try the HP M7330 with built-in TV tuner...

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(NT) (NT) I didn't reply, it should be thanks to Scott
by damasta55r / January 26, 2006 11:42 AM PST
In reply to: Roger
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TRY Dell XPS 200
by georgekn3mp / January 24, 2006 2:32 PM PST

Dell XPS 200
Pentium 4 D 930
1 GB DDR 2
256MB PCI Express? x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) nVidia GeForce 6800
250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
Dual Drives: 16x DVD-ROM Drive + 16x DVD+/-RW w/dbl layer write capability
17 inch Ultrasharp? 1704FPT Digital Flat Panel

That is a great config for $1449 compared to the gateways and Dell you mentioned earlier...

if you are set on Gateway try DX300 configured similarly for about $1220.

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What is the budget for all this
by Bi0-Hazard / January 24, 2006 2:46 PM PST

and you get alot more advice.

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What is the budget
by mamajenn / January 27, 2006 2:27 AM PST

I figure between $1000 and 1500.00 to buy a new system. If I can get one for less with all the things that have been mentioned please let me know. Thanks, MamaJen

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new pc
by superman1 / January 27, 2006 4:41 AM PST

You have to take into conideration what you will be useing the computer for, e-mails?, surfing the net,music, videos,I myself have been useing AMD Athalon systems for a good while, I find you have to have a moderate quality video card,one with at least 128 megs. of memory, and at least memory on the motherboard, 1. gig is better!, with a 2.5 or higher proccessor and a 120.gig sata harddrive,brand is up to each indivitual, they are all good, And your Op software, I'd say go with XP home edition w/sp2, there you have it!.

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I had a Gateway GT5032 for a week, returned it
by Juspooped / February 4, 2006 6:47 AM PST
In reply to: new pc

I had a Gateway GT5032 for a week, then returned it to Circuit City. It has a problem with TV tuner picture skips and freezes. The review on Amazon right now on it sums it up pretty good, except it's not hardware related, it's software related.
Some say the Media Center update from Microsoft fixes the problem, and the AMD dual core utilities downloads help as well. Do a google search on groups for the GT5032. You'll see some talk about the problem. I was lucky in that Circuit City normally charges a 15% restocking fee, at least my store does, even on a problem PC, but the manager gave me all of my money back. It is an impressive deal for the money, especially with the current 80.00 rebate on it. You do get the remote control as well. If they really have a software fix, I would buy it again, unless I end up building my own.

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by bystronicman / February 20, 2006 10:26 AM PST

If you get the latest media center edition rollup from it fixes the problem. Thanks.

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