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PC recomendation

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PC recomendation

Postby michalis5354 » Wed Sep 15, 2004 4:48 pm

I am planning to buy a PC and I thought it would be a good idea If I got a second opinion/recommendation , If someone understands on technical aspects of PCs. Below are 2 PCs specifications:

Computer A specifications

-Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz
-512MB DDR-RAM
-120GB Serial Hdd
-DVD-ROM/DVDRW Combo Drive
-Nvidia FX5700 256MB VGA Card
-17" TFT Screen
-On-board Sound card
-2+1 speakers & S/W
-56K V.92 Fax/modem
-On-Board ethernet 10/100 Mbps
-Keyboard and mouse
-Windows XP Home edition
-2 years parts & labour RTB Warranty
-Free web camera & microphone
-Price Cy 1049 or 36 installments of cy32,99 each

Computer B Specification

-Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz HT
-512 MB DDR RAM
-120GB 7200rpm HDD
-DVD-ROM Drive /DVD+RW Drive
-128MB VGA FX5200 with TV-Out
-56Kbps Modem
-Ethernet 10/100
-Creative wireless keyboard & Mouse
-Creative speakers I-Trigue 3300 Mouse
-17" phillips TFT LCD Monitor
-Windows XP Home
-Price Cy1093 or 36 installments of Cy32.18 each

I need a fast PC without the need to upgrade it or most importantly to replace it in the future.
Last edited by michalis5354 on Thu Sep 16, 2004 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby erolz » Wed Sep 15, 2004 6:53 pm

They are very similar speced machines at very similar prices. I would confirm that both machines are using '800mhz' front side bus and not the older '533mhz' front side bus. They probably both are the newer '800mhz front side bus' - but worth checking anyway.

In comparative terms

Computer A advantages

Slightly faster CPU (3.2 vs 3.0)
Better Grpahics card (if you play 'new' games the 5700 will make a big difference than the 5200 in computer B)
Littel bit cheaper

Computer A disadvantages

No mention of brand of monitor. There can be quite a difference between a cheap TFT monitor and a 'quality' one. The one with computer A may be a decent enough monitor but without details as to who makes it this is hard to tell. Computer B on the other hand list a brand name (philips).

No mention of the brand for speakers. Again very cheap speakers can be terrible. Computer B list a maker for its speakers and actualy the speakers they include are pretty nice with a retail price in the UK of around £75 inc vat (http://www.overclockers.co.uk/acatalog/ ... akers.html)

Normal keyboard and mouse vs 'wireless' keyboard and mouse on Computer B. Personaly I use a wireless keyboard and mouse and prefer it to a wired one.

All in all there is not much difference between thse two models. You might want to ask what speed and what 'format' the RAM memory comes in as well as how many slots there are on the motherboard. You could have 512MB of ram in a single memory stick or in two 256MB sticks. If it is in two and the board only has two slote then any upgrade to the memory later would then require 'throwing away' one of the two 256MB memeory modules to make space for the new one. If the existing memeory is on a sinlge 512MB module or the mother borad has more than 2 slots on it then memeory could be added to the existing without having to lose any of the existing memory. This is also a slight performance advantage to using two 256MB memory stick vs a single 512MB stick - if the motherboard supports dual channel DDR memory. However this improvment is fairly minimal in most PC usage.

Personally I build my own PC's and generaly go for AMD processors rather than Intel as you tend to get more power per pound with AMD. Below is an example of what kind of system you could build and the kind of price you can get the components for in the UK. I have built many such systems for myself and others and if you were interested I would be happy to build one for you as well. I am due to go to the UK at the end of the month and could get all the parts there except the monitor and case and speakers (which are to big to carry back). The below then is an 'example' of what a similar system would cost if you 'built your own' and sourced all the parts in the UK. The real beauty of a 'build your own' approach however is that you can tailor the PC to your exact requirments. I will show some alternatives as well to highlight this point.

