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I am looking to either buy a new computer or have one built for me. Can you tell me what computer would be best or where would be a good place to go to have one built for me? I know I want a CD-ROM,DVD-ROM,it will mainly be used for internet,games,music. Is HP a good brand? I would like to get the best. I really don't have a budget,but I don't really want to spent more than $3000. for one. Any help is greatly appreciated. *Blue29*

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Last Post by Ezzaral
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Hello Blue,

The question you are asking is similar to the questions that someone buying a car or a house should be asking. I am personally biased in favor of Macintosh, and if you are interested in that OS, we can talk further. If you are already sold on Windows (or perhaps Linux on Intel), then looking at Compaq or Dell would be a wise idea.

The type of computer you should get will be one that does all you want it to do *today*, and also be flexible enough to handle expected needs for the next few years.

I would suggest plenty of RAM (512 MB) and a nice hard disk size (40 - 60 GB) to start with. Partition that drive down into a couple partitions, and you will be set to go. How much desktop space do you require? I am an admin, and won't go smaller than 1024 x 768. Do you need more?

Internet connectivity can be done with any kind of a computer.

Many will argue that Apple has the corner on legal music downloads with iTunes. It is cross platform, especially with the iPod.

Apple is not the right platform to go with if Games are your primary objective. I love playing Diablo II on my Mac, but the real game market is with a Windows machine.

HP / Compaq are good brands, but they can be difficult to get parts with. If I were to go with an Intel system, I would purchase a Dell. If you want to go Windows, go for XP or 2000. Do not chose the "home" editions. Get the full product. And then get all the third party stuff to protect you: antivirus, firewall, e-mail client.

To summarize, what you want to do with the computer is what will determine "best". Feel free to reply, and we can go from there. Please follow up with what is really important that you want your computer to be used for.

Christian

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I am not a real big fan of HP for personal reasons and for the way their machines are built. I had an HP pavilion 7850 come in for repair. The power supply was a wopping 124 watts (sarcasim) which is bad. It got spiked during a lightning storm. A: it wasn't on a surge protector (not that it would of helped but it would of slowed it down) and B: if the power supply had been something like a 300 or higher watts it might have saved it. The processor, ram, cd-rom, cd-rw, and floppy were fine. The motherboard, power supply and hard drive where totaly shot. Needless to say this is one of the reasons I am NOT and HP fan plus other personal reasons. I prefer a "custom" machines. I can find parts easier, and they are more "interchangable" and upgradeable with other machines/parts. I pull my old machines apart and either use them for parts or upgrades for other machines. I would definently go with the professional version of any operating system. I personaly can't stand windows but have not switched because I never have time to learn a new operating system between school and everything and I need it to work right then and there. I have herd very good stuff about linux so it might be worth a shot. As for MACs I again haven't played with them but they are very difficult to upgrade and you have to use their software and stuff or it wont work. Please post what you ended up getting in the end

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I have herd very good stuff about linux so it might be worth a shot. As for MACs I again haven't played with them but they are very difficult to upgrade and you have to use their software and stuff or it wont work.

Hi,

I do *not* want to turn this into an OS "holy war". Some of the Macs, such as the iMac, are limited in hardware upgrades, but then again, they were not designed for them. Other computers in the Mac lines are able to upgrade software and hardware with various options.

For example, this Mac I am using right now is a Powerbook G3. It came with 256 MB of RAM, and a 4 GB Hard Disk running Mac OS 9.0. I purchased the computer in March, 2000. The computer now has 398 MB RAM (I added a 256 MB module), and a 20 GB hard drive (took out the 4 GB, went to Best Buy and got a 20 GB IDE, and put it in). Software, I have gone from OS 9 to OS 9.1 to 9.2 to OS X 10.2, and am now running 10.3.3

I will agree that I might not have as many options as an Intel-based computer, but the upgrade path is not difficult or extinct.

Christian

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I agree about HP; I've had nothing but nightmares with the HP systems (mostly the Pavillion line) that I've had to service. I can honestly say, for a number of reasons, that I would never recommend an HP system to anyone. I've always had a problem with some of "proprietary" stuff that Compaq has done as well (that friggin' "diagnostic" partition for one), and considering the fact that Compaq has merged with HP... well, you get the idea.
If you're going to buy a system from one of the well-established vendors, I'd go wiht Dell at this point. I've had great experiences with Gateway in the past, but A) others haven't, and B) it's been a while since I've purchased anything from them.


I also understand your reasons for not wanting to learn another OS at this point, even if you aren't particularly happy with Windows. However- keep in mind that if you get a large enough drive (or a second drive), you can install Linux as a separate OS if you want- it (or Windows) can be configured to boot multiple OSes on the same machine. I have one of my old P-III boxes running Win 98, Win 2k, and XP, as well as 3 versions/distros of Linux.

