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What specs make for future proof system?

by khmer2rulz / February 9, 2008 8:30 PM PST

hello im looking for a new pc to buy. i want u guys to suggest specs to me that will allow the system to be future proof for the nxt 4-5 years. my system right now is the HP pavilion t740a which is 4yrs old. i am into & video..not really into games but will play it casually once or twice a month. so what specs you think i shud have in my nxt computer. right now im looking at the HP Pavilion Elite m9080a Desktop with 19" LCD Monitor.
with the following specs:
# PROCESSOR ? Intel Core 2 Duo processor E6750 2.66GHz
# MEMORY ? 2048MB DDR2 expandable up to 8.0 GB with discard
# HARD DRIVE - 500.0 GB 3G Serial ATA hard drive at 7200RPM
# OPTICAL DRIVE 1 - SuperMulti SATA Drive with Lightscribe Technology, Double Layer (8.5GB)
# READ AND WRITE SPEED - 16x DVD+R, 16x DVD-R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+R DL, 4x DVD-R DL, 5x DVD-RAM, 16x DVD-ROM (max speed); 40x CDR, 24x CDRW, 40x CDROM (max speed)
# OPTICAL DRIVE 2 - HD DVD Player for high definition movies
# READ AND WRITE SPEED - 2.4x HD DVD-ROM, 5x DVD-ROM, 15x CD-ROM ( Max speed)
# VIDEO - nVidia GeForce 8500GT 3D PCI-Express Graphics card, 512MB DDR2 dedicated graphics memory with HDMI, DVI and TV-out capability
# TV-OUT PORT ? S-Video
# TV TUNER - Single PAL TV Tuner with HP Remote Control
# REMOTE CONTROL - HP Media Center Remote Control
# AUDIO - Integrated Intel High Definition Audio, 7.1 Surround Sound Ready
# LAN - Wireless 802.11 b⁄g LAN; Integrated 10⁄100⁄1000 BaseT network interface (Broadband Ready)
# KEYBOARD - HP low profile Multimedia Cordless keyboard (2.4GHz) with one-touch Command Center
# MOUSE ? HP Cordless, optical, 2-button scroller mouse
# CARD READER - 15-in-1 Digital Media Reader
# USB PORT - 2 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 (front access), 4 USB 2.0 (rear access)
# IEEE1394 PORT - 1 IEEE 1394 port (front access), 1 1394 (rear access)
# RECEIVER - Build-in Receiver
# SOFTWARE - Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate, HP Easy Backup, Microsoft Works 8.0, Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition Trial, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Windows Media Center, HP DVD Play support HD-DVD (High Definition DVD) (with optional 7.1 Upgrade), RealOne Player, Microsoft Windows Media Player, Roxio Creator Basic 9, Muvee autoProducer, HP Photosmart Essential, Norton Internet Security 2007 with 60 day subscription, Recovery CD Creator
# WARRANTY ? 1 year (onsite) limited warranty with up-and-running phone support for first 30 days

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no such thing as future proof
by ramarc / February 10, 2008 2:20 AM PST

any pc you buy now will be practically obsolete in 2 years. there'll be new types of memory, new types of cpus, etc.

if you want a pc that has the best upgrade potential, you need to build it yourself. for instance, the build you cited uses a core2duo e6750, but the e6000 series has already been superseded by the core2duo e8000 series. will an e8500 work in that PC? hard to tell since hp may be using a mobo that can't support the e8500 or hp may not release a bios to support the e8500.

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a computer for 2 years is easy, 4-5 is hard/expensive...
by BigGuns149 / February 16, 2008 6:33 AM PST

"practically obsolete" and actually obsolete are two different things. I am typing this on a Q6700 on a 965WH board with 4GB of RAM and a Geforce 7900GS. The machine originally had a E6600, but I sold the E6600 and moved up to a Q6700 two months back. The 965WH is about two years old, but an update to the bios officially adds support for the Q6700. Since it is now in end of life and approaching the end of the three warranty period I don't expect any updates to add E8x00 series support, but the machine will still be worth upgrading for another year before the board will need to go. Except for the CPU there is nothing on this machine that I couldn't have bought back in November '06 and the machine can run Crysis. Other than the E8x00 series there aren't many processors that my old board doesn't support that are an upgrade from an E6600. In the long run as more software is designed for four cores a quad may be the better bet.

There isn't much benefit to having a board with PCIe 2.0 yet(most cards don't saturate PCIe 1.0 yet) and DDR3 is still very expensive (I had a friend who said he spend more on DDR3 than he spent on RAMbus memory in the earlier part of this decade!!!) Bottom line, most new technologies take a few years to really catch on. It took Intel almost a year to sell a million quad cores. Needless to say software developers have only recently started releasing software where quad core processors showed any significant benefit.