(all components from www.overclockers.co.uk)

Asus A7N8X-X nForce2 (Socket A) Motherboard (MB-028-AS) 1
£35.95 £35.95
AMD Athlon "Barton" XP3000+ 333FSB (Socket A) CPU - Retail (CP-035-AM) 1
£99.95 £99.95
GeIL 512MB (2x256MB) PC3200 Value Dual Channel Kit CAS2.5 (GE5123200BHDC) (MY-004-GL) 1
£56.00 £56.00
Sony CRX320E 52x32x52x16 CDRW/DVD Combi Drive (White) - OEM (CD-019-SO) 1
£23.00 £23.00
OcUK ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB DDR TV-Out/DVI (AGP) - Retail (XR98-C3) (GX-005-OK) 1
£109.95 £109.95
OcUK Value Floppy Drive - Silver (CD-001-AP) 1
£6.50 £6.50
Samsung SpinPoint P SP1213N 120GB ATA-133 8MB Cache - OEM (HD-008-SA) 1
£51.00 £51.00
Viewsonic VX715 X Series 17" TFT Monitor - Black/Silver (MO-007-VS) 1
£245.00 £245.00
AOpen H500A Midi Tower - 300W PSU (CA-001-AO) 1
£39.95 £39.95
Creative Inspire 2.1 P380 Speakers - Retail (SP-020-CL) 1
£28.95 £28.95
Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop v2.0 - OEM (KB-018-MS) 1
£27.00 £27.00
Creative Modem Blaster V.92 PCI - OEM (MD-003-CL) 1
£9.95 £9.95
Subtotal £733.20
Shipping (Amtrak Next Day (Mon-Fri) - UK Mainland) £17.75
VAT £131.42
Total £882.37 (UK Pounds)

The above system is very 'comparable' to those you listed. It uses the AMD XP3000+ CPU which for most applications is somewhere between the intel 3.0 and intel 3.2. It has a much better graphics card spec than the two examples you give (ATI 9800pro) - which if games are of import to you will make a major difference (especialy over the nvidia 5200 based system).

However you could tailor the above spec to your needs. For example if you did not care about games then I would suggest going for a version of the motherboard above with integrated graphics and forget the Radeon 9800 graphics card (which would save you £115.78inc vat of the prices above). Also you may not want a modem (if you connect to internet via BB/DSL for example). Or you might want a DVD burner. With a build your own system you can chose exactly what you want.

As I say I would be more than happy to obtain the parts (that I can carry) in the UK for you, as well as either help you assemble them or juts assemble them myself for you. If you do consider this route you will need to check availability and price in the RoC of those parts that I can not carry from UK (monitor, case, speakers and keyboard if you want a non UK one). Also you may want to get a licsensed copy of windows XP, which is not shown in the prices I have quoted. There are alternatives to a licsesned copy of the operating system (windows XP) - but these are a little less than strictly legal. On the 'guarantee' front you will of course have the normal manufacvtuers guarantee on each of the items - ususaly this is 1 year but on some componets it is higher (the samsung HD have 3 year warranty for example).

Anyway what ever you decide I hope the above has been of some use and interest to you. There is nothing really wrong with either of the systems you list. To me they are little expensive - but then I work on UK prices and not RoC ones. Also I just would not personaly buy such a pre built system as I like to chose and tailor my PC to my personal needs.
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Postby michalis5354 » Thu Sep 16, 2004 10:35 am

Thank you Erol from your information, they were indeed very helpful. I forgot to state initially that the Computer A comes with a free web camera and a microphone , although these are of not much importance to me now , it should be worth mentioning .

Yes there are slight differences between the two models , like the ones you already mentioned (Ie type of screen of A PC and wireless keyboard and mouse of B as well as the type of speakers ) .Also the A PC comes under a 2 year warranty from a well established international company which means If I have any problem after the PC is purchased I will contact them to have it repaired free of charged.