BTW- with a cap of $3000 in your budget, you should definitely be able to get a box that will last you for a loooong time for that amount or less.

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I am looking to either buy a new computer or have one built for me. Can you tell me what computer would be best or where would be a good place to go to have one built for me? I know I want a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM. It will mainly be used for internet, games, music. Is HP a good brand? I would like to get the best. I really don't have a budget,but I don't really want to spent more than $3000.

Let me give my background up front. I have been an electronic technician for 40 years and a PC technician for about 25 years. I was a major PC warranty station for Zenith in 1984 and have taught computers, as well.

Avoid Dell like the plague it is--they are totally custom, hence difficult (near-impossible) to upgrade--and you are limited to what Dell sells: Intel only.

Most of the negative stuff about HP and Compaq is based on the old-generation equipment. While I might not use them myself (I build my own these days), I have, in fact, recommended the newest generation of Compaqs to some users.

My recommendation is that you find a local shop with a good reputation and pick off-the shelf components. If there are computer trade shows in your area, go to one. You can usually find them listed in the classified section of your local newspaper. You can talk to local dealers side-by-side. Another tactic is to find a local computer user group and ask their opinion of local dealers.

I feel, quite strongly, that AMD processors offer a far better value dollar-for-dollar than Intel, and a better roadmap for the future. AMD is now the acknowledged leader (evidence: Intel is adopting AMD's x86-64 architecture for some of it's high-end processors, the AMD-64 is making progress in the marketplace, the Opteron drastically outselling the Itanium family, and Prescott is over-hyped crap).

nVidia, VIA, and SiS all have good chipsets for AMD processors.

Some of the leading motherboard and graphic-card manufacturers include (in no particular order) Albatron, Gigabyte, ASUS, Abit, and MSI

I prefer graphic cards by nVidia over ATI. They are very close in performance, but the nVidia driver model and Linux support are both much better, and this will count in the long run. The newest nVidia cards outperform ATI head-to-head.

Get a good-quality case and power supply. Antec is a good brand, Chieftec is one of their OEMs, Chenbro has some interesting-looking ones. My rule of thumb for almost any power supply I buy for somone else: if I can't find the brand name and background on the Internet, I won't buy it. This is a good first-pass filter for quality.

Hard drives are an interesting area. I have no stand-out preferences there with regard to brand or interface. Serial ATA does have a speed advantage over standard IDE. Larger on-board cache and higher spindle RPMs are Good Things.

My preference for value in DVD drives is Lite-On. Sony agrees; their next-generation DVD-burners will be made for them by Lite-On. You want a DVD-burner that will support both DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW standards. Having a "plain" CD-ROM or DVD-ROM in addition to the burner will reduce wear-and-tear on the burner itself.

Sound cards: except for the nVidia nForce SoundStorm stuff, I recommend strongly against the AC '97 on-board sound; the hardware is part of the chipset, but the processing is entirely handled by the CPU. This steals cycles from other applications, no matter how powerful the processor is. Even most of the cheapest sound cards have some processing power of their own. My recommendations: either the Creative Labs SoundBlaster Audigy 2 or one of several boards based on the Envy24HT. If you go for the SoundBlaster line, make sure that you get the "Audigy 2" and not the vastly-inferior first-generation Audigy.

As far as monitors go, unless you have an ovewhelming need or desire for an LCD screen, go with a CRT. See my article for more on this.

Software: spend a little more and go for Windows XP Professional over Home. The Home Edition is, in essence, crippleware--it's missing some useful stuff, including true backup capabilities. Unless a decent word processor or office suite is bundled, you can download and you can use The GIMP for your graphics manipulation, etc. See my software lists for more.

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I can not help but agree with TallCool1. In the long run you will be better off building your own machine. This is not a difficult thing to do, in fact it can be very enjoyable and rewarding.

I purchased an off the shelf PC only ONCE! Will never do it again. Since then I have been building my own line of machines and have many happy customers. Buying an off the shelf system has many advantages, namely the warranty and tech support. But you also pay the price of it being a proprietary machine which in essence means that they built it based on their ideas and it fits together the way they designed it to. In other words, its not always going to be compatible with other components.

When you build your own machine, you are pretty much set for the future because you can change virtually any component you want at will.

I recommend Antec cases. You certainly won't injure yourself sticking your hands in one of those. Reputable PC shops with components on the shelf are good, but you may find their prices a tad higher than what you can do on the web. But if you do opt for the local PC store, shop around.

I have yet to find a single PC store that can beat the deals I find on the web. But every city and town varies and I don't live in the most tech savvy of places.