Bottom line though, if you want to try to get as many years out of machine as possible build your own machine. You will likely get better parts, better warranties, and probably pay hundreds of dollars less. Big name vendors like HP tend to bilk buyers on the high end to the point that an average joe can pay someone else to assemble the thing for $200 and still come out ahead!

Getting a machine that will keep you pretty happy for four years is possible, but it is going to set you back at least $2000 and probably closer to $3000 unless you are very lucky or you have some connections to people who can get you stuff at wholesale prices(margins on some high end hardware can 30%+).

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You will be lucky,
by morrie 52 / February 16, 2008 10:54 PM PST

More like two months to be supperseded by better models, and then a best computer is different for different uses,gaming graphics etc.

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For what use?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 10, 2008 2:33 AM PST
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honestly even stuff on that list
by obobskivich / February 10, 2008 3:52 AM PST
In reply to: For what use?

will need changing in 12-18 mos, due to the push into DirectX 10, and the general progresison of Direct3D based gaming

honestly you can't future proof a system, there are some elements you can purchase and not worry about replacing for quite a while, if you buy right (for example, the computer's case, the keyboard, the mouse, the monitors, the optical drives (for example if you buy a DVD burner, you likely won't be replacing it, yeah you can go all Blu-ray/HD crazy if you'd like, but nothing for the PC uses it))

the average desktop has an effective life of 2 to 3 years, and I sync that to the rule of thousands, for every thousand dollars you spend on a desktop, you get one year of effective life out of it, up to around $3500 (giving you around 3 years of effective life)

granted, a $599 desktop will physically last 3 years, but I highly doubt you'll want to be using it in 3 years

dont both with things like SLI, CrossFire, multi-core, etc, as justification for being "future-proof", if one core/chip/etc can't run the application, 30 or 40 won't be able to either (as it isn't a matter of power, its a matter of featuresets)

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The list changes monthly.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 10, 2008 4:04 AM PST

And I've yet to see a card remain on the list for a year.

As such my comment serves only to get them to about 1 year and nothing more.


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Maybe you should look at OS and performance first.
by welrdelr / February 10, 2008 7:53 AM PST

If the OS is backwards compatible and the graphics rendering libraries can be ported to older hardware, then the system will be good for quite a while.

While not being able to do 3d rendering on the desktop, an old box I have with ISA cards still does what it needs to and then some. It has a pentium P5 chip and 128M of RAM. Another I just tossed had an embedded chip and was a bit older.

Your system will be good for another 10 years if you want it to be.

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ok maybe building my own system
by khmer2rulz / February 10, 2008 1:14 PM PST

well actually uses are not that much for gaming, in my current system i have an integrate graphics. however if i decide to build my own box what do i need to have the ultimate media machine (without too much focus on gaming).

- intel quad core cpu (please recommend one)
- 1TB hard drive (seagate)
- 2 to 4GB ram
- Dual digital tv tuner (view one channel and record on a other)
- windows ultimate
- at least 19 inch monitor (probably get 24inch) (what brand do u recommend that hasa good quality vs price)
- mid range graphic card that can handle HD movie if i decide to buy a blue ray or HD dvd drive in the nxt 2 yrs.
- what mother board is the best for multimedia?
what can i do when i want the video in feature that is in the HP unit above?

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Building your system
by welrdelr / February 10, 2008 2:41 PM PST

Buy the processor that you can afford and a board that matches the socket. You can get them with two pci slots.
I have a socket 949 board and will get another cpu within six months. Something els e you may want to remember, be sure to keep your board useful by installing a newer chip on the same socket.
I am not into brand name. I'm a linux and freebsd user, I make them work for me even when they shouldn't.
I don't support blu-ray or hd-dvd but, since you want it, see what cards are compatible and find the one that has the newest specifications and is standards compliant with the codecs for both. A card that doesn't have compatibility will do you no good.
Make your own decisions.

I wouldn't go for anything windows unless it was in an emulated or virtual environment. Again, this is your preference. Be sure to limit the number of processes and only keep the firewall, isp connection and a secured browser running with a few other system scripts. You can cut out all of the messenger and buddy things.

I refuse to give advice for which product to buy. My reasons for having a computer will differ from yours.

Now, I am going to give you a tip:
Search everywhere else before you search here. There are links that can help you.
Oh, if you really want to see performance, go to a store and look at the monitors in person. After you see the performance, come back and ask. You will:
1) have an unbiased yet experienced view
2) be able to make a better decision.