The prices are indeed quite expensive compared to what you can get with such prices in bigger markets like UK or USA. The fact that I will spread this cost in 36 monthly installments (3 years) it makes a difference as I will not have to pay the whole cost of Cy1049 now.

Thank you for offering to supply some of the parts from UK but in that case I will loose the payment alternatives that I have -. The PCs will be paid in 36 montly installments and this is a factor for me now.

Anyway I need to confirm the factors you mentioned like MHZ , type of screen and speakers of PC A. Also speed and format of RAM and the slots you refered.

I tend towards the PC A although both PCs look quite the same. As you have already said the PC A comes with a 256MB VGA card - compared to the 128 MB card of PC B - since I will also use the PC with playing DVDs i think this is another factor - they told me that the PC A has better graphics due to the 256 VGA card.

I hope you enjoy your journey in UK and do not forget to bring your umbrella because I know that the weather there changes a lot.
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Postby erolz » Thu Sep 16, 2004 1:56 pm

michalis5354 wrote:I tend towards the PC A although both PCs look quite the same. As you have already said the PC A comes with a 256MB VGA card - compared to the 128 MB card of PC B - since I will also use the PC with playing DVDs i think this is another factor - they told me that the PC A has better graphics due to the 256 VGA card.


The FX5700 is a better graphics card than the FX5200 with the 5700 costing in the region of £80 vs £40 for the FX5200. However I doubt you would see much difference between the two as far as playing DVDs goes. Playing games like doom3 you would notice a big difference.
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Postby Piratis » Thu Sep 16, 2004 2:42 pm

Erolz, I wish we could agree in the Cyprus problem as much as we can agree here ;)

I agree 100% with what you said, although people that are not very involved with computers prefer to have a company behind them and this is why almost non of them will order separate parts, especially from abroad.

The FX5700 is a better graphics card than the FX5200 with the 5700 costing in the region of £80 vs £40 for the FX5200. However I doubt you would see much difference between the two as far as playing DVDs goes. Playing games like doom3 you would notice a big difference.


Yes, for DVDs you will see absolutely no difference. Even in most games you need to be a "pro gamer" to be able to notice the difference in FPS (Frames per second). But since you want to keep this system for some years then maybe is better to go for the better card. (by the way, LCD monitors still have a response time higher than CRTs, so if you cared a lot about games with fast action then the LCD monitor probably would not be the best choice)


I need a fast PC without the need to upgrade it or most importantly to replace it in the future.


When you are talking about computers, the "future" can not be more than 4-5 years, especially now we are moving to 64bits.

Sometimes is more wise not to get the "top of the range" if you don't need it because to get it you pay a premium disproportional to the extra power you get. If this extra power is not required, then it would be better to buy a 600 pound PC now and then buy a new 600 pounds PC after 2-3 years. This way you spend the same amount and you have better performance overall during the next 5-6 years.
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Postby michalis5354 » Sat Sep 18, 2004 10:05 am

Thank you both for these information, I have to admit that I know now more that I knew 1 week ago. And I have a friend of mine who tells me buy a labtop it is better than a desktop since you can carry it wherever you want . As you can see I will start to have a headache. :roll: :eyecrazy:
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Postby james » Mon Sep 20, 2004 10:40 am

I fully agree with Piratis about the cost factor.

Being a software professional for more than 7 years now, I have enough experience to say that first you must assess your needs. Dont buy something that is "good to have, but dont really need", unless you have extra money to throw around. You must analyze, what applications are you going to use?

A) Are you going to do some serious work (Run a database engine/ develop graphics applications) on this machine?
B) Or is just for fun (play games/ browse internet)?

If you dont really need this much power, I would advise going in for a more economical machine. If you are falling into the segment A above, you will need an upgrade anyhow. If not, I must tell you that I have a Intel Celeron 1GHz processor, 128MB RAM and 20 GB HDD for my home use, and I am perfectly happy with it.
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