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Let me give my background up front. I have been an electronic technician for 40 years and a PC technician for about 25 years. I was a major PC warranty station for Zenith in 1984 and have taught computers, as well.

Avoid Dell like the plague it is--they are totally custom, hence difficult (near-impossible) to upgrade--and you are limited to what Dell sells: Intel only.

Most of the negative stuff about HP and Compaq is based on the old-generation equipment. While I might not use them myself (I build my own these days), I have, in fact, recommended the newest generation of Compaqs to some users.

TallCool1,

Your background (and my being fairly new here) aside:

A) My experience with computers goes back quite a way as well, but my hands-on experience with both HP and Compaq systems, and hence my recommendation to stay away form them, comes form recent experience, not legacy.

B) Dell systems are not "totally custom".


However, you are definitely correct in steering blue29 towards a custom-built system; had I gotten the impression that blue29 was inclined to go that route I definitely would have suggested it.

(BTW TallCool1- your profile says that you spent some time in audio recording- when and where? I was in that field for 15 years)

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I really appreciate all your responses. I have never used a MAC before,so if I was going to go that route what is the major difference between working on a MAC,and working on Windows? I have heard it's complicated,but how hard can it be?

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I really appreciate all your responses. I have never used a MAC before,so if I was going to go that route what is the major difference between working on a MAC,and working on Windows? I have heard it's complicated,but how hard can it be?

Not harder per se, but definitely different. The MacOS and its graphical user interface are built on top of a Unix-clone OS similar (but not identical) to Linux. One drawback is its one-button mouse, a throwback to the Mac's history as a failed terminal. The processor family is entirely different than the one used in IBM PC-compatibles, so comparisons are Apples and oranges. :lol:

For example: clock speeds. The PowerPC (PPC) chips used in the current-generation Apples are not clocked as high as the x86 chips, but are more efficient--so are faster clock-for-clock. Apples are more expensive for equivalent performance, somewhat more difficult to expand, have a less-extensive software selection--but as someone once pointed out, how many word-processing programs do you really need, anyway?

There are no official Apple clones, one reason why prices are higher. Apple has about 5% of the market, so you compute with the minority. This does have some advantages, one of which is greater resistance to malware like viruses, hijackers, Trojans, etc.--but I mostly run a free version of Linux, so they don't bother me, either.

I have chosen to stick with x86 systems, but to mostly run Linux--so I get (mostly) the best of both worlds.

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Blue29, the important thing to consider here is what you've stated to be your reasons for having a computer - music, games, internet!

The fact that you want games dictates that you need a Windows PC. Forget Mac, forget Linux. Although some games are available for those platforms, the mainstream of PC Gaming is Windows.

I'd also advise against buying a 'Name Brand' PC for one simple reason - you'll pay more for less performance! PC games are pretty much the most demanding task that you can use a PC for, and they require high performing machines. If your budget stretches to it, try to get hold of an Athlon64 system, with at least 512Mb or preferably 1Gb of RAM installed, either a Radeon9600XT or GeForceFX5900XT display card as a minimum, or preferably a Radeon 9800 Pro, GeForce FX5950 or better.

You're best to purchase a 'White Box' PC - one that's been assembled by a local PC supplier - or purchase the components and assemble it yourself. You'll get nothing more than an OEM copy of Windows XP and the basic warranty on components with your system, but the savings on all that Support and Service will enable you to have a better performing system for your money.

Oh yes! And don't forget to ensure you have lots and lots of hard drive storage space.

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Hello,

I agree with TallCool1's description of the Apple platform. It is possible to plug in a USB mouse with a scroll wheel, and the OS will work with the right button and wheel with no problems. I use a Logitech USB mouse, and can do things with the right button with no problems. OS 9 had a little right button support -- OS X has a lot more features.

I also agree with Catweasle about Windows being the OS of choice for games. While Mac and Linux have some titles, your very cool gaming programs will be on Windows. I am not a big gamer to begin with, so that does not bother me, and I enjoy fighting monsters on the OS I have, instead of fighting virus and other issues that Windows machines are prone to.

If it is possible, before you make your purchase, go and take a feel for these OS's on your own. Also take a look at the tech forums here and see what types of problems people are reporting, and make an informed decision on what you want to get into.

Also -- a large thumbs up to OpenOffice and GIMP. I use both on my Mac OS X and on the Red Hat Linux server in the house often. Might want to also mention Eudora for email, and a desktop package called RagTime for page layout.

Christian

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hi i am looking for help i have got amac osx 10.5.6 and have got acd or 2 stuck i hav tried various ways to release it/them to no avail does anyone know how to get the outer casing off to release it/them?
regards
tellme123

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First, you start your own thread and pay attention to what you are typing so it actually makes sense (punctuation would be a bonus).

This topic has been dead for over six months. Start a new discussion instead.
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