Collapse - jus a student interested in comps
by khmer2rulz / February 10, 2008 4:26 PM PST
In reply to: Building your system

okai im gonna do my research and report back here

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Forget HD-DVD for starters
by BigGuns149 / February 16, 2008 7:05 AM PST

For starters I wouldn't buy HD-DVD. It is all, but officially dead. Walmart and Netflix are dropping support for it and most major studios have dropped it as well. Other than Toshiba almost nobody is making the hardware. An HD-DVD player looks like it would be a bad investment.

As for processor, I would probably stick with the Q6600 unless you really can afford the additional cost of a Q6700. I bought my Q6700 for ~$300 through a special sale through Intel, but the street price is still over $500 nearly twice the price of the a Q6600. I've seen the Q6600 on sale for below $250 before shipping on several occasions so after shipping and tax getting a Q6600 for ~$300 isn't out of realm of impossibility. Unless you can snag a Q6700 for significantly less than $500 I wouldn't bother. In my experience the performance difference isn't noticeable between Q6600 and a Q6700.

If you are looking long term I would buy a board that supports DDR3. They are expensive($200+), but DDR2 is really getting to the end of its' life. 4GB is of DDR2 going for less than $100 now. When most people can buy as much RAM as they will need for the foreseeable future for that cheap it is a sign that a lot of vendors are trying to clear out their excess inventory of DDR2 for when motherboards that support DDR3 hit ~$100, which should happen this year, DDR3 production will grow dramatically and the price gap between DDR2 and DDR3 will fall. By this time next year DDR3 should be almost the same price as DDR2 at which point buying DDR2 for most purposes would become silly. A good recommendation is Intel's X38.

For a graphics card I would look at either the Geforce 8800GT or the Radeon 3870. Both are ~$200-$250 before tax and shipping. After tax/shipping you can get both for under $300, but they are both performance wise very close to cards nearly twice their price. Either card is a pretty good bang for your buck right now and shouldn't have any trouble for years to come.

A 24 inch monitor isn't a budget killer that it once was albeit the decent models will still set you back close to $500. Higher end models for graphics design are more expensive still. Nevertheless, 24 is the smallest size that can display all of the pixels for HD(1920x1080) resolution video. 22 inch and smaller can easily display 1280x720 AKA 720p content, but if you can't even see all of the information on a Blu-ray disc I wouldn't see the point of the drive unless you are going to hook it up to a 1080p television.

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Not sure about the resolution, though
by Admiral Norton / February 26, 2008 2:46 AM PST

A 19" CRT is just fine at displaying HD video. I'm using one at 1920x1440 resolution and I get the full picture when watching 1080p at full screen. I have to admit things on the screen do look somewhat small, but hey, the screen cost me $100. Why spend money on 24" LCDs and similar stuff you won't need at all (when my desktop gets filled with icons, I'll let you know). The real deal is inside the box. I usually replace my video card every 4-6 months and get a new hard drive every year. I watch DVDs on my computer and I'm too lazy to pop in a DVD, so I keep them on the hard disk. I tend to run out of 500GB drives every few months.
IMO, the futureproof computer is just an imagination. You can buy a great computer, but keeping it futureproof is a hard and expensive task. You have to buy new parts every once in a while. Doing that, you can keep the computer about a year ahead of its timeframe, but stop and in five years you'll have a dirty box you'll hate to wipe dust off.

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Probably hold off
by 3rdalbum / February 15, 2008 2:12 PM PST

Wait for Intel's new 45nm CPUs to become widely available. They will give better performance-per-watt than the 65nm generation, and are quite a bit cheaper.

If you're thinking of going quad-core, make sure you've got your chequebook. There's a cheap Core 2 Quad that appears in many "AMAZING VALUE QUAD CORE!"-type advertisements, but its performance is lacking compared to the 3GHz Core 2 Duo which is the same price. Remember, most intensive tasks on your computer will not paralellise to take advantage of more than one or two cores!

As for your optical drive, you want Blu-ray. Don't even look at HD DVD drives if you're a smart consumer. Really you want a Blu-ray burner. These will burn DVDs too.

Video card is simply not something that can be made even reasonably futureproof. The 8500 or 8600s are quite alright today, but in a year they will be horribly dated.

You'll also have trouble making this computer "futureproof" when USB 3 comes out. You'd need to add a card at this time. The B/G LAN is a safe option for today, but the N standard should be released before too long - that's another add-on you might need. DON'T buy draft-N as there is no guarantee of compatibility with the final standard!

But to be honest, you're asking for the impossible. Nothing in computing is "futureproof"; everything moves so quickly. The only way to buy a futureproof computer is to learn how to build them yourself, and then upgrade incrementally as new things come out. At the end of 5 years you'll probably have replaced everything except the case and PSU anyway!

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yes i probably will
by khmer2rulz / February 15, 2008 3:15 PM PST
In reply to: Probably hold off

yesterday i deleted unused programs and disable some program that starts off automatically and the performance of my computer is significantly better. i'll most probably hold off for another year or so

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Request for advice re upgrading
by Abertil / June 29, 2008 3:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Probably hold off

Reading this thread I'm tempted to ask for some advice re upgrading.

Background: last week our village - in southern Sweden - was subject to a thunderstorm and the main part of my computer equpment was dead afterwards (modem, router, printer, screen and two PC:s - desktops). Now, one of the PC:s, which I recieved in late November 2007 and which is built to be used by Photo/Video-enthusiasts, currently is at the company (local) who built it - I call them company A. The insurance company will pay for the repair of the damages (minus some deduction). However, I plan to take advantage ot the oppurtunity to upgrade the computer (I will pay for the upgrade myself). The guys at company A certainly have their ideas about what to upgrade and looking at the newest catalogue from the company where I purchased the PC (a photodealer which work with this company A to specify the Photo/Video PC:s), I note that there are a lot of updates (mobo, CPU, memory, graphic card etc). Beeing a newbie in this field I would appreciate some advice from people which are not involved in the process.

I'm thinking of upgrading incrementally. To start off - I'm happy with the current PC but upgrading some at this moment would probably cost less than wait for, say, another year. First of all, thinking of the motherboard and the CPU - is there any benefit to upgrade the mobo and the CPU (in this case perhaps from Core 2 Duo to Core 2 Quad), would I notice any difference (I'm mostly dealing with photoediting - tiff.format - and soundediting)? Re memory: I don't think that's a problem as they are rather cheap these days (talking bout DDR2). I'm tempted to put in a Blu-Ray burner, primarily not for viewing films etc but for burning backups.

Of course I have to make the final decisions myself how to deal with this upgrade but any suggestions re how I "should think" are very much appreciated.

Sorry for the lengthy post.

My current spec:
? ATX CoolerMaster Mystiqe Black
? Gigabyte GA-P35-DS4 1333MHz socket775
? CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz 4MB Cache 1333MHz FSB socket775
? Memory 2GB DDR2 PC6400 DIMM
? HDD 320GB Hitachi SATAII 16MB Cache 7200rpm
? HDD 500GB Hitachi SATAII 16MB Cache 7200rpm
? DVDRW - Samsung 18x SATA black
? CardReader USB 2.0 Intern / All In One
? Firewire IEEE1394 PCI 3port
? GraphicCard Leadtek GF8500GT 256MB PCIe DDR2 DVI/HDTV
? PowerSupply Nexus NX 8050 500W Modular
? Windows XP Pro OEM SP2B Swedish

Spec for one of the newer PC:s:
? Cooler Master Mystique 631 silver (silenced with a "dampingcarpet")
? Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6 S775
? Intel Core 2 Quad 6600 2,4GHz, 2x4MB, 1066MHz, S775
? Memory (2) DDR2 1GB PC6400 Original DIMM 240-pin, 800Mhz
? Memory (2) DDR2 512GB PC6400 Original DIMM 240-pin, 800Mhz
? HDD 250GB Hitachi S-ATA II, 7200rpm, T7K500, 8MB Cache
? HDD (2) 750GB Hitachi S-ATA II, 7200rpm, 7K1000, 32MB Cache
? Diskdrive 3.5'' AT, Silver, 1.44MB
? Blu-Ray LG GGW-H20L black, SATA
? Cardreader Silver USB 2.0 intern 3.5??, All in 1
? Firewire 800 B+A PCIe, 3port, 2 IEEE1394b & 1 IEEE1394a with cable
? Graphic Card LeadTek Geforce 9800GTX 512MB GDDR3, 2xDVI, HDTV
? PowerSupply Ipower Extreme 600Watt
? Fan (2) ADDA 120mm 16dbA
? Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2B Swedish
In a another model (cheaper) they have used almost the same components except for the mobo, HDDs (500 GB instead of 750 GB) and an ordinary DVD-burner instead of Blu-Ray. The mobo used in this case:
? Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS4 P35/DDR2/LK/GBLAN

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Futureproof OS
by Lastlylost / February 19, 2008 12:40 AM PST

A future-proof OS should be the Apple OS Leopard with Windows and the Microsoft programs loaded on it. That is, if you're serious about being prepared for any new software.

The HD-DVD is dead.

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(NT) Nothings lasts forever, including specs, they change
by Willy / June 29, 2008 4:09 AM PDT